IRCS Cares – An Important Message from our Superintendent of Schools – April 6, 2020

Posted: April 6, 2020 | Author: IRCS Administration Team | Category: Information

IRCS Coronavirus Updates:

March 30, 2020March 24, 2020MARCH 18, 2020March 14, 2020MARCH 13, 2020March 12, 2020March 11, 2020March 02, 2020

April 6, 2020

Dear School families,

Perspective is important. Someday our students will look back on the COVID-19 experience, and they will be able to share their experience with their children. They will realize they were part of a historic event! But right now, we are experiencing tremendous upheaval, which appears will be the norm for the near the future. I want to assure you the IRCS staff will continue doing their best to provide a quality Christian Education for you and your child. Our administrative team and teachers are working overtime to provide your children with the content and instruction that will enable each student to move to the next level in their schooling successfully.

We also understand that some of our families are struggling financially right now due to this world-wide Coronavirus crisis. IRCS is committed to helping families get through this time financially. We have already removed April charges for our preschool families and the monthly cost for all students in the Before School and After School programs, because we cannot find an effective way to deliver instruction or serve this group. We are also deferring April tuition payments to June, upon request, as a way to help families.

We are currently developing a program to assist families who have been hit hard financially by this crisis. We cannot offer or provide specific details at this time because we don’t know how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, or when IRCS can open again for direct instruction. We do know that we want to help assist families who need it.

This message is to let you know, if you are struggling financially, we will have a plan in place to assist you, and once we know more and have a better idea of what the future holds, we will be able to provide specific details on how to request assistance. If you have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact your grade level Principal or our Finance office.

Please know our staff misses seeing our students, and we all look forward to returning as a family, hopefully, to close this unique and historic school year.

God Bless,

Walter Weller
IRCS Superintendent

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Coronavirus Update – March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020

Dear IRCS Families,

Today Governor DeSantis closed all public schools through April 30, 2020, as a measure to ensure public health and safety. I am writing to inform you IRCS will also follow this directive to ensure our students, families, and staff safety.

Today also marked the first-day IRCS implemented long-distance digital learning. I want to assure you we will continually review our digital long-distance processes to ensure our students continue to receive a quality Christian education. Our goal is to maximize instruction and student understanding in a God-honoring way. Because full-time long-distance digital learning is new for IRCS, we understand the need to be prepared and willing to revise our plans if necessary.

IRCS is committing every resource we have available to assist our families. Many of you have already joined live and recorded training sessions. We will continue to offer help to families as we become aware of problems or when parents/students notify us of issues.

Please remember to regularly communicate needs to your child’s teachers, the Directors of Teaching and Learning, or your levels Principals. We are a phone call or email away and committed to helping in any way we can.

I am aware that many of our families and struggling at this time. My aim as IRCS Superintendent is to ensure that the IRCS staff is committed to do whatever it takes to provide your child with a quality Christian education as we finish this school year.

God Bless,

Walter Weller
IRCS Superintendent

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Coronavirus Update – March 24, 2020

March 24, 2020

Dear IRCS Families,

On Monday and again today the IRCS staff took critical steps toward finalizing the details of the online distance learning plan that will be implemented from March 30, 2020, to April 15, 2020. While our online distance learning plan is designed to go through April 15, 2020, we are prepared to go through the end of the year if necessary to ensure our students complete the 2019-20 school year.

Mr. Starner, Elementary Principal, and Mr. Banse, Middle/High School Principal, will communicate with families to assist them in securing any supplies or resources students left on campus. Also, they are working to ensure that every student has access to the technology necessary for them to interact with our online distance learning plan.   

Parents with children at different grades will see different plans because we are catering to the needs and developmental levels of our students. We realize our younger students will need adult assistance with logging into FACTS/Ren Web and other sites that are already familiar to parents. Therefore, the online elementary program will include a variety of recorded resources to ensure flexibility and accessibility that is convenient for parents. Middle and high school students will have regular online live instruction along with prepared resources available through our regularly used Google Classroom resource.

Because online distance learning is unique, we are going to be careful regarding how much work we expect our students to complete. We have the flexibility to increase or decrease the amount of work assigned once we determine how well our students and staff are adjusting to the plan.

I am thankful for the many resources God has provided IRCS, but without your assistance and cooperation, this plan will struggle to succeed. Further, I cannot emphasize how important communication between students/families and teachers will be as we implement this plan. The next few weeks will reveal the strength of the partnership between the families and the staff of IRCS. Please feel free to communicate with your child’s teacher anytime you need help or clarification on what is expected. For some families, this type of learning will be natural, but for others, it will provide challenges. The staff of IRCS understands they need to be available, ready to communicate, and flexible if they are going to meet your child’s needs.

We hope we will be able to utilize the resources available on the IRCS campus; however, there might come a time when the staff is required to work from home. If that should occur, all IRCS staff will be prepared to finish the school year teaching through a computer.  

We are planning to provide parents and students with a training video that will describe and explain what students and families can expect when online learning begins on Monday, March 30, 2020.

Thank you for your attention and continued support of IRCS.

God Bless,

Walter Weller
IRCS Superintendent 

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Coronavirus Update – March 18, 2020

Dear IRCS Parents and Families,

On March 17, 2020, Governor DeSantis closed all Florida Public schools until April 15, 2020 and we will also follow that decision. The rationale behind this decision, along with businesses closing, is a focus on public safety and well-being. IRCS and Indian Rocks Baptist Church are committed to this principle as well. IRCS is committed to fulfilling our mission to provide a quality Christian education in an environment of genuine love and concern for every student and family. I want to assure you that IRCS is committed to completing the 2019-20 school year. The staff of IRCS is prepared to do whatever is necessary to allow every eligible senior to graduate and allow all other students the opportunity to complete the current grade level in which they are enrolled. 

The IRCS administration has been planning for this possibility for the past week and we have a plan to offer: “distance-digital learning.” Our process will provide every K-12 student with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the remaining learning outcomes or goals for each course and grade level that students are currently enrolled. The administration will work with each teacher and grade level to identify and approve the remaining outcomes. 

Our plan will measure student mastery and understanding of learning outcomes using portfolios and projects, not tests and quizzes. We will use the week of March 23 – 27 to train and prepare our staff to deliver instruction to our students in a format that is available to many but not typically used by our staff. 

You will receive more details of our plans, including expectations and technological requirements next week, as we finalize our learning outcome/goals and how your child will receive meaningful and relevant instruction. 

Ever since the COVID-19 situation moved into a position of dominating our lives, we have seen changes almost every day. Therefore, please be patient as we move through this new landscape together. As I have already stated, we will finish the year, and our students will move forward to college and their next grade. As a school, this pandemic has the potential to create tremendous anxiety and fear; however, I believe we have a big God that is bigger than our problems, and we need to trust Him and work to serve Him. IRCS and Indian Rocks Baptist Church are committed to doing whatever we need to do to support our students and families in this unique situation.

We have cancelled all remaining field-trips and will work with our vendors to secure refunds for all field-trips that are not missions related. Also, no decisions have been made related to Prom or Graduations as of this writing. 

I want to thank you in advance for your cooperation, support, and flexibility as we move into the final stretch of this school year. You will be receiving additional emails from our Directors of Teaching and Learning and your child’s teachers as we finalize our educational delivery plans. Any parent with questions or concerns should not hesitate to call your child’s Principal for clarification.

Again, thank you for choosing IRCS as your educational partner. If you or your family needs help as we go through this trying time, please remember IRCS is a ministry of Indian Rocks Baptist Church, which is available to support and pray for you. Indian Rocks Baptist church wants you to know that we are available to help you during this trying time. If you would like to reach out and share anything that is weighing on your heart, or you are having trouble getting out and about for necessities, we want to help! Email PastorJeff@IndianRocks.org or call his office at (727) 595-3421 ext 3411 to let us know how we can be God’s hands and feet in your situation.

In addition, our church worship services are available online through the church websiteFacebookYouTube, or through on the church’s apps (iOSAndroid, AppleTV, and Roku). The church will only be streaming during the 9:00 am service time for now.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and we look forward to working with you to complete this school year. 

God Bless, 

Walter Weller
IRCS Superintendent

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Coronavirus Update – March 14, 2020

IRCS School Families,

Considering the new information received from the Florida Department of Education, Indian Rocks Christian School will now be closed from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. All extra-curricular activities are also cancelled.

We will continue to communicate with all families regarding the availability and expectations for digital learning during this time. Administration is in consistent communication about our next steps as a school. We will communicate heavily with you as new information is presented to the administrative team. We are committed to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety, well-being, and academics of our students.

In addition, IRCS will use this time as an opportunity to deep clean the entire campus. We have reviewed all documentation from CDC and the Health Department on appropriate measures for disinfecting.

Thank you for your patience and your commitment to our school. Our goal is to make the best decisions for our students and families during this time.

Information is changing at a rapid rate, but rest assured we are working to keep you informed.

Thoughts and Prayers are with each of you through this process.

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Coronavirus Update – March 13, 2020

Please know as you read this, it does include our staff and students that have traveled on mission trips.

Dear Families,

I know there are a lot of questions floating around right now about what to do in this uncharted territory. Please know we are working tirelessly to give you the most updated information we can. As of 3/13/2020 abc action news stated “Under a new state rule, any students or school employees who travel outside the USA or go on a cruise over spring break must isolate for 14 days before returning to school.”

https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/national/coronavirus/fla-students-school-employees-traveling-outside-the-usa-over-spring-break-must-isolate-14-days

As 3/13/2020 at 8:30 am, I spoke with Alyssa from the Pinellas County Health Department (727)824-6900.
She said at this moment, they only recommend those who have actually traveled, stay at home or otherwise self-isolate in one location for 14 days from the time you left a country.

UNLESS the traveler is symptomatic. If the traveler is symptomatic they recommend the family follow the same precaution. If the traveler or anyone in the home becomes symptomatic she said to call the Health Department as well as your healthcare professional.

I recommend calling the Pinellas County Health Department (727)824-6900 or CDC 1-800-232-4636 if you have any concern.

We will also continue to monitor the situation on our end and keep you up to date with any new information we receive.

Please go to our website for updates, as we will continue to keep you posted on quarantine, Coronovirus, school closings, etc. We are continuing to formulate a plan for next steps. Thank you for your patience as we work through the details. https://www.ircs.org/

Thank you

Melissa Williams

http://www.floridahealth.gov

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

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Coronavirus Update – March 12, 2020

IRCS Schoolwide Update
No School on Friday March 13, 2020

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Dear IRCS Families,

The IRCS administrative team has been monitoring the Coronavirus pandemic and feel that it would be wise to exercise an abundance of caution and cancel school tomorrow, Friday March 13. All school events for tomorrow are also cancelled and IRCS will remain closed from tomorrow through Spring Break next week. During Spring Break administration will continue to assess the situation and make decisions relative to school opening following Spring Break. At this point, our goal is to reopen on March 23.

Since this is a fluid situation, we want to do our best to keep our students, families, and staff safe and healthy. Should it be necessary to close school after Spring Break, we will work on ways to offer alternative instruction to our students.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through these unusual circumstances. It is during uncertain times like these that we have the opportunity to grow our faith in the Lord. We are praying for you and we appreciate your prayers for IRCS.

Walt Weller

Feel free to email us any questions you may have and we will continue to provide updates moving forward.

Email contacts:

walt_weller@indianrocks.org
perry_banse@indianrocks.org
melissa_williams@indianrocks.org
rob_starner@indianrocks.org
stephanie_vogel@indianrocks.org

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Coronavirus Update – March 11, 2020

March 11, 2020

Dear Indian Rocks School Family,

We know there is a growing concern about the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a follow-up to the email we sent to you last week, we wanted to share the latest recommendations we have received from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). IRCS is implementing these recommendations and we need your help in order to limit the risk of this virus.

We request that all individuals who have traveled internationally – for work or personal reasons – to comply with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommendations:

  • Travel to CDC Level 3 Countries: Mandatory 14-day self-quarantine upon re-entry into the United States
  • Travel to CDC Level 2 Countries & All Cruises: Practice enhanced precautions, including postponing non-essential travel, and if you experience any symptoms, we ask that you not attend any school gatherings or functions. CDC recommends travelers, particularly those with underlying health issues, defer all cruise ship travel at this time.

If you were on a cruise in the past 14 days:

  • Monitor your health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States.
  • If a case of COVID-19 was reported on your ship during the cruise, stay home during these 14 days, and practice social distancing.
  • Stay home if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have trouble breathing and call ahead before you seek medical care.

Many of you are aware that a number of our high students and staff are currently on mission trips and we want you to know that none of these trips were to countries that are Level 2 or Level 3.

The following policies are in our Parent/Student Handbooks and they are especially applicable during a time like this.

Sickness
In the interest of every child’s well-being, parents are requested to keep their child home when he/she is sick. If a child has symptoms such as elevated temperature (100.4 degrees or more), rash, vomiting, excessive nasal discharge or diarrhea, the child must be kept home. Students should be symptom free (i.e. – No evidence of rashes, fever, any type of discharge, vomiting, diarrhea) for 24 hours prior to returning to school. If your child develops symptoms at school, the student will be isolated and the parents will be notified to pick up the child as soon as possible. If we cannot reach anyone listed on the student’s application, we will, if necessary, obtain medical attention from a doctor of our choice.

Communicable Diseases
IRCS desires to maintain a healthful school environment by instituting controls designed to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. The term “communicable disease” shall mean an illness which arises as a result of a specific infectious agent or rashes which may be transmitted whether directly or indirectly by a susceptible host, infected person or animal on to other persons. A teacher or office staff member who reasonably suspects that a student or employee has a communicable disease, or is presenting signs of sickness described in the Sickness section, shall immediately notify a member of the administrative team.
Any student or employee with a communicable disease, for which immunization is required by law or is available, shall be temporarily excluded from school while ill. If the nature of the disease and circumstances warrant, Indian Rocks Christian School may require an independent physician’s examination of the student or employee to verify the diagnosis of communicable disease. IRCS reserves the right to make all final decisions necessary to enforce its communicable disease policy and to take all necessary action to control the spread of communicable diseases within the school.

The uncertainty of this outbreak is creating anxiety in our workplaces, schools, and day-to-day activities. Yet we remain confident of God’s steadfast presence and careful attention to all that is happening. Please join us in praying for those who are affected by this illness, as well as their caregivers and those who are working around the clock to minimize the impact of this virus.

We will continue to keep you updated as new recommendations are given and new information comes forth. Thank you for being a part of Indian Rocks Christian School and we pray this situation subsides and does not affect us.

For more information and resources go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

IRCS Administration

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Coronavirus Information – March 2, 2020

Dear IRCS Families,

I want to take this opportunity to share information with you that was provided to all Florida schools from Governor Ron DeSantis in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is the result of two confirmed cases of the Coronavirus in Florida. Each IRCS family and our students need to understand that the most common way the virus spreads is through contact with an infected individual as a result of coughing and sneezing. This is a great reminder to all of us about the importance of covering our mouths whenever we cough or sneeze. It is also essential to understand that populations most susceptible to the virus are those with underlying health conditions.

All schools have been asked to remind families to assist in monitoring for signs and symptoms of infectious diseases. IRCS has a policy that any student with a fever cannot remain at school. If your child is sick, please keep them home until they are well. I realize that during this time of the year, allergies can often be mistaken for being sick; however, if your child has a fever, they need to remain at home. IRCS staff will also assist in maintaining hand sanitizer and using disinfectants to clean our facilities, which includes student furniture in our classrooms and in the cafeteria.

We have been asked by the FDOH/CDC to remind you that practicing the following steps can help prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.

If you would like more detailed or additional information you can visit:

http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/index.html

Thank you for your attention to this message.

Walter Weller
IRCS Head of Schools

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