As we continue to plan for the inaugural year of Rancho Santa Margarita Christian School, we know there are many questions on your mind about next year and our plans for on-campus learning. The health and safety of RSMCS families is our highest priority, and we will continue to take the necessary steps to provide a safe learning environment for our staff and students.
We have consulted the most current guidelines from the CDC, Department of Public Health, local school districts, and other private-Christian schools in the area. While the global pandemic has altered our daily lives in so many ways, there is one thing that has remained constant - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. With the consistency of Christ’s love and guidance, we are excited to announce that we plan on returning to on-campus learning when school begins on August 26, 2020.
We are working to plan for a return to “normal” in a manner that maximizes the health and safety of our community and respects the laws of our nation. In this email, we will outline the general guidelines we will be following when school resumes in August. As we approach the opening of school, we will be communicating more specific information to all families.
Please be mindful that school is scheduled to reopen at the end of August. So much can change in that time, and we are hopeful the changes will only improve our opportunities to return to school as normal. As we look to school reopening, we are focusing on two specific areas - 1) the health and safety of our community, and 2) a return to normal operations that allows our students to engage in the academic, social, spiritual, enrichment, athletic, and extracurricular activities that provide a well-rounded experience for our students.
Our detailed procedures (to be communicated closer to the beginning of school) will be guided by current health department information and a commonsense approach to reinstating the traditional learning environment in a safe manner. We will be considering strategies in each of the following areas, including, but not limited to:
- Face masks and other PPE (personal protective equipment): Face masks will be permitted but not required. Currently, under Phase 3, face masks are not required in Orange County. Gloves will also be permitted but not required.
- Sanitation and Hygiene procedures: Training and implementing regular handwashing and sanitizing protocols with necessary equipment and materials. Strengthening ongoing procedures and instituting increased disinfecting regimens both in classrooms and outdoor areas.
- Health Screening: Ensuring the health and safety of students and staff through screening procedures, both on campus and at home, prior to students arriving on campus.
- Social Distancing: Utilizing classroom space through strategic classroom seating configurations which will still allow for collaborative learning. Applying appropriate distancing measures throughout campus; for example, lunch and playground areas, chapel area, etc. Field trips will be incorporated when venues are allowed to open. If necessary, virtual field trips will be implemented to enhance student learning.
- Enhanced technology platforms: Enhancing technology to support instruction, both on and off-campus, in ways that are appropriate to students’ ages and developmental levels.
Preparing for Learning Interruptions:
Building on what we have learned over the last few months, a plan is being developed for a variety of scenarios in which there is an interruption to on-campus learning. Our faculty have already begun extensive training on an LMS (Learning Management System). If local and state government deems that it is absolutely necessary to move to off-campus learning, we will be prepared to shift to off-campus learning immediately and effectively, but only if the situation absolutely requires it.