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Back to School: A Message to Families

August 6th, 2020 by Becca Tellinghuisen

Trinitas’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan for the coming year is now in its final stages of review. We have based our plan on Michigan’s “Return to School Roadmap” (elements of which are binding on non-public schools) and guidance from the CDC, Kent ISD, and Kent County Health Department. The official plan has been reviewed by faculty and will soon be reviewed by the board; you will receive a copy on or before August 17.

Please keep in mind that there will be changes to the plan throughout the year as guidance evolves at federal, state, and local levels and as we determine what best serves our students and staff. We will communicate those changes in our newsletters and in a dedicated place on our website. One thing that will not change is our commitment to a safe and healthy, rigorous and joyful learning environment.

For now, I want to address a few elements of the plan:

Phases and Face Masks

1. If our region is in Phases 1 through 3 of the MI Safe Start Plan, we are required to teach only online.

2. If we are on campus in Phase 4, students in kindergarten through 6th grade will generally not be required to wear face masks in their classrooms. One exception might be when they are working in close proximity to one another. Guidance on exceptions is still changing. 7th and 8th graders and all adults will be required to wear face masks.

3. If we are in Phase 5, masks for 7th and 8th graders and adults will be encouraged but not required.

Masks, which families will need to provide, may be cloth or disposable. Now is the time to find the most comfortable mask for your child and to get them accustomed to wearing it.

PE Uniform Reminder

You have read by now that students will not change uniforms at school this year. When they have PE, they will wear that uniform all day in order to eliminate the close contact that would occur with a uniform change. The expectation, then, is that PE uniforms fit well and are in very good condition.

Beach Towels

You will also have noticed the addition of beach towels to the school supply list. Students will use their towels as often as we can have lunch outside in the fresh, open air.

No Microwaves or Shared Utensils

As you plan for this school year, please note that we are removing shared, high-touch items such as microwaves. There will be no way to warm food at school, so you might need to add an insulated food container to your back-to-school list.

If our school community even remotely reflects the broader culture, families will likely be unhappy with various elements of the plan. Some may find them too loose; some may find them too strict. That is understandable. It will be important for students, however, that we do not vent our frustrations in front of them. Please, if you have a complaint or concern, bring it to the attention of someone on staff who can do something about it. If it has to do with the classroom, talk through it with your child’s teacher. If it has to do with the school, talk through it with me or a dean of students.

I do expect that we will encounter obstacles periodically. One of the many benefits of being a smaller community is our ability to adjust quickly. This was evident when our teachers were able to convert their classes to online delivery over a three-day weekend last year. I have every reason to believe that we will be just as flexible and agile as together we perceive and respond to new challenges and opportunities as they arise. I look forward to seeing you all again soon and to working with an exceptional team of teachers and staff to serve your family!

Regards,

Peter Marth