Exceptional Education, Formed in Faith

COVID Plan Updates for the 2021-2022 School Year

This page is intended to provide families with the latest updates on the CLS COVID plans and protocols for the upcoming school year.  This page will be updated any time there is new information to share or a change in policy.

Last updated: December 20, 2021

Important Documents:


Update February 28, 2022

Dear CLS Families,

The Maryland State Department of Education lifted the mask mandate for public schools, and CCPS quickly followed suit. CLS does not have to follow the guidance or policies of the MSDE or CCPS. That has benefitted us in many ways during the pandemic–we were able to be in person for instruction, we were able to create our own COVID protocols that would best protect our school community, and we were able to offer a more moderate masking policy when MSDE mandated universal masking. At this point, we will continue to make our own policies and decisions, separate from what the MSDE and CCPS decide to do. Last week was the first week that we had no COVID cases reported amongst our school community. Our absentee list is finally in single digits again. More and more of our students and staff are healthy and in school. Those are all great markers of improvement, but we can’t let our guard down after one encouraging week.

At this point, we are taking the cautious approach to masking and we are not making any changes to our protocols at this time. Masks are already optional for large portions of the school day. This option has been available to students and families throughout the school year even when masks were mandated elsewhere. Right now, during high risk times like chapel and locker visits, students will continue to wear masks. Adults will continue to wear masks in areas like the cafeteria and classrooms when students are unmasked and eating. Mrs. Inman and I will continue to monitor the COVID data related to Carroll County. Markers are trending down, which is great news, but we are not fully out of the woods yet. I am hopeful that over time, we, too, can move to a fully mask optional environment. But for now, the importance of keeping everyone safe, healthy, and in school has to trump any quick policy changes in reaction to MSDE’s decision. We have always charted a steady, responsible, common sense course through COVID, and all things school related. We’ll continue to be careful. If policies change, I will let you know right away. Until then, we continue to work together to keep our school community safe.

Thanks for your ongoing support and partnership.

Mandy

Update February 11, 2022

Dear CLS Families,
While snow may be on the way, these warm sunny days have brought joy this week and remind us that spring and more time outside will be here soon. As the post-holiday COVID surges have died down, and the positivity rate and hospitalization rates have declined in Carroll County, as has the COVID positivity rate in our school community, Mrs. Inman and I have continued to have ongoing discussion about the safest, most reasonable COVID protocols for our school community. We are working hard to balance the need for students to be in school with the need to protect the broader school community. That said, as of today, we are adjusting our COVID quarantine protocols from 14 days to 10 days. If your child is currently home on quarantine, I will reach out to you with a new return date. We are going to collect data about how many days symptoms last, whether or not there is in-home spread, and if so, how quickly other family members become symptomatic. As we develop a better understanding of how these newest COVID cases are playing out, we’ll have a better idea of how to continue to move forward.
Here is a summary of our most current protocols:
1. If your child has COVID, they must quarantine for 10 days before returning to school. They can return on day 11 if their symptoms have resolved.
2. If there is an active COVID case in your home, your student must quarantine for 10 days. They can return on day 11 if they have remained asymptomatic.
3. This does not change our COVID travel protocols. Your student may have to quarantine and test after travel.
Please know that we are doing everything we can to keep your children safe, healthy, and in school. Mrs. Inman and I will continue to closely monitor the COVID situation and I will continue to communicate with you as necessary updates to protocols occur. We are looking forward to warmer days with outside lunches and extra playtime. Fresh air does everyone good. Until then, please continue to take precautions to keep your family and our school community safe.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Mandy

Update January 27, 2022

Dear Families,
As we have gotten farther away from the holidays, the number of positive COVID cases in our school community has dropped significantly. Our absentee list is also back to a more normal, manageable amount of students. So in our CLS community, the post-holiday COVID wave has subsided. As such, we will return to our previous, more moderate mask policy beginning on Monday, January 31st. We will continue to be very cautious, and there will continue to be mask-mandated times and activities during the school day, just as there were before our Christmas break. However, beginning on Monday, students will be allowed indoor mask breaks, when socially distanced, if families choose that option for their students. Some staff and students will continue with universal masking, which is also a valid choice. Please make sure your child is aware of your expectations for their mask usage.
The fact that our COVID numbers have subsided does not change the number of COVID positive cases in Carroll County, the overwhelmed healthcare system, or the risks involved when out in public or traveling. Our travel protocols remain the same. Our quarantine protocols remain the same. Our testing protocols remain the same. Please consider the five post-travel quarantine days and the longer wait for PCR results locally when considering any winter or spring travel plans. We still share a responsibility to keep our school community safe and healthy. Continue to avoid crowded environments where the risk of transmission is higher. If you can’t distance, mask. Practice good hand hygiene. Keep sick students home. Continue to communicate with us when your student is absent or you have had a known COVID exposure.
I know that you are tired of reading COVID updates and I am tired of writing them. But we’re halfway through our school year, and as a team, we have kept our students and staff healthy and in school for in-person learning. Our efforts continue to be successful. Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership.
In Christ,
Mandy

 

Update January 13, 2022

Dear CLS Families,

COVID continues to run rampant in our CLS community and the broader community. Our absentee list is a little smaller at the end of this week, but we are still missing 12–15 students each day. New cases of COVID continue to pop up in CLS families, although we are grateful that vigilant families kept sick children home so that the newest cases pose no risk to the school community. Given the ongoing concerns, here and in Carroll County, I have decided to continue our current universal masking policy for another two weeks, through January 28th. While Omicron is not as deadly, it is highly contagious, which poses a risk in a congregate facility like a school. It is best to be cautious and keep the safety of our students, staff, and families a priority. In addition, as public school systems and other private schools are facing tough decisions about returning to virtual learning, we are committed to keeping students in the classrooms. The best way to do that is to keep staff and students healthy.  As such, we are continuing our current quarantine and travel policies until further notice. They’re working well, and protecting our community, so we are not straying from that successful formula right now when the risk of transmission remains high.

In an effort to help you keep your students masked at school, and to protect your family with masks when you are out and about, we are sending home packs of disposable masks in office folders today. If you need additional masks, we have plenty. We also have fabric and disposable masks available to students throughout the school day in the office, health room, cafeteria, and classrooms. Please continue to send clean, well-fitting masks to school with your child each day. But also know that as masks get wet or soiled, we’re handing out clean replacements.

We are aware that with our high rate of absenteeism and families in quarantine, some students were absent the entire week that they could have used their Fun Run dress down coupon. If that is true for your child, they can use that coupon on February 3rd or 4th. Just have them bring it to their classroom teacher at that time.

Thank you for your continued efforts to reduce travel, mask in crowded places, focus on hand hygiene, and monitor your children for symptoms, allowing us to keep sick children out of school. We are so grateful for your support in keeping our CLS community healthy and safe. We continue to pray for all of you, that your families will remain healthy and your students will be deeply engaged in learning, faith formation, and play as they spend their days with us.

Take Care,

Mandy

 

Update December 20, 2021

Dear CLS Families,

As our school days for December wind down and our minds and hearts turn towards Christmas, I want to send greetings and Christmas blessings to all of you from our CLS staff. We wait in eager anticipation alongside you as we prepare for the celebration of our Savior’s birth. We wish you a joyful and safe Christmas season.

Even as we make plans to worship at church, attend Christmas celebrations, and gather with family and friends, COVID cases are once again on the rise. Mrs. Inman, our Delegating Nurse, has been keeping me up to date on the rise in cases and hospitalizations. Many hospitals are again reaching critical levels in terms of staff shortages and a rapidly increasing number of COVID cases. Here in Carroll County, numbers are rising. We’re seeing the impact in the growing number of students who are absent in quarantine because someone in their immediate family has COVID. We’ve watched it spread through entire families, even amongst vaccinated individuals. In light of that, I am reaching out to you for your commitment to keeping the CLS community healthy and safe in the days following our Christmas Break.

1. When we return from Christmas Break, all students and staff will mask at all times (universal masking) unless they are actively eating or drinking or are outside. This more stringent mask policy will be in place through January 14th. Those first two weeks back are the biggest risk of potential COVID spread if students or staff were unknowingly exposed to COVID during the course of their Christmas gatherings. After the 14th, our current mask policy will go back into place.

2. Please make sure that your child has 2-3 clean masks with them every day. We have extras for students who need them, but especially if your child prefers a specific style/fit, make sure that they have several clean masks at school.

3. If your child, or anyone in your family, has COVID symptoms, please call school and talk with me before sending your child to school. Symptoms to watch for include: sore throat, congestion, fever, headache, body aches/chills, upset stomach, cough, runny/stuffy nose. It is much better to err on the side of caution and have the conversation than to risk spreading any kind of germs at school. Beyond COVID, students still get other illnesses like Strep, viruses, Bronchitis, etc. Our goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy. Sick kiddos have to stay home.

4. If you are traveling over Christmas Break (flying or driving out of state to see family, vacation, etc.) please let me know. Your travel dates don’t require a Family Trip Form, but you may need to quarantine and test upon return from travel. I can help you sort that out. Please note: out of state travel does not refer to visiting Grandma and Grandpa on Christmas day in Pennsylvania. However, if you are flying to see relatives, traveling to any crowded vacation destinations, etc., we need to have a conversation about whether your student needs a PCR test to return to school.

5. Please continue to be vigilant about social distancing, hand hygiene, masking in crowded spaces, etc. The best gift we can give each other this Christmas is our concern for those around us and our efforts to keep our school community healthy.

We are praying for all of you, that you feel God’s love and peace in your hearts and homes this Christmas. We also continue to pray for the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. Thank you for all the blessings you’ve given us this Christmas season. We look forward to a fun half day tomorrow, and much learning and growth to come in 2022.

In Christ’s Christmas Love,

Mandy

 

Update August 27, 2021

Dear CLS Families,

By now, many of you have probably heard about the MSDE decision to mandate masks for students and staff in public schools. I want to clarify that MSDE makes those decisions for public schools only. As a private school, we receive guidance from MSDE, but it is just that–guidance. We are only responsible to the Governor and the Carroll County Health Department and their mandates. In general, I review and take into consideration the guidance we receive from MSDE, the CDC, and other reputable sources. However, in this case, we are not making any changes to the COVID protocols you received by email on August 11th.

In order to offer safe, healthy, in-person instruction to our students this year, we continue to need a team effort. We will do our part to create a healthy and engaging learning environment with many safety protocols in place. At the same time, we need families to continue to do their part, too, with wearing masks in high risk situations, practicing good hand hygiene and healthy habits, communicating with us about any known COVID cases or COVID exposure, and keeping sick students home from school. Together, we can create a successful school year full of learning, new adventures, and much joy.

I look forward to partnering with each of you in our efforts to support CLS students in the upcoming school year. See you soon!

Mandy Gilbart

Update August 11, 2021

Dear CLS Families,

I know it often feels that there are more questions than answers when it comes to COVID. Mrs. Inman, our Delegating Nurse, and I have spent a lot of time this summer reading the changing guidance and protocols and deciding what will be the best fit for our school community this September. Nothing matters more than the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. We have proven that we can work together to keep our school community safe and and in-person for instruction. Now the challenge is before us to do that again in the coming school year.

Attached to this email you’ll find two important documents. The first is our current plan for the COVID protocols we’ll have in place to start the school year. It is important to note that this is our plan as of today. If circumstances would change significantly, or if mandates from the Governor or Carroll County Health Department come into play, our protocols would have to change, too. However, we think that we have established a safe, common sense approach to the first days and weeks of school. Please take the time to read over this information very carefully.

The second document is a COVID Waiver. Your child cannot attend school until we have this signed waiver back in our hands. You can submit it electronically or drop it off in the front office. You can also mail it or hand it to us at any of our upcoming events.

Thank you for trusting us with your children, and for partnering with us in their education. We will continue to strive to keep each other safe and to care for the members of our community. If you have any questions about the attached documents, please reach out.

Mandy Gilbart

A PATH TO BETTER K-8 EDUCATION