Dayspring Christian Academy Stay Open Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year
Rationale for our Stay Open Plan
Last Updated on August 6, 2020
Dear Dayspring Family,
I will do my best to avoid using some of the catch phrases that have become almost cliché in these unprecedented times as we keep in mind that we are all in this together and realize that this, too, shall pass.
I hope that made you chuckle. “A merry heart does good, like medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22)
With the first day of school just 3 weeks away, it is time to provide an update on our plans for reopening our school and, more importantly, to make sure our school can stay open through June 8, 2021!
This season has been one of the most challenging I have ever faced in my 45 years in education. What has been the most difficult thing is all the uncertainty, the constant changes, the unreliable information, and the politicization of the Covid-19 pandemic. I hear the same thing from people across the country, in all walks of life. It is in this climate that we must make judicious decisions that are in keeping with our objectives to be “Safe, Reasonable, Bold, Flexible.”
- Covid-19 is a real disease. We need to take it seriously but not overreact. We need to have a proper regard for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for the Covid-19 infection. It is related to the SARS coronavirus that caused the outbreak in 2003. There are similarities between these viruses, but there are distinct differences. We do not know everything about this virus, but we now know enough so that we can proceed with both caution and boldness; in other words, with wisdom and faith, not with unfounded fear.
- It has been Dayspring’s long-standing belief (and practice) to recognize the God-given authority and responsibility that parents have over their children. The Rev. S. Phillips wrote a treatise in 1859 on the American Christian home, in which he stated, “Home is a little commonwealth jointly governed by the parents. It involves the law. The mutual relation of parent implies authority on the one hand and obedience on the other. This is the principle of all government. Home is the first form of society.”
As a private, nonpublic, non-licensed religious school, we partner with parents, not the state, in educating their children. We believe this is an essential, biblically-grounded position, and in this regard, our philosophy and practices precede the appearance of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As we open our school this year, the policies we have in place allow for maximal control of parents over their children as long as it does not compromise the health and wellbeing of other students or school employees. This stance presupposes the biblical principle of Christian self-government. It is vitally important that parents, students, and staff faithfully follow the guidelines and procedures the school has established for the safe and reasonable conduct of our God-given mandate to educate children through the historic, biblical Christian Principle Approach. This holy enterprise is consequential for our generation and those yet to come (PS. 78: 5-8)
Therefore, it is necessary for parents to partner with us in the expectation that their children will comply with our safety protocols, which address physical distancing, handwashing, sharing of items, face coverings, respectful attitudes, and so on. Because the safety and wellbeing of our students is paramount in our daily activities and interactions, teachers will, of course, remind students to follow our safety guidelines.
- We believe that civil government has been instituted by God to operate within its own sphere of authority, aimed at promoting good and punishing evil in society (II Peter 3:14). As Christians and good citizens, we are respectful of the God-ordained authority of those who operate within the constraints of our duly established constitutional federal republican form of government. While we value and appreciate the civil government’s role in creating laws that protect us from evildoers, we do not believe it is the biblical (or constitutional) right for the civil government to intrude into the other sanctioned spheres of authority, namely the family and the church. As for the Governor’s mask-wearing mandate, it is up to parents to decide if their child qualifies for the exceptions listed by the PDE, not the school.
It is upon these premises that we base the “Stay Open Plan” for Dayspring Christian Academy, which accompanies is below for your reference. It includes a few minor changes from its first publication on June 30, 2020. As always, I welcome your comments and questions.
Let us continue to pray for the health and wellbeing of all of our students, families, and staff. Additionally, we pray for the unity of the Spirit, which is the bond of peace as we navigate these turbulent waters (Eph. 4:3). I know God has good things in store for all of us this school year. His agenda has not been altered nor short-changed. May we align with His purposes – as individuals and as a school.
Standing firm on Christ our Rock,
Dr. Michael R. Myers
Headmaster, Dayspring Christian Academy
Human Interactions for Health and Safety
- Golden Rule: Demonstration of respect and regard for each individual’s perspective and needs is expected at all times, in keeping with the biblical standard of loving others (Matt. 7:12; 22:39; John 13:34).
- Screening: Parents required to check for Covid-19 symptoms in their child(ren) daily before school:
- If temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher and/or Covid symptoms (fever, cough, sore throat, headache, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea) are present, the child may not attend school.
- Staff members: Follow same protocol daily before school.
- Visitors: Limited at the beginning of the year
- Testing and Quarantine: If Covid-19 symptoms are present, parents are required to contact the school for further instructions.
- Notification: If a confirmed Covid-19 case occurs, all parents will be notified and given appropriate instructions.
- Return to school: Based on current medical protocols at the time.
- Physical distancing: Primary strategy for preventing virus spread. 6 ft. when attainable, not less that 3 ft., otherwise (inside classrooms, hallways, auditorium, gym, lobby)
- Masks or face shields: As for the Governor’s mask-wearing mandate, it is up to parents to decide if their child qualifies for one of the listed exceptions. Not required for LS and MS students, but permitted; The CDC and AAP recommend for older students as well as all staff; may be required if physical distancing is not possible. All students should have access to a mask or face shield at school in case the need for use arises during the school day.
- Procedure for arrival and dismissal: Adjusted to promote physical distancing
- Lunch: Brought from home or prepackaged from vendor; in classrooms or outside to start school year
- Illness: Students who become sick will be held in the health rooms until parents arrive to take home (within 1 hr., if possible).
- Transportation: Mask-wearing not required for DCA buses and vans where adequate physical distancing exists. Siblings seated together. Dayspring students riding school district buses must adhere to the district’s requirements.
Facility Readiness for Health and Safety
- Cleaning: Verified safe and effective cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting solutions and devices; use of an electrostatic sanitizing device.
- All areas of the school facility will be cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected prior to the opening of school.
- Daily cleaning, disinfecting of desks, chairs, tables, counters, and high touch areas
- Daily cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting toilets, sinks, and adjacent areas in addition to regular cleaning schedule; hands-free doors into restrooms
- General building cleaning protocol expanded
- Personal hygiene: Additional hand sanitizing stations at key locations
- Drinking: Water bottle filling stations instead of water fountains
- Air Quality: Outside air exchange increased; higher grade of air handler filters
Academics and Activities
- Academics and programs: Dayspring’s regular academic and other program offerings will resume.
- Faculty will continue to engage in professional development in Principle Approach education
- Field study and student retreat schedule will remain intact as much as possible for sites that are available to the public, where transportation is also available, and where the school’s Covid procedure can be maintained.
- Student academic readiness: Early assessment, with strategic intervention where needed.
- Student wellness: Prayer, care, and share support in Bible classes and chapel; Social-emotional support available
- Personal hygiene: Best practices in personal hygiene to decrease spread of viruses and bacteria
- Online classroom information access: Google Classroom as Learning Management System (LMS) for PreK-12.
- Online education preparation
- Teachers are engaged in professional development for best practices for effective distance education.
- Technology-based blended education will continue to be incorporated into the classroom as preparation and practice for students and teachers in effective online teaching and learning.
- Online instruction days may be scheduled during regular school calendar to prepare for online instruction at home, should that become necessary.
- Strategic implementation of distance education for students who must temporarily remain at home
In the event that positive Covid-19 cases appear at the school, affected students/staff will be required to follow best practice guidelines for return to school. The school headmaster, in conjunction with the school level principals, will determine if and when additional procedures will be required depending on the best available information at the time.