October 12, 2020
Sauk County, and Wisconsin as a whole, is experiencing an unprecedented outbreak of coronavirus. Schools, churches, prisons, colleges, and business have been hit hard by this pandemic, and we have not been spared.
There is a consensus amongst parents, staff, and the school board that providing face-to-face instruction is beneficial for all stakeholders. CCS is going to make every effort to provide a safe and healthy space for students to learn until a time in which we might be forced to move to distance learning again. This coming Monday will now be a work day for teachers to prepare their classrooms for more distancing these learning environments. Therefore there will be NO online or distance classes on Monday, October 12th, for grades Pre-K through 8th, and we will be returning to having in-school, face-to-face- classes, on Tuesday, October 13th, 2020. However, the High School will continue to meet virtually for at least another week due to the high number of high school students who will still be in quarantine.
For us to be able to maintain face-to-face learning we will have to adopt the following changes:
We will be moving our Covid-19 phase from Yellow to Orange, as seen below.
This means that all staff, faculty, and students will be wearing masks. However, when students’ desks are distanced six feet apart, students can remove their masks where direct contact will not take place or when distancing can be ensured, according to the CDC. We will minimize the amount of mask-wearing of our students whenever possible by providing multiple mask-breaks throughout the day during which they can be outside. It is recommended that parents buy several cloth masks so students can wear one mask per day, and that they can be washed after a day of usage. Parents can send students with plastic ziplock bags to store their masks in when outside. If there are medical reasons someone can’t wear a mask, simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting an exemption from this requirement.
In order to minimize contact with teachers who meet with many different classes, we will be putting a hold on music and art classes, though these subjects may still be taught within the classrooms by the homeroom teachers. We may still use these periods to get children outside for mask breaks, get fresh air, and to provide an alternative learning experience, possibly focusing on nature and God’s creation for as long as the weather allows. We will not be having hot lunches in order to eliminate the cross contamination of food delivery, serving, and additional visitors to our school. We will not be serving milk during this time as well.
4K, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd, and 3rd and 4th grade classrooms will further distance desks six feet apart. The 5th-6th and 7th-8th grade classrooms do not have the extra room to distance further. 7th and 8th grade will be transitioning to the high school classrooms to afford further distancing. 5th and 6th grade will be spread out between two classrooms – the 5th/6th and 7th/8th grade classrooms.
High school students will be taught virtually for at least a week due to the number of students who are still being quarantined. Online teaching will actually work better for the high school students because of how many students would miss out on face-to-face instruction. There is the potential of the high schoolers eventually returning to classes in another building or church until we can solve the distancing issue.
There may be other procedures implemented to ensure proper distancing of students, including minimizing the sharing of common items. The school will try to minimize any activity in which students are exposed to other students within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, where students are congregating together, or where there is physical contact. We will also still be using the cohort system, in which we limit the presence of adults to just one classroom when possible.
According to Wisconsin law, it is the school’s responsibility to make sure that if a student is presenting with COVID-19 symptoms that we are contacting their parents to pick them up. Also, students who are on quarantine may not return to the school until their quarantine period is over. The school has a list of students and staff members who have been put under quarantine and when their return date is. The end of a quarantine period is determined by the last day they felt symptoms and at least 24 hours after they’ve had a fever. The CDC says…
You can be around others after:
10 days since symptoms first appeared and
24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving*
*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation
There will be no need to drop off any school packets or supplies on Friday, or to pick up new school assignments. Be sure to return to school on Tuesday with all of your Chromebooks, textbooks, and homework. Also, Aftercare will be provided only up until 4:30. Due to the fact that some of our faculty are still under quarantine, we are shifting personnel to cover the additional strains these distanced classes put on our staff, and this requires, among many other things, the need to shorten Aftercare for the time being.
We have had to embrace the idea of being comfortable with ambiguity during this time. Just as missionaries are taught to be flexible in their work for the Lord, the staff and faculty have acknowledged the concept of flexibility in our school setting in the days of Covid. We invite parents to join us in this model of flexibility in order to complete the mission of the school, to use excellent education to support parents in their task of bringing up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ. We appreciate your support, and covet your prayers.
April 16, 2020
Dear parents, students, staff, and board:
As you may have heard, today Governor Evers extended the “Safer at Home” order until May 26. Additionally, schools have been instructed to remain closed for the remainder of the school year.
- What does this mean for CCS? For the rest of this school year, we will continue operating as we have been for the past several weeks:
- Virtual and remote instruction will continue for all students.
- The office will be open for business and exchange of student work on Fridays 8am-3pm.
- As previously scheduled, the last days of school will be as follows:
- 4K: Thursday May 28
- K-6: Friday June 5
- 7-12: Friday June 12
- Third quarter report cards will be emailed this Monday.
- There will be no fourth quarter midterms released.
- Fourth quarter and final report cards will be emailed in mid June.
- Re-enrollment for both private pay and Choice students has been extended to May 14.
Please be praying for our staff during this time, and know that we are praying for all of you as well.
March 25, 2020
Dear parents and students,
In compliance with Governor Evers’ “Safer at Home” emergency health order, CCS will extend its mandatory closure
through Friday April 24 with a planned return to in-person class at school starting on Monday April 27.
During this extended closure CCS will continue to offer remote/virtual instruction. Sometime next week the teachers will provide further details specific to their grade levels.
As we work to develop additional remote study materials, your feedback is essential to our success. Would you please take five minutes to complete this survey?
The Wednesday April 1 office hours have been changed to Friday April 3. The following additional open office hour times are planned for the exchange of work materials (for parents, “essential travel” includes picking up materials for distance learning):
- Thursday April 9
- Friday April 17
- Friday April 24
As always, you can see the most recent scheduling updates on our calendar here.
- All standardized testing has been canceled.
Fourth quarter will start on Monday April 27.We will not release fourth quarter midterms.
Finally, all of our staff sincerely appreciates your encouragement and support during this time. Enjoy your spring break, and we’ll jump back in to remote instruction on Monday.
March 18, 2020
Hello to all of our parents at CCS,
I wanted to share with you an encouraging note about maintaining your child’s academic progress at home. Home schooling is not easy nor simple. While it can be a lot of fun and rewarding, it can also be very challenging. One message I shared with our teachers at our meeting on Monday is that we do not expect teachers or parents to keep up with school assignments the same as if students were in class. Instead, I told them the ‘bar’ we’re setting isn’t low or high, but it is slanted. We don’t expect the same progress from every student. Some will have parents at home to help, and some won’t. Some have the technology, some won’t. Some will have parents that can help them divide fractions…and some won’t.
Our main goal as a school at this time is to equip the parents of our students with the tools and materials and online support they need to be able to keep moving forward at whatever rate they can manage. We don’t want to put any more pressure on families during this difficult time. Think of the efforts of CCS as a friendly offer of support to parents who may be trying to help their kids keep busy these weeks.
Below is a list of the top ten reasons for CCS to keep offering instruction during this break from school.
Top Ten Reasons to Continue Online Learning During the COVID-19 Shutdown
by Rob Westerlund
- We need to provide guidance to parents in how to educate their children even if they aren’t in the school building. The CCS Mission Statement says, “Community Christian School of Baraboo uses excellent education to support parents in their task of bringing up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
- The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced updated guidance to school districts regarding the continuity of learning amid the spread of COVID-19 and the closure of public and private schools. Representatives of DPI expressed the need to continue educating our students, measured not by the amount of classroom hours, but by the amount of academic concepts that are taught. We may not have to follow mandated hours of instruction, but our students still need to continue growing academically.
- State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor said. “I am proud of our schools and communities, who remain focused on providing continuity of learning, and…other resources to students who may need them.” There is an expectation by the state to continue training our students from a home setting, providing guidance and resources to successfully facilitate home learning.
- The Brookings Institute reported several findings regarding summer loss of academic skills. (1) on average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning, (2) declines were sharper for math than for reading, and (3) the extent of loss was larger at higher grade levels. What this means is that if CCS does not continue to teach our students, we could fall behind by two to four months of achievement for the next school year, putting our students a quarter or two behind where they should be next September.
- We don’t know how long this order prohibiting mass gatherings of 10 people or more to slow the spread of COVID-19 will last. In the event we have to remain closed for a month or more, we cannot afford to let our students’ achievement to stagnate during this period.
- We have some students who are going to be graduating from high school this year and need to continue their education in order to meet state standards for graduation. Also, this could diminish the advancements that need to be made for our juniors who hope to graduate next year.
- Parents will already be having a difficult time being furloughed from work as it is. Providing educational platforms, materials, and guidance can be an asset to our students’ parents to help them have a productive time of self-isolation.
- Our students will still be taking standardized tests in the near future. Whether or not state exams will be taken by our students in a school setting, many high schoolers will still need to take college entrance exams and will need to continue learning how to think critically, write and interpret essays and novels, and to perform complex mathematical problems. We should continue to prepare them for these tests.
- When pioneers originally settled in Wisconsin, they understood the importance of an education. Since 1791, parents have been making arrangements to educate their children, regardless of whether they had a teacher or a one-room schoolhouse. There is something innately valuable in teaching children, and this should continue with or without classrooms.
- Virtual Learning is no longer a thing of the future. Today’s technology allows us to talk to one another and see one another, and to provide virtual classrooms where assignments can be given and received back for grading and feedback in ways in which parents could have only dreamed of when they were starting school. We have not only the obligation to continue teaching remotely, but also a gateway through which to do it.
These are some important reasons to keep pressing forward. Remember, it might take some time for everyone involved to learn how to learn at home and online, so let’s be patient with the process and treat it like a learning opportunity.
I wish you all well, good health, and I pray that God will protect us during this time.
For His Glory,
Rob Westerlund, Principal
March 16, 2020
- We appreciate everyone’s patience and flexibility as we make unexpected changes and tentative plans. We will continue to keep everyone informed but please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
- At this time we are planning to be closed from today, Monday March 16, through at least Friday April 3 with a return to school on
Monday April 6. This could change and we will keep you informed.
- Please cancel your lunch orders in School Lunch Choice.
- The Bible-a-thon is still on! The second and third turn-in dates have been bumped down into April.
The standardized tests have been slightly rescheduled (assuming an extension of the testing window). The end of Third Quarter has been delayed a week to Thursday April 9, with report cards delayed two weeks to Monday April 27.
- Parent/Teacher Conferences are canceled
and April 16 & 17 will become full days of school.
- Please see the school calendar online here for the most recent updates and reschedulings.
Studies At Home
During this extended Spring Break, students are expected to continue studies at home using all available means, according to the following updated guidelines:
|4K: 30 minutes of worksheets/activities and 30 minutes of reading each day
||4K through 6th: You can drop off completed work and pick up the second week’s work at the school on Friday March 20, 8am-3pm.|
|K-6th: Two hours each day
|7th-8th: 4.5 hours each day
|9th-12th: 6.5 hours each day
|Please log your study times and dates. We may need these records in order to validate that virtual instruction was provided so that we do not need to extend the school calendar into the summer. The main purpose of this at-home study is to continue the students’ education with as little disruption as possible. While we recognize that this is less than ideal, our hope is that by continuing at home with what we can, we will be able to return to school stronger than we otherwise would.
The school office will be open for business at the following times:
- Today, Monday March 16 until 3pm.
- Friday March 20, 8am to 3pm.
Wednesday April 1, 8am to 3pm.
Please pick up any medications that your students will need over this extended break.
Internet Access (if you don’t already have it)
Charter Communication has announced that it will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 students who do not already have a subscription. Please call 1-844-488-8395.
March 15, 2020
Community Christian School will now be closed on Monday and Tuesday this week, in addition to the previously announced closure starting Wednesday. We hope and pray to see everyone back at school
on Monday April 6, God willing.
March 13, 2020
As you may have heard, Governor Evers has directed the mandatory closure of all Wisconsin schools from this Wednesday, March 18 through at least Friday, April 3.
We WILL have school this Monday and Tuesday (including the 3rd-4th grade field trip on Tuesday). On Monday, please bring back the textbooks and work materials that were sent home on Friday. The teachers may need to make modifications, and then these will be sent home again on Tuesday afternoon (along with textbooks) for the long Spring Break.
During this extended Spring Break, students will be expected to continue studies at home using all available means, according to the following guidelines:
- 4K: 30 minutes of worksheets/activities and 30 minutes of reading each day for
sixdays (or a total of sixhours)
- K-6th: 2 hours each day for
eightdays (or a total of 16hours)
- 7th-8th: 4.5 hours each day for
eightdays (this time may be scheduled by the school so that Mrs. Hawkins can provide video instruction)
- 9th-12th: 6.5 hours each day for
eightdays (this time may be scheduled by the school so that the high school teachers can provide video instruction) Please log your study times and dates. We may need these records in order to validate that virtual instruction was provided so that we do not need to extend the school calendar into the summer.
Seventh through twelfth grade students that do not have access to a computer and/or internet service at home should let the school know as soon as possible by replying to this email.
This closure affects a few school functions:
- After school meetings and clubs are all canceled during the closure.
- The state standardized tests will be affected; we will provide more information later.
- The end of Third Quarter was scheduled for Friday, April 3 but that will be postponed to
Thursday, April 9. Report cards will be released on Monday, April 27.
Although the school will be closed to students, the office will be open at certain times in order to facilitate business and communications; we will announce these open office times later.
At this point we are hoping and planning to resume school
on Monday, April 6. We will continue to keep you informed.
March 13, 2020
There is a quote which says, “May you live in interesting times,” and I think these days qualify as interesting. In light of the latest news concerning the coronavirus, we thought it would be best to send home academic work with our students in the event the school may not be able to open on Monday. We do this in an abundance of caution,
and we are planning for classes to be held at school as normal on Monday, but we are also making preparations for a closure.
For the high school classes, we have practiced with the students how to use Google Classroom and Google Meet for us to communicate and continue studies. The teachers of the younger classes will communicate with you what the assignments are for each day in the event of a closure. The work many of you are receiving from school is possibly enough assignments to provide materials for a week or two. You do not need to have your children start these this weekend.
In fact, your children should return with these worksheets on Monday when classes resume. If classes at school don’t resume, then your children we be better prepared for that period of time in which the schools are closed.
Again, at this time, we are planning on having classes as usual. We wish you all well and appreciate your understanding during these times in which we feel it is important to prepare for the future, either way it turns out.
March 12, 2020
March 12, 2020
I wanted to let you know how CCS is responding to the recent international outbreak of the novel coronavirus of 2019 (COVID-19). School administration is monitoring the situation closely, and we will keep you informed of school actions that will affect you and/or the students.
We have open lines of communication with the Sauk County Health Department that has jurisdiction over Sauk County schools. In the event of a significant health crisis in our area (related to COVID-19, measles, or other communicable diseases), the Health Department has the authority to close all schools within Sauk County, including private schools such as CCS.
Due to this year’s milder winter (so far), we do have some snow days banked up that can be used for school closures. If a mandatory closure were to exceed the snow days we have, makeup time would need to be added to this year’s school calendar based on state requirements. The 7th-12th grades have the highest number of required instructional hours, so in order to avoid adding school days as much as possible, we might continue studies remotely for the 7th-12th graders using email, skype, Google Apps, etc. If your family does not already have a computer at home, we might be able to loan you a laptop or chromebook from the school in such an event.
We do encourage everyone to practice frequent handwashing and other health and hygiene best practices.
In the midst of international anxiety, I hope that this is reassuring to everyone. Most importantly, let’s remember to trust in our sovereign God for whom this outbreak was no surprise.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
We welcome your feedback and questions. Chances are, if you are wondering about something, someone else is too. Your feedback and questions may be helpful to us for future communiques, should those be necessary.