Dear CCS Families,

I pray you enjoyed a special Thanksgiving Break and that Cougars at Home was a success for your family this week. Over the past week, we have been made aware of several members of our community who tested positive for COVID-19. As of this morning, 6 members of our High School community and 5 members of our Middle School community have reported testing positive for COVID-19 over the past week and a half. We have not received any positive case reports for the Elementary community this week. 

We are grateful for the flexibility to operate in Cougars at Home, allowing us to protect the entire CCS community from unnecessary exposure. Thank you for your support of this decision, which resulted in a lower incidence of required quarantine. The Lord continues in His faithfulness to provide guidance as we navigate these challenging times and we are so grateful. 

Given a lack of cases in the Elementary School, this division will return to campus on Monday, December 7 for Cougars on Campus on a regular schedule. Additional Health & Safety modifications will be employed to ensure the continued safety of Elementary faculty and students. 

We intended for all students to return to campus next week. However, given the current case count in Middle and High School, these divisions will continue to operate in Cougars at Home for three additional days (Monday, December 7 - Wednesday, December 9). Our hope is that we will see a decline in additional cases over the next few days, so we will be able to return to campus before the Christmas break. We will communicate plans for the remainder of the week by Tuesday evening, December 8. 

  • EXAMS (MS/HS) - In light of our continued Cougars at Home status for these divisions and mounting concern over mid-term exams, scheduled the week of December 14, Middle and High School exams are cancelled for the first semester. We remain committed to the academic integrity of our program and will use the time productively to continue classroom instruction and cumulative content review. Middle and High School Principals will communicate early next week regarding adjustments related to this change.

  • Extra-Curricular Activities (MS/HS) - Middle and High School Athletics and Arts activities are suspended for the period of Monday (Dec 7) - Wednesday (Dec 9). This decision has been made to minimize opportunities for exposure through next Wednesday. 
                         
All Divisions will receive detailed instructions from Principals, Pathways and Classroom Teachers regarding adjustments for next week. 

As we remain diligent in monitoring and safeguarding the CCS community, students and families in all divisions should comply with the following protocols: 

STAY HOME WHEN ILL
One of the greatest ways to protect our community is to simply stay home if you are not feeling well. If you sense ANY changes in your health, be cautious and stay home to see if symptoms develop. If symptoms do not develop, please speak to a school nurse about returning to campus. 

REPORT ALL COVID-19 EXPOSURE, TESTING & POSITIVE CASES
Each CCS Faculty, Staff, Student and Family must self-report if you or someone in your household has been:
  • Exposed to COVID-19
  • Are awaiting a COVID-19 test result 
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19.  
Keeping us informed enables our team to effectively monitor the situation and make informed, prayerful and responsible decisions. 
Click here to confidentially inform the COVID-19 Task Force of any of the instances above.  

SUBMIT ABSENCE FORMS for ALL ABSENCES
Submit the divisional Student Absence Form (Carmel Parent>ES,MS,HS icon) ANY TIME your student is absent from school. It is very important that we understand the nature of every student absence. 

UPDATED FACE-COVERING PROTOCOL
K-12 face covering protocols have been updated to comply with Executive Order 180 issued by Governor Cooper on November 23. 

Grade K-12 Face Covering Protocols:
  • Face coverings are REQUIRED at all times while on campus, from the time of exiting the vehicle in the morning until returning to the vehicle in the afternoon. 
  • Face coverings will be worn at times previously considered an exception, including outdoor recess (ES), outdoor advisory (MS) and Physical Education classes.  
  • Athletics will continue to follow the guidance of the NCISAA.

Face coverings will not be worn while actively eating or drinking. Our principals have developed a plan for regular and consistent snack breaks for students in all divisions, allowing opportunities for a break from wearing a face covering. Elementary students will take lunch, snack and 2 water breaks as well as opportunities during outdoor recess, when distanced appropriately. Upon returning to campus, Middle and High School students will take breaks in lunch, House and Crew. We are here to help your students adjust to this new reality and will support and encourage them throughout the process.  

UPDATED QUARANTINE PROTOCOL
As you may be aware, the CDC recently introduced acceptable options to shorten the quarantine period for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19, but are not demonstrating symptoms. Based upon our experience to date, we will adopt one of these options (with minimal increased risk) to optimize on campus learning. Carmel Christian will immediately adopt this updated quarantine protocol: If an individual is quarantined due to close contact (exposure) and develops no symptoms during the quarantine period, his/her quarantine will extend for 10 days rather than the previously required 14 days. 

The school nurses will continue to communicate the acceptable date to return to school following a period of quarantine. Please note that CCS will NOT adopt the CDC quarantine alternative requiring diagnostic testing. 

For health-related questions, please contact our school nurses at nurse@carmelchristian.org. 

Thank you for your continued support, flexibility and encouragement. I know that changing and adapting during this pandemic can be draining, but the word the Lord keeps saying to me is PEACE (Shalom!). I pray you will take plenty of time during this Advent season to reflect on the Prince of Peace, and that as you abide in Him, He will give you His peace that passes all understanding. I’m praying that you and your children will experience that peace this Christmas!