Please click to watch the full video from Dr. Wiens below for an update on plans for summer and fall schedules. (Read below for a summary of these action items in progress.)
Hello MPCS family, and welcome to the last week of the 2019-20 school year! It is truly hard to believe that the year is almost over. And, what a year it’s been!
WHAT WE HAVE GAINED:
As the world opens back up and gets back to our “new normal,” let’s not forget the things we have learned during this time. Slowing down and enjoying one another is a good thing. Let’s not forget how good the downtime was and let it fall by the wayside. I am hopeful that we will create a great “new normal” as parents, as young people, and as a community.
Now, as we move forward, I want to share with you some things you can expect both this summer and in the days to come. All plans will be in compliance with health and government guidelines and subject to change:
- Summer Programs for June are cancelled.
- Summer Programs will be held in July (presuming social distancing measures are lifted and with cleaning protocols in place). Any changes to this plan will be communicated by June 15.
- Summer sports and workouts are still TBD.
- Communications about schedules will be ongoing.
- Our plan is to be back in school as scheduled on August 11 for the 2020-2021 school year.
- New health and safety measures will be in place (see below).
- We are still awaiting news from GHSA concerning athletics start dates.
- We are planning for alternate scenarios, should the need arise.
NEW HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES YOU CAN EXPECT:
From a health and safety standpoint, please know we are taking the safety, security, and health of our entire community very seriously. To ensure the health and safety of every person who has and will step foot on our beautiful campus, we have done and are working on the following:
- Hiring a second full-time nurse to ensure our health coverage is adequate for any demand.
- Hiring a second security guard who will be on duty throughout the duration of the school day.
- Purchasing and will daily use an electrostatic handheld sprayer on prepped surfaces and can be used to clean all public spaces.
- Have completed HVAC/AC system cleaning and maintenance of high-grade filters in all facilities.
- Will install a new air filtration system in academic buildings.
- Use only EPA-approved, safe disinfectants.
- Purchased 45 more hand sanitization stations to double sanitization locations, bringing that total to 85 stations on campus.
- Will provide masks and gloves for use by all staff members, where and when appropriate if required.
- Following all CDC hygiene protocols and have them posted throughout campus.
- Suspend use of vending machines and water fountains.
- Will be utilizing multiple new computer equipment cleaning units.
- Will implement 6-foot distancing protocols, where appropriate if required.
- Check temperatures of everyone coming on campus via new infrared thermometers.
- Continue to comply with all OSHA regulations.
- Review dining hall protocols and make any necessary safety adjustments.
- Will have protocol in place to provide any additional verbal Coronavirus screening as recommended by the CDC for schools.
It is my hope that you understand the measures we are taking to ensure all that we do is for the best interest of you and your children.
POSSIBLE SCENARIOS TO PREPARE FOR:
As we consider the coming year, we know there are several scenarios we may see play out (should CDC and government officials require it).
- We may be on campus all year long.
- We may start virtually and return to campus at a later date.
- We may be forced to go in and out of quarantine at various times during the year.
- Due to social distancing or large gathering regulations, we may only be allowed to have a certain number of students on campus on a daily basis.
- Planning for the possibility of providing a variety of learning options for those families who may be vulnerable or hesitant to enter classrooms and be in large groups on campus at the start of the year.
The Executive Council and I are spending countless hours planning for each scenario, and we will be ready no matter what may unfold.
Concerning tuition, currently we are planning to be fully open on August 11, our original start date; so, we are planning tuition as scheduled. However, that could change in the coming months, per the authorities of our state and country. As such, the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees is working closely with the business office and me to ensure we have a fair and equitable tuition structure in place for different scenarios. We will alert you to any changes should another scenario play out.
ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS:
In order to answer your many questions, the division heads and I will host a virtual town hall meeting and live stream it to you in the coming weeks. We ask that if you have any questions or concerns, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 22, and we will do our best to provide detailed answers to your questions. More information on this virtual town hall will be forthcoming in the week ahead.
Again, thank you for your prayers, for your support, for your patience, and for your care. MPCS is an amazing community, and it is a privilege to serve alongside of you and to be a part of the team that is blessed to educate your children. Know that you are loved, cared for, and appreciated. May God bless you and keep you in the days ahead. Have a great summer, and we will see you all in August!
Governor Kemp has made the decision to close public K-12 schools for the remainder of the school year. In the best interest, health, and safety of our students, staff, and families, Mount Paran Christian School will also keep campus closed. However Virtual Learning will continue through our last day on May 15.
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO MESSAGE BELOW FROM DR. WIENS CONCERNING PLANS TO FINISH STRONG!
More information and communications will be sent via each division head in the coming days and weeks. Thank you and stay safe MPCS family.
From Dr. Tim Wiens —
As I'm sure you are aware, President Trump has extended nationwide federal social distancing guidelines through April 30. To that end, MPCS will also follow this directive. We will move our tentative campus re-open date to Friday, May 1.
Virtual Learning will continue through this week, leading up to a well-deserved break. MPCS will be off through Spring Break and Easter, April 4-13. May you enjoy this time of rejoicing and celebration of the resurrection of our Savior with your families. Virtual classes will resume again April 14-30.
With these ever-changing times, I can speak for my wife and myself - as well as our MPCS leadership team - that we are also extremely thankful for our schoolfamily and your continued flexibility and fortitude as we navigate the coming month. I am praying daily for you, your children, and our resilient community.
From Dr. Tim Wiens —
As you may have heard, Governor Kemp announced today that he has instructed all Georgia K-12 public schools to stay closed through April 24. To further ensure the health and safety of our students, staff, and extended families, MPCS will also follow these guidelines and continue with Virtual Learning through April 24.
We will still observe a week off for Spring Break and Easter, April 4-13. Virtual classes will continue as scheduled this week and next, and resume April 14-24. As of now, campus will re-open on Monday, April 27. We will communicate details concerning further event rescheduling and learning initiatives in the coming days.
We would appreciate your feedback concerning proactive options for continuity of learning during this time of uncertainty. Please fill out this SURVEY.
Thank you once again for your continued flexibility and patience with this unprecedented situation affecting us all in a multitude of ways. Our vow to provide your child(ren) an education with excellence and with Christ at the center is as strong now, and as it has been always. I encourage you to lean on Him as we get through this storm together.
VIRTUAL LEARNING UNDERWAY AND QUARANTINE UPDATE
From Dr. Tim Wiens -
Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we walk a road never traveled and experience a world that is changing before our eyes. If I am honest, it is all surreal. However, as I have said before and as I am sure I will say again, we have nothing to worry about. We are a part of a family that shares the same core beliefs and values. At the foundation, we have Jesus Christ. We worship the God of the Universe who is in control at all times. We serve a God who wants what is best for us and wants us to know we are loved and safe in the shelter of his wings. So, if you are worried, anxious, or troubled, you can find your rest in God. He is sovereign over all, and his plan is accomplished in good and bad times. This is truth.
Matthew 11:28-30 states:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
As we head into the coming days and weeks, please remember this. Our Savior is faithful, and he will provide rest. He will lighten our loads. You can count on it. Our God made that promise.
As many of you have now heard, Governor Kemp has asked that all schools close until the end of March. There is wisdom in this expectation, as we collectively work to eradicate this virus and ensure our most vulnerable populations are protected, safe, and healthy. My mother is 82-years old. She has diabetes. While she is healthy, she falls into the "vulnerable" category. My prayer is that the rest of the world would not just consider her and those vulnerable populations, but that they would turn their eyes toward our Savior and away from selfish desires so that not only she is safe, but so that many like her are safe as well. Each of us is more clearly responsible for our neighbors' health and the well-being of others than ever before.
We also have many teachers, parents, students, grandparents, friends, and relatives within our own community who are immunocompromised. Please, consider them as you make your decisions about where you go and who you see, and do only what is absolutely necessary outside your home. Just this morning, I spoke with a parent who is expecting that his own children stay home and not see their friends. This includes his adult children who are now home from college. This is difficult; however, he is concerned, as his children have many friends who are choosing to be out and about - in the community, at friends' homes, and disregarding the general request to social distance. Parents, I ask that you consider what is best for our entire community and help us not only encourage our children, but also oversee their behavior in this regard. We will be together sooner if we all respect the decision of our government officials.
When we consider the coming days and weeks, we now know that as a school community, our campus will be closed until after Spring Break. The first day we may possibly return to classes and life as normal is Tuesday, April 14, 2020. As such, classes will continue virtually until Spring Break. Any events scheduled after April 14 will be considered tentative, as we watch what unfolds in the community around us and the country.
I have been incredibly encouraged to see the quality of the engagement in the virtual classrooms that is taking place. I know that this engagement is a result of the hard work of teachers, students, parents, and the relationships we have developed within our community. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do in working with your children.
Each day, our administrative teams and faculties are meeting to determine the success of what we have done through our virtual learning platforms and to assess what we may do better. Please know we are working hard to ensure the continuity of learning and ensuring it is done with the highest possible quality. While it will not be perfect, we will continue to strive for excellence. As I say to our faculty all the time, we will be better tomorrow than we are today. You can expect that from us, as we expect it from ourselves. It is my hope that we all will encourage our children to become better students, friends, and disciples of Jesus each day.
By the end of the day Friday, you will hear from your child(ren)'s division head about any adjustments in schedule, delivery platforms, expectations, or any other teaching and learning-related matter. We also welcome your feedback. I have already heard from several parents who have had some very good ideas about how we deliver virtual learning. Your academic division heads and I welcome this input. While we may not implement every idea we receive, we already know we will make some changes based upon some of these great recommendations.
Again, I want to thank you for your patience with us, for your grace, and for your understanding. We are all navigating new roads, rivers, and valleys. I pray that God gives you the patience and wisdom do so tomorrow and every day to come. Know that we love your children, and we love you. Most of all, we love Jesus, and we are blessed to be a part of this amazing family.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Tim Wiens, Ed.D., Head of School
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MPCS FAMILIES - PLEASE READ:
Governor Kemp and the Georgia Department of Public Health are urging local schools, childcare centers, and public workplaces to impose self-quarantines in an effort to contain any further outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. (Click here to learn more.)
The MPCS community does not have any known or suspected cases of COVID-19. However, the CDC recommends that large gatherings should be avoided to curtail the spread of the disease. (Read more here.) Therefore, for the continued safety and well-being of our students and families, MPCS will follow these recommendations effective immediately, until further notice.
The physical MPCS campus will close starting Friday, March 13 but will allow students, teachers, and staff to come to campus between 8:00 - 10:00 a.m. to pickup all needed supplies, devices, books, etc. in order to be able to work at home. There will be no assignments or virtual learning taking place on Friday. We will implement virtual learning on Monday, March 16 (8:00 a.m. for middle/high school, 9:00 a.m for preschool/lower school per virtual learning guidelines).
*NOTE: The "Tuck Everlasting" performances scheduled for tonight and this weekend will be rescheduled for a later date. All activities, including athletics, will be cancelled for the duration of the quarantine. We realize that this is very dissapointing to our students but do not want to take any unnecessary health risks.
Middle and high school students will receive instructions for virtual learning from their teachers and/or division heads by Sunday evening via their 1:1 devices, e-mail, and Google classroom. Preschool and lower school families will also be sent information through teacher and division e-mails about plans for virtual learning. We are thankful that all are prepared to continue learning experiences for our students through this quarantine time.
MPCS does not take this decision lightly and understands this is an inconvenience to our families, but we believe these precautions will keep our staff, students, and extended family members safe, while hopefully preventing spread of disease in our area. We urge our families to practice recommended "social distancing" strategies to help our local community more quickly eradicate the threat of Coronavirus. This means limiting group gatherings and interactions. Our goal is to cooperate with authorities, and hopefully get back to school as soon as possible.
We will continue to communicate any changes or reassessments of the situation. We expect to be off campus for two weeks at minimum. Please be in prayer for those affected by this virus. We rest in Psalm 46:1: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Thank you for your full cooperation, patience, and understanding as we support the well-being of our community!
For tips, guidelines, schedules, and expectations concerning Virtual Learning, please visit: mtparanschool.com/virtual-learning
You can find school announcements and Coronavirus updates on our website at: mtparanschool.com/coronavirus
As Dr. Wiens shared this week, MPCS administration is meeting daily to review the COVID-19 situation. We are taking many precautionary measures to keep our students and faculty safe. It is our goal to offer schooling as normal with the stellar quality you know and expect. As of right now, we do not plan to close and have not been asked to do so by any state or local authorities. We are simply preparing for a “what-if” scenario in order to create a continual learning environment and to be well prepared in any situation. Currently, teachers are communicating with students and reassuring them that their safety and continual learning are our top priority. We are also preparing them for the possibility of virtual schooling should anything change. To read more about what this would entail, as well as TIPS for each grade-level concerning what to expect about virtual learning, click below.
MPCS custodial staff have been working diligently in sanitizing all commonly used areas. SAGE Dining is also working to take extra precautions in the dining hall to limit touching of common serving utensils, drink dispensers, etc. On Friday, all water fountains and refill stations will be out of service temporarily to prevent any spread of germs.
Administration is meeting daily to prepare for a possible virtual learning environment should county officials request schools to self-impose 14-day quarantines. Our middle and high school students are already accustomed to online learning, and we will provide options for preschool and lower school students "just in case." Students are being encouraged to bring books and devices home daily and to be prepared should anything change. You can access the virtual learning page at mtparanschool.com/virtual-learning.
In the meantime, please refer to the quick links below for updates concerning how Coronavirus is affecting our area. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through solutions and options to continue a stellar learning experience for your family.
With the latest news of COVID-19 reaching Cobb county, please click above to view a new video message from Dr. Wiens concerning updates on the Coronavirus.
MPCS prioritizes our students' safety and well-being. Though we pray this virus never affects our school community, we are committed to following appropriate directives from the Center for Disease Control and Georgia Department of Health. Per the CDC summary, “For most of the American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low.” However, if the situation were to quickly change in our area, MPCS is being proactive in our efforts to provide a safe learning environment.
Please note the important information below from administration and the school clinic:
1. Child Health and Safety
- MPCS has already taken added precautions in our cleaning efforts. All school common spaces, restrooms, doors, furniture, and buses are continually being deep-cleaned.
- Students will continue to wash hands regularly. Help us in teaching your kids not to touch their face, mouth, or eyes.
Monitor your child(ren)'s health. Please use these CDC Guidelines if he/she experiences shortness of breath, cough, or fever above 100.4. (See diagram)
2. Continuity of Learning
- In the rare case that MPCS would have to close school for any period of time, we recommend that your family would go ahead and consider developing a childcare plan. Our goal is to avoid this, but we will follow proper precautions or directives from health authorities.
- In the event that school does close, parents will receive information from their division head about virtual learning and/or Google classroom assignments via the Connected Learning Program already in place (middle/high school).
- All MPCS teachers are preparing to work in a virtual learning environment to engage students at all levels with a consistent experience.
3. Student Trips and Activities
- No local school trips or activities have been cancelled. We will alert you of any changes.
- Currently, no mission trips or study abroad trips have been cancelled. We will continue to monitor those countries and CDC recommendations. If you have any concerns, please communicate with your student's trip leader.
4. Family Travel
- If you or anyone in your direct family are planning to travel to a country that has been identified as a CDC Level 3 or higher risk rate, we ask that you notify the school clinic ASAP.
- If you travel to a Level 3 destination (prior to, or occurring while you are in-country), we ask that your family self-quarantine for 14 days based on the CDC recommendation.
- We will work with your family concerning ongoing learning or missed assignments.
CLICK HERE to check the CDC website concerning risk levels of each country.
- The video and transcript from Dr. Wiens, as well as any updates concerning this virus can be found on this page, under the "News and Events" link, at mtparanschool.com/coronavirus
- We will continue to send you any updates via e-mail or teacher communications periodically or as information changes.
As believers, we remember that 1 Timothy says God gives us a spirit of power, of love, and of discipline, not one of timidity. He will care for us!