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5-Day, Full-Time, On-Campus

Covenant During COVID-19

A New Normal

5-Day, Full-Time, On-Campus Instruction

Parents are faced with the difficult decision of where to send their children to school during the pandemic.  Due to our small class sizes and supportive community, Covenant returned to five-day, full-time, on-campus instruction on August 25 for the 2020-2021 school year.

We have two simple goals: provide our students with a welcome return to joyful learning at school and do our best to make Covenant a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for students–physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

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Favorable Factors Amidst These Times

Our Small Class Sizes

Our Small Class Sizes

We are small, and in times like these, our small class sizes are beneficial to both students and teachers.

A Dynamic Community

A Dynamic Community

We are a responsive community; our parents are remarkably cooperative and share our goals to promote health and safety.

We are a gracious and nurturing community. We know and love our students for who they are, and our school serves as a good place for students to be during these difficult times.

Engaging Academics

Engaging Academics

While having the flexibility of providing on-campus instruction, remote learning, and synchronous learning when needed, Covenant prioritizes academic excellence through our intentionally-designed curriculum.

A Christian Faith

A Christian Faith

Our daily instruction in the classroom engages ideas and values rooted in Christian faith. This not only helps students understand what Christians believe, but it also helps students understand the world in a way that is complete and cohesive.

The Flexibility of E-Learning

The Flexibility of E-Learning

With the use of Microsoft Teams for Education, our instructors, students, and parents have learned to transition at a moment's notice to a remote learning environment if needed.

A Communication Plan

A Communication Plan

It is our priority to keep our community members and prospective families up to date with the latest developments regarding the pandemic and our efforts to provide each child with the stability of a quality education.

The Care of Our Students' Souls

Covenant Classical School is leveraging the best of who we are to provide our students with stability, healing, and an increased sense of well being.  This unusual time of home isolation and uncertainty about the future impacts our students’ hearts and minds.  Teachers are seeking to be instruments of comfort and grace in the care of students’ souls.

Moreover, our Student Health and Safety Task Force continues to research and prepare to promote joyful learning while implementing our best effort to care for the physical health of our students, staff, and families.  Click here to view our weekly COVID-19 updates.

Planning for a New Reality

Distancing

New requirements for social distancing throughout the school and classrooms

Cleaning

Enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures during and after the school day

Screening

New policies and procedures for health screening

COVID-19 Response and Reopening Plan

Our COVID-19 Response and Reopening Plan is a major step toward creating this new normal at school.  It represents the work of our Health and Safety Task Force.

Our plan is only as good as our collective commitment to cooperate with all aspects of this plan.  We ask all those in our community to join us in envisioning this new normal and to give their best to support the health and safety of our community. 

Reopening Plan

Leaving Space and Extending Grace

We all have an opportunity to care for one another in new ways. This care at Covenant takes the form of open communication, a willingness to stay home for the sake of others, and caring for our own health with good hygiene practices both in and outside of school. We seek to care for our entire community by enhancing our cleaning and disinfecting protocols, expanding our sick policies and procedures, and staying connected during times of absence through core synchronous classes. 

Face Coverings

Covenant Classical School is working to align our daily operations with the stated requirements for face coverings and social distancing.  Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan indicates that during Phase 4, when students are able to return to school, face coverings and social distancing will be the norm.

Does this mean our students are required to wear masks all day at school?

Students and teachers wear face masks when inside the school building in an effort to protect our community members.  Our team has intentionally designed time throughout the day for students to be outside and socially distanced in order to take refreshing breaks from face coverings.  Large outdoor tents allow students this important time outdoors even during inclement weather.

A Flexible Learning Environment

What Can Families Expect?
  • Routine temperature checks, face masks while inside, and social distancing

  • Increased handwashing and sanitizing throughout the day

  • Restricted visitor access

  • Ample opportunities for students and staff to take fresh-air breaks outside under large tents

  • A synchronous learning option for students unable to attend class in-person due to illness or quarantine

Returning to School

When can my child return to school after being ill?
When it has been determined that the symptoms are not caused by COVID-19 AND when the symptoms have improved.  According to the recommendations from the IDPH there are three ways to determine that a child’s symptom is NOT COVID-19.

  1. Contact your child’s primary care doctor.  He/she is able to sign a note indicating an alternative diagnosis.
  2. OR Get a COVID-19 test and present the negative result.
  3. OR Quarantine for 10 days and observe if symptoms disappear.

View the IDPH’s decision tree regarding when a child is allowed to return to school and the documentation required.  Download Covenant’s guide for your reference.  See our Resources section for the forms needed after isolation and quarantine.

Questions or Concerns?

Our team is committed to research and develop the best plan we can to accommodate all of the requirements of the federal, state, and local authorities and the best practices of the public health agencies as we implement our mission and distinctive model of education for your children.  Our teachers are working to maximize student learning to ensure that our students progress through our distinctive academic program, whether in the classroom or during intermittent periods at home.

Thank you for your efforts to stay informed and bring your thoughtful questions to our attention.  We are delighted to be able to give you our very best during this time.  Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding the 2020-2021 school year.

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Covid-19 Town Hall

Your questions are important to us.  If you missed Covenant’s most recent virtual town hall, we invite you to view the recording to listen in as Dr. Stoner, Miss Eekhoff, and Dr. Treier address parent questions regarding Covenant’s efforts to return to the classrooms.  Feel free to download Covenant’s reopening plan and contact us with any further questions you might have.

COVID-19 Town Hall

Governor Pritzker's "Restore Illinois" 5-Phase Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly changing environment.  We’d like to extend a special thank you to our Student Health and Safety Task Force for their continued research and efforts to provide a safe, joyful learning environment for our students.

Please visit this page regularly to receive the latest updates regarding any changes and updates to Covenant’s planning for the fall and the return of our students to five-day, full-time, on-campus instruction.

Are Covenant’s students be required to wear face coverings at school?

Yes.  Students are required to wear face masks when they are inside the school building, with the exception of lunch.  We have scheduled breaks for students to go outside for fresh air and a break from their masks.  This ensures that students will typically not wear masks for more than 90 minutes at a stretch.

The question of students wearing masks is by far the most frequently asked and the one about which people have the most concerns. For this reason I want to provide a brief rationale for policy decisions.  We recognize that the data surrounding the study of COVID-19 is all recent, limited, and frequently changing.  During the early months of the shutdown there was some question about the effectiveness of wearing face coverings. However, with the benefit of at least four months of intense study, federal and state public health officials now know that COVID-19 is spread primarily through respiratory droplets and that placing a barrier over one’s nose and mouth is believed to be one of few effective measures for reducing the risk of spreading the virus to others.  

For this reason, on June 23, 2020, Governor Pritzker’s office issued comprehensive guidance titled “Starting the 2020-2021 School Year.”  This 60-page document is the joint work of the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health.  Their guidance is clear that all persons–including faculty, staff, and students–in public and private schools must wear masks when inside the school building at all times.

How does Covenant help make the wearing of masks at school more bearable?

Our focus is on how we can help make the wearing of face masks at school as bearable as possible in the following ways.  

Face masks are only required indoors, so we ensure that our students get frequent breaks outdoors.  Outdoor tents enable us to take students outside even when it rains, and our teachers build additional short breaks into the schedule when our students are able to remove their masks outside and enjoy fresh air.  

Please note:  the requirement to socially distance from others is required at all times, indoors and outdoors.  

In addition to these scheduled breaks, the teachers are encouraged to teach physical education outdoors twice per week whenever possible, and all teachers are encouraged to take students outdoors for periods of instruction or simply for a fresh-air break when they can.

What types of masks are required?

We encourage parents and students to purchase masks that are as comfortable as possible.  We welcome bright colors and fun patterns of all kinds and masks that look as far from clinical as possible.  There is no need to match colors to our dress code uniforms.  Branded griffin masks are also available for purchase.  We do ask, however, that students wear masks that were designed for the purpose of covering the nose and mouth, that fit securely, and that use ear loops or are able to be tied.  By this we mean that we do not want students to wear a bandanna or similar face covering around their faces at school. We would love to work together to share ideas within the Covenant community about which types of masks are the most comfortable for students of all ages.  We invite you to utilize the Covenant Community Facebook page to share your ideas about mask brands that work well for children.

What if my child is unable to tolerate wearing a mask?

Some children are able to tolerate wearing a mask better than others.  For this reason, we encourage parents to help prepare their children to wear masks at school by beginning to wear them for periods of time at home.  The guidelines from the state authorities allow for these students to remove their mask if/when it becomes distressing and when they are able to remain socially distant.  The state guidelines recommend a doctor’s note in such cases.  We are more than happy to seek a way to accommodate these special circumstances without presenting a health risk to others.  We encourage parents to speak directly with Miss Eekhoff with any questions.

Is it possible that the expectation for students to wear masks at school will change?

It is very possible, perhaps even likely, that the expectations for students wearing masks will change in the weeks and months ahead.  It’s simply impossible for us to anticipate the ways in which they will change.  Some states are seeing a resurgence of the virus requiring them to tighten restrictions.  If the numbers of people testing positive for the virus in Illinois continues to stabilize or decrease, it is also possible state and local authorities will loosen restrictions.  In the end, however, the availability of a vaccine is what will enable society to be substantially restored to a greater sense of normalcy.  We will pray that this restoration will come quickly.

What happens if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the Covenant community?

During the School Day

If a student or employee develops any of the symptoms listed above during the school day, that individual will be immediately asked to isolate in the designated medical-care area. For students, the front office will then communicate with the student’s pick up contact and ask that the student be taken home immediately. For employees, the front office will coordinate with the administration about further actions.

In Response to a Confirmed Case

We ask school families to notify the school immediately if a student, family member, person living in the home tests positive for Covid-19. The following actions will be taken if a student or employee has tested positive:

  • School Administration will contact IDPH with appropriate details.
  • Teachers, classmates, any siblings at the school, and students in the same carpool will move to remote learning.will move to remote learning.  
  • School Administration will communicate with the community about further plans, while maintaining confidentiality of the COVID-positive student or employee.

Covenant is taking measures to best minimize close contact* with other students at school. We believe that asking classmates, siblings, and carpool members of a student who tests positive to quarantine will help prevent the potential outbreak of the illness at school that would require the whole school to shift to e-learning.  

*The IDPH defines “close contact” as “the individual was within 6 feet of the individual with symptoms for more than 15 minutes”.

Returning to In-Person Instruction

A class will be able to return to in-person instruction once approximately 60 percent of the class has been cleared to return to school, per the requirements of our illness policy described in this plan. All decisions regarding a switch to remote learning and return to in-person instruction will be made at the discretion of the administration, with the health and safety of our community as our utmost priority.

When should my child stay home from school?

As stated previously, any individual presenting COVID symptoms will be required to stay home from school.

Additionally, family members of someone presenting symptoms should also stay home. It is strongly recommended that any persons exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 be tested for the virus. As recommended by the CDC, we will use the flow chart in our detailed plan to determine when a student or employee may return to school.

What measures will be taken to promote cleanliness in the schooling building?

We are taking measures to increase the cleaning and disinfecting practices in our facility in order to promote community health and comfort.

These measures include:

  • Cleaning desks, shared tables, door knobs, phones, railings and bathroom fixtures frequently throughout the day. 
  • Thoroughly disinfecting those surfacings with EPA-registered disinfectant and an electrostatic sprayer on a nightly basis.
  • Promoting good hygiene practices with signage throughout the facility and intentional teaching, as well as providing additional times for handwashing.
  • Washing hands is a vital step in preventing the spread of virus, and students will be given intentional breaks throughout the day to do so. This will be the preferred method of hygiene, though hand sanitizer will also be provided in each classroom and throughout the hallways and may be used when needed.
  • Providing access to hand sanitizer in classrooms, throughout the hallway, and at facility entrances. Utilizing automatic water bottle filling stations instead of water fountains in the school building. 
  • Providing the classrooms with fresh outside air whenever possible and purchasing high-quality air purification equipment to place in each classroom.

How is social distancing encouraged?

New social distancing procedures have been implemented in all classrooms and hallways. Students are assigned to alternating coat hooks and lockers to provide proper spacing. Additionally, all desks and students at tables are properly and safely distanced. For young students and those in classes such as music and drama that utilize the floor for seating, special floor markings help ensure proper spacing.  These floor markings are also used to denote spacing for students lining up or using the staircases. Teachers have established movement patterns in the classroom that promote social distancing and train students how to maintain this social distance while moving from one space to another in the building as well.

Which lunch and recess procedures changed?

We continue to eat lunch in the gym because the large space, high ceiling, and improved air exchange from the HVAC are advantages over the classrooms. The number of students at each lunch table have been reduced to no more than three to accommodate greater social distancing. Students wash hands prior to going to lunch and sanitize hands between lunch and recess. All tables and chairs are sanitized after each use.  It is our priority to allow students time outside as frequently as possible. To accommodate this, Covenant set up large tents that will allow us to go outdoors for breaks and recesses most days. In the event of inclement weather, recess will be held in individual classrooms.

How are chapel and other large-group gatherings happening?

Our weekly chapel services provide a unique opportunity for the community to worship together, and we have continued this practice with some modifications. We holding two consecutive chapel services, one for students in Kindergarten through grade 4 (8:15 AM) and a second for students in grades 5-8 (9:05 AM).  Chapel is currently taking place in the individual classrooms through video.

When we can return to the sanctuary, students will be spaced in a socially-distanced fashion throughout the sanctuary for these services. For the time being we will refrain from singing together and search for creative ways to incorporate times of worship through song.

Grammar School students will discontinue the practice of gathering weekly to practice their songs and recitations together, instead staying in their classrooms for this practice. Logic School students will maintain their weekly House gatherings, with modifications made to activities that promote health and safety.

Do students share school supplies and materials?

Students do not share common classroom materials such as pencils, scissors, and markers. We ask that parents label each of their student’s supplies (using a child’s initials is sufficient) in order to accommodate this.  Classroom materials that must be shared, such as math manipulatives or science lab materials, are kept in individually marked bags for the duration of the unit and sanitized thoroughly before being returned to communal storage spaces. Though many textile supplies such as pillows will be removed from the classrooms, Kindergarten students keep their naptime blankets in large plastic bags that are individually marked. We ask that these be taken home to be washed on a weekly basis.

Will Covenant students still take field trips?

Field trips play an important role in enhancing and expanding our students’ understanding of important concepts and moments in history. We are currently seeking out safe ways to incorporate field trips into our school year, including virtual field trips and bringing in special speakers or performers. As the school year progresses, we will continue to monitor the possibility of off-site field trips, working closely with the educational coordinators at various museums or other field trip locations to ensure the health and safety of our students.

What happens if my child is ill or exposed to COVID-19?

For students who must remain at home due to illness or exposure, live synchronous core classes will be provided via Microsoft Teams. Laptops will be set up in each classroom so that students will be able to both watch the classes and participate in real time.

What happens if we return to Phase 3?

If we are no longer able to remain in Phase 4 or Phase 5 of Governor Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan, Covenant will be required to shift back to an e-learning platform.

With the use of Microsoft Teams for Education, faculty have the training to shift seamlessly to a virtual environment at a moment’s notice.

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