As we begin to think ahead to next school year, we wanted to share the Academic Year 2021-2022 Re-Opening Plan that was just approved by our School Board at their June 22nd meeting. While finalizing this plan, we have been especially grateful for the input and efforts of our administration, faculty, Medical Advisory Team, legal counsel, and many other members of our community.
If you are new to our community, we just finished a unique school year that featured efforts and policies focused on mitigating the spread of COVID-19. As we enter a new school year, we know our new and returning families alike may be wondering about our plans as they relate to health mitigations.
• Background: The PA Department of Health’s Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings is set to expire next week and no COVID-19 vaccination is currently on the long-standing required vaccination list for K-12 students. With the start of school only seven weeks away, we do not anticipate any state or federal facial covering requirement or vaccination requirement to be in effect.
• Lord willing, Harrisburg Christian School and West Shore Christian Academy will open for their First Day of School on August 17, 2021. Facial coverings will not be required, but students and faculty are encouraged to wear them if they prefer. COVID-19 vaccination will not be required for students or faculty.
• If, in the future, facial coverings or the COVID-19 vaccination would be required, a parent/guardian would be permitted to submit an exemption letter to their respective school office stating a medical or religious exemption to the facial covering and/or vaccination requirement. Official medical documentation is not required.
• Submission of an exemption letter signed by a parent/guardian aligns with our long-standing practice with other vaccinations that are currently required for all K-12 students. This exemption list would be confidential, and, if facial coverings would be required in the future, each family would be responsible for monitoring their own child’s mask wearing due to this confidentiality related to medical or religious exemptions.
• Parents will continue to be frequently reminded to keep children home if they are showing symptoms of sickness. Students need to be symptom-free for at least 24 hours before returning to school. This expectation regarding each family’s responsibility to monitor their child’s health will remain the most effective mitigation against the spread of sickness at school.
• If a child or faculty/staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the school will not be performing contact tracing or providing notifications to parents. We will continue to update our COVID-19 Online Dashboards until further notice. Children who contract COVID-19, as with other sicknesses, will need to follow the advice of their primary care provider when returning to school.
• We will continue our practice of speaking in terms of “Phases” when it comes to the current mitigation level at any given time. Phase 1 will be school operations as normal with no mitigations. We are planning to begin the school year in Phase 1. Phase 2 will be full, in-person school operations with the introduction of tools we can utilize to mitigate against the spread of sickness. Those tools will include, but not be limited to, mask wearing (for those not exempted), gathering restrictions, decreasing cross-classroom interaction, lunch schedule adjustments, and an online learning option (see below for more information regarding our online learning plan for next year). Phase 3 will be full, short-term remote learning that is largely synchronous (our FLO from last year).
FLO (Flexible Learning Option)
• Last year, we created an online learning option, called FLO (Flexible Learning Option), to offer greater educational flexibility for our students during the pandemic. FLO allows students to remotely participate in their classes in real time. The following information outlines our plan for FLO starting next school year.
• Beginning next school year, HCS and WSCA will no longer be accommodating any permanent/long-term FLO students at any level. The only exception to this will be international students who elect to attend synchronously online while out of the country due to travel restrictions.
• Elementary: We will not be offering short-term FLO any time throughout the school year. If a student must miss school, their missed work will be distributed through coordination between the classroom teacher, parents, and main office.
• Middle School/High School: Short-term FLO will be offered to MS/HS students but under the following guidelines:
- Short-term FLO will only be offered from November 1-March 15.
- Parents must provide at least a 24-hour advance notice to the office.
- The absence must be documented as medically related.
- Assessments will be administered upon student’s return to in-person learning unless otherwise stipulated by the course instructor.
• Our elementary schools will no longer be utilizing the Seesaw platform. Our Microsoft Office 365 accounts, including Teams, will continue to be utilized.
• The hardware and software related to FLO will be kept and utilized if necessary or desired. We plan to keep teachers trained on FLO and its capabilities and are excited to see if these capabilities open up further opportunities to our students.
|Active Cases||Recovered Positive Cases|
|Elementary Faculty and Staff||0||5|
|Middle/High Faculty and Staff||0||8|
*Active cases are positive cases that have been reported within the last 10 days and the quarantine period has not ended.*Recovered positive cases are people who have completed their required quarantine period after testing positive.