(Data for November 30, 2020)
Quarantine refers to confirmed close contacts to positive COVID-19 cases only. Isolation refers to someone COVID-19 positive and is in isolation at home. Cases under investigation are defined as individuals who have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case AND are experiencing symptoms.
|Building||Confirmed Positive||In Quarantine|
|Building||Confirmed Positive||In Quarantine|
Holland Christian will be providing regular updates including the following information.
- The number of confirmed positive cases. (These individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation.)
- The number of students who are in isolation or quarantine. (These individuals have been in close contact and/or exposed to a family member, a classmate, or staff member who has tested positive.)
- The number of staff members who are in isolation or quarantine.
- The number of cases under investigation (also called probable cases).
If your child is required to quarantine due to an exposure from being in attendance at school or school related activities, you will be personally contacted by Holland Christian. This contact will be followed up with a letter from the Health Department and Holland Christian. If you are not contacted, you do not need to quarantine.
Students who are currently in face-to-face instruction, who need to be isolated or quarantined, will continue to receive instruction remotely through their classroom teacher(s).
If you are contacted by the Health Department regarding a quarantine due to an exposure outside of school we ask that you please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 616.820.2805 so that we can continue to monitor our data closely.
Transparency, to the degree possible under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, is important as we manage this public health crisis. As a district, we will not release the names of students or staff members or details about classroom or grade level. It is our hope that this information is helpful to you as we manage through COVID-19 and the 20-21 school year.
/ Past COVID-19 Updates
Dear HCHS Parents and Students,
Beginning on November 19, instruction at the high school will be delivered remotely. Please be assured that the current plan for remote learning looks VERY DIFFERENT than it did when we were in full shut down this past spring. You will notice in this plan that remote classes will take place at their regularly scheduled time, attendance will be taken and grades will count. We will be having school, it will just be delivered in a different way with faith integration still being one of the key ingredients. Many of you have already experienced classes being delivered remotely through Google Meet while you were in quarantine and the process has worked well. Please know that staff at HCHS has been working hard this past summer and over the past two days to create a plan that will work well for our students.
We know this is not easy and will be an adjustment for everyone involved. Our prayer is that together, as a community of faith, we can bring Shalom to this time of Chaos.
Here is the overview of the plan to hopefully answer questions you might have. If after reading this information you still have questions, please feel free to email and we will get back to you.
What will the schedule be?
- We will run a Block Schedule.
- Nov 19 will be a Wednesday schedule.
- Nov 20 will be a Thursday schedule.
- Chapel will be viewed during scheduled Chapel time.
- Flex becomes Office Hours which is a time for teachers to still claim students and students to reach out to teachers for extra support.
Is there an expectation to be in class and what are the expectations during class?
- Classes will be held at their scheduled time.
- Google Classroom is the starting point for all classes.
- Students are expected to join class at the start of class time through Google Meet.
- Students are expected to keep their cameras on during instructional time so please “come to class” dressed appropriately and ready to go!
- Direct Instruction will take place at the beginning of each class period.
- If there is an independent activity, students will be given a set amount of time to work on an activity and then they come back to regroup.
- While working on individual assignments, teachers may choose to allow students to sign off or turn off their cameras. Teachers will still be available the entire class period to answer questions (ie live or Google Doc).
- If there is a project that requires materials from school, teachers may arrange for students to pick up those materials. The High School office will be open.
- Classes will regroup at the end of the period and attendance will be taken.
Will attendance be taken?
- Attendance will be taken. Attendance = camera is on and students are present.
- Students should be dressed and ready for class, cameras will be turned on!!
- If your student is going to be absent for any reason and will not be “attending” class, parents will need to call this in as usual for the absence to be excused. Call the HS office at 616-820-2905 or email email@example.com.
- Someone who is out sick with an excused absence, but wants to listen in to class may do so, and they would not need to have their camera on.
- If a student has 2 unexcused absences, parents will be contacted by Mr. Keen.
- If a student is having wifi connection problems, please call the office and the absence will be excused.
- Tardies will be counted the same way they are currently recorded. If a student is more than 10 minutes late, the tardy will be turned into an absence. We will continue to track tardies and detentions will be served when we return to in person learning.
How will tests and assessments work during remote learning?
- In most settings tests will be taken at home remotely. To hold to testing protocols, you will take the test with your camera on and it will be recorded.
- With AP and College classes testing protocols might be different. In those situations your teacher will communicate with you directly.
How will Flex Time be used during remote learning?
- Flex Time is a time for students to reach out to any of their teachers for additional support. It is relabeled as Office Hours/Family Flex on the schedule.
- Students can join Office Hours as needed through Google doc or Google Meet.
- Students can still be claimed through our current Flex claiming process.
- On Wednesday during FLEX, staff will have the option to claim students for additional activities like: Clubs, teams, Bible study, support groups, or other community/faith formation activities.
- Students who have ideas on items they would like to see offered during this time, can reach out to a staff member and share your thoughts and ideas.
How do I access social emotional support during remote learning?
- The counseling office is open and available to support you in any way they can, so please do not hesitate to reach out to them or to your teachers. We are here to help!
Will extracurricular activities continue during remote learning?
- Extracurricular activities can not take place in person, but they can occur remotely after school. For example, a coach might hold virtual team meetings or the theater director might hold on line auditions.
/ JULY 29 In-person vs. HC Remote options
As promised, this email is a follow up to the information you received yesterday regarding our plans for the two different learning options for HC families this year: fully in-person and HC•Sync, the remote/online option guided by a Remote Learning Coordinator. Both options allow for Holland Christian teachers to deliver quality and personal instruction of state-aligned grade level standards through a distinctive Biblical lens. You can see in more detail below what each type of learning will look like. We’ve also attached a .pdf for quick reference.
LEARNING OPTION 1: IN-PERSON LEARNING
In-person instruction will take place full-time, 5 days a week, in our school buildings as long as Michigan is in Phase 4-6 of the reopening plan. Michigan is currently in Phase 4 of the reopening plan and the following safety protocols need to be followed:
•Face coverings are not required for PreK-5th grade in the classroom setting as long as students are staying in their designated classrooms while preventing close sustained contact with students from other classes.
•Face coverings are used for 6th-12th graders while in the school building, except for eating and drinking.
•All staff and students will use face coverings when on a school bus, in hallways and indoor common areas.
•Face coverings will be waived for medical purposes. We are waiting to hear from the Ottawa County Health Department on how to obtain a waiver and will communicate guidance to parents once details are finalized.
•We are asking that students please provide their own face covering.
•Elementary students will spend the majority of the day with the kids in their classroom, or “cohort,” as opposed to mixing with all the students and grades in the school.
•K-12th grade students will eat lunch in their classrooms. Hot lunch will be available via a delivery process or students may bring a lunch from home.
•Classroom cohorts will remain separated from other cohorts during outside recess.
•Outside visitors and volunteers will be limited in school buildings this fall in order to minimize concerns regarding the number of people entering the buildings.
•Chapels and assemblies will continue to happen with classroom cohorts whenever possible. We will also present chapel and other assemblies with live streaming options.
•Classroom spaces will be designed a little differently this year to space students out in the classroom.
•Students will initially face the same direction in the classroom.
•Students will be guided in social distancing in places like hallways, bathrooms, and school offices.
•Each building is utilizing more custodial staff to ensure more frequent cleaning.
•There will be an increased availability and usage of hand sanitizer and hand washing.
•Student resources/supplies will be used with limited sharing. Certain supplies will be cleaned between use.
•Secondary classrooms will be cleaned between classes.
Screening, Testing, Contact Tracing and Positive Cases
•We know this is one of the most common questions parents have! We will follow the guidance requirements from the Ottawa County Health Department and are awaiting additional details from them regarding this topic. Once we hear from them, we will work on a decision tree process in the days ahead, and pass that updated information to you as soon as we are able. We will continue to be as transparent as possible with you in our planning.
Once Michigan enters Phase 5 of the reopening plan, the implemented safety procedures move from processes that are required to most items being strongly recommended. At that point, Holland Christian will have the flexibility to modify our requirements to further accommodate the needs of our students. If and when new phasing adaptations are introduced, additional details will be communicated.
If Michigan returns to Phases 1-3, and in-person learning transitions to full-time remote learning as required by the State, Holland Christian will be in solid shape to transition your child’s learning to meet the new requirements. Please note, this will NOT be the learning experience your child had this spring when we needed to go to remote learning with no notice. Holland Christian Administration and staff have received additional training and used parent survey feedback to make necessary advancements to the remote learning experience that was in place during the spring.
If we are required to go remote, Holland Christian would be ready to provide:
•iPads for all K-4th grade students and laptops for all 5th-12th grade students
•WiFi service for all parents to support remote learning
•Faith-based robust instruction in Bible, Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies, World Languages/Spanish, Art, PE, Band, Orchestra and Choir
•Instructional minutes that will allow for all students to receive access to instruction on all the essential state standards
•Instruction via pre-recorded videos for flexible timing to best accommodate parents’ and students’ schedules.
•PreK-2nd grade teachers will all use SeeSaw and 3rd-12th grade teachers will all use Google Classroom
•Assessments and grading practices similar to in-person practices
•Attendance will be required
•Tangible resources and school supplies necessary for learning
•Access to chapels
•RTI and ESS student support to the extent possible
•Weekly Zoom meetings (at a minimum) for students to continue to build relationships with teachers and fellow students
•Access to school counseling services for students and parents
OPTION 2: HC•SYNC (REMOTE LEARNING)
Holland Christian has also been working diligently to build out a fully remote option, called HC•Sync, for families who feel this is the best choice for their children at this time. This program will be available PreK-12th grade. A comparison chart of the two programs is available below. This chart explains the difference between the two programs:
|In Person Learning||HC•Sync|
|•Follow Phase 4 required safety protocols
•Engagement with Holland Christian Schools standards aligned curriculum and academic task requirements
•Receive instructional delivery by HC teachers
|•Five full days of instruction
•Requires increased motivation to meet learning objectives
•Ability to self pace and work independently
•Engagement with Holland Christian School standards aligned curriculum
•Completion of academic task and assessment requirements
•Receive instructional delivery by HC teachers through pre-recorded videos in all content areas including some extra curriculars
•Consistent attendance expectations
•Receive support from the Remote Learning Coordinator
•Participation in co-curriculars and sports
|•Commit to a partnership between home, school, and church||•Monitoring and guidance of students progress
•Work in a partnership with the Remote Learning Coordinator
•Communication when support needs arise
|Remote Learning Coordinator|
|•Provide support for students who may need academic support at home due to extended COVID absences||•Monitor online student learning and academic progress
•Provide learning support when necessary
•Provide student accountability for task completion
•Proctor student assessments when necessary
•Provide students with their necessary learning materials
|School Counseling Services|
|•Access all school counseling services as determined through screening assessments||•In-home school counseling services provided as determined through screening assessments|
|Education Support Services (ESS)|
|•ESS services provided for all students who receive a Personalized Education Plan
•All accommodations followed as stated in a 504 plan
|•ESS services provided for all students who receive a Personalized Education Plan
•All accommodations followed as stated in a 504 plan
|•Tuition rates are the same for in-person and at-home learning||•Tuition rates are the same for in-person and at-home learning|
Town Hall Meeting
So that we can best prepare for your family, we are asking you to make a decision for your child’s learning experience by Tuesday, August 4. We realize this timing is short, but want as much time as possible to best prepare to meet the needs of all our students this fall.
If your child will be returning for in-school instruction, you do not need to do anything at this time.
If you are interested in HC•Sync for your child, please respond by completing The HC•Sync Enrollment form linked here by Tuesday, August 4.
Thank you for your prayers on behalf of Holland Christian Schools. We trust in God’s plan for our community and are so grateful for your partnership.
Dr. Eric A. Forseth
Head of Schools
July 28 Update on Town Hall
As we embark upon the approaching school year, my thoughts turn to Scripture and the story of Daniel and also of Moses. Stories of faithfulness lived out. Daniel was provided knowledge and understanding by God (Daniel 1:17) and through all the challenges of the day, Daniel chose to remain and be faithful (Daniel 1:21). Genesis 6:9 shares that Noah walked faithfully with God. I want to request that, together, we continue to live like Daniel and Noah. I want to personally thank you for your commitment, partnership, and patience in these unprecedented times. I want to also thank you for your faithfulness and your commitment to Christian education. With these stories of faithfulness in mind we now want to ask you to “stay centered” in your Christian education commitment to move forward with Holland Christian, in partnership with your family, on the school’s opening plans.
Without hesitation, I can say wholeheartedly that our school family has been in prayer on moving forward with a predominantly in-person return to school. The instructional team of Director of Learning, Erin Wyma, and the principals have been meeting frequently and diligently to iron out the details for a high-quality COVID response plan and phasing in conjunction with the Michigan Safe Start Roadmap.
We have created six working committees that include primary and secondary instructional teams, a communications work group, chapel/student programming, wellness, and a PPE/Safety work group. The general structure of these work groups is attached.
As we’ve been planning for the 20-21 school year over the summer, and in talking to parents these past few weeks, we realize that everyone’s situation is unique. What works for some families for schooling might not work for others during COVID-19. However, one of the many positive hallmarks of a Holland Christian education is our partnership with parents. Our desire is to partner with you in providing an academically excellent, Christ-centered, relational education for your children and this is as true now as any previous school year. We also believe that all students should be given an equitable opportunity to access solid Holland Christian learning regardless of their situations. Although we anticipate that a predominant in-person return to school is what most families desire, we believe that providing parent choice is one of the ways we can partner best with families for the 20-21 school year.
As a result, we will be providing two different options to our families for learning experiences this fall: fully in-person and remote/online guided by an at-home learning coordinator. Both options will allow for Holland Christian teachers to deliver quality and personal instruction of the state-aligned grade level standards through a distinctive Biblical lens.
We will be emailing you full details about these options to you tomorrow and invite you to a Town Hall Zoom tomorrow, July 29 at 6:30 pm so that we can review these two learning options with you. The meeting will also be recorded if you can’t attend or to reference at a later time. Please join us using the invite below:
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13126266799,,87451593308#,,,,,,0#,,5221446213# or +16465588656,,87451593308#,,,,,,0#,,5221446213#
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128 or +1 253 215 8782
Webinar ID: 874 5159 3308
International numbers available: us02web.zoom.us/u/kcnlRaVUwL
We thank you for your faithfulness, support, encouragement, and all the prayers you’ve lifted up on the behalf of our school. We trust in God’s plan for our community and are committed to making this a wonderful school year, filled with joy, friendships, and positive learning experiences!
Dr. Eric A. Forseth
Head of Schools
July 22 Update
Thank you for taking a few minutes to read the anticipated weekly updates regarding Holland Christian’s Return to School planning. We will be providing regular updates to you from the Administration Office or your child’s school as we prepare for the start of the school year. Our intent is to be clear and concise about what we are working on and transparent with where we are at with our work. Our overall goal is to create a plan that provides exceptional instruction to your children in a safe and nurturing environment.
Holland Christian has a Back to School Coordinating Council that includes six subgroups: communications, secondary instruction, elementary instruction, student programming, safety, and mental health. This coordinating council is taking the Michigan Return to School Roadmap and creating a plan specific for our school based on the requirements and general guidelines.
What we know:
If Michigan is in Stage 4, 5, or 6 of its reopening plan, our plan is to return students to school five days a week in a safe manner that adheres to the state of Michigan Return to School roadmap. Holland Christian’s plan will be prepared in consultation with the county health department and other leaders in the area. We are also incorporating feedback from parents that was collected from the last survey we sent out. There is a strong desire by the majority of our parents (93%) to return to school full time with enhanced safety procedures in place.
What is currently required:
Facial coverings: Facial coverings must be worn by staff and students in 6th-12th grades. Facial coverings may be homemade or disposable. Facial coverings are not required for prek-5th grade students unless they are in a common area. We are asking students to provide their own mask. The school will also have disposable masks on hand as necessary.
Hygiene: The school will provide supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol for safe use by staff and students, paper towels, tissues, and signs reinforcing proper handwashing techniques. The schools will also have portable handwashing and/or hand sanitizing stations to set up throughout school buildings. Staff will be trained on how to best clean our buildings and classrooms. More details will be shared soon.
Health screenings: We are working with the Ottawa County Health Department regarding student and staff daily screening protocols. Once we have these, we will send them to you. This will likely be a self-screen at home each morning and include taking your child’s temperature and reviewing symptoms to make sure your child is symptom free before going to school.
We will work with the Ottawa County Health Department if a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified, and in particular, must collect the contact information for any close contacts of the affected individual from two days before he or she showed symptoms to the time when he or she was last present at school.
What is strongly recommended/recommended that we intend to implement:
Your building principal will be sending you safety protocols for your child’s building. This includes information on classroom configurations, traffic flow, and signage for each building to best allow for social distancing; visitor guidelines, field trip requirements, recess protocols, etc.
Medically vulnerable students: We are reviewing current plans for accommodating students with special healthcare needs so we can update their educational plans.
Instruction and Student Programming Update:
We are working on a robust education plan that fits our desired safety protocols. This plan will make sure students have access to the highest quality instruction available at each grade level. We will also make sure that all learning is taught from an integrated Christ-centered perspective that is the hallmark of a Holland Christian education. Our learning plan will meet or exceed recommendations required by the state. Additional details will be provided in the near future.
We are also working on an exceptional at home learning plan for all students should Michigan return to Stage 3. This would not be the same learning plan we adjusted to this spring when schools closed suddenly and needed to be remote with no notice. If your child requires an at-home learning plan while school is in session, please contact our Director of Learning, Erin Wyma, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MHSAA recently released their return to school plan for athletics. You can view it here. This information was already emailed to middle and high school athletes; here is a basic summary from the MHSAA that should unfold by the end of July/first part of August:
1. There is an intent to have fall sport participation in the fall, as scheduled.
2. If conditions deem it necessary, we can delay the start of fall sports practices and competitions for certain sports.
3. If conditions only allow some sports, we will play lower-risk fall sports with higher-risk fall sports being proposed to be postponed until later in the school year.
4. If any fall sport is postponed or suspended, we will resume the season using a reconfigured calendar that would see a completion of winter sports, followed by the fall and spring seasons potentially extending into July 2021.
Fall Sports Start Dates:
August 10 – HS Football
August 12 – HS G.Aquatics, Cross, G.Golf, B.Soccer, B.Tennis, & G.Volleyball
August 19 – MS Football
August 24 – MS Cross, B.Soccer, G.Tennis & G.Volleyball
We will provide additional updates about other extra-curricular activities in future emails.
Busing will be provided and students and bus drivers should plan to wear facial coverings while on the bus. We are working with the local public school districts who partner with us on busing regarding additional safety measures that will be considered for implementation.
Hot Lunch Update:
Hot lunch will be provided and lunch will be eaten in classrooms. Additional details will be available soon.
Thank you for your patience as we plan for a great school year in spite of unusual circumstances. We are so grateful for your partnership and covet your prayers as we prepare for fall. If you have any questions at this point, please contact me or your building principal. If you need this communication translated into another language other than English, please let us know so we can assist. It is important that all of our parents have a good understanding of how we will care for your children this year.
In His grip,
Dr. Eric A. Forseth
Head of Schools
Early July Update
Greetings from Holland Christian Schools. It is a privilege to join you as of July 1. I wish the circumstances allowed for an in-person meeting, but due to circumstances related to COVID-19, I will instead look forward to meeting you in the relatively near future! In this letter, you’ll find information on what we currently know about the return to school based on the governor’s plan released yesterday.
On late afternoon June 30, 2020, the Governor of Michigan shared plans and guidelines for re-opening schools this fall. We are thrilled to hold in-person classes this fall and are so excited to welcome students back to our buildings. You can view the Governor’s Return to School Roadmap PDF here.
Schools must prepare plans for a return to school under three of Michigan’s reopening scenarios: Phases 3, 4 and 5. We are currently in Phase 4. Phase 4 allows for in-person instruction with required safety protocols. Phase 5 allows for in-person instruction and the protocols move from being required to strongly recommended. A move back to Phase 3 means remote instruction would be necessary.
Under Phase 4 the required protocol is primarily related to wearing face coverings:
Face coverings are required for students in grades 6-12.
Face coverings are not required for students in grades K-5 except in hallways and common areas.
Face coverings are not required for 3-4 year olds.
Face coverings will be required for students riding the bus.
Face coverings are required for staff.
It is also strongly recommended that parents take their child’s temperature each morning. Students with temperatures higher than 100.4 should stay home. We have been working closely with county health officials and will continue to work with the health department personnel on guidance for screening protocols and requirements if any positive COVID-19 cases occur within our Holland Christian community.
Your positive support and communication to your children regarding safety protocols would be much appreciated because this is a pivotal time to create a smooth start for students as they return to school. Your partnership is so valued and important. Holland Christian’s Return to School planning committees are currently meeting to plan what additional recommendations we will implement for your children’s safety and will share that information as soon as it is ready. Thank you for submitting feedback on these protocols in our most recent survey. This data will inform our decision-making as we greatly appreciate your input.
HCS wants to intentionally plan for students’ time in school to be a good, safe experience. We also want to be sensitive to the needs of those who are immune-compromised or at-risk at Holland Christian Schools and in the surrounding community. Now that we know we are allowed to return to school in Phases 4 and 5, if your child has a circumstance where they will potentially need to do some learning at home, please contact Erin Wyma at email@example.com so we can create a plan for these specific situations.
In addition, if you have unexpected financial hardship due to COVID-19 related to tuition, please contact our Tuition Manager, Terry VanDerKolk, at firstname.lastname@example.org. On the other side, if you would like to donate to Holland Christian’s tuition grant fund to assist families with need, we would appreciate your partnership as well. I’m looking forward to meeting you soon and want you to also feel free to call me any time with questions or suggestions about Holland Christian Schools. You can find my number below. We very much appreciate your prayers, patience as we iron out all these plans for returning to school, and understanding in these unprecedented times.
Eric A. Forseth
Head of Schools
Remote Learning Plan
On behalf of the Holland Christian leadership team, we would like to thank you for your feedback, flexibility and partnership as we have been implementing remote learning for the past three weeks. With less than 72 hours and very little prep time, our PreK-12th grade teachers essentially moved their classrooms into your homes. During this process, we have continued to monitor and make adjustments as necessary.
With Governor Whitmer’s executive order last week extending school closures for the remainder of the year, the Holland Christian instructional leadership team, in collaboration with educational and behavioral health experts from the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and West Michigan CSI district leaders worked together to create guidelines around designing remote learning framework for our PreK-12th grade students.
Holland Christian’s Remote Learning Plan was designed with foundational beliefs and norms based in research and aligned with what other area public and private schools are also implementing in accordance with the executive order. Our instructional framework was designed with the following beliefs in mind:
- Relationships are key. Supporting our students physical, emotional and spiritual well being has to be our first and foremost top priority. Students have lost a sense of normalcy and we recognize that could impact their ability to learn at the levels which they are used to.
- We will do our best to engage and support all of our students. Remote learning is not the same as a student receiving face to face instruction and requires very different skills. It is for these reasons that your students’ required instructional minutes are less than what they received during their traditional learning framework. The instructional minutes are aligned with the recommendations from the educational and behavioral health experts.
- Now is the time when we all need to exercise flexibility and grace. We understand that each student may be impacted by COVID-19 in different ways and it is our desire to support students as unique obstacles may present themselves during this remote learning experience.
When we return to school on April 13, we will continue with the work that we were doing before break started. On April 20th all of the new norms as referenced in the plan will be in effect.
Please click on the links below to read important updated information about expectations at each curricular level for the remainder of the school year.
On Thursday, April 2, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an Executive Order suspending in-person instruction in Michigan schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, thus mandating that school buildings and facilities remain closed and K-12 sports activities and other in-person extracurricular activities be likewise suspended. This is the Executive Order that we all anticipated and feared would come, but one that we also felt was necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of our students and citizens in light of the public health crisis brought about by the coronavirus.
Because Holland Christian has essentially been in a remote learning delivery system since March 16, there will be only minor modifications of our current mode of teaching and learning. This means that we will continue to address the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs of our students as foundational to their learning experience. We will also be focused on retaining the learning that has taken place earlier this year along with introducing new material during these final weeks of the 2019-20 school year. As we learn more about this delivery system, there will be continuous improvement designed to enhance learning for every student. To this our instructional team and teachers are fully committed.
For those of us who especially value face-to-face in-person teaching/learning, this is not the way we desired to complete this academic year. But, we have received nearly universal affirmation for the way that our community has embraced the challenges of the situation in which we now find ourselves. What I’ve expressed before bears repeating and that is my personal thanks, commendation, even admiration for all that students, teachers and parents are doing to continue a credible learning cycle for these unusual weeks of this school year.
I won’t attempt to share all of the Governor’s 17-page Executive Order, but these are the key points for most of our constituency:
- Face-to face, in-person instruction is suspended for the remainder of the school year. Remote learning will be the new normal.
- All schools will be developing learning plans for the balance of the year. (Holland Christian has been doing this already and will continue to adapt, refine and improve based on constructive feedback. Periodic communications from our instructional teams will continue.)
- M-STEP and SAT standardized tests will be cancelled for the year.
- School employees will be paid for the balance of the school year.
Although Holland Christian is not obligated to follow all of the regulations for public schools, we strive to essentially align with them because of our many shared collaborations. For Holland Christian our previously published school calendar for both the current and 2020-21 school years will remain intact.
Our current intention is to pay all of our employees through the end of the school year. To the extent possible this only seems fair and right because of our mutual commitments. Our teachers and those involved with instruction have likely never worked harder or spent more time in preparing and delivering instruction than they are doing now. Indeed, every paid employee will be expected to add value to our organization during this time, though their exact assignments may change according to our needs and their skill sets.
In accord with the above commitments, the regular tuition payments for this year will also need to be honored. Those experiencing unusual hardships in this regard may communicate directly with Mrs. Terry VanDerKolk (email@example.com), who administers our Tuition Grant Program. Because most of these funds are committed to those with demonstrated financial need at the beginning of the school year, there are limited funds yet available in this resource. Should there be those among us who are able and willing to ease the burden of our sisters and brothers experiencing loss due to the coronavirus pandemic, I’m certain your generosity to this fund would be greatly appreciated.
In a closely related matter, we are exploring a largely forgivable loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) administered through the Small Business Administration (SBA). There is a funding provision in this Act for non-profits including Christian schools. The PPP is essentially a federal financial stimulus program designed to ensure stability in employment during these challenging times. David Zimmer, our Director of Finance, is leading our effort on this initiative.
We received word earlier today from the Michigan High School Athletic Association that all winter sports championships and all spring sports have been officially cancelled. Still to be decided are end- of –the- year activities for seniors, especially, commencement on the scheduled date of May 19. We will keep you informed about these and other pertinent matters, as the last part of the school year unfolds.
For students, parents and teachers who have been on the front lines of this remote teaching/learning delivery mode, we wish for each of you a relaxing and well- deserved teaching/learning Spring Break during the next 10 days. And, on April 13th, when school resumes, we trust you will be eager and ready to finish strong the 2019-20 school year. Most importantly, we wish for all of you God’s presence in your lives as we experience Holy Week and all that it means to us as Christians.
Thank you for your patience, your understanding, your affirmation, and especially your prayers, as together we navigate this unexpected journey. With God’s grace and favor, the diligent efforts of all of us, and the courage to persevere, we will endure to the end of this severe health crisis. May GOD keep all of us nestled securely in the palm of HIS hand, now and always.
Dr. James E. Bultman
It’s very quiet around here – – not nearly as much fun without faculty, staff, and especially our students. One of my great joys in being at HC has been the opportunity to see students and faculty perform at the highest levels in classrooms, on stage, in concert halls, or in a variety of sports venues. All of that is now gone for the present. I feel so badly for students and faculty who have put in so much time and effort into practice for upcoming performances only to see them cancelled so quickly. But, we recognize the seriousness of the coronavirus and will willingly do our part to curtail its spread even when it is accompanied by real disappointment
I have been so impressed with our faculty and staff on how wholeheartedly they have embraced this new reality. They have accepted this challenge and are delivering a meaningful education for your children even though it will be quite different from the usual face-to-face instruction. I know that every teacher is working hard to make this a special time for teaching/learning.
I trust, too, that you as parents are doing your part to ensure that your children are engaged in this new teaching/learning routine. That would include setting aside places and times for intentional study. Thank you for your commitment to keeping the learning cycle intact!!
To those of you who may be concerned about receiving free lunches please know that HC is coordinating food distribution with area public schools at this time. Should there be questions about distribution sites, please contact Nancy Michaels, HC’s Director of Food Service, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the many cancellations and postponements of events with potentially larger groups are the following:
- The Annual Budget Forum is now scheduled for April 16 at 7:00PM in the Lecture Hall at the High School.
- The Annual School Society Meeting will be held on April 23 also at 7:00PM in the Lecture Hall in the High School.
I realize full well that the current mandates and regulations are inconvenient, even disruptive for everyone. In many cases they impose very real hardships and unrelenting concerns. My fervent prayer for all of us is that our God who is sovereign over everything will keep all of us nestled securely in the palm of His hand, now and always.
Dr. James E. Bultman
To: Parents and Trustees
From: Jim Bultman
RE: School Closing
Governor Whitmer’s directives last evening changed most everything. Area superintendents had an online meeting this morning with Dr. Pete Haines, Superintendent of the OAISD, and Dr. Paul Heidel, Chief Medical Director from the OCDPH. Some, perhaps not all, questions have been answered. Above all we are trying our very best to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our students as well as all of you. As of 7:30 this morning there were no confirmed cases in Ottawa County. For this we are grateful.
This is what we know:
- All school buildings, including ours, are to be closed starting Monday, March 16, through Sunday, April 5. This closure is for all personnel except for a few essential staff. We’ve instructed students to bring home all belongings due to the length of the closure.
- We will put forth every effort to continue the teaching and learning of our students during this time. Obviously, the format will be different due to the circumstances. You can expect regular contact between our teachers and your children although this, too, will be different than the typical face to face contact in classrooms. As much as possible, and especially at the middle and high school levels, these contacts will be done electronically. At the elementary levels these contacts and instructional assignments will vary with student and teacher circumstances.
- Teachers are meeting today and throughout the weekend to plan for continued learning. Information will be sent to students in 7th-12th grades by 10 am Monday and posted each day. We are working on the details for prek-6th grades and will share plans with you for these grade levels by Monday afternoon.
- All school activities, including spring sports practices and competitions are postponed (could be rescheduled at a later date) or cancelled (will not be rescheduled) through April 5. Unfortunately, this includes the band and orchestra trip to Disney and the spring break baseball trip.
- At this time we are planning to continue our regularly scheduled spring break from Friday, April 3 – Sunday, April 12 unless mandated otherwise by state education officials.
Thank you for your patience, understanding, and prayers as we embark on this unprecedented journey. We will provide you with regular updates via email, social media, and our website. You can be assured of our very best efforts to be accomodating and focused on continuing excellent Christian educational experiences during this time.
As most of you already know, last night Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered all K-12 schools to close Monday, March 16 – Sunday, April 5.
We know you have many questions and we are meeting throughout the day today to plan for the closure. We will keep you informed as soon as we have additional information.
Thank you for your patience and understanding,
Dr. James E. Bultman