****March 19 @ 12:10 PM****
On March 17, it was announced that there is community spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Dane County. The term “community spread” means there is no known source of the disease, such as recent contact with an infected person or travel from an area with a high number of cases.
As of this time, there are no mandates other than cancelling school “indefinitely” (which means until the end of the public health crisis) and limiting groups to less than 10. Knowing that things have changed at a very rapid pace in less than a week, we realize there is a potential for more restrictive orders to come soon. Schools have been advised to get materials to families as soon as possible. We understand that it’s technically still our spring break week, and not everyone will be able to stop in, but we are going to expedite our plans and do everything we can to get materials to kids tomorrow, March 20.
We are implementing a drive-up distribution process, so that no one will need to exit their vehicle or come into the building. However, if you do not feel safe with this plan, are ill, or your situation makes leaving your home difficult, please email Stacy ([email protected]) immediately to make alternate arrangements. We are more than happy to deliver items to the homes of those who cannot make it in. We even have a group of volunteers who have stepped up to help with home deliveries. So please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you need help with getting your child’s school work. We are committed to 100% of our students receiving materials one way or another.
We have staggered pick-up by last name (see chart below). Please notice that H and S make up one of the groups due to the disproportionate number of families with last names beginning with these letters. Any family member may pick up materials. Your student does not need to be present at pick-up. Refer to our email from March 17, or go to our COVID-19 Information and Updates web page for detailed expectations for each grade level. Your child’s classroom teacher will let you know the ways in which you can submit finished work.
A – D ……………. 8:00 – 9:30
E – G & I – K …. 9:30 – 11:00
L – R ……………. 11:00 – 12:30
T – Z ……………. 12:30 – 2:00
H & S …………… 2:00 – 3:30
We have asked families to help us better understand their technology needs by completing a short (4 question, Y/N answers) survey. Please click HERE by the end of the day TODAY if you have not yet completed the survey.
Screen yourself for symptoms before coming to school to pick up materials. Please send someone else to school if you have cold symptoms, cough, body aches, fever, or shortness of breath.
Thank you for your patience and understanding at the constantly changing plans and updates.
****March 17 @ 2:10 PM****
Dear Families of Westside Christian School,
We are currently living in unprecedented times during our era. With so much uncertainty, we know that there is one unshakable truth. We can depend on the love, grace, and peace that we receive from our Savior.
Our school mission is to prepare students for academic success and lives of Christian service through a curriculum and total school program founded on the Word of God. While this has been regularly carried out through face-to-face, daily interaction between students and staff, that option is not going to be available to us for the next few weeks.
For the time being, the delivery method of our education will be changing. We are still committed to high quality, Christian education. Even though we will not be in the same building during the coming weeks, we will continue to work toward our mission of educating students. We ask that all families fill out the very brief survey found HERE to let us know what support you will need in order to help your child access online learning in the coming weeks.
We know the mandates before us may be subject to change and we will follow all requirements for the safety of our students and others in our community. We will also continue to provide you with the support you need so the critical education of your children does not stop after our Spring Break ends.
Specific details of our virtual learning plan are found in the following pages. We fully realize the circumstance we’re in is fluid and may change, so we will do everything we can to update you as plans adjust throughout the month. The roll-out of this new virtual learning will not be perfect. You will have many questions and our teachers will be new to some of this as well, but we are committed to working with you to answer those questions as quickly and completely as possible.
We want to thank you for your flexibility, support, and commitment to your child’s education.
Virtual Learning Plan
The Westside Christian School building will be closed to student education until at least April 6. All field trips, extracurricular activities, and before / after school care are also cancelled until further notice.
March 16th to the 20th will remain as our regularly scheduled Spring Break. March 23rd-25th will be off (no attendance) for our teachers to meet to prepare for the virtual learning days. For these three days (March 23-25th) we will use our reserve of built up emergency snow/cold days. Resources, packets, and Chromebooks will be handed out to families on March 25th.
In order to limit the number of people in the building at one time, we plan to have families stagger the time frames in which they will pick up their child’s materials. Please plan to stop into school on March 25th at the following times depending on your last name (see chart below). Please notice that H and S make up one of the groups due to the disproportionate number of families with last names beginning with these letters. Any family member may pick up materials. Your student does not need to be present at pick-up and should not come into the school unless necessary (e.g., small children should not be left in the car unsupervised).
A – D 8:00 – 9:30
E – G & I – K 9:30 – 11:00
L – R 11:00 – 12:30
T – Z 12:30 – 2:00
H & S 2:00 – 3:30
We will be conducting virtual learning school days from March 26 until at least April 3. That period of school will be marked for attendance for grades 4K – 8 (refer to the attendance section below). Virtual learning days are determined for the whole school by the administration.
On Monday, March 23rd and Tuesday March 24th, all teachers will prepare for virtual learning days. Each teacher will communicate expectations to their school family. It is vital that you are checking this communication and that you ask any questions and get any clarifications that you need.
During virtual learning days, email will be the preferred method of communication of instructions. Staff members will promptly check and respond to emails from parents/students between 8:15-3:30 p.m. daily.
WCS Principal, Mrs. Meredith Pucci
Preschool Director and 4K Teacher, Mrs. Ellen Soukup
Pre-K3 Teacher & Art Teacher (K – 8), Ms. Sue Martalock
Kindergarten Teacher, Mrs. Karen Hong
Grade 1 Teacher, Mrs. Ashley Renstrom
Grade 2 Teacher, Mrs. Jessica Kjenstad
Grades 3 & 4 Teacher, Ms. Kim Gnewuch
Middle School Teacher (Grades 5 & 6 homeroom), Mrs. Michelle Luppen
Middle School Teacher (Grades 7 & 8 homeroom), Mrs. Sarah Krueger
Middle School English and Writing Teacher, Mrs. Rachel Kamin
Physical Education Teacher (PK – 8), Mrs. Julia Wood
Virtual learning days are school days. Unlike a traditional school day, attendance is not determined based on being physically present in the school building. Instead, attendance is tracked through a student’s completed work. Attendance is counted each virtual learning day for all students in 4K-8th grade.
For each virtual learning day, the classroom teacher will assign work for students to complete in various subject areas. In order to be counted as “present” on a virtual learning day, all of the work assigned in Religion, Math, and ELA (English/Language Arts) must be completed (Note: For 5-8 students, Social Studies & Science, based on their current course schedule, is also a required subject each day). 5-8th grade students will submit all work in Google Classroom, unless it is noted by the teacher that an assignment or task will be turned in separately (ie. interactive notebooks for science). If a student does not complete the work for that day in the core academic areas in Google Classroom as assigned, they will be marked “absent” for the school day. Partial day attendance will not be considered on virtual learning days. These absences will count toward their yearly total of absences for the 2019-2020 school year. In the event your child falls ill, you are not required to inform the school office, but please connect with your child’s teacher. If they are still able to complete all the required daily work, they can be marked “present” for the virtual learning days.
While teachers will set daily work requirements, attendance will be marked as we are able to verify that the work is completed. For those able to complete the work on a computer, attendance can be marked as soon as teachers verify the digital work is completed. For those completing paper versions of the work, we will mark attendance as soon as we are able to get the work back and verify completion.
Teachers may also assign other subjects for students to complete. Students are encouraged to complete these other subject areas for their educational value.
Grade Level Specific Academic Expectations:
3K students participation in virtual learning days is optional. Attendance will not be taken on virtual learning days for 3K students. Ms. Martalock can provide a packet of activities for parents to complete at home with their child, upon request of the parent. Videos may also be sent home via email for children and parents to view. If your child does complete a packet of work, it can be returned to school when students return to in-classroom instruction. Email Ms. Martalock if you would like a packet for your child.
4K students participation in virtual learning days is required for school attendance. Attendance will be taken on virtual learning days for 4K students. Mrs. Soukup will provide a packet of Religion, Math, and ELA activities for parents to complete at home with their child. Videos will also be sent home via email for children and parents to view. Student packets can be returned to school when students return to in-classroom instruction. Parents will be expected to check in by the end of the week to report on their child’s progress in order to have attendance recorded for the prior school days.
5K – 2nd grade:
5K – 2nd grade student participation in virtual learning days is required for school attendance. All Religion, Math, and ELA daily work is required to be completed in order for the student to be counted as “present” for that day. 5K-2nd grade instructional materials will be via paper packets that will be handed out on Wednesday, March 25th. Parents will be expected to check in with their child’s teacher to report on the student’s progress and have attendance recorded. The details of this will be communicated by the individual classroom teachers next week. Teachers may provide videos via zoom to assist parents with at-home instruction.
3rd – 4th grade:
3rd – 4th grade student participation in virtual learning days is required for school attendance. All Religion, Math, and ELA daily work is required to be completed in order for the student to be counted as “present” for that day. 3rd-4th grade instructional materials will include a combination of paper packets that will be handed out on Wednesday, March 25th and accessing Google Classroom for help with core subjects for some fun learning in science, social studies, and even a link to a few art hub lessons. Parents will be expected to check in with their child’s teacher to report on the student’s progress and have attendance recorded. The specifics of this will be shared by the classroom teacher next week. Teachers may also provide videos to assist parents with at-home instruction.
5th – 8th:
5th – 8th grade student participation in virtual learning days is required for school attendance. All Religion, Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Science daily work is required to be completed in order for the student to be counted as “present” for that day. 5 – 8 instructional materials will be available digitally or via paper packets to be handed out on Wednesday, March 25th to students. Teachers will provide video lessons to assist students with at-home instruction. All students in grades 5 – 8 will use Google Classroom to access lessons, submit assignments, and collaborate with other students. Correspondence will primarily take place from teacher to student via email.
If families have internet access at home, it will be more convenient for students to access assignments, submit assignments digitally, and for parents to check correspondences from the teachers. In addition, a paper copy of weekly instructional material will be made available each week.
There are several new options for families that do not have internet. Comcast and Spectrum are both offering free internet for two months. See the information at the links below:
Distribution of Materials:
Chromebooks – Families that have internet connection at home but do not have a laptop, desktop, or Chromebook that their child(ren) could use for virtual learning days will have the option of checking out a Chromebook from Westside Christian School. If your child needs a Chromebook to participate in virtual learning, be sure you have indicated it on our SURVEY. Families will need to sign a Usage Agreement form prior to checking out a Chromebook.
Paper Packets – Paper packets will be available for pick up to all grades on Wednesday, March 25th. Each packet will contain the required tasks for students for every day of the week. Religion, Math, and ELA (5-8: Social Studies and Science) daily requirements must be completed and returned to the school in order for attendance to be counted for the student on that day. For grades 5-8 students we will have the opportunity to submit some assignments electronically daily.
Work with your student on his/her packet at home during the virtual learning period. Packets will be collected when our school building reopens for traditional face-to-face learning. If all work is completed, they will be marked as present for the virtual learning days.
If you experience technology issues during virtual learning days, contact your child’s classroom teacher. They will serve as the point person for either assisting you or connecting you with an individual for additional support.
****March 13 @ 7:45 PM****
This evening, Governor Tony Evers issued an order mandating the closure of all Wisconsin public and private schools, with an anticipated reopening date of Monday, April 6, 2020. The date of reopening is subject to change pending further information.
We have not yet determined what the details of online courses will look like or what will be required for our students by the Department of Public Instruction. Our staff has begun preparing resources for families so that we are able to offer books, homework packets, and other enrichment opportunities online, along with a list of other resources to access during the weeks we will be off school.
If your child doesn’t have a device at home to access online learning opportunities, let us know that soon so we can coordinate a system of checking out school chromebooks to families. If your family needs internet access, Charter is offering free Spectrum broadband and WiFi for 60 days to families with students who do not already have a subscription.
We will keep you informed as we learn more and as we work together to keep the best plan in mind for the safety and well being of our students. While this is certainly a challenging time for everyone, we are thankful to be blessed with a school community of teachers and families who have close relationships and are here to support one another in their child’s spiritual and academic education. If you work in the healthcare industry or any other field where your position will be relied on heavily in the coming weeks, please reach out to Principal Meredith Pucci, and we will do our best to coordinate additional resources for you.
Struggles and periods of uncertainty in this world can be a time when we tend to worry about the challenges here on earth. However, we are reminded in Isaiah 41:10 that we should instead turn to God, our rescuer from sin. For it says, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” We can turn to our Savior for help in times of trouble, anxiety, and worry. Be strong and courageous in Him, for he will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).
****March 13 @1:45 PM****
Westside Christian School holds the well-being, health and safety of students and staff as our highest priority.
The risk remains low in Wisconsin. However, as the number of people with COVID-19 rises in the United States, federal and state health departments are encouraging school districts and communities to develop a plan for the spread of the disease. This plan is called a pandemic plan. We are in close communication with Public Health Madison and Dane County, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, and the Department of Public Instruction.
Our Savior has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us. That is true when times are good and when times are difficult. That promise can give us encouragement for the present and hope for the future. As the Psalm writer said, “My times are in your hands.” There is no better place to be. Strengthened by God’s promises, we can encourage and comfort one another to remain fearless in the face of danger and joyful no matter what the circumstances.
We will be sending communications as necessary, and will update this page as needed.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Public Health Madison & Dane County
Public Health Madison & Dane County Coronavirus Information Line (informational recording updated regularly): 608-243-058
What are the symptoms of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? The following symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2 – 14 days after exposure: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Should you or your child(ren) have flu-like symptoms, communicate directly with your physician about your symptoms and call BEFORE visiting Urgent Care or the Emergency Room. Do not call 911 for general guidance. 911 lines should be reserved for emergencies. If you do have a medical emergency and call 911, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.
How is COVID-19 spread? The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
How do I help prevent the spread of COVID-19? For current updates, please visit the Public Health Madison & Dane County website. Below are strategies to help prevent the spread of disease.
- Anyone who is sick should stay home. Don’t go to work or school, and don’t run errands.
- Monitor your symptoms and call your doctor. If you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, call your doctor.
- Avoid visiting hospitals, long term care facilities, or nursing homes. If you must go, stay at least six feet from people whenever possible.
- Practice social distancing.
Visit the CDC website for more information about what COVID-19 is, how it spreads, its symptoms, prevention and treatment, and what the public can do to stay healthy.
What is Westside Christian School doing to prevent the spread of disease and to stay proactive? Staff and students are taking the following steps to help prevent the spread of disease:
- Engaging classrooms in regular handwashing, specifically before and after recess, snacks and lunch, and prior to using computers or pianos.
- Practicing good hygiene by following coughing and sneezing etiquette.
- Frequently wiping down surfaces with disinfectant wipes.
- We have changed some lunchroom protocols regarding cleaning of lunch tables and handling of food.
- Monitoring children for illness and isolating them from other students if found to have fever. Also ensuring that children known to have had a fever are kept home until they are fever-free for 24 hours, without medication.
We also monitor student absences daily and have not seen an increase in absences due to illness. While we cannot require you to disclose medical information, we would appreciate it if, when calling your student out due to illness, you would include specific symptoms so we can continue monitoring for patterns of illness. If a large volume of patterns are detected, we will consult with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and follow their guidance. Likewise, if someone who has been in our building (e.g., student, teacher, parent, parishioner) tests positive for COVID-19, the Wisconsin Department of Health will contact us directly to provide information and guidance on how to keep others safe.
We are continuing to monitor guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We have also been collaborating with the Wisconsin Health Department and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Their current recommendation is that schools continue to work on updating emergency plans and general germ prevention practices. We will follow the guidance from these organizations on when to close school and/or restrict activities.
How can I talk to my child about what’s going on? Please take time to talk with your child about COVID-19 and what they may be seeing/hearing on the tv, radio, online or at school.
Here are some suggestions for talking with your children:
- Stick to the facts. It can be scary to hear about a disease outbreak, but learning the facts can help ease your mind.
- Help the child remain calm, and assure them their risk is low.
- Remind them it is best to be prepared in difficult situations, but as Christians we know that God will continue to love and care for us, even when things are uncertain. We can find comfort in knowing that he is in control.
It is important to avoid assumptions or stereotypes about who you think might be sick. Viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds. A person’s race does not make them more or less likely to be sick or to get sick.
Please help us educate our students by working with them at home on proper germ prevention techniques.
If our family is traveling for spring break, can my child return to school right away?
The following is based on current recommendations available at the time of this communication. Westside will comply with any additional travel restrictions or quarantine requirements made by Public Health Madison & Dane County as the situation develops. This includes, but is not limited to, the exclusion of students, faculty, and family members from school and extracurricular activities for a prolonged period of time.
To minimize the spread of illness, Public Health Madison & Dane County recommends that people postpone or cancel non-essential business and personal travel to areas with high levels of confirmed cases of coronavirus. This includes both international travel to Travel Health Notice Level 2 and 3 countries with widespread illness and domestic travel to states with more than 10 cases. Please see CDC’s state report website for the most up-to-date state level case information.
If travel is essential, Public Health recommends that you put yourself and your family under a 14-day self-quarantine upon return from any of these countries or states, regardless of whether or not you have symptoms. At this time, Public Health does not consider airport layovers to be a risk. If there is a need to travel through a state with more than 10 cases via layover, minimize your stay within the airport.
I hear in the news that schools may close, when would that happen? Westside is working closely with both the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Public Health Madison Dane County. We will follow and adhere to their directions regarding closing schools. Our staff has also begun developing contingency plans if we are required to move to a virtual learning format for an extended period of time.
As the situation develops, we will determine whether to continue with planned field trips and the 7th and 8th grade class trip.
How does the Wisconsin Department of Health Services determine when a school/school district needs to close? Public Health Madison & Dane County is currently creating plans for various levels of response, depending on case count and community spread. Included in this planning are thresholds/peak caseloads that would move us into the next phase of action, and specific recommendations to schools, businesses and health care systems for each phase. These plans are being created in real time and have not yet been shared with the public. Right now, we remain in Phase 1 (low community risk), which recommends school districts continue to work on updating our existing emergency operations plans and general germ prevention practices.
If school was closed for a prolonged period of time, would there be any plans for children to still be able to access education? Yes, but it would be limited and modified. We are currently working on developing a contingency plan for online learning. Should it become necessary, Westside Christian School may conduct some classes via the internet. In this situation, we will implement a plan to issue Chromebooks to students who need them. Please let Principal Meredith Pucci know right away if you do not have a reliable device for your child to have the ability to attend class and submit assignments online.
How will Westside keep families informed with COVID-19-related updates? The COVID-19 situation is constantly evolving and changing. Westside will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates to staff and families as needed on any major changes that directly affect our school. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, we encourage you to visit the CDC, Wisconsin Department of Health Service, Public Health Madison & Dane County, or Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction webpages.