Skip Navigation

Covid-19 FAQs

Dear Upton Lake Christian School Community,
Over the past several months, the ULCS community has been assured by our shared faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, buoyed by expressions of care within our school communities, and inspired by our dedication to quality Christian education. My heart is full of gratitude and admiration as I watch this special community respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with new levels of partnership and care for one another. 
It is with thanksgiving and joy that I share with you that ULCS has a solid plan for re-opening on-campus and in-person on Wednesday, September 9, 2020! Over the past several weeks, members of the Board and our newly formed safety committee have been engaged in examination of research and faculty, parent and student feedback.  As we prepare for any scenario, our plan includes a quality continuous education program supported by safety protocols for on campus school and a virtual option for those who need to be away from campus. Please take a few minutes to read through this summary and check out the frequently asked questions document for more detail.  
Promoting Student Health and Safety 
As we think about returning to campus, We are implementing a variety of responsible and reasonable changes to further protect the health and safety of our students and staff while minimizing the disruption to students' education. A few examples include:
New staffing:
  • School nurse for the entire school day to assist in monitoring community health and provide needed care
  • Maintenance person to provide enhanced cleaning routines including, but not limited to, more frequent wiping down of commonly touched surfaces and the spraying of classrooms each evening with CDC recommended disinfectant.
Personal hygiene protocols:
  • Hand sanitizer stations in each room and throughout the building.
  • Handwashing and sanitizing as a regular component of daily practice (especially before and after snack/lunch, PE and recess). 
  • Coughing and sneezing covering / tissue disposal 
Social distancing strategies:
  • Increased physical distancing between student desks 
  • Schedules and procedures to encourage the safe passing between classes and the safe gathering of students
  • Face masks assist in the reduction of aerosol transmission of harmful pathogens. We understand the challenges that may come with wearing face masks, but will follow the mandates of the state, which we anticipate will require the wearing of face masks when not able to practice social distancing. More details will follow as the state determines these mandates. Regardless of the current regulations, ULCS will foster a culture of acceptance about mask-wearing. Any student or staff who elects to wear a face mask more than is required will be allowed and encouraged to do so. 
Screening and on campus illness responses:
  • As we always have in the past, but now more than ever, we are directing parents to keep their child home when they are sick or not feeling well (i.e. fever, body aches or chills, cough, sore throat, headache, loss of taste or smell, upset stomach, diarrhea, etc.). At this time a temperature registering 100 or higher requires the student to stay home until fever-free for 48 hours. (This is a policy change from fever-free for 24 hours.) 
  • Health screening will be performed before building entry each day.  
  • Isolation pick up procedures with nursing care will be in place for those who develop symptoms during the day.
Providing Flexible Learning Options What is becoming increasingly clear is that schools are going to have to provide instruction and student engagement both on and off campus throughout the 2020-2021 school year. We anticipate more frequent need for students and staff to be off campus because they or a family member are immunocompromised, are displaying unhealthy symptoms, or are uncomfortable being in a more public environment. As a result, ULCS will offer off-campus, flexible learning options that build upon our distance learning strategies successfully employed this past spring. The focus of these options is on offering students the opportunity to participate in their classroom experience even if symptoms or caution necessitate their absence. The summer months will afford us the time to prepare for enhancements to our flexible learning options, and we will communicate more specifics about those options later this summer. 
Reopening Informational Evening  We would like to invite you to a special Google Meet on Thursday, July 9th at 7PM which will include an informational discussion with our safety committee and our school nurse. We hope this meeting will be a place to provide the most updated information about reasonable and responsible ways of preventing transmission and steps to take if your child becomes sick. The link to the Google Meet is here.  Feel free to email karina.house@uptonlake.com to submit a question that you desire to be answered during this meeting. 
Frequently Asked Questions Posted to our school website are responses to some of the questions we anticipated our families would have about our reopening plans. I hope you will find that document helpful, but, as always, if you have questions that are not addressed there, please don’t hesitate to email me at barbara.marrine@uptonlake.com.
Financial Assistance Also, we understand that some in our community continue to experience unexpected job loss or financial hardship that make paying tuition increasingly difficult. We are a community that cares for one another, and if this is your experience, please send an email to beth.coon@uptonlake.com.  Due to the added expenses we are encountering with additional staffing (full time nurse and maintenance person) and extra cleaning supplies, equipment needed to disinfect, and technology required to provide quality remote learning, our financial assistance is limited this year, but we will do our best to support those who are in need.
Schedule for Reopening Planning We hope to finalize our reopening plan by July 20th.  The following is a point by point calendar which will guide our process.
  • July 1, 2020 - Reopening letter to parents
  • July 9, 2020 - Reopening Informational Evening, 7:00pm 
  • July 13, 2020 - Board of Regents to meet about reopening schools
  • July 15, 2020 - Governor’s decision
  • July 20, 2020 - ULCS Parent Commitment Deadline for 2020-2021 We are starting to receive requests for registration from new families.  As we rely on continuous enrollment for student calculation, we want to make sure our numbers are accurate before admitting new students.
I am thankful for your ongoing commitment to our students, faculty, and families as we collectively navigate this pandemic. May the Lord continue to bless our efforts as we further His kingdom through Christian education.    
In His Service,
Barbara Marrine 
Principal
Upton Lake Christian School        


 

General health and safety upon re-opening

We are implementing a variety of responsible and reasonable changes to further protect the health and safety of our students and staff while minimizing the disruption to students' education. A few examples include:

  • School Nurse: ULCS is seeking to secure full-time nursing staff to assist in monitoring community health and providing needed care through the 2020-2021 school year. 
  • School Attendance: As we have in the past, but now more than ever, we are directing parents to keep their child home when they are sick or not feeling well. To accommodate anticipated increased absenteeism, we will make provisions for students and faculty to be able to actively participate in their classroom education via an online platform. Our attendance policies provide flexibility while maintaining an appropriate level of accountability.
  • Body Temperature: Parents should take their children's temperatures prior to sending them to school. A student or staff temperature registering 100 or higher (this standard is under discussion and may change) requires the individual stay home until fever-free without medication for 48 hours. As recommended by medical personnel, all student and staff temperatures will be taken at the start of the school day before entering the building. 
  • Personal Hygiene: Keeping hands clean and away from the face are important for maintaining good health. We are exploring our options for providing regular access to hand washing and sanitizer. Students will be directed to wash their hands prior to and after eating, as well as after recess and PE. Students are recommended to cough/sneeze into a tissue or their elbow and then wash or sanitize their hands.
  • Physical Distancing: Classrooms are being reviewed to increase physical distancing between student desks. In addition, procedures are being developed to encourage physical distancing when walking between classes and when gathering in large groups.
  • Wearing Masks: Face masks assist in the reduction of aerosol transmission of harmful pathogens. We do understand the challenges that come with wearing face masks, but will follow the mandates of the state, which we anticipate will require the wearing of face masks when not able to practice social distancing. More details will follow as the state determines these mandates. Regardless of the current regulations, ULCS will foster a culture of acceptance about mask-wearing. Any student or staff who elects to wear a face mask more than is required will be allowed and encouraged to do so.
  • Campus Cleaning: We will be hiring a maintenance person to assist with disinfecting and cleaning. All rooms will be disinfected and ventilated after school each day. Playground will be disinfected weekly. Restrooms will be disinfected after lunch/recess and each evening.

It is our intention to keep ULCS open unless excessive absenteeism warrants closure, or governmental authorities mandate school closure. We understand families will have different thresholds for how much exposure they're comfortable with for their child, which is why flexible learning options are a critical component of our re-opening plan. If a parent wishes to keep a child home during a spike in community-wide infections, they can do so without their child losing academic ground, provided their child attends to the course requirements via flexible learning option.

If your child develops a fever or other symptoms of illness, COVID or otherwise, during the school day, they will be brought to an isolation room to protect others. ULCS will call the parent/guardian on record and asks that you do your best to pick up within 1/2 an hour.

Remember, parents should take their children's temperatures prior to sending them to school. A student or staff temperature registering 100 or higher (this standard is under discussion and may change) requires the individual stay home until fever-free without medication for 48 hours. As recommended by medical personnel, all student and staff temperatures will be taken at the start of the school day before entering the building. 

The social-emotional well-being of our students is very important. Our teachers and administrator will provide support, whether on campus or virtually, as they maintain mentoring relationships.

Details about the school day and activities

Face masks assist in the reduction of aerosol transmission of harmful pathogens.  We do understand the challenges of wearing face masks, but will follow the mandates of the state, which we anticipate will require the wearing of face masks when not able to practice social distancing. More details will follow as the state determines these mandates. Regardless of the current regulations, ULCS will foster a culture of acceptance about mask-wearing. Any student or staff who elects to wear a face mask more than is required will be allowed and encouraged to do so.

We will be spacing desks apart in classrooms to increase the physical distance between students. Specific scheduling and practices for movement in the hallways, seating at the high school during lunch, and the use of restrooms and locker/cubby areas will be developed over the summer.  Students will be regularly encouraged and reminded that physical distance is an important aspect of reducing the transmission of harmful pathogens.

Hand washing and sanitizing will be a part of student/staff daily practices. Students are expected to wash/sanitize their hands before/after lunch, after recess and PE, and before/after touching a common use item. Students are recommended to cough/sneeze into a tissue or into their elbow and to wash/sanitize their hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing.

Instructive posters on hand washing will be posted in classrooms, restrooms and high school kitchen area.

We continue to communicate and work with public school districts to ensure the transportation of our students to school. A detailed plan still needs to be completed. Please remember that we will need to comply with the policies of the various school districts which bus our students. We will communicate our full drop-off and pick-up plan when it is solidified. 

Elementary students will eat lunch in their classrooms, socially distanced, and after washing hands.

High school students will have several classrooms open for social distancing over lunch, and hand-washing just prior.

Any faculty/staff helping with disbursement of food (e.g. pizza day) will wear masks and gloves. We will discourage students sharing food during snack and/or lunch.  At this time we would ask that any snack brought in to share (e.g. birthday celebration) would be individually wrapped.

ULCS is committed to the education and spiritual development that comes through participation in fine arts, physical education, and chapel services. Our "special area" faculty will be prepared to provide these opportunities in the same way core classes will be presented. More specific details will follow later this summer.

The spiritual development of our children is a cornerstone of an ULCS education. We are exploring ways that students can safely gather for corporate worship, community praise, and the hearing of God's word. We anticipate being able to safely continue chapel in some form.

Your principal and faculty are working on ways to continue to offer these opportunities in a way that is responsible and reasonable. More information will be shared as we finalize plans throughout the summer and during the school year. We will strive to provide the best opportunities we can, by staying more local, waiting for the spring, and pursuing on-campus or online options as needed. Many decisions will be ongoing to accommodate the most up-to-date regulations.

We are planning on resuming athletics in the fall. However, as members of the Mid-Hudson Christian Athletic Association, our ability to resume fall sports depends on what they permit. As we receive helpful information, we will communicate that to you.

The fine arts are an important part of our students' and community's experience. At this point, we cannot provide a definitive answer. We will continue our conversations with Paul Effman Music and await the best practices regarding activities like band and chorus. We will research ways to responsibly and reasonably provide opportunities to engage in worship and participate in our worship band.

Flexible online learning options and attendance

Yes! ULCS will offer flexible learning options that build upon our remote learning model enacted this past spring. ULCS recognizes that throughout the 2020-2021 academic year there may be times when our students or staff need to be off campus because they or a family member are immunocompromised, are sick or not feeling well, or are uncomfortable being in a more public environment. The focus will be on offering students the opportunity to participate in classroom instruction even if symptoms or caution necessitate their absence. We will communicate more about the flexible learning options later this summer.

We will notify the health department of any confirmed case of COVID-19 (staff or student) in our school, and follow their guidance on the need for closure and length of closure. As per law, we will maintain privacy of the confirmed case and encourage this same effort within our community. We will strive to cultivate a Christ-like culture of acceptance and care for those who are ill.

If your child or someone in your household is exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, your child should stay at home until your physician has approved their return. Please notify the school of this situation immediately. ULCS will follow the guidance of the Health Department and will be diligent in supporting your family and preserving your privacy.

During the time a student is off-campus, ULCS will provide flexible learning options through an enhanced distance learning program.

Clear and timely communication is our goal, especially during these uncertain times.  In every circumstance we will be communicating to parents in a reasonable and responsible manner.  In particular, with every confirmed case of COVID-19 in a student or employee you will be informed via parent email and phone alert system. This email will focus on maintaining the privacy of the students and/or family that has been diagnosed. 

ULCS expects students and staff who are under quarantine orders to stay home until they are evaluated by their primary care physician. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they will need to follow current quarantine guidelines and the direction of their primary physician before returning to school.  A doctor's note signing off on the student's return to school is required for readmittance. During the time a student is off campus, ULCS will provide flexible learning options through an enhanced distance learning program.

When a student tests negative for COVID-19 and is cleared by a health care provider, they may return to school provided they are symptom-free and fever-free for 48 hours.

An important component of limiting the impact of COVID-19 on our school community is parents' vigilance about their child's health. We want to affirm parental responsibility in monitoring their child's symptoms and overall health as well as parental discretion in keeping their child out of school on any given day because of suspected illness. Students at home will have access to flexible learning options, and are required to complete this work as long as they are able in the recuperation process.

We are working on how to best provide a flexible learning option to continue a student's education during times when he/she may need to be home. We are taking into account the feedback we have received from teachers, students and parents about remote learning this spring. Our current options will provide students with a common virtual platform (Google Classroom), increased access to Google Meet or Zoom instruction, consideration for scheduling and screen time, and instructional materials to match the virtual delivery.

We understand that it can be overwhelming for a student to make up several days of missed work, especially at the high school level. We intend for students to be able to more fully participate in their classes and interact with their teachers when they absent so that they can keep pace. That does not necessarily mean they won't have any makeup work to complete when they return to school, but it should be minimized.

Additional questions related to COVID-19

We are a community that cares for one another, and if you experience financial hardship, please contact ULCS or apply for aid through our FACTS application on our website. Due to added safety expense (full time nurse and maintenance person, cleaning supplies, and technology hardware), we have limited financial support available. However, we will do our best to support those in need.

Because our expenses (faculty salaries, instructional materials and technology) will continue, regardless of the number of days we are online, we will not be able to offer tuition reductions based on mandated school building closure. Our flexible learning options are being designed to provide families and staff with safe options, but are not less expensive to create and maintain.

If you find yourself financially blessed during these times, please consider a gift to ULCS to help us keep our doors open and enable students to continue to attend.

We do not plan to adjust our stance on vaccinations should a COVID vaccination become available. We will continue to follow the regulations of NYS, as a nonpublic school. While we respect a parents' right to parent their child, we are still under the laws of New York State.

Our online flexible learning options could be utilized by families if/when a COVID-19 vaccine is mandated by NYS for in-person participation. We will explore legal options to provide families ways to continue to be part of our online community.

Closing