SAFE RETURN TO SCHOOL

VCS to Welcome Students Back on August 17 (July 10)

VCS Families and Students,

We thank you for your continued support during these unprecedented and challenging times. We continue to place our hope and trust in the Lord as we make decisions that seek to balance our desire to welcome our students back to campus as “normal” as possible with our charge to ensure the health and safety of all our students and faculty.

Out of our desire to ensure a safe return to campus and in light of Governor Ducey’s executive order for Arizona public and charter schools, the Valley Christian Board of Directors has approved our administration’s decision to welcome students back to our campuses on Monday, August 17. This date is not only in alignment with the targeted in-person start date for public and charter schools, but also for nearly every Christian school in the state.

The health and safety of our students, staff, and faculty is our number one priority. While the situation around the COVID-19 pandemic remains fluid, VCS remains committed to taking the health and safety seriously. This includes following any city, county, or state mandates in place that apply to our school’s operations. Our community is a hallmark of the Valley Christian experience and is the reason we are doing everything we can to bring our community back together in a safe and considered manner.

Leading up to our August 17 start date, we will be engaging in additional training for our faculty and staff to prepare for the safe return of our students to our campuses and provide an enhanced virtual learning platform across all of our campuses should the need arise during the school year.

We are excited to host an all-new Trojan Welcome Week the week of August 10-14 for our students and families. This week will consist of orientation days and activities to prepare for our return to in-person instruction on August 17. To facilitate social distancing, the events will be designed to limit the number of individuals on campus at one time. Your campus principal will communicate specific dates and times for Trojan Welcome Week and other related information specific to your campus. An updated school calendar for 2020-21 will be released shortly, as well.

Again, we appreciate your ongoing support and patience as we address these challenges. We ask that you keep in mind the need for continued prayer and flexibility leading up to the start of our 2020-21 school year. We also want to reiterate our commitment to hold classes on campus for the upcoming school year. As we come together as a community once again, we will love our neighbors by putting needs for safety first. We cannot wait to welcome our students back on campus this fall and provide our distinctly Christian education that has made VCS the No. 1-rated Christian school in Arizona by Niche.com.

Safe Return to School Update (June 30)

In light of Governor Ducey’s Executive Order pushing back the start of in-person learning in Arizona K-12 public and charter schools to at least August 17, our leadership team is currently re-evaluating our in-person start date and calendar for 2020-21. We will communicate any changes and additional information by Friday, July 10, as decisions are finalized.

Additionally, all VCS Athletics and activities (including camps/clinics, practices, trainings, etc.) will be shut down until July 19. We plan to re-open athletics and activities on Monday, July 20.

We are excited to partner with you in the education of your children again this fall and cannot wait to safely welcome them back to campus. We ask that you keep in mind the need for continued prayer and flexibility leading up to the start of our 2020-21 school year.

A Message from Our Head of School (June 19)

VCS Families,

We hope you and your family are enjoying a fun and healthy summer break.

At VCS, we have been working diligently to create a reasonable and responsible plan for returning to our physical campuses for the start of school on August 4. We are looking forward to welcoming your student back to campus this fall as we seek to return to school as “normal” as possible. As a school, community is one of our three core pillars. The traditional classroom model allows our teachers and students to be in a classroom together devoted to instruction and learning, and actively engage in growing together both academically and spiritually. We believe this is where our community is best accomplished. We appreciate your patience as we have worked on developing a comprehensive plan that accomplishes our shared desire to return to school as “normal” as possible along with keeping our students and community as healthy as possible.

Given the fluidity of the situation, our plans to safely return to school in August will be constantly evaluated for necessary modifications. These plans embrace current recommendations for returning to school from the Center for Disease Control, Arizona Department of Health Services, and Arizona Department of Education, along with recommendations from our COVID-19 Task Force. Please note that recommendations from each of these organizations will evolve between now and August and will be taken into appropriate consideration, which could result in changes to our Safe Return to School plan.

Here are some things you can expect across our three campuses as we return in the fall. In addition to those procedures, we have a detailed plan specific to each of our campuses that ensures student and staff safety. These additional details (including plans for athletics, fine arts, recess, lunches, etc.) will be communicated to you by your campus principal no later than June 26.

The following K-12 procedures should give you a good idea of what our intentions are when we return in August.

  • Parents will need to pre-screen students at home for symptoms each day. Faculty and staff will pre-screen at home and undergo a wellness and temperature check upon arriving at school daily. Parents must keep students at home if they present any COVID-like symptoms and notify the school.
  • It is not our intention to require face masks to be worn by students and staff while on campus. If students and staff desire to wear a face mask while on campus, they are welcome to wear them.
  • Enhanced, daily deep cleaning of all classrooms and common spaces. For common spaces and high-touch surfaces, sanitization will occur between group uses.
  • Addition of hand washing stations and hand sanitization stations around campus.
  • In-class furniture will be arranged facing the same direction and spaced as much as possible. All classes will have assigned seating.
  • Shared water fountains will not be utilized on any of the campuses.
  • Until further notice, the number of guests will be limited. All guests, including volunteers, must check-in to the front office and answer wellness questions along with recording their temperature. Guests will be required to wear a face mask while on campus.

We anticipate that circumstances and guidance related to COVID-19 will change and have built a flexible plan that will be modified, if necessary. We thank you for placing your trust in Valley Christian Schools and for your continued support and prayers, especially during these times. At VCS, we will always place the health and safety of our students and staff first.

If you have any questions or concerns about our Safe Return to School plan, please feel free to reach out to your campus principal. Again, additional campus-specific procedures (including plans for athletics, fine arts, recess, lunches, etc.) will be communicated by your principal by Friday, June 26.

We are excited to partner with you in the education of your children again this fall and cannot wait to welcome them back to campus in August. We ask that you keep in mind the need for continued flexibility leading up to the start of our 2020-21 school year. Conditions can fluctuate, including federal, state, and city regulations, and we may need to alter our plans. We will continue to keep you updated.

Partnering with Our Families

We are depending on our partnership with families as we seek to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff while returning to school as “normal” as possible.

If your student is exhibiting any of the symptoms below, they should stay home from school.

  • Fever of 100.4 or higher, or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

All updates to our Safe Return to School plan will be posted on the site as well.

COVID-19 Resources

There are great resources available for parents and community members to learn about the virus symptoms, preventative measures, and current confirmed cases.

    Arizona’s Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger Executive Order issued on May 12 requires businesses and other entities operating in the state to implement health and safety plans to protect workers and customers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. In response, we implemented procedures for our summer operations as part of our phased re-opening to protect our community.

    Due to updated guidance issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services and mandates by Maricopa County, the City of Chandler, and City of Tempe, we are temporarily adjusting our policy for summer operations effective Monday, June 22.

    Any VCS employee, including coaches, interacting with a guest or student while indoors must wear a face mask. During this temporary phase, face masks will also be required for employees, students, or guests if they cannot maintain six feet of social distancing – regardless of being inside or outside. Additionally, all guests or students on campus will be required to wear a face mask while indoors on campus. This requirement does not include student-athletes or campers actively participating in training or camps. Exceptions include those who cannot wear a face mask due to a medical or behavioral condition or children under the age of six.

    Please note, this is a temporary policy change for our summer operations and does not represent a change in our Safe Return to School plan for this fall. It is still our full intention to have masks be optional for students and staff while on campus this August.

    Last updated on July 10, 2020