Dear Lancer Family,
I hope this message finds you healthy and enjoying some form of summer relaxation, modified as it may be given current conditions. In March and April, we held out hope that COVID-19 would be a non-factor in the fall of 2020, but it does not appear that will be the case. We still fully plan to begin on-campus schooling on our original date. The first day is scheduled for August 10th, with the Back to School Bash on August 7th. Specific details about both of these events will be coming home in July.
We all love Lancerville. We love the people and the relationships. We want the same Cambridge we remember. For now, though, as much as we would all prefer for life to be back to normal on the CCS campus, a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Tampa area means we will be taking a number of precautionary measures. The frustrating reality is that all schools are currently working in pencil, not pen, due to the fluidity of the situation. We are all looking for certainty, but as that is not currently available, we will shoot for clarity. One definite is we remain committed to the safety and health of our students, staff, and families. With that in mind, we are instituting, at a minimum, the following for the fall:
- Nurse – We are hiring a full-time Florida-licensed school nurse to provide care and guidance for our students and staff. The nurse will communicate with families if a child is ill or exhibiting symptoms of concern. Parents will be required to have their child picked up within one hour of notification.
- Cleaning – Deep cleaning and disinfecting will become the daily routine across campus rather than just a temporary response to an illness. Maintaining a clean environment will become a part of our culture, with everyone playing a role.
- Sick students – Sick students must stay home. Students displaying symptoms during the school day will be isolated, and parents will be required to pick up the student within one hour of contact. Details regarding protocol for returning to school will be provided closer to the beginning of the school year.
- Temperatures – Taking temperatures will be commonplace and expected on the CCS campus. More details will be provided as the school year approaches.
- Absences – If documented illness causes excessive absence, administration will review the situation on a case-by-case basis and work with families to develop a plan for make-up work.
- No field parking – We will follow the recommendation to minimize “people” traffic on campus. During the school day, parents will be on campus by appointment only.
I have attached the CCS Reentry plan created by our COVID-19 Task Force. It identifies, per phase (announced by Governor DeSantis), how we will operate at CCS. While we would prefer to announce a plan that makes everyone happy, that is simply not possible. We have heard from many parents on both sides of multiple issues related to COVID-19. Both sides encourage us to follow the science, but the science itself changes from day to day. On the issue of PPE, we are following the current recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Florida Surgeon General, as well as the current climate in Hillsborough County. We are going to err on the side of safety. You will see in the attached plan that in Phase 2 we will require PPE for students (in grades 5-12) only when they are not able to socially distance. In Phase 3, masks will be recommended. It is uncertain whether Florida will move to Phase 3 by August 10th. The attached plan does not reflect any political statement. As you know, this has become a divisive issue in American culture. I pray we do not allow it to divide the Lancer family.
Please keep in mind that the impact of COVID-19 varies widely from county to county. As a result, the response from schools and businesses in Citrus County, for example, will likely be quite different than those in Hillsborough. It is worth noting that we will pay close attention to county and local authorities when locking in our plan in August. Remember also that the regular cold and flu will hit our student body like they do every year – perhaps even more due to so many being isolated for so long. We must be careful not to panic when this happens.
Finally, some schools and universities are adjusting the annual calendars to either begin late or take off from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, thereby extending the school year through June of 2021. The rationale is that many experts expect a surge in COVID-19 that will again dictate the need for remote learning. As I have said, we plan to start as originally scheduled. While we do not plan to close later in the semester, we cannot rule out the possibility. Please keep this in mind as you plan the year for your family.
As always, I am available should you want to follow up with any questions. We will do our best to provide clarity, while certainty is currently elusive. Thank you for your partnership and your patience as we all navigate these uncharted waters together. Remember our Anchor!
Hebrews 6:19a “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
For His Kingdom,
Shawn Minks, M. Ed.
Shawn Minks | Head of School | Cambridge Christian School
6101 N. Habana Avenue | Tampa, FL 33614
Phone: 813.872.6744 (248) Fax: 813.874.8130