"FAMILY REUNION" - A PLAN TO RETURN TO CAMPUS

July 17, 2020

Dear MPCS Family:

What a rollercoaster ride we continue to be on! COVID-19 has changed the world in which we live and the manner in which we are called to interact with one another – at least for the time being. To that end, we continue to evolve along with the disease we have been exposed to (metaphorically, for most of us). 

Yesterday, I am sure many of you were made aware that the surrounding school districts (Cobb County and Marietta City) have joined Fulton County, Atlanta Public, and DeKalb in planning a virtual start to their school years. Because we are smaller, more nimble, and have had the opportunity to strategize accordingly, we continue to plan to start live and in-person on August 11. For that, I am more than thankful, and, having heard from many of you, I know you are too. 

How We Will Start

As we continue to plan for the start in just a few weeks, a few things have changed since my last communication (change has become the new constant). Previously, we had communicated we would start as closely to normal as possible (Scenario #1 in the Family Reunion plan). Today, as we continue to plan, we believe we will find ourselves in between Scenario 1 and Scenario 2 (Physical-Distancing Plan). In reality, we are now planning for Scenario 1.5. What this means is that while we are not fully implementing Scenario 2, we are planning to implement some of the practices of Plan 1 and some from Plan 2. We will start school with the following measures in place:

1. We will wear masks during the following:

  • Arrival
  • Departure
  • Transitions (walking to and from class, to the gym, to the library, etc.)
  • In common spaces (dining hall until seated, chapel, etc.)
  •  We will not require masks in the classroom when students are able to be physically distanced.

2. Students will utilize mask or buffs.

  • Child-size buffs will be provided by the school for grades K-8. 
  • Parents may opt to send a mask to school, if masks are preferred.
  • Masks and buffs are available for sale in the Eagles Nest.
  • MPCS preschool operates under the safety code of Bright From the Start. We will not require preschoolers to wear masks, unless of course they’d like to.

3. All masks must be MPCS appropriate. 

  • While no mandated uniform mask will be required, no inappropriate messages, graphics, political statements, or themes are allowed on masks.
  • The administration of each division has authority to make decisions on the appropriateness of all masks. 

4. Large group gatherings will be limited to numbers that allow for physical distancing.

  • Gatherings will be conducted on a grade-level rotation.
  • For instance, grade 9 will go to chapel one week, while grades 10-12 will participate in chapel as it live-streams into their classrooms.
  • Currently, the dining hall will physically distance students and utilize tents for outdoor covered eating areas.

5. All classrooms will implement physical-distancing measures. For example:

  • 3-6 feet between students (as recommended by the World Health Organization and American Association of Pediatricians)
  • All students will be assigned a seat in every class/classroom, and a record will be kept for tracking purposes in the event of a positive COVID case.
  • Musical masks have been purchased for choral and ensemble students.
  • Excess furniture has been removed from classrooms to maximize the space.

6. We will utilize a touchless sign-in and sign-out system at every front desk.

7. No parents or visitors will be allowed into campus buildings without a previously scheduled appointment. This applies to all parents and visitors.

8.  We will not utilize field trips as learning opportunities until further notice.

9.   Up and down stairways will be utilized during transition times with directional signage.

10.  Lower school students will be grouped in cohorts.

  • This will help to prevent the spread of contagions.
  • They will be in class with, travel with, and learn alongside their cohorts. 

11.  Each division will utilize additional age-appropriate strategies not mentioned herein. 

The above are simply some of the new expectations that we will be implementing beginning on August 11. The duration of these strategies is still unknown, but we will utilize them until we understand it is safe for your children to do otherwise. Likewise, we will communicate regularly as we continue to monitor this situation.

Synchronous Virtual Option

Again, for those parents who wish to keep their children home until they feel more certain about their well-being, we are offering the at-home synchronous virtual option. Division heads should be notified by July 17 for families who would like to utilize this option. It will happen in real time, utilizing cameras from Lumen that are designed specifically for academic live-streaming.  

Investing in Safety

We want to assure all parents, students, and staff that we are doing all we can to protect the health and safety of the entire MPCS community. This year, we will have spent more than $1 million implementing new systems, providing a state-of-the-art microbial reduction system that eradicates airborne and surface contaminants (air purification to the level of hospital intensive care units), updating all air filtration systems, providing safe EPA-approved cleaning solutions, and increasing nursing, counseling, and safety measures. 

While I understand some of our new daily procedures may not rest well with all of our families, please know we are doing all we can to respect the perspectives of all families, while working to maintain a healthy, safe, and fully-operational school on campus. We are thankful for your grace and flexibility as we navigate this situation. As such, throughout this pandemic, we will seek to continue to build community and create unique opportunities to strengthen the MPCS family atmosphere.   

As I close, please know that community and gathering are at the heart of all we do. We have been specifically designed by the Creator of the Universe for face-to-face interaction and to be in community with one another. Our goal is to ensure that this life-giving community is provided in as uninterrupted manner as possible throughout the course of the school year and that our students have the opportunity to invest in the relationships with their peers and teachers that make MPCS the special place that it is. This can only happen when we do so together. 

I know you are all excited to be back to school. I look forward to working on your behalf and striving to provide your family with the MPCS education you have grown to know and love. My prayer is that, together, we will all seek the best of our community as we move throughout the course of the school year. 

Soli Deo Gloria,


Timothy P. Wiens, Ed.D.


 

THANK YOU for taking a few minutes to visit the Mount Paran Christian School website. MPCS is a special place, as I am sure you will see throughout the pages of this site. Founded in 1976, Mount Paran Christian School serves families from the greater Atlanta area, seeking to develop servant-leaders who will honor God, love others, and walk in Truth.

As you will learn, MPCS stands out in several ways:

  • We are distinctly Christian and pleased to partner with families and churches in the development of the minds and hearts of students.
  • Our students are spectacular! They are scholars. They are athletes. They are artists. Driven to succeed inside and outside of the classroom, our graduates have become college professors, Major League Baseball players, and Broadway performers. They are also committed fathers, mothers, and Christians. They are influencing countless sectors throughout the world.
  • Our faculty are the heart of all we do. They are committed intellectuals, researchers, and practitioners. Above all, they love students, their subject matter, and God and are committed to the success of every student.
  • Our programs – academic, athletic, and artistic – prepare students to flourish and to excel in college and the workplace, for a lifetime of impact for all of eternity.
  • Our campus and facilities are unparalleled. MPCS is home to world-class academic, arts, and athletic facilities.

I encourage you to come for a visit, arrange a tour, and witness all the exciting things happening on campus and within the lives of our students. We look forward to serving you and toward the possibility of you joining the MPCS family!


   

WingTips MPCS Headmaster Blog

WingTips is an MPCS blog presented by Dr. Tim Wiens. Read "Why Independent School," as well as other Christian educational thought-leadership in recent articles, guest student posts, and blog series.

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“It is the role of the Christian school to join with the family, church, and community and to provide young people with a superior education, preparing the total person—mind, body, and spirit—for life and service in a diverse and changing world.”

- Dr. Timothy P. Wiens, Head of School