Carden Covid-19 Policy and Reopening Fall 2020

Posted on August 07, 2020
Carden Belltower In Blue Sky 2

Attachments

August 7, 2020

Dear Friends,

I pray you are well and safe and I thank you for the love and concern and responsibility you bear for your children and their little school.  The staff, Board and I truly appreciate your care, prayer and support. 

The Governor, State and County Health Officials, and Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction offered more specific guidance to schools and reopening just a few days ago.  These include two Washington State Department of Health documents:  “K-12 Schools, - Fall 2020-2021 Guidance,” and “Decision Tree for Provision of In Person Learning among K-12 Students at Public and Private Schools during the Covid-19 Pandemic.” I will include links to these documents below.  

The Board and I have spent several hours carefully and prayerfully reading, re-reading, and then discussing these documents. Please remember that these documents are aimed at schools much larger and very different than Carden, and that a headline, by its very nature, leaves out detail and nuance.  

We believe that the benefits of in-person instruction in elementary school are immense, and that under Carden’s revised Covid Policy (also attached below,) and given our unique situation, we can meet the State requirements and offer a safe and healthy in-person reopening.

These documents restate what we said in our letter of 7/23: While State and County Health Departments have the legal authority to close schools for health and safety reasons, they have chosen not to, but to allow individual school districts and communities to make decisions based on their own unique situations, within the general guidelines.  During the press conference announcing these recent events, the Governor and Superintendent were both pressed on this issue, and they both gave strong defenses of the idea of local control and decision making due to extreme variability across the state and even within the same community. Superintendent Reykdal: “There are places with very unique circumstances. Even within the same community, a school with a thousand high school kids is a dramatically higher risk than a school with 20 kids, so we are giving them the opportunity to make those subtle decisions as long as they can follow the health framework and as long as they have considered this larger guidance that is complemented by their local health authorities.” We believe we have done so.

Therefore, the Board has determined that Carden Country School will open to in-person instruction, with health and safety modifications included but not limited to our Covid-19 policy document, based on our previously released calendar: SuperStart will begin on Monday, August 31, and school for all students will begin on Tuesday, September 8.

We have modified our previous policy to require that all students, staff and visitors will need to be wearing an appropriate face covering whenever they are in the building.  Classroom teachers will be scheduling several additional times each day for students to go outside for a “mask break.” We have upgraded our school provided face coverings, to a system with replaceable filters, as shown in the link below.  We continue to allow, in accordance with WDOH Guidance, a variety of face covering options, based on the needs of individual students.  We have removed the “face shield at the group table” requirement.  We have ordered an outdoor Sani-Can porta-potty for the exclusive use of the upper grades class “across the porch,” and at least two outdoor, commercial grade hand washing stations, to supplement the indoor spaces.  We will be moving classes within the facility to allow for greater spacing and removing some classroom bookshelves and filing cabinets to ensure maximum distancing while in the classroom.  We have ordered a 20x40 tent for the lower yard to provide cover for recess during rainy times and an optional outdoor instructional space. 

Carden Country School is already what is currently being called a “cohort.” We are a small community with very limited interaction with large outside groups.  We agree that we each want our children to be safe and healthy on campus. We must trust each other to be responsible to ensure that we stay healthy individually in order to stay healthy as a cohort and community. 

In the event that after prayerful consideration your family chooses not to return to Carden, we respect and honor your decision and wish you Godspeed and the very best of God’s blessings. We understand and agree that Covid-19 is real and that different people and families evaluate and respond to risk differently.   We have always believed and stated publicly that children are given unto their parents’ care through the will of God, and that parents know and understand what is best for their own families. Please confirm your enrollment decision personally with Mrs. Gallivan (Bookkeeping@CardenCountrySchool.org) by close of business, Monday, August 10.

Be safe and well. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support during these extraordinary times. 

Gratefully,

Mr. Harvey

Links:

Washington State Department of Health: K-12 Schools – Fall 2020-2021 Guidance, 8/4/20: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/FallGuidanceK-12.pdf

Washington State Department of Health: Decision Tree for Provision of In Person Learning among K-12 Students at Public and Private School during the COVID-19 Pandemic: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/DecisionTree-K12schools.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Carden Country School Covid Policy, 8/6/20: http://cardencountryschool.org/news/carden-covid-19-policy

Carden Country School Covid Letter, 7/20/20: Carden Covid Preamble 7 20 20 Final

Upgraded Replaceable Filter System School Masks: https://www.vistaprint.com/masks/all/custom/?utm_medium=referral_website&utm_source=vistaprint&utm_campaign=vp_masks_referral_link&utm_content=homepage_marquee&xnav=New+Visitor+Home+Page_New+Visitor+Home+Page_undefined_superhero-default_0_undefined

Upgraded Replaceable Filter System Gaiters (optional): https://www.amazon.com/gp/prod...

Further Information from Washington State Department of Health: 

State DOH Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020COVID19/FrequentlyAskedQuestions

State DOH General Testing for Covid-19: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/NovelCoronavirusOutbreak2020COVID19/TestingforCOVID19

State DOH “What if I have confirmed or suspected Covid-19?”: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVIDcasepositive.pdf

State DOH: “What if you were potentially exposed to someone with Covid-19?”: https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/COVIDexposed.pdf