Educating and equipping discerning disciples of Jesus Christ for restorative work in His kingdom
COVID-19: Cedars Updates
April 19, 2021: Please see our updated Health and Safety documentation below (green buttons).
Off-Site COVID-19 Resources:
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
We have had a great week so far with staff, and are looking forward to welcoming our students on Tuesday! On Monday, we took some time to consider our 2021/22 school theme, By Our Love, based on John 13:34-35 where Jesus gives a “new” commandment to love one another as He has loved us. It is by our love for one another that all people will know that we are His disciples… Jesus’ apprentices… His followers.
In a world polarized by a wide range of topics, it has never been more important to be a community marked by love one for another. We are tremendously grateful for the grace and love that our Cedars staff, students, and families demonstrated throughout the past two years, and we shall endeavor to make this the reality of this new year ahead!
Please take some time to review our revised Health and Safety Plan. A brief summary of measures that will stay the same and what has changed can be found in last week’s Shake summary and our COVID-19 Updates page.
Parents and Caregivers are encouraged to attend a virtual (Zoom link) Q&A about the school start up at 7pm on Thursday, September 2. I will address questions you may have regarding everything from masks and vaccines to events and gatherings. If you are unable to attend, feel free to direct any questions or concerns that you have to me directly via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you to those who have already done so…and for your patience as we consider and respond to each of you.
We are looking forward to hosting a Welcome Back Community BBQ / Meet the Staff event at 5pm on Friday, September 10th. This will be an outdoor event open to all Cedars students and community members. More details will be shared in next week’s Shake, but we encourage you to mark the date on your calendars!
Your prayers and support are appreciated. Keep them coming. 🙂
May we continue to be known by our love in our work together this year!
Mr. Shane Nelson
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
We are excited to welcome you and your children back to school in less than two weeks!
Yesterday, the Province released 2021/22 school startup guidance for K-12 schools. We are in the process of updating our operational procedures and health & safety plans, and will share details in next week’s Shake. We will also host a virtual Q&A for parents and caregivers at 7pm on Thursday, September 2 to address any of your questions or concerns heading into this school year.
Health and safety guidance remains relatively unchanged from last Spring. The following is a short summary of some of the things that will remain in place, some things that have changed, and a couple of notes.
Still in place:
- Daily health checks for students, staff, and visitors
- Stay-at-home-if-sick requirements
- Hand hygiene and enhanced cleaning measures
- Indoor mask requirements for Grade 4-12 students, staff, and visitors
- No cohorts / learning groups
- Strict (2m) physical distancing replaced with “respect for others’ personal space”
- Re-introduction of inter-school athletics and extra-curricular activities
- Regional-specific measures to be applied with respect to gatherings and events, etc.
- While vaccinations are strongly encouraged, there is currently no provincial mandate for vaccinations of eligible staff and students.
- There continues to be mask exemption provision for staff, students and visitors in circumstances outlined on p.20 of this provincial guidance. Please claim exemptions directly through our Principal, Shane Nelson (email@example.com).
Overall, we are thankful for a return to face-to-face instruction and expanded curricular and extra-curricular learning experiences for our students as we head into the Fall. Please keep our leadership team in your prayers as we navigate decisions about key gatherings and events on our school calendar.
May the Lord continue to be our help, and may we continue to be known by our love as we come together to educate and equip discerning disciples of Jesus Christ for restorative work in His kingdom this year!
Mr. Shane Nelson
As you are no doubt aware, the Province released updated health and safety guidance for K-12 schools earlier this week. Our Board of Directors, Leadership Team, and Occupational Health and Safety Committee have provided feedback on a draft revision of our school’s Health and Safety Plan.
The draft revision of our Health and Safety Plan will be in effect for our return to school on Tuesday, April 6th and can be accessed by the link below. Changes are highlighted in yellow. We will be approving a final draft of this plan at our April 14th Board meeting.
The most significant changes to our Health and Safety Plan are the requirements of masks for Grade 4-7 students, and the requirement of masks indoors at all times for adults and Grade 4-12 students. At this time, the wearing of masks for Grade K-3 students is not required, but encouraged by the Province.
As per our Health and Safety Plan,
“At Cedars, respect will be shown to students and adults who choose to wear a non-medical mask, and to those who cannot cannot tolerate wearing a mask for health or behavioural reasons, or are unable to put on or remove a mask without the assistance of another person. Health-care provider notes are not required to confirm if a student or adult cannot wear a mask. Mask exemptions may be claimed in writing through the school Principal.”
The health and safety of staff and students continues to be important at Cedars Christian School. If you have questions, feedback, need clarification, or would like to claim a mask exemption, please reach out to me directly by email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
This morning, the Ministry of Education released “enhanced” safety measures for BC schools. The Provincial COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings has been updated based on revised public health guidance for K-12 schools from the BC Centre for Disease Control, and in consultation and collaboration with all education sector partners and Indigenous rights holders through a provincial steering committee. Key updates include:
- A requirement that high school students and K-12 staff wear non-medical masks in all indoor areas, including when they are with their learning groups, except when (a) sitting or standing at their seat or workstation in a classroom; (b) there is a barrier in place; or (c) they are eating or drinking.
- Updated guidelines for physical education and music classes.
- Updated protocols regarding staff interactions and shared spaces.
- Stronger encouragements to reduce crowding and gathering, and prolonged, close face-to-face contact.
Our leadership team and Occupational Health and Safety Committee will be reviewing enhanced measures announced today and working on a draft update of our school’s Health and Safety Plan over the next number of days. All schools are required to have updated plans for their school communities on or before February 26th. We will share our updated plans with staff, students, and parents/caregivers as soon as possible and provide opportunity for feedback prior to formal Board approval.
We continue to be committed to our overall approach to “Give Space and Clean with Care”. Staying home when you are sick, physical distancing where possible, hand-washing and cleaning surfaces remain our primary measures for reducing transmission. Eating well, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep continue to be crucial for promoting strong immune systems. And, above all let us remember: “Our Hope is in the Lord”!
May the Maker of heaven and earth show mercy and give us strength and courage in these challenging times!
Today, we are sharing several pieces of important information regarding our return to school plan. Thank you for your patience! We have organized this week’s Shake e-newsletter into two sections to help you process information and action items. Please take time to review this information as a family.
All families are encouraged to participate in our virtual Town Hall meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, September 2. In this meeting, we will provide an overview of our Restart, Health and Safety, and Communication Plans; and give space to address questions and concerns from our community.
This year’s school theme comes from Psalm 121: “Our Help Comes from the LORD”. As we head into this school year, there continues to be uncertainty around what school, work, and family life will look like. May Psalm 121 be our “travelling” song in these times. Let us declare that our “help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth”. He is the One who keeps us. He protects us. He guards us. He does not sleep/slumber. His protection is day and night, in our coming and going, now and forever. He watches over us – body and soul. Amen – so be it.
As always, know that our doors (and phone lines and email inboxes) are open, and that we need your feedback as we establish new routines in our work together. We look forward to in-person experiences with you and your children in the coming weeks and months.
Mr. Shane Nelson
Email Communication August 19, 2020
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Our staff and leadership team are continuing to work on our 2020/21 Restart Plan in response to the most recent guidance from the Ministry of Education, Public Health Office, and WorkSafeBC. The province continues to refine its Back to School Plan, but we are pleased to announce that Grade 1-12 students will be welcomed back to in-class instruction on Tuesday, September 8th. We are excited to start the year with many new families, a full Preschool program, and 370 Kindergarten to Grade 12 students! Preschool and Kindergarten gradual entry instructions for the first week have been emailed to parents/caregivers in a separate communication.
Independent schools traditionally have started the year with a solid week of collaborative planning ahead of the first week with students. Our office and administrative staff will return on Monday, August 24th, and all staff will return on Monday, August 31st to ensure a safe return for students following the Labour Day weekend.
In next week’s Shake e-newsletter, we will share specific details regarding our Restart Plan, including: a revised Health and Safety Plan, elementary and high school cohort groupings, and schedules for student instructional/break times and drop-off/pick-up times.
A virtual Town Hall meeting will take place at 7pm on Wednesday, September 2 to review our Restart Plan and address any questions and/or concerns from parents/caregivers.
The schedule for the first week of classes will be as follows:
Tuesday, Sept 8 (8:30-11:30am; half-day for all Grade 1-12 students)
Wednesday, Sept 9 (8:30am-1:30pm; as per our weekly early dismissal)
Thursday/Friday, Sept 10/11 (8:30am-2:55pm)
Thank you for your patience with respect to the communication of our return to school planning. Documents released by the province as recent as Tuesday evening continue to impact the shape of our Restart Plan, and we want to ensure our plan reflects the most current guidance. As in the Spring, we are committed to sharing accurate and timely information with you as we navigate the 2020/21 school year.
More details will be shared next week, but you are encouraged to mark your calendars for an on-site, evening dessert walkthrough event at the school on Friday, September 11th that will include an opportunity to stand inside our new gymnasium expansion project! If you haven’t driven by the school in the last month or so, it is worth coming by to check out the most recent developments.
Mr. Shane Nelson
Letter to the Community
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
Yesterday, Dr. Henry and Minister Fleming made an announcement regarding BC’s Return to School Plan for September. The Ministry of Education has gathered details around this announcement on their COVID-19: Return to School webpage.
All public and independent schools will be reopening in a revised Stage 2 scenario. For Cedars, this means a full-time return to in-class instruction for all K-12 students. The most significant change in approach and language is the introduction of learning groups, called “cohorts”. You can read more about cohorts on the Ministry website.
Over the next few weeks, our leadership team and staff will be identifying cohorts that align with Ministry guidelines. Given the size of our school, we are able to group students in cohorts of 60 (elementary) and 120 (high school) students in ways that allow all students to return to full-time, in-class instruction.
We will be submitting our plan to our school Board and the Ministry of Education toward the end of August, and will share our completed Stage 2 Continuity of Learning and revised Health and Safety Plan with parents and caregivers on or before Wednesday, August 26th. We will also update our FAQ page to reflect our Stage 2 Reopening at this time.
We hope that you are having a restful summer and are well in body, soul, and spirit. We look forward to a full return of staff and students in September!
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:4-7
In a recent word of encouragement from a colleague, I was reminded of the classic family game, “Perfection”. If you haven’t played this game, it centers around a pile of little yellow shapes that you have to position into a spring-loaded platform before time runs out. If you don’t get all the pieces in the right holes in time, a spring releases below the board and the pieces explode off the platform and onto the floor. The buzz of the timer (intentionally calibrated to induce stress) is a constant reminder that time is running out and that all the pieces need to be in place soon!
This is a pretty good picture of how we have felt, at times, over the past 12 weeks. The pieces have tumbled out of their previously “set” places, and we have scrambled to put them back in time before the next “disrupt”.
But, in all of this, we rejoice in answered prayers regarding the return of students and staff to the school, the delivery of steel for our new building, and the grace-filled gentleness demonstrated to us by our parent community. Not everything has been “perfect”, but we have truly known the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding” in this season. We hope and pray that you have and will experience the same as we continue to bring our concerns to the Lord.
It has been great to see many of our families on campus, face-to-face this week. Thank you for following our on-campus protocols – “Giving Space, and Cleaning with Care”. We have set up a picnic table and canopy area in the staff parking lot for student and staff use after 9:30am. If you wish to visit with other parents and watch some of the construction activity after drop-off, we welcome you to use this area until 9:30am. Visiting in the gravel parking lot works too.
If you haven’t signed up for the in-class instruction/support option yet, but wish to do so – please correspond with me directly via email (email@example.com). We need some time to communicate with teachers, and arrange spaces so that your child(ren) feel welcome upon their arrival.
If you have had your child(ren) here this week, I would love to hear about your experience of “Stage 3” on our campus. Please email your feedback directly to me. We continue to meet daily with our staff to tweak our protocols and make your child(ren)’s experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.
We are looking forward to the celebrations we have planned to close out the year. Keep an eye on your class emails and school calendar for dates, times and details.
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
We are looking forward to the return of staff and many of our K-12 students on Monday! It will be good to be together after many weeks of virtual interaction. As of today, we are expecting over 100 K-7 students and close to 50 high school students participate in a return to in-class instruction, beginning on Monday, June 1st. Staff are already at school arranging classroom furniture to “Give Space” for the learners returning to class next week.
We have closed the Return to In-Class Instruction Sign-up Form; however, if you are interested in having your child(ren) return to school in June, it is required that you contact the school ahead of time so we can prepare accordingly. Our Continuity of Learning Plan (PDF) and schedule can be found on our website, along with our Health and Safety Plan (PDF).
Please take some time to review these important reminders for our return to school in June:
- Part-time return for K-7 students is 8:30am-12:30pm, Monday to Thursday
- Part-time return for High School students is 8:30am-12:30pm, Tuesday and Thursday ONLY
- Drop-off (AM) is between 8:30-9am; Pick-up is between 12-12:30pm.
- There will be no before or after school supervision/care – unless formally requested. Students will not be allowed to use the playground before 8:30am or after 12:30pm.
- Parents are encouraged to respect drop-off and pick-up windows so that staff can take a lunch break and transition to supporting at-home learners.
- Primary students are to be dropped off and picked up at exterior classroom doors
- Intermediate students are to report immediately to their cabins
- High school students are to enter the building and report immediately to their home rooms – which will be listed on the main entry doors
- Please note that staff will be focussed on supporting in-class learners on Monday-Thursday mornings, but are committed to continued support of at-home learners in the afternoons and on Fridays.
This week, elementary teachers will be providing a return to school letter that outlines instructions and a list of school supplies for in-class instruction time. High school students are asked to bring one bag/backpack with a snack, water bottle, binders, textbooks, and basic personal school supplies (pencils, pens, calculator, etc.). To manage technology needs, if intermediate or high school students have a school or personal laptop they are using at home, it would be helpful if they brought it with them for their in-class learning.
Next week, staff in high-vis vests will be present in front of the school to welcome and direct students and staff to their classrooms and address any questions or concerns. The office will be open from 8am-4pm, but parents are encouraged to conduct business virtually (email, website) or by phone. Signage will be posted on the main doors and throughout the building to reinforce our key health and safety message: “Give SPACE, CLEAN with Care”.
A few final notes. Planning is underway for Kindergarten, Grade 7, and Grade 12 graduation events. We are planning a drive-in style Grade 12 “Roast and Toast” evening on June 18th, and Kindergarten (AM) and Grade 7 (PM) drive-thru style graduation ceremonies for Friday, June 19th. Details will be shared with students and parents in the coming days. There will be no year-end BBQ event, but we are working on sharing a slideshow of pictures for families to enjoy in their homes.
As always, your feedback is important to us. Thank you to those who completed our 2020/21 Tuition Survey. If you haven’t done so, please take a few minutes this week. We are heading into elementary class composition/class list discussions and making final adjustments to our high school schedule, and finalizing our 2020/21 budget for our virtual Spring Society AGM at 7pm on Wednesday, June 17th. Next week, we will share an agenda with links to attend and participate in this meeting.
Will see many of you next week, but blessings to all as we finish out this most memorable, 2019/20 school year!
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
In her book, Pursuing the Will of God Together, author Ruth Haley Barton notes that one of the beliefs that form a foundation for a sound discernment practice is that love is our ultimate calling. What love is calling us to do in a given situation is, perhaps, the greatest filter for selecting a way forward. Paul calls us to “let love be [our] highest goal!” (1 Corinthians 14:1), and John reminds us that when we love one another, “God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:12)
This season has provided many opportunities for our staff and leadership team to discern and pursue God’s will together, and we have endeavored to keep love at the center of each move. Some of these moves have arisen from desires that God has put on our hearts, internally (building expansion project, for example); some of these moves have been required by external events not of our choosing (at-home/in-class learning plan transitions resulting from COVID-19 responses). In all of these moves, we have and continue to ask: “What would love do?”.
On March 17th, under the direction of BC’s Public Health Officer (PHO), in-class instruction was suspended and a state of emergency was declared by the Premier. On April 6th, Cedars launched our at-home Continuity of Learning Plan with K-12 learners, with a strong commitment to “care and connection” with our families. With your support and the hard work of staff, we have made the most of these 7 weeks. In fact, many of our students are thriving! For those who have struggled with at-home learning, we have provided in-school care and support. For 5 weeks, we have provided care for over 20 children of essential service workers, and learning support for 15 vulnerable K-12 learners at the school.
On May 6th, the Premier unveiled our province’s Restart Plan, and the Ministry of Education subsequently announced a gradual, staged, optional return to in-class instruction for K-12 students. Over the past two weeks our leadership team has been processing information from the Ministry and feedback from our staff and families in order to prepare our school’s Stage 3 Continuity of Learning Plan (PDF)
Love is at the center of our planning.
As many of you have shared in your survey feedback, we are concerned for the well-being of our staff as they prepare another significant teaching and learning model transition. Our survey of families and conversations with staff also reveal significant concerns regarding health and safety in a return to school at this time. Our Stage 3 Plan outlines a return to school that provides margin for our staff to manage in-class instruction and at-home learning support for the month of June, and includes a Health and Safety Plan (PDF) that addresses many of the concerns that staff and families have expressed regarding exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.
Some of you have asked, “Why now?”, when we are nearing the end of the year and PHO messaging continues to highlight the need for physical distancing. There are many ways to answer this question, but some key reasons that we are pleased to provide more at-school opportunities for students, beginning on June 1st:
- It is safe to do so. Public health authorities have been vigilant with respect to the health and safety of all British Columbians, including our school aged children. The most recent guidance for K-12 school settings is that school-aged children have very low infection rates, are not the primary drives of spread, have milder symptoms, and pose low risk to other children or adults who work with them. We are confidently opening our doors, with health and safety measures in place, to work with children in our building.
- It is good for students. Although the majority of our students continue to thrive in this season, many of our students are falling behind academically and/or have socioemotional or mental health challenges that are exacerbated by this present crisis. For many of our students, school is an important, safe space for growth and development. All of our students have experienced some level of trauma in this season, and face-to-face interaction is needed (if not greatly desired!) on the heels of 7 weeks of various levels of isolation and physical distancing.
- It contributes to the common good. With the restart of our economy, many businesses are opening up. Return-to-school means that many of our parents/caregivers can return to work and/or can take some needed respite from the front-line responsibilities of supporting at-home learning.
Once again, we thank you for your feedback, support, and engagement over these past two months.
Before the end of this week, we ask all parents and caregivers to take some time to review the details of our Stage 3 Continuity of Learning Plan (PDF) and Health and Safety Plan (PDF). If, after reviewing these plans, you wish to sign-up your child(ren) for in-class instruction/support on June 1st, please complete this form before 10pm on Monday, May 25th. This will allow our staff and leadership team to prepare for working with your children on site.
Please note that return to school in June is optional for families. We will continue to support learners at home and at school through the end of June. However, if you choose to have your children participate in learning at the school in June, it will need to be arranged in advance. This opportunity is not being offered as a drop-in service.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding our Stage 3 plan, please contact me directly by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We continue to keep your family in our prayers, and look forward to many glad reunions on our campus in June!