Campus Re-Opening

Published on August 18, 2020 by Steve Macias

CAMPUS REOPENING AND COVID CONTINGENCIES 
(Updated Aug 18th, 2020)

Dear Canterbury Families, 

Re-opening the campus for the Fall has proven to be a complicated process. We recognize that families have varying comfort levels and different needs related to returning to classes this Fall. Our school board, administrative staff, and teaching staff have spent countless hours working on and revising plans that best serve the needs of our students and their families. 

The process for opening the campus for in-person instruction now involves coordination with the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health and the State of California. On Monday, Aug. 3, the California Department of Public Health released its process for the reopening waivers, including that the waiver is applicable for transitional kindergarten through sixth grades and a recommendation that schools in counties with 14-day case rates more than two times the threshold to be on the county monitoring List (more than 200 cases/100,000 population) should not be considered for a waiver.

As of today, Santa Clara County is not yet below that required waiver threshold and the County has not granted private school waivers for re-opening campuses. 

Canterbury is resolved to do everything we can to safely reopen our campus because we believe

that doing so is in the best interest of our students and their families. Therefore, we have decided to move forward with the following contingency plan for the start of school. 

  1. Officially Postponing the Start of School by 2-Weeks to September 23rd, 2020.
  2. Extending In-Person Summer Camps with Social Distancing Protocols
    Starting September 9th, Canterbury families enrolled in our academic program will be invited (at no additional cost) into our full-day, on-campus educational day camp program. Camps are limited to stable cohorts of 12-students and run from 8 am to 3 pm.
  3. Providing Online Alternative via the “Canterbury Online Family Academy” 
  4. Fully Online (Entire School)

In the event that the situation worsens, our staff are busy preparing alternative lesson plans for use in the event of an emergency closure.

Please review the following addressing our various health protocols and additional information on our reopening plans. 

Explaining On-Campus Camps

Since June, Santa Clara County has permitted the continued operation of childcare programs, summer schools,  after school programs, academic enrichment centers, dance classes, music lessons, and organized recreational and athletic activities for children and youth. Canterbury has itself hosted various half-day events and full-day camps throughout the summer employing a social distancing protocol that included face coverings and density limitation. 

Camps that provide childcare have been exempted from closure orders due to their classification as an essential service. In line with these state guidelines, our camp programs will open on Wednesday, September 9th for all grades. Camps will reflect the culture of Canterbury, but are not the same as our academic program. Students will not be required to wear school uniforms. Camp schedules will vary based on grade level and camp teacher, but will run from 8 am to 3 pm with after camp activities available at an additional cost. Our camps will continue to incorporate Christian values into daily activities with daily Bible lessons and activities. 

On campus camps will ensure that : (1) children are in stable groups of 12 or fewer; (2) children do not change from one group to another; (3) multiple groups of children in a facility stay in separate rooms; and (4) camp teachers remain solely with one group of children.

Santa Clara County requires that camp: “staff and all children ages 13 and older must wear a face covering at all times while attending the program or camp, unless they are eating, sleeping, or actively exercising, in which case they should still keep their face covering with them to put back on when done. Children ages 7-12 should wear face coverings while under direct adult supervision, unless they are eating, sleeping, or exercising, in which case they should still keep their face covering with them to put back on later. Face coverings are not required for anyone if it is medically inadvisable for a person to wear one. Unless it is medically inadvisable, parents and caregivers should also wear face coverings when they are picking up and dropping off their children.” 

All staff members will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to starting each day, meaning they will be temperature checked and asked if they feel or recently felt feverish, and have or recently had other symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, chills, night sweats, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, muscle or body aches, headaches, confusion, or loss of sense of taste/smell. 

In addition, each day before drop-off, parents or caregivers should screen their children for COVID-19 symptoms. Staff will check temperatures at drop-off and also monitor children for visible COVID-19 symptoms throughout the day while encouraging frequent hand-washing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces. Staff and children may not attend the program if they have COVID-19 symptoms and must go home immediately if they develop any COVID-19 symptoms during a camp session. Parents or caregivers should be encouraged to seek COVID-19 testing for the child. 

We understand that for parents, these are confusing times with respect to school reopenings, and Canterbury remains dedicated to meeting our students’ education needs with robust on-campus and online options.

Canterbury held in-person Summer programs at our campus and these were conducted with great success in terms of overall high parent satisfaction and, in particular, health and safety. Building on this positive experience, we look forward to welcoming our youngest students safely back to campus for the fall. 

Explaining “Canterbury Online Family Academy”

The “Canterbury Online Family Academy” is an option designed for families reluctant to send their children back to an on-campus environment in the fall. This entirely optional program will be offered for students in Grades Pre-K through 5th, and has been designed to fulfill two critical criteria: 1) to continue the spiritual and character development of each student and 2) keep up with the pace of learning in our in-person classroom environment. 

How will the Online Family Academy work? First and foremost, it will be an extension of our school, our campus community, and our teachers. Children enrolled in this program will still feel a primary connection to Canterbury Christian School, as they will be taught primarily by Canterbury Christian School staff, will attend chapel services online, they will have the opportunity to take specialty courses, and they will participate in virtual campus events. The delivery of the online curriculum will combine our school’s teaching staff with the parent-based support at home.  

Learning materials will go home at the start of school and our campus liaison will help families develop a schedule and pattern that best fits the needs of the student’s family and their schedule. Parents will be trained by a Canterbury teacher to oversee the completion of instruction and coursework, while also experiencing one-on-one instruction online via Zoom and Google Classroom. This is much more involved than playing pre-recorded videos or placing a webcam in the classroom. This program is a partnership between teacher-supervised and parent-led instruction. Students will also be able to meet one-on-one on Saturdays to go over things in person when the rest of the student body is not present.

Ideally, students should keep up with the pace of classwork of their in-person classmates to allow their easy re-entry into the classroom when conditions are more amenable to parents. 

What About Fully Online (Entire School) Classes

In the event that the situation worsens, our staff are busy preparing alternative lesson plans for use in the event of an emergency closure. Online Learning would be led by our grade specific teachers using the Google Classroom platform. During the elementary school years, parents play an especially active role in planning and delivering the curriculum in partnership with our teachers. Parents work with teachers to develop and nurture the student’s education plan and curriculum. Parents can expect teachers to create easy and flexible schedules for completing assignments that work in tandem with their learning style. When they have questions, teachers will be available to help clarify concepts and expand a child’s understanding of the lesson. Students in pre-kindergarten through grade 3 can expect to spend at least one to two hours on schoolwork; and students in grades 4-5 spend two to four hours on schoolwork each day. 

Moving Forward for Christ and His Kingdom

Canterbury is more than a place where children learn to read, write, and count. Canterbury is primarily a Christian school. We must preserve our Christian witness for the world and also maintain our single focus on the Kingdom work done in the hearts of our students. Christian discipleship remains the key difference between Canterbury and other schools, and we must keep this crucial aspect of our mission and calling before the Lord in our prayers. 

Given evolving health and safety guidance, we will continue to update these protocols as necessary, and make modifications and/or further requirements as needed throughout the coming school year. COVID-19 restrictions place real limitations on the family culture and events that Canterbury has traditionally observed. We are busy working out the details of on-and-off campus events like picnics and chapel presentations. 

If you have any questions regarding the back-to-school opening of our camp and school programs, please feel free to reach out directly to our school office. Thank you for being our partner in your child’s spiritual growth and educational development.

Father Steve Macias + 
Headmaster, Canterbury Christian School 


Update: July 30th, 2020

Dear Canterbury Families,

Canterbury will be open for in person instruction, as planned, on September 9th!

Over the next few weeks you will be receiving important information and reminders
related to the beginning of the school year. You will also receive additional details about
specific protocols you can expect once school starts.

Please join us in praying for our Canterbury community and that favors us with God’s mercy and grace. Thank you for helping us ensure and safe and healthy learning environment. We are joyfully
anticipating a successful school year together with your family!

In Christ Alone,

Father Steve Macias, Headmaster


Canterbury Christian School (Los Altos, CA) to Resume In-Person Classes This Fall 

“….Early childhood education is an essential service,” says Headmaster Father Steven Macias.  

LOS ALTOS, CA (July 30, 2020) — Canterbury Christian School is a classical micro-school in California’s Silicon Valley serving local families with students in four-year-old Kindergarten through 5th grade. Canterbury will open the campus to in-person instruction with enhanced safety measures starting September 9th, 2020. 

“Our families will be invited to return to the classroom this Fall. Our staff and parents understand that early childhood education is an ‘essential service’ and we will take every reasonable precaution to prioritize student and staff health, safety, and overall well being,” said Headmaster Father Steven Macias.  

In March 2020, Canterbury Christian School was one of the first Bay Area Schools to close their campus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Canterbury went fully online with a robust curriculum offering that included every core academic subject and also continued their classical distinctives like Bible, Latin, and public speaking. 

“Our teachers and parents are now eager to get our students back into the classroom, and we’re doing so with their health and safety in mind. In addition to enhanced sanitation and distancing procedures, parents can expect temperature-checks at drop-off and small, consistent student cohort groups.” 

Canterbury has announced that it will be implementing many safety precautions to campus operations based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control(CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and local regulations, as they apply, in order to safeguard students, parents, and staff against the spread of COVID-19.

As of July 23, 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published: “The best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children…” and “…the rate of infection among younger school children, and from students to teachers, has been low, especially if proper precautions are followed.” 

“In our situation, common sense must prevail. Our micro-school is smaller and more safe than many of the summer camps and daycare programs that have been allowed to continue throughout the COVID-19 crisis.” 

Canterbury’s existing micro-school policies limit class sizes to sixteen (16) students and the campus maintains seven (7) grade-based classrooms. Founded in 1974, Canterbury Christian School is the educational ministry of Saint Paul’s Anglican Church and is also a member of the Anglican Schools Association. 

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Posted in Canterbury Tales (July 17th, 2020)

In March, when schools nationwide closed on short notice and in response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 health crisis, our school was one of the first in our community to pivot into an online distance-learning model. We never stopped teaching because we believe in the mission and vision of Christian education. 

For Fall 2020, Canterbury is resolved to do everything we can to safely reopen our campus because we believe that doing so is in the best interest of our students and their families.

We cannot predict or control every changing variable that might affect this school year, but we are prepared to engage, disciple, and inspire our Canterbury students at our Los Altos campus.

We have followed closely the health and safety updates from around the country and consulted with other schools on best practices for re-opening. While distance learning can be an effective methodology when done well and when health and safety conditions leave no other option, it is not an ideal long-term substitute for the interpersonal, social and academic benefits of the real classroom.

Our 2020-2021 plans to return to campus revolve around several important promises from the Bible: 

(1) “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) 

Your child’s experience in the Canterbury community is core to our school’s mission. Our entire staff is committed to providing our students with a strong foundation for their Christian faith and lifelong learning. 

We believe this Kingdom work is an essential service for the spiritual health of our world. We hope you share our conviction that these precious years of your child’s development – academically and spiritually – are also to be considered essential. 

(2)“Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee…” (Proverbs 2:11)

As a private Christian school, our ability to reopen is not based on what other local public school districts decide to do this Fall. But the Bible reminds us that “discretion” and “understanding” require us to think through the effect of our decisions.

Therefore, we will be implementing various procedures to prioritize the health and safety of our students, teachers, and overall Canterbury community. 

We have based our protocols on the best guidance from the medical community and local regulations, as they apply, in order to safeguard our students, parents, faculty, and staff against the spread of COVID-19.

(3) “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) 

A few parents have expressed their fears about returning to in-person classes. It is important for parents to recognize that Canterbury’s re-opening is very different than large public schools. God’s Word says we should not be needlessly afraid. 

Canterbury’s late start on September 9th will give us several weeks of data from other re-opened schools around the country. This will allow us to update or change our re-opening plans based on facts and real data, if needed, rather than fear and uncertainty. We will be able to see beforehand if re-opening plans similar to Canterbury’s are actually working to prevent the spread of COVID in classrooms. 

The general scientific consensus is that children are less likely to contract or even transmit the virus. Data from the Netherlands back up the idea that “children play a minor role in the spread of the novel coronavirus,” said Dr. George Rutherford, an infectious diseases expert at University of California at San Francisco.

Returning to the classroom is supported by numerous child-advocacy organizations, among them the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recently issued the following guidance: “ …the AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.” 

Fear not – we have a plan backed by good science and best practices. 

We look forward to welcoming students back to campus for the 2020/2021 school year! We are committed to providing a Christ-centered learning experience in a safe and healthy environment.

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