By: Kevin Dunning, Head of School
As long-time missionary and theologian Lesslie Newbigin once wrote, “I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist. Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.” Amen to that.
For Newbigin and for us, hope is defiance in the face of fear. It is the often courageous task of staring reality in the face and still claiming that though evil, suffering, and death remain, they have already been defeated. Hope is standing in the valley of dry bones and daring to believe God will breathe life into them once again. Hope is mustering the courage to go to the tomb in the early hours before dawn, just in case. Hope is living as resurrection people in a dying world. Hope is joining God right here and right now in the renewal of all things. If Hell is hopelessness, then maybe a little bit of heaven is the realization that all over this tired old world, “hope springs eternal” (The Culture Translator at Axis.org; used with permission).
Perhaps now more than ever, we as Christians are daily placing hope and trust above uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our routines and lives, but we can take refuge in Christ.
As we make plans for our 71st year of preparing students to live faithfully for God, we are faced with entirely new questions and circumstances. On July 3, we announced plans via a video message to have in-person five days per week learning for our students, with a remote option available for 7-12 grade students.
Since then, BCS has received some great questions from parents. Thank you to everyone who contacted us. In many cases, those questions were responded to within a few days. Below we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
We will address additional issues during virtual Town Hall gatherings scheduled for next week:
- Clyde Hill: Wednesday, July 22, 5-6pm
- Mack: Thursday, July 23, 5-6pm
- Three Points: Friday, July 24, 5:30-6:30pm
To Join the Clyde Hill Town Hall, click here:
To join the Mack Town Hall, click here:
To join the Three Points Town Hall, click here:
If you have students at more than one campus, you’re welcome to attend two of the town hall sessions.
As you receive updates from us, you may continue to ask questions via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
· The DOH and OSPI currently mandate face coverings. The recommendation is for a cloth mask, but a face shield will meet the requirement. Students, faculty, and staff who have a verified medical condition that limits mask-wearing can wear face shields instead.
· BCS is not providing face coverings for students. This way students can express their individuality. We suggest one to wear, one in the wash, and one to spare. The school will have a limited supply of masks at each campus in the event of loss, damaged, or forgotten face coverings.
· There will be opportunities for students to take mask breaks. Lunch and snack time are obvious opportunities. There may be occasions to remove face coverings when students are outside if social distancing is maintained. We will place limits on how many students can access playground equipment at one time.
· Face coverings are particularly challenging for our youngest students, but teaching is what we do. And we will do it that with patience and gentleness. We can do this BCS!
· All students, faculty staff, and visitors will be health screened. We are looking at options that would allow employees to do so with a phone app. We are looking at options for parents to do the health checks at home, while we do the temperature screening on campus.
· When a student is not feeling well, they will be sent to the office. Office personnel will take the student’s temperature. If a student exhibits two or more flu symptoms, the student will be isolated, and parents called to pick up the student. Department of Health guidelines require that student to be symptom-free for 72 hours and be certified by a health professional that they are Covid free. Without that certification, the students will need to be away from school for ten days following the onset of symptoms.
· If a student or staff member tests positive, we will close that campus only for deep cleaning. This might take 1-2 days. An individual who tests positive will need to remain at home for ten days after their symptoms have disappeared. If there were a substantial outbreak, we would rely on local health department officials to guide us as to how we should proceed.
· Our focus has been to provide a safe environment where students could return to their classrooms. This is especially important for our younger learners. However, we understand that it does not meet the needs of all our families. We cannot ask our teachers to prepare for in-class lessons every day while simultaneously leading distance learning students. Currently, we do not have a remote learning plan in place for our elementary families, but based on the parental response, we are taking another look.
· Distance learning for students in grades 7-12 is entirely synchronous. Attendance will be taken at every class period. Students may attend on-campus or livestream classes from home, Starbucks, the park, or wherever. Students will be able to ask questions and participate in discussions through either the chat feature or the speaker on their laptop. Students may be required to participate on-campus for labs and assessments at the discretion of their teacher.
· Our primary cleaning tool to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is an electrostatic sprayer. Campuses are disinfected prior to school on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Protocols are being developed to clean things (books, manipulatives, lab equipment) students might touch regularly. If you want more information about our sprayers and cleaners, please email us.
· Teachers and aides will be mindful of the possibility of COVID-19 transmission and spot disinfect, as necessary.
As COVID-19 pandemic news and information changes, we may consider changes of our own to ensure student and staff safety. Please join us in praying for our leaders and community members, making decisions around this pandemic, and those on the front lines, risking their own lives to care for others.
We look forward to discussing more of these topics with you at our virtual town hall meetings. Thank you for your continued partnership in this complex time.