Information and Messages about Coronavirus
Trinity News About COVID-19
An update from Dr. Vanderpoel
March 23, 2020
Our Communications to the Trinity Community
- UPDATE: March 23, 2020 (Online Learning Begins March 30, 2020)
- UPDATE: March 13, 2020 (Distance Learning Planning)
- UPDATE: March 13, 2020 (TCS Open Today)
- UPDATE: March 10, 2020 (Actions and Plans)
- Memo from Dr. Vanderpoel, March 2, 2020 (Memo from Dr. Vanderpoel)
Since announcing that our school would close through Spring Break, teachers and administrators have been working diligently to prepare for the possibility of remote instruction. Given recommendations from the federal government and state agencies, that possibility has become a reality. Starting on Monday, March 30, Trinity Christian School will officially begin its program of online instruction for all K12 students. Online instruction will allow us to continue our educational program while not exposing students to the risk of infection.
What will online learning look like?
Trinity is committed to finishing the current year’s curriculum and making sure our students are prepared for next year. While this is an ambitious goal, for the past six years, Trinity has been leading the way in the delivery of online instruction. Through our planned Virtual Learning Days, virtual snow days, and summer enrichment program, our teachers have been preparing and delivering distance learning for quite some time.
Classroom teachers, department chairs, and principals have been working for the past three weeks to determine what learning outcomes are essential for students to be adequately prepared for the next grade level. This has involved eliminating some elements of the curriculum and modifying others. How those learning outcomes are delivered and met will look decidedly different in kindergarten than in grade twelve. With this in mind, we have developed an Online Learning Hub to explain how and when instruction will be delivered remotely to each grade level, and provide parents with guides on facilitating student learning and troubleshooting technology. Throughout this period, our IT Support team will be available to help parents and students with technology-related questions.
How do I contact TCS Faculty and Staff?
Please keep in mind that the campus is physically closed. All contact with school faculty and staff must be by email, or through the parent portal. All teachers will be working each school day remotely between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Questions regarding classwork should be addressed directly to your child’s teacher. School office staff and principals will also be available via email to answer more general questions. We plan to deliver a remote chapel message each week, provide students with opportunities to participate in faculty-led virtual advisory groups, and make our school counseling team available to meet individually with students via online Zoom meetings. Please refer to the Online Learning Hub for more details. For more information about IT Support, helpful tips on using Zoom, Panopto, and Veracross, online learning schedules, class pages, and more, log in to the Veracross portal. Quick access to all online resources can be found on the Veracross Portal in the navigation bar at the top.
Later this week, Dr. Vanderpoel and Mr. Dewey will be hosting a Q & A video session about online learning. You can submit questions in advance to email@example.com
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD God is an everlasting rock.
Dear Trinity Families,
The Psalmist reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps. 139:14). God has given us minds for the nurture and defense of our souls, as well as for the prudent protection of our bodies. David prays, Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge (Ps. 16:1). We want to wisely use the knowledge and providential means that God has provided in order to preserve the health and welfare of our families.
To help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and safeguard the health of our school community, Trinity will close school for the entire week prior to spring break. As a result, our students' last day on campus before spring break is TODAY, Friday, March 13. Faculty and staff will be on campus Monday and Tuesday (March 16, 17) to prepare for the possibility of distance learning, which may commence as early as Monday, March 30.
We have no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in our community.
If your child is absent today, please coordinate with your division office to pick up study materials on Monday. If you have emergency medications that you would like to pick up from the nurse's office, you may do so between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Monday.
- Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17: Faculty and staff will hold on-campus workdays focused on preparing for distance learning.
- Monday, March 16: All athletic games and practices are canceled until further notice.
- Wednesday-Friday (March 18-20): Facilities staff will do a thorough deep cleaning of all buildings and surfaces.
- Wednesday-Friday (March 18-20): Administrative offices will be open 8 a.m.to 1 p.m. Admission tours, assessments, and parent interviews will take place as scheduled.
- Saturday, March 21-Sunday, March 29: Spring Break
- Monday, March 30: Spring Break ends, and if needed, distance learning will begin. Division offices will communicate schedules and instructions early next week.
- All TCS field trips through April 30 are canceled.
Our Roaring 20s Social & Auction will take place as an online event only. Instructions for mobile bidding will be forthcoming. The 5:00 p.m. Saturday event in the gym is canceled, but we will have other occasions to gather joyously with our wonderful PTO.
While this is a challenging time filled with uncertainty and many unknowns, we cling to the truth that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The present situation creates complexities for many families. Thank you for the trust you place in Trinity as we navigate this fluid situation and do our best to keep our students, faculty, staff, and parents safe. We will be re-evaluating our long-term plans as the situation develops and will communicate as appropriate
Grace and peace,
Trinity Christian School will be open today, Friday, March 13. Students should plan on attending classes today and making preparations for an extended closure.
- TCS will close on Monday, March 16 and remain closed through Spring Break.
- Dr. Vanderpoel will send out further details later this morning.
- Teachers will be conducting professional development training on Monday and Tuesday for the potential of online learning beginning after Spring Break.
March 10, 2020
I life up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
I want to update you on Trinity’s actions and plans in response to the COVID-19 virus.
- This past weekend (March 7, 8), a six-member deep-cleaning crew spent 13 hours disinfecting all common surfaces in our classroom buildings. This included restrooms, locker surfaces, desks, door handles, tables, chairs, computers, phones, classroom sinks, floors, walls, drinking fountains, whiteboards, vending machines, and elevators.
- Trinity’s sponsored mission trip to the Dominican Republic has been postponed to a later date. Other trips abroad by groups of Trinity parents and students during Spring Break are discouraged. This policy mirrors FCPS which has canceled all school-related international travel through June 30.
- Due to a surplus of “snow days” built into our academic calendar and uncertainty regarding the spread of COVID-19, Trinity’s Spring Break will commence two days earlier than originally scheduled, with the last day of classes being Wednesday (March 18). Thursday and Friday (March 19, 20) will be in-service days for all TCS faculty and staff to prepare for the possible administration of distance learning procedures in the event of virus-related school-closings in April.
- Saturday (March 14), the SAT scheduled to be at Trinity will proceed as planned unless canceled by the College Board.
- Thursday and Friday (March 19, 20) athletic practices are canceled.
- Thursday and Friday (March 19, 20) athletic games will be played.
- Friday and Saturday (March 20, 21) baseball team trip will proceed.
Field Trip Updates:
As always, student field trips are at the discretion of the parent. Parents may opt-out of a field trip and keep their students at home. Please notify your division office if your child is not participating in a field trip. The following field trips are scheduled between now and Spring Break:
- Wednesday (March 11): SEAL Team to GMU Law School, Arlington Campus
- Thursday (March 12): Grade 5 to Museum of the Bible
- Friday (March 13): Grade 6 to St. Mark’s Orthodox Church
- Friday (March 20): Choral assessments
If, following Spring Break, classes will not resume on campus as scheduled on Monday (March 30), we will communicate with parents by Saturday (March 28). In the event TCS remains closed after Spring Break, Monday (March 30) will be an in-service day for faculty and staff. In that case, TCS distance learning for all grades will commence on Tuesday (March 31).
Instructions regarding study materials and textbooks that students should bring home over Spring Break will be posted on class pages and communicated to students by their teachers. Lower School teachers will also communicate directly with parents.
TCS will follow any mandated school closing instructions from the State and County Health Departments. TCS also reserves the right to unilaterally close the campus to safeguard the health of its students and staff.
May God shower us with grace and peace,
The LORD will keep your going out
and your coming in from this time forth
March 1, 2020
Editor's note: Dr. David Vanderpoel, Headmaster and CEO of Trinity Christian School sent the following memo to Trinity families.
Dear TCS Community,
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Ps. 46:1
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the global outbreak of a respiratory disease, labeled COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). Currently, the risk of infection to the public in the National Capital Region is considered low, especially among children under the age of 18.
The Psalmist tells us that unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain (127:1). Two principles frame this verse: God is our keeper and we are expected to stay awake! Our heavenly Father expects us to exercise discernment and prudence as we trust in him throughout the course of our earthly pilgrimage. This involves the evaluation of information and the wisdom to use and apply knowledge. We are to model trust, discernment, and prudence for our children in all the changing circumstances of life.
Our God declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’ (Isa. 46:10). Our times are in God’s hands (Ps. 31:15), we are to trust in him with all our hearts (Prov. 3:5), and rejoice that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). By God’s power, we are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Pet. 1:5). Nothing and no one can snatch us from our Savior’s hand (John 10:28, 29).
The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
Both the World Health Organization and the U.S. Center for Disease Control are gaining a better understanding of COVID-19 as more information becomes available.
Data from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) finds that more than 80% of COVID-19 cases have been mild, with the sick and elderly most at risk. A study released February 17 and published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology, includes a detailed breakdown of the 44,672 confirmed cases across all of China. It finds that 80.9% are classified as mild, 13.8% as severe, and only 4.7% as critical. The number of deaths among those infected, known as the fatality rate, remains low but rises among those over 80 years old. The study also identifies which existing illnesses put patients at risk. It places cardiovascular disease at number one, followed by diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension, and cancer (BBC News, February 18, 2020).
According to Real Clear Science, more than nine weeks after the initial outbreak in China, there have still been no reported fatalities in children under the age of nine. Only 2.4% of reported cases are in individuals under the age of eighteen. Keep in mind that Hubei province in China, while slightly smaller than the state of Nebraska, has a population of 59,170,000, which is thirty times the population of Nebraska. Yet, despite this population density, the infection rate is roughly only one in a thousand (Real Clear Science, February 29, 2020).
An editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine (Feb. 28, 2020), written by a group of doctors headed by Anthony S. Fauci, observed: “If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. Overall clinical consequences may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%).”https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMe2002387
The number of cases in China is already falling significantly. Just three weeks ago, China was recording more than 3,000 new cases a day. Officials are now reporting fewer than five hundred with the number still dropping. Seeing much-improved conditions on the ground, big companies like Starbucks and Apple in China are resuming business activities. The February 29 World Health Organization situation report revealed 435 new cases in China in the previous 24 hours.
Just 10 years ago, the world experienced the H1N1 “swine flu” pandemic. It began in early 2009 and lasted through late 2010. Between April 2009 and April 2010, there were approximately 60.8 million cases, 274,304 hospitalizations, and 12,649 deaths in the United States alone. Globally, it likely infected between 700 million and 1.4 billion people, resulting in 150,000 to 575,000 fatalities (Real Clear Science, February 29, 2020).
According to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Health Politics and Law, only 1,300 out of more than 120,000 schools in the U. S. were closed to reduce the spread of the H1N1 disease. At the time, the study reports that CDC guidance recommended that schools close for between 7 and 14 days. The decision to close schools in our area will be made by the Fairfax County Health Department in consultation with the CDC.
For the purpose of perspective, the CDC estimates that from October 1, 2019, through February 22, 2020, the flu has caused 18,000-46,000 deaths in the United States.
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. Prov. 22:3
Trinity Christian School is updating its H1N1 Pandemic response plan for the COVID-19 virus and will make this available on the parent portal later this week. Trinity is collaborating with the Fairfax County Health Department and following all recommendations to our area from the CDC.
As with recommendations for influenza, we urge all families to follow these measures:
- Keep your children home if they are ill. This includes if they have had a fever in the past 24 hours, without needing any fever-reducing medication, or if they have had vomiting or diarrhea in the past 24 hours. Do not send them to school with fever-reducing medication or until they have been fever-free for 24 hours.
- If they are coughing or sneezing frequently, please keep them home until their symptoms improve. When they return, please remind them to cover their coughs and sneezes and to dispose of tissues immediately. Most importantly: wash their hands.
- Please respond promptly when TCS Health Services calls you to come pick up your child if he/she is ill at school. The nurses will be vigilant to screen students for fever or flu-like symptoms.
- Please encourage your children to practice frequent handwashing with soap and water for 20 seconds, particularly after using the restroom and prior to eating. Also, encourage them to avoid touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- If they cannot wash their hands, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about getting your child a flu vaccine if they have not already done so.
- Do not use face masks unless you are ill: The Surgeon General of the United States tweeted this on Saturday morning (2/29): “Seriously people - STOP BUYING MASKS! They are NOT effective in preventing the general public from catching Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”
Please refer to the Fairfax County Health Department's handout on how to protect yourself and your family. https://fcps.edu/sites/default/files/media/forms/coronavirus.pdf
TCS is implementing the following measures immediately:
- Handwashing dispensers of alcohol-based hand rub have been ordered for the entrances of both classroom buildings.
- Disinfectant cleansers have been ordered for all offices and classrooms to keep all surfaces as germ-free as possible, especially door handles, light switches, water fountains, telephones, computers, desktops, restrooms, and other common surfaces.
- Our cleaning service, in addition to its nightly cleaning, will do deep cleaning in both classroom buildings this week and going forward as needed.
- A CDC video on the proper hand-washing technique will be shown to all classes this week.
- Posters emphasizing hand-washing will be placed in restrooms and classrooms this week as reminders of hygiene etiquette.
- Faculty is being prepared to deliver on-line distance learning should the school be closed for an extended period. Our IT staff is looking at both Panopto and Zoom as providers for distance learning. We are also ensuring sufficient bandwidth for the delivery of instruction for K-12.
- If schools are closed for an extended period of time (more than 2 weeks), the spring athletic season may be correspondingly shortened or canceled due to the need to avoid group activities.
- We continue to monitor student and staff absenteeism in conjunction with the Fairfax County Health Department.
- A specific area, outside of the Health Services Clinic, will be designated for ill students awaiting parents to pick them up.
- TCS will follow instructions from the College Board with regard to any changes in the administration of Advanced Placement (AP) tests in early May.
We will continue to update our community with any new developments.
The words of the Apostle Paul give us an apt benediction for this and every circumstance: Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all (2 Thess. 3:16).
Headmaster & CEO