Published 8/3/21

At Grace Covenant Academy, it is our mission to equip students for life by releasing their God-given potential. So, as the start of school draws near, the following is information that will guide our COVID protocols for the beginning of the school year. These plans will be followed unless circumstances change regarding the COVID pandemic. Parents will be informed of any changes to these plans in a timely and appropriate manner. And it is with the full support of the church leadership, the Advisory Council, the GCA Leadership Team that we have developed these plans for the fall of 2021.

As the CDC updates their guidelines, GCA will make every effort to keep parents and staff informed and adjust accordingly as is helpful to the school population.

We will communicate with families on a regular basis pertinent information regarding COVID as it relates to the school and classrooms. Parents will be notified by the office if your child has been exposed (as defined by the CDC) to a student or teacher who has tested positive for COVID. All COVID-related communication should be handled through the school office.

We believe that receiving any vaccine, including COVID, is a personal decision. For that reason, we do not require any staff, students, or volunteers to be vaccinated in order to participate at GCA.

At Grace Covenant Academy, we believe that masks are a helpful tool in controlling the transmission of germs. However, we believe that it is not the ONLY way we can increase the possibility of staying well. However, at this time, all students, staff, and visitors are required to wear a mask when at GCA, per the Mecklenburg County Mask Mandate.

The following practices and procedures will continue to be in place in order to maintain a healthy and clean learning environment for students, faculty, and staff:

  1. High traffic/touch areas will be cleaned and sanitized daily*. All tables will be sanitized before snack, before lunch, and at the end of the school day. In addition, all classroom surfaces will be completely disinfected at the end of each day.
  2. Students will be asked to clean their hands (sanitizer or hand-washing) at every point of entry and before and after transitions.
  3. Students will be encouraged and reminded often to keep their hands away from their mouth, face and eyes.

*GCA uses hydrogen peroxide/water solution for all surface cleaning.

Student arrival and dismissal will resume to one location for K – 8 and Early Ed will continue to use the front portico. Students in the K – 2 hallway will dismiss from the south door and Grade 3 – 8 students will dismiss from the main school doorway.

Class sizes will level to a standard of 18 students per class in Grades K – 8. Early Education will have 7 – 9 students per class, depending on the age of the children.

Students will attend live chapel weekly. Chapel will continue to be held in Clanton Hall and will be physically distanced as classes.

We believe that all school events are an important part of the whole educational experience, and for that reason, we will resume all school activities, including sports and clubs for the 2021 – 2022 school year. Parents who are in attendance will be asked to physically distance from the classes in order to support individual class space during the school day.

All students EE – Grade 5 will have lunch in their classrooms. Middle School will have a lunch period either outside or in a shared middle school space during the year. Parents may have lunch at school only as a volunteer in their child’s classroom to provide support for the classroom teacher.

As the school is supported by volunteers and through parent partnership, we will be opening our campus to these individuals. However, volunteers and other campus visitors may be asked to answer a few screening questions prior to entering the classrooms. GCA will limit the number of adults to one per classroom per day.

Parents may be invited to attend class parties during the school year in a limited capacity for the sake of spacing. Teachers will follow up with more information.

Attendance policies for the coming school year will follow the policies outlined in the Parent/Student Handbook, allowing 18 absences for students in the K – 8 programs. Students who are absent due to illness will have work sent home by their classroom teachers. Extended illness related absences will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

We will not be offering any tuition refunds for this school year, and the school will be following the policies regarding tuition that are outlined in the Parent/Student Handbook. If the school or classes close due to COVID, our tuition refund policies will be reevaluated as needed.

In the event that a student or a family member living under the same roof shows symptoms of COVID-19 or is tested for COVID-19, we will follow guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and the Mecklenburg County Department of Health for isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing. The following are some of the guidelines for responding to symptoms and/or the need for testing. This list is not comprehensive nor is it intended to replace CDC, NCDHHS, or Mecklenburg County Health Department guidelines.

  1. In the event that a student or staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19, that student should stay home and contact a health professional to determine if a test is appropriate. This individual should not return to school until he/she has been cleared by a health professional to return to school (typically after testing negative) and/or being symptom free for at least three days.
  2. If a student or any household member living under the same roof tests positive for COVID-19, please contact the Grace Covenant Academy office immediately. We will consult with our health counsel and Mecklenburg County Health Department in all circumstances.
  3. If a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19, we will coordinate with local health officials and will begin the process of confidential contact tracing and make adjustments in the learning environment as needed.
  4. Each case of potential COVID-19 transmission will be handled on a case-by-case basis in conversation with you, the Mecklenburg County Health Department, and school personnel as needed, giving you enough information to make decisions while protecting the confidentiality of our employees, students, and families.

GCA Quarantine Plan 21-22

Should a student or employee test positive for COVID-19 in your child’s class there is exposure, we will monitor and evaluate the need to close a class or make other arrangements for learning. GCA classes will either remain open or pivot to virtual learning as a whole class. There is no plan to engage hybrid learning at this time.

In each case, we will attempt to be strategic and precise with our containment measures, closing as little as possible but as much as necessary. More extensive closures would likely coincide with local or state closure mandates.

GCA has adopted a Distance Learning Plan that will remain in place as we move forward in the event that learning has to move home again in the future. For that reason we may include up to 4 days on the school calendar where we will specifically practice our distance learning throughout the school year. This will enable us to remain nimble and ready to use this plan. The Distance Learning Plan will include specific information for each grade level and will be made available by the first week of school.