COVID-19 Reference Guide

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”    John 14:27

School Opening

Pathway Christian Academy (PCA) will resume classes on campus starting September 8, 2020. PCA is within its rights to do so according to the U.S. and Texas governments. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has issued a guidance letter to religious private schools in Texas (Paxton, 2020). He has informed them that local public health orders attempting to restrict their reopenings violate the United States and Texas Constitutions and the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Paxton, 2020).  Also, local orders seeking to restrict the reopening of religious private schools or institutions is inconsistent with Governor Abbott’s executive orders, and therefore, are invalid (Paxton, 2020). He stated, “As the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed just last week, there are robust constitutional and statutory protections unique to religious individuals and communities, specifically including religious private schools. In accordance with the protections granted by the First Amendment and Texas law, this guidance allows religious private schools to determine for themselves when to reopen free from any government mandate or interference” (Paxton, 2020). PCA will open with recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and will take measures to create a safe environment for students and faculty.

Coronavirus Facts

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has conducted significant research on COVID-19. All of the information listed below has come from the CDC website. Pathway Christian Academy falls under the “More Risk” category. More risk is small, in person classes, activities, and events. Groups of students stay together and with the same teacher (CDC, 2020). Students remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects (CDC, 2020). It is thought that the virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. Therefore, personal prevention practices such as hand washing, staying home when sick, and environmental cleaning and disinfection are important principles. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight will reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects (CDC, 2020). The coronavirus on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days.

COVID-19 Symptoms 

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as they learn more about COVID-19.

How to Prevent the spread of COVID-19

First, practice social distancing by staying six feet away from others when you are in a shared space. Students will be six feet apart in shared spaces and in the classroom. Desks will be facing the same direction and students will sit on only one side of the tables. As much as possible, students will remain with their classmates and teacher. If students share spaces, they will practice social distancing and shared spaces will be cleaned after each use. There will also be physical guides throughout the building to ensure that faculty and students remain at least six feet apart in line and at other times. 

Second, it is important to frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, you can use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Faculty and students should wash or sanitize their hands at the arrival to the school, after breaks, before and after preparing food and drinks, before and after eating or handling food, before and after administering medication or medical ointment, after using the toilet, after coming in contact with bodily fluid, after playing outdoors, and after handling garbage. 

Third, is is important to wear a cloth face covering. Pathway Christian Academy’s requirements to wear a mask will directly reflect the requirements of the Texas state government. On June 3rd, Governor Abbot mandated that masks be worn in most public places (TSLL, 2020). The order does not apply to those who are younger than 10 years old (TSLL, 2020). 

Fourth, it is important to always stay home when one is feeling unwell or sick. 

Fifth, it is important to clean and disinfect infrequently touched objects and surfaces. 

Sick Faculty and Students

If a faculty member or student becomes sick at school, they will be isolated and sent home as quickly as possible. They will be able to return to school once they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation. Any areas of the building that were occupied by the ill faculty or student will be cleaned and disinfected. If a member of the faculty or a student becomes ill at home, we kindly ask that they remain at home until they have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation.

Someone been exposed to, possibly has, or is diagnosed with COVID-19

If faculty or a student has been exposed to, may have, or is diagnosed with COVID-19, please notify the school headmaster. We kindly ask that you stay home and return to school once you have met the criteria to discontinue home isolation. If a person who is sick comes to school, we will isolate the person and send them home as quickly as possible. In order to clean, we will first close off the areas that were used by the person who is sick. Second, we will open the windows to increase air circulation in the areas. However, we will not open windows if doing so poses a safety or health risk to students using the facility. Third, we will wait up to 24 hours to allow respiratory droplets to settle before cleaning and disinfecting. Fourth, we will clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick such as classrooms, bathrooms, and common areas. 

Pathway Christian Academy will have to notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of any case of COVID-19. We will do so in accordance with state and local laws and regulations, school administrators should notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. We will also inform those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

Student Drop-Off and Pick-Up

In order to limit contact between teachers and parents, we ask that parents do not enter the building. Students will have their temperatures checked at the door. They will also use sanitizer before they can enter the sanctuary. Students will sit socially distanced in their designated pews with their class and teacher. There will be empty pews between each class.

Students will be also be socially distanced when waiting to be picked up. Students will sit on the floor on the entry. Students will wait to hear their names called on the Walkie Talkie. Once they hear their name, they will walk to the door and out to their cars. 

Screening Faculty and Students Upon Arrival

Faculty and students will have their temperature checked upon their arrival to school. Faculty and students must have a temperature below 100.4 degrees. Teachers will wear masks when providing temperature checks. The faculty will also be watching for any signs of illness which can include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent activity), fatigue, and confirm that the child is not experiencing coughing or shortness of breath.

Student Supplies 

Students will have their own personal books and supplies. They will not be able to share their supplies with others. All materials that are used in the classroom will be properly cleaned and sanitized before they are used again. 

Teachers

Teachers will instruct students on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They will teach students how to wash their hands, cover their coughs and sneezes with tissues, and how to socially distance on campus. Teaches will also discourage sharing among students. Each student’s belongings and school supplies will be separated from others’ and in their own containers and desk. If parents have any questions, please contact your child’s teacher. 

Restrooms

In restrooms, there will be signs on the mirrors on how to properly wash your hands. The middle sinks will be blocked off in both restrooms to ensure social distancing. Restroom breaks will be scheduled to avoid different classes being in the restroom at the same time. The restrooms will be cleaned at the end of each day. 

Lunch 

Teachers and students will eat lunch in their classrooms. Students must provide their own lunch. Students must bring their own forks, spoons, napkins, and water to lunch. These items will not be provided by the school. Water fountains will not be available. We highly encourage parents to provide water bottles for their children. 

Cleaning 

The school will be cleaned daily to avoid the spread of COVID-19. The classrooms, bathrooms, stair rails, sanctuary, gym, and hallways will be cleaned at the end of each day. Teachers will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, and more. This will also include cleaning objects and surfaces that are not ordinarily cleaned such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, desks, chairs, cubbies, and gym equipment. Any objects that are shared will be limited and cleaned between each use. Library books will be wiped down and quarantined for three days before they are placed back on the shelves. 

Parents

The CDC has a checklist for parents on how to prepare their children for COVID-19. We encourage parents to instruct their children on how to properly wash their hands and how to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. We also encourage parents to be on alert for signs of illness in their children and conduct temperature checks before you come to school. If you believe your child may be or is sick, we kindly ask that you keep your child at home. Please communicate with your child’s teacher on Class Dojo and your child’s teacher will be sure to give you make-up assignments. 

School Visitors

We will be keeping visitors to the school at a minimum. Parents may come eat lunch with their child, but we do ask that you give your child’s teacher 24 hour notice. This will allow the teacher to prepare for your visit.

School Closures

Pathway Christian Academy will not close unless an order to do so is made by the government. If this event occurs, the school will move to online learning using Zoom. 

References

Attorney General Ken Paxton Issues Guidance to Religious Private Schools for Fall Reopenings. (n.d.). Retrieved July 24, 2020, from https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/news/releases/attorney-general-ken-paxton-issues-guidance-religious-private-schools-fall-reopenings

Considerations for Schools. (2020, May 19). Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html

Library, T. (n.d.). Disasters & Emergencies: Mask Laws. Retrieved July 10, 2020, from https://guides.sll.texas.gov/disaster-emergency/mask-laws

Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes. (2020, May 07). Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/reopen-guidance.html