Planning for Fall, 2020

Over the summer our dedicated COVID Council has worked diligently with our teachers to prepare us for a great start in September. Based on a number of crucial “learnings” from the past several months, we have set the following goals for the 2020-21 school year. [Read details about each goal by clicking on the “+” to the left of each goal.]

Our state’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is currently recommending that schools maintain a six-foot physical distance between students.  For many schools with large class sizes, the limitations of classroom space and staffing prevent them from having all their students in school at the same time. Because our classes are smaller, ECS is able to accommodate all our students and still maintain the recommended physical distance between classmates.

Your child will be able to come to school every day (full days Monday-Thursday, with half day Fridays). We believe the ideal learning model for elementary and middle school students is in-person in the classroom environment.  We have developed several new safety protocols and processes to ensure that students and staff can maintain six feet physical distance while remaining with their grade-level cohorts throughout the day.

We understand that not all families will be ready to return their children to campus in the Fall, and others may experience times of quarantine even after returning to school. For any students needing to learn from home, we will be offering our excellent Virtual-ECS Online Programs that will deliver teacher instruction, engage students in learning, and keep students connected to the ECS community during the full school day.  To give parents flexibility in choosing the best online program for their family, we are also offering Virtual-ECS Flex, a program for our K-5th graders that offers a more streamlined curriculum, focusing primarily on core subjects. We plan to provide a program that students can access independently, while recognizing there will be some need for parent support/involvement for the younger children. If the state once again decides that it is necessary to close all schools, our online program will already be running, and the transition to virtual school should be seamless.

The ECS COVID Council has been carefully monitoring various government, health, and school agency publications and announcements for regulations, best practices, and programming recommendations that will help us create a safe educational environment. We will follow state and OSPI safety protocols, including

  • practicing physical distancing in the classrooms, hallways, and common areas
  • wearing face coverings as directed
  • limiting the movement of students around campus
  • keeping kids together in grade-level cohorts
  • providing desk/table shields
  • cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning some more

Students will be asked to stay home if they exhibit any coughing, sneezing, or fever, and temperatures will be taken at the beginning of every school day. Rather than having students move from one area to another (for specialists, for example), we will bring live-streamed programming to them.  Pre-purchased lunches will be delivered to the classroom door.  Students will also have their own desks and learning materials that will not be used by anyone else.

How do we keep kids physically distanced during recess? Our efforts will include staggering recess times and marking off areas of the playground for different groups to use on a rotating basis. This will limit student exposure to only those in their grade.

Can we guarantee that our school community will be perfectly safe from COVID-19? No. Do we believe that we’re taking every reasonable precaution to greatly lower the chance of transmission? Yes. Do we feel that the environment is safe enough to allow for a return to school? Absolutely yes.

A common (mis)perception in educational circles is that we must lower our expectations of how much curriculum we can cover and how much students can learn in the midst of this global pandemic. For a variety of reasons, including unequal access to computers and concerns about student stress, many schools chose not to maintain a rigorous educational program from March to June 2020. At ECS, we chose to fully utilize our time to continue your child’s educational, social, and emotional development, albeit in a different format.

Change can be difficult for many children, but we believe that our small class sizes and our Christ-centered focus enable us to know, support, and work with our students in such a way that they can master the curriculum at a high level.

These are crucial days in the lives of your children, and we take seriously our charge to help them grow into the young men and women that God intends them to be. Students have a lot to learn, and it remains part of our mission to teach our students at a high level. We intend to do just that, regardless of COVID-19 or any other interruption that might come along.

There are four components to our being better prepared for any mandatory at-home schooling next year:  experienceplanning, training, and communication.

Our experience from the last three months of online schooling in the Spring taught us what works and what doesn’t, and we are currently crystallizing our plans for a program that will effectively and efficiently serve our community online. Our planning will include both short-term and long-term solutions, as we don’t yet know what we may face in 2020-21.

The staff has also identified one primary delivery platform (Microsoft Teams) and other programs (the Microsoft Suite of OneNote, Forms, and Stream) that all teachers will use to support instruction and communicate with parents. Come late August and early September, we will provide significant training to all our students so they can navigate and use these programs as independently as possible.

We will also be communicating frequently with the parent community to help you better understand our processes and programs. In response to parent feedback, we hope to streamline our communication so you will ideally receive only one email a day from your child’s teacher and have one place to go to check on your child’s work/assignments/classes.

One of the most unfortunate casualties of distance learning was the loss of our ability to gather as a Christ-centered community. We’re determined not to have that happen again.

  • Finding new ways to increase our sense of community while at school is quite straight forward. For as long as we’re on campus, we will emphasize the building of community by setting aside time during the day specifically for teachers to build relationships with their students and for classroom activities to foster deeper connections between classmates. During the COVID shutdown, the entire ECS staff felt the loss of this fundamental component of who we are as a school. Given the opportunity to gather in person in the Fall, we’re going to pursue community and relationships with relish.
  • For students in our Virtual ECS program we continue to seek ways to develop a sense of community during online schooling.  This year we have significantly increased the number of hours our online students will participate in live instruction/class time.  This will allow for more frequent virtual class gatherings centered on fun and fellowship, as well as online opportunities for the students to meet one-on-one and in small groups with the teacher and each other. Online prayer groups that include teachers, students, and parents can help keep us spiritually connected. We will continue to think creatively about this challenge as we are committed to being a Christ-centered community.

In this time of uncertainty, we pray that ECS can provide a safe, loving, and Christ-centered environment where your children can learn and grow in their faith. May they become a generation of thinkers, problem solvers, and leaders who will be beacons of light for God’s Kingdom here on earth.

We look forward to seeing you on campus or online in September!

Christ be with you,

The ECS COVID Council

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes.  Our in-person and virtual programs are run concurrently, so students at home are able to participate in daily classroom lessons with their at-school peers through Microsoft Teams.

Our concurrent program model allows for seamless movement between the in-person classroom experience and the virtual experience at home.  If a classroom cohort or the entire school is forced to close for a time due to health concerns, students will be able to transition immediately to the virtual program and continue their learning remotely until we are able to return to school.

Students may still pre-purchase lunch through our school cafeteria “Lunch Ladies” program.  Purchased lunches will be delivered to the classroom door prior to the lunch period.  Students may also choose to bring their own lunch from home.  Students in our K-5 grades will eat lunch at their classroom desk with a desktop shield in place while masks are removed during eating.

We also plan to offer the option to eat outside (weather permitting), with physical distancing measures, so our kids can receive the health benefits of eating outdoors.

No family members will be allowed beyond entry checkpoint stations for Drop-Off. Preschool parents are the exception; they will walk their children to the outside doors of their children’s classrooms. For after school Pick-Up, parents will go to the assigned areas on campus near their children’s classrooms, and students will be sent out to meet them.

For at least the 1st trimester most volunteer opportunities will be off campus. Teachers may request volunteer support in the form of virtual assistance that can be completed off campus, and will communicate those requests via email or the school newsletter.  We will reevaluate the options for volunteers prior to the 2nd trimester and share updates as we have them.

For a complete list of safety protocols, please see our “Safe Return to School Plan” and our “What To Expect When My Child Returns to School” document.  Topics covered in these documents includes the following:

-Traffic patterns, check-in locations, and classroom entry points
-Daily health screenings
-Face coverings, desk shields and dividers
-Physical distancing protocols
-Cleaning protocols
-Recess and outdoor activities
-Before and After School Care, activities, and sports
-Large group gatherings, assemblies, Chapel
-Procedures to follow in the case of a positive COVID-19 test result

For now, after school activities, clubs, and athletics will not be offered in order to maintain integrity of our cohort system.  Before school care will not be available.  After-school classes will not be available.  After school care until 5:30pm will be available in a format that protects the student cohort system. Parents must register for this program in advance. Drop-in care will not be available.

Our weekly chapel and daily specialist classes (Art, Music, PE, Spanish) will be taught via live stream.  This preserves our cohort system by keeping our students in their designated classroom while they receive the lessons there (rather than moving across campus to various other classrooms for these lessons).  Additionally, the specialist teachers will present their lessons via live stream from a private room on campus, which will eliminate the need for each of these teachers to enter several different classrooms throughout the day.

While we will greatly miss the opportunity to sing together (both in Chapel and in our music classes), we will find creative ways to worship our Lord by making non-vocal music together during this time.

To aid in air flow, classroom windows will be opened as much as possible throughout the day. Weather permitting some lessons and classes may be held outside as well. Students are encouraged to always bring a jacket to allow for open windows and possible class outside.  HVAC systems will be serviced regularly and filters will be changed regularly.

We do not have any assurances, and Eastside Christian School will follow all mandates put forth by the Governor concerning on-campus learning.

Family Resources

What to Expect When Your Child Returns In Person
Campus Map – Safety Protocols
School Safety Plan
Virtual ECS Online Programs

Principal Video Series

We are working on plans to reopen in September.  We will continue to update the ECS community about our plans for Fall as more details are available, both here and in letters from our principal, Mark Migliore.

Returning to School in September
Safety Considerations
Academic Programming
ECS Community
New Student Inquiry
Contact us with questions, concerns, or comments

From our wonderful Moms-in-Prayer group, who invite you to prayerfully read and find solace in the Word of God:

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

“We want to again compliment your staff for all they’ve done this year to pivot and quickly build a virtual school.  Hats off to the entire staff for working so diligently to maintain community and high levels of learning.  As parents working from home, we see the communication we need and have a teacher of the highest quality, as evidenced in her relationships with students (lots of love notes and gentle pushing to excellence) and in academics.”

~ ECS Parent, April, 2020

“I have been so happy and appreciative of the online school instruction my son has received from ECS. The conversion to online classes was seamless, the work load is manageable, the students are kept busy, and their assignments are corrected quickly. The teachers have also been AMAZING! They are readily available to answer questions, teach classes and encourage the kids. Their communication to the students and their teaching have been first class.”

~ ECS Parent, April, 2020