15 July 2020
Dear Families, Faculty and Staff:
Mid-summer greetings from CHA! We truly hope that these summer weeks have allowed for times of refreshing for you and your family, though we know that this has not been possible for everyone.
We continue to diligently plan and prepare for our return to classroom learning on August 17. Our preparations continue to be guided by several commitments:
- A commitment to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff.
- A commitment to provide excellent Christ-centered education for our students whether in the classroom or by necessity, in an eLearning mode.
- A commitment to purposefully facilitate the spiritual and character development of our students both inside and outside the classroom, regardless of the learning mode.
With those guiding commitments fully in mind, we are preparing to be back on campus and in the classroom on August 17. At the same time, we continue to enhance our eLearning capabilities should that mode of teaching be necessitated.
As communicated in our 25 June 2020 update, the Illinois Phase 4 requirements for schools was released at the end of June. Included in that joint instruction from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is the requirement that students and staff wear face masks throughout the day including in the classroom. The specific instructions for your information are below:
Q. Are all individuals in a school building required to wear a face covering at all times?
Yes. As required by IDPH, except while eating and during band, face coverings must be worn at all times in school buildings, even when social distance is maintained. All individuals in a school building must wear a face covering unless they have a medical contraindication, are under 2 years of age, have trouble breathing, or are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove a face covering without assistance. (updated 6/25/2020)
Q. Are face coverings required when individuals are outside?
Face coverings are not required outside if social distance is maintained (if individuals remain 6 feet apart from each other). (updated 6/25/2020)
Q. Can face shields be used in lieu of face coverings (e.g. masks)?
Generally, no. Face shields are not effective protection against coronavirus and should only be used in situations when other methods of protection are not available. (updated 6/30/2020)
Like so many other governmental agency instructions during this COVID period, these requirements may also be changed or revised in time, though we are not certain that will happen.
This week our CHA Board of Directors and members of executive leadership team (administration) discussed at length this requirement along with other issues related to this pandemic challenge. It was agreed that CHA will abide by the IDPH instructions, similar to most every school (both Christian and public) in our region.
While this is unwelcome news for some of our families, others may well appreciate this further measure of safety precaution. Either way, we are committed to making this latest development as positive as we possibly can for our students and staff. For example, we are planning to encourage and facilitate outside teaching as much as possible for classes (not just PE). Currently, we are investigating the rental of several tents facilitating a more conducive outside learning environment and one where masks would not be required as we maintain social distance between the children. Other ideas are being considered and explored as well.
We also want to let you know of several ways that we are seeking to keep you informed in the coming weeks as decisions continue to be made and more details become available:
We have developed a CHA “Reopening Guide” that can be accessed on our website on Parent Central and is as an ongoing resource where you can be kept up to date on reopening plans and developments. It will be continuously updated as additional decisions and details are known. We strongly encourage you to check the Reopening Guide today and often in the future to stay informed of school plans and decisions.
During the week of July 27, a CHA Reopening video will be available highlighting what to expect as we begin this year including the many necessary changes.
Additionally, during the week of August 3rd, a virtual CHA “Town Hall” will be held where our CHA leadership (executive team and Board members) will present the latest information and updates, along with answering questions. You will be informed as to the exact date and time when finalized.
In the near future we will be sharing with you the necessary protocols that will be in place if a student, staff member or a member of your family is presenting COVID-like symptoms. Included in this necessary protocol is the requirement that you self-check your student(s) before leaving home. All students will have their temperature taken each day while still in your car at drop-off. If their temperature exceeds 100.4, that student will be sent home. Further details and explanation of the procedure for sick students and staff, with resulting implications for others in our school community, will be provided in the near future
Thank you to all who have completed our parent survey. Please still respond if you have not. Your helpful input is very valuable as we continue to prepare for this coming school year.
In the midst of these continuing challenging days, may we strongly encourage you and your family to continue steadfast in God’s word as a family this summer. Reading even one chapter a day will provide rich Scriptural encouragement, guidance, and hope for every member of your family.
Know that our CHA leadership (administration and Board) is committed to your family’s best good, safety and health during this extraordinary time. We continue to seek the Lord for His necessary wisdom to plan and prepare for a very uncertain year. Your prayers and partnership are needed now more than ever. Our desire is that we would not just survive this year, but do all we can that our students, staff and families would thrive this year as together we endeavor to make it a great year to the praise and glory of our Lord.
Faithfully in Christ
Hutz H. Hertzberg
In joyful partnership,
Gil de las Alas