July 14, 2020
Good Afternoon RCS Community,
Our theme verse for 2020-21 is Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” As the RCS Superintendent, I am convinced that one of the “good works” that God has “prepared beforehand” is for the ministry Redwood Christian Schools to continue with students returning to campus. Another set of “good works” are the critical health and safety protocols that we will be following to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Although we have recently seen an overall rise in COVID-19 infection numbers across the country, and a debate regarding whether or not students should return to campus, RCS believes that returning to campus is best for the majority of our students, but will maintain an online option for families who are not yet comfortable with the return. There is a growing body of literature from researchers, doctors, and scholars showing little transmission from child-to-child at school, and furthermore, it is best for children to be back at school with proper, age-appropriate, health and safety protocols in place. Here are four articles that have been instrumental in the RCS research: 1) Children are not COVID-19 super spreaders: time to go back to school ; 2) Novel Coronavirus 2019 Transmission Risk in Educational Settings ; 3) Age-dependent effects in the transmission and control of COVID-19 epidemics ; 4) COVID-19 Transmission and Children: The Child is Not to Blame .

One hundred percent of the Redwood Christian Schools (RCS) effort is currently focused on students returning to campus for the first day of school, August 17, 2020, with an online learning option for families who want their children to be learning from home. As I am sure you can appreciate, there are many considerations; therefore, RCS is not yet ready to publish the entire “Rebuilding RCS” plan. The purpose of this email is to provide an update, with more details being released beginning next week. After publication of “Rebuilding RCS,” we will then host a Facebook Live event followed by smaller Zoom meetings to help answer questions.

The “Rebuilding RCS” plan has three major goals: 1) to provide on-campus instruction with students and teachers in classrooms (following the guidance and regulations for reopening schools); 2) to provide an online option for families who are concerned about their child(ren) returning to campus at this time; and 3) to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure for students, staff, faculty, and administration. 

“Rebuilding RCS'' consists of four phases, each one with a different level of risk according to the CDC
  • Phase One - Virtual education (due to State or County “shelter-at-home” order): lowest risk due to all virtual instruction and no physical interaction.
  • Phase Two - Small cohorts (beginning on August 17, 2020): some risk due to small cohorts, lower density, stationary students, reduced teacher movement, reduced electives / enrichment classes, with an online option via Zoom.
  • Phase Three - Classroom cohorts: more risk due to larger (whole classroom) cohorts, higher density, some student movement, greater teacher movement, additional electives / enrichment classes, with an online option via Zoom.
  • Phase Four - Return to normal: greatest risk due to most physical interaction with school returning to be like it was in the PreCOVID-19 era. 

“Rebuilding RCS” and returning to campus is a community event, one where everyone participating will need to willfully participate with these critical health and safety protocols required for students to return to campus: cloth face coverings or face shields, daily health and temperature screening, age-appropriate physical distancing, within your school-assigned cohort, and cohort teacher/student rotation. RCS is following the guidance from “ COVID-19 School Guidance: Alameda County School Reopening Plans ” by the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools and the Alameda County Health Officer, the Centers for Disease Control , the State of California Department of Education , and Alameda County Public Health Department .

RCS will start school on August 17, 2020 in Phase Two with stable cohorts of the same 15 students, socially distanced, wearing a cloth face covering, with an online option via Zoom.
I greatly appreciate you keeping the RCS ministry in your prayers, asking for God to provide us all the wisdom of Solomon (1 Kings 4:29) so that RCS can continue to provide the best education in the Bay Area for the students God has called to our classrooms.
In Christ,

Al Hearne II, PhD