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TCS Communications Regarding COVID-19

Communication from March 25

Dear TCS Community,

In light of the ongoing concerns and governmental regulations surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, I am extending Trinity Christian School's closure until the end of Easter break, which is Friday, April 17. Because of the closure, TCS students will continue doing virtual schooling until the beginning of Easter break on April 10, preserving our official school calendar.

With the transition to virtual schooling, students and teachers missed out on a "no homework day" scheduled for last Friday, March 20, and will be missing out on an early dismissal professional development day this upcoming Friday, March 27. To try to accommodate this, I am announcing that, during virtual schooling, all weekends at all grade levels will be "homework free". Practically speaking, this means that any daily work issued on Friday will be able to be finished by the end of the day. Older students who have long-term assignments such as papers may find they need to use the weekend to catch up. Teachers will anticipate having all work for the week submitted by 10:00pm Fridays.

As a reminder, please continue to email the school office (tcsoffice@tcsnj.org) when your child is sick and will be "absent" for the day. This allows our teachers to make alternate plans accordingly.

Finally, please note that all communications related to the coronavirus and virtual schooling are being "archived" on our website at tcsnj.org/about/covid19.cfm.

Thank you, parents, for your continued work with us throughout this time; we would have a difficult time continuing this school year without your efforts each day!  Please continue to pray for one another for health and strength as we navigate this peculiar time in the plans and purposes of our sovereign Lord.

In Christ,

Mike Picciottoli


Communication from March 21

Dear TCS Community,

God has been pleased to bless these first three days of “virtual school” for TCS. Thank you, parents, for so many encouraging emails and lots of helpful feedback. 

Beginning Monday, parents will NOT be required to complete the daily attendance form; instead, we will assume all students are working to complete the required assignments and should be marked present. If your child is unable to complete work on any given day because they are sick, please email both the teacher (elementary level only) and Janet Kruzek (tcsoffice@tcsnj.org) by 9AM. (If your child is sick, the handbook policy for makeup work will go into effect.)

Please complete this form ONE TIME indicating that you will contact the school by 9AM each day if your child is sick and unable to complete the work. 

Thank you again for your helpful feedback; as a school, we desire to continually improve in our efforts to navigate through these challenging times, and we pray that by God’s grace, we will continue to do so.

In Christ,
Mike Picciottoli
Head of School


Communication from March 18

Dear TCS Community,

Praise God for a successful first day of home instruction! The TCS staff has been working tirelessly to ensure that all students are provided with excellent work. Thank you to all the parents for truly partnering with us today. It was a blessed day in the Picciottoli house- balancing frequently emailing parents and teachers, while helping three children with their schoolwork. Here are a few items that I hope will prove helpful as we continue to navigate this journey together.

1. Here is a video for all secondary parents that explains what it means to be a “guardian” in your child’s Google Classroom. 

2. I will be at TCS tomorrow from 8am-12pm. If your child forgot books in his/her locker or classroom, please email me directly. Since Saturday, I have been placing all textbooks that parents have requested outside the main entrance of the school for pickup. Tomorrow is the last day I will be available to get anything for anyone from the building, so please ensure that you make arrangements for tomorrow to get anything your child may need for the duration of this closure.

3. Please remember to complete the daily attendance form by the end of each school day. Although the “official” school day is from 9am-2pm (with breaks for lunch and “recess” times), students may complete their work throughout the day depending on each unique family dynamic. Secondary students may also have more work than elementary students depending on their grade level and classes. 

May God be pleased to continue to bless each TCS family during this time. 

In Christ,
Mike Picciottoli
Head of School


Communication from March 17

Dear TCS Community,

Below is the information that you will need for tomorrow morning. (I have also attached the same information as a PDF.) Please read through it thoroughly. May God be pleased to bless our efforts as we continue to partner together in educating your child(ren). Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns. 

In Christ,
Mike Picciottoli
Head of School

"And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?" ~Luke 12:25-26 (NKJV)

 

Trinity Christian School Flexible Instruction Day Extended Closure Plan

Technology Department Contact Information 

For any issues with technology please email technology@tcsnj.org. This includes logins, passwords, and general technology questions. 

Overview: A Flexible Instruction Day (FID) is a virtual “school day” when students and staff have an opportunity to explore and engage in meaningful learning experiences; our intention as a school is not to replace school, but we do want to continue to fulfill our mission to partner with families to facilitate Biblically-based, academically excellent, classical learning.  These days are intended to continue to afford students meaningful learning experiences while having the ability to contact teachers in the event of an emergency. Nothing replaces the genuine human interactions that happen authentically in the classroom between students and teachers.

The school day will run from 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM with an hour allocated for lunch at the family’s discretion. This will allow grades 7-12 teaching staff adequate time to present the learning experience on their Google Classrooms so that students can: (a) access the information, (b) prioritize their day, and (c) reach out to the teacher(s) through email should there be a question/inquiry or submission of work needed. Teachers will be available via email once in the morning (from 9:00-10:00 AM) and once in the evening (from 4:00-5:00 PM).  Thirty (30) minutes of each FID will be set aside for physical activity of the students’ choice. 

Learning experiences may include “class work” and homework, but all work that is required for submission will be provided with feedback from the teacher making the assignment. Teachers will also indicate the due date on all “classwork” and homework that requires submission. 

Assignments submitted after the assigned due date may have their evaluation negatively impacted due to the late submission. 

Instructional videos may be posted on teachers’ Google Classrooms.  These virtual interactions will further the instructional sequence by serving as initial exposure to content as received in class or supporting student understanding by focusing on re-teaching or clarifying previously instructed materials. These re-teaching/clarification videos will be gathered through student- teacher communications and formative assessment, just as they are in class. 

Attendance Procedures

Every parent must complete this form daily to indicate that your child is well enough to complete school work that is assigned each day. (One form submission needs to be completed for each child enrolled in TCS.)

Student Responsibilities 

Student Responsibilities: 7-12- A Flexible Instruction Day is a day of school, and students are expected to give the same amount of focus and effort to an FID as they would to any other school day. Flexible Instructional Days should begin for students around 10 AM and will last until 2 PM. Students are expected to log into their teachers’ Google Classrooms to identify the expected work for the day. Students should expect to complete a full day's worth of work and may be asked to collaborate virtually with other classmates on assignments. Students, without a school approved excuse, will be held responsible for all work not completed by the assigned deadline. Deadlines will be assigned at the discretion of the classroom teacher and will be returned either graded or with feedback in a timely manner. Students should engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity of their choice each day. 

Here is a quick video by Mrs. Morrison showing students how to use Google Classroom.

Student Responsibilities: K-6- Student assignments will be emailed to parents each morning by 9 AM. Assignments may include a mix of digital components, practice of spelling, math facts, independent reading, projects, and writing assignments. Students should engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity of their choice each day. Each teacher’s daily email will include a form to be completed by the parent at the end of the school day indicating what the child worked on that day. 

Ensuring Equity 

Devices

● Students have been given access to a school Chromebook if they have need.

Access to Wi-Fi: 

● The majority of students within our school community have indicated that they have access to Wi-Fi at home. In the event that they do not, alternative arrangements will be made. 

● Students that have no access will also have the opportunity to complete assignments on paper.


Communication from March 16

Dear TCS Community,

The TCS staff had a live video meeting today to plan out how best to facilitate students learning from home over the next two weeks, and possibly longer if needed. As this is a new territory for most of us, we decided as a staff that it would be proper to spend one more day working on a comprehensive, engaging, clear, and systematic way to have students participate in digital learning. All work for students will begin on Wednesday, March 18. An email explaining everything will be sent by 2pm tomorrow. May God be pleased to bless our efforts as we partner with parents. 

In Christ,

Mike Picciottoli

TCS Head of School


Communication from March 14

Dear TCS Community,

Trinity Christian School will be closed starting Monday, March 16, 2020, through Friday, March 27, 2020. (Teachers will work on digital learning plans from home on Monday, March 16.)

We will be continuously monitoring the situation to determine if the school can reopen on Monday, March 30, 2020, or if the closure needs to be extended. 

We will send information by the end of the day on Monday regarding a plan for how we will continue the educational process throughout the next two weeks via technology and other methods.

At the time of this letter, there have been no reported cases of the COVID-19 virus in the TCS Community. 

More details will follow soon.

In Christ,
Mike Picciottoli
Head of School


Communication from March 13

Dear TCS Community,

TCS will have a full-day professional development day this Monday, March 16, so that faculty and staff may plan and prepare for the possibility of having to close school for an extended period of time. This means ALL students will have off from school on Monday, 3/16. Please note this is only a one-day closure for students; should additional closures be needed, we will let you know at that time.

As the faculty and staff meet, we will be answering the following questions:

  • What schoolwork will need to be completed during a closure?
  • What will be our primary means of communicating and managing student lessons?
  • What work will be assessed and how will this work be submitted to teachers?
  • Will we be using live streaming video for direct instruction if students and teachers are at home?
  • In what ways will learning happen differently for elementary vs. secondary students?
  • Will we need to modify the school calendar or extend the school year, and how will this affect the marking period dates?

Please pray that God will grant us wisdom to help us best address these and related concerns. We will follow up with more detailed information upon completion of the professional development day.

Again, we want to reiterate that there are no known cases of COVID-19 within the TCS student community at this time. Please continue to take reasonable preventative measures. Also, please have your child stay home from school if they are sick. The attendance policy will be altered as needed based on each child’s individual needs.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

In Christ,
Mike Picciottoli
Head of School

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV


Communication from March 10

Dear TCS Community,

The mother of one of our students has been directed to self-quarantine due to working in an environment where two people have tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This parent shows no signs of sickness. As a purely precautionary measure, we have been advised to have the student remain out of school for the next two weeks. (The student was not in school today.) We are also doing a precautionary deep cleaning of the school building tonight.

I want to emphasize that we do not have any known cases of COVID-19 within the school community. However, should a child that attends TCS ever test positive for COVID-19, we will follow guidance from the state of New Jersey and close school for 14 days. Should such a closure need to occur, we will keep you informed regarding changes to procedure, schedules, and more.

Again, there is no immediate danger to the TCS Community. Per guidance from the state of New Jersey, please continue to encourage your children to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing.
  • If water and soap are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick or becoming sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your hands) and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Seek medical care right away if you have both symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath and have either recently returned from countries with known infections or have direct exposure to others diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

Thank you for your ongoing partnership as we deal with these circumstances, which remain under God’s sovereignty. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.

In Christ,
Mike Picciottoli
TCS Head of School


Communication from March 4

Dear TCS Community,

Trinity Christian School is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus (COVID-19). Doctors first identified the virus in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other government agencies along with state and local officials to respond to this emerging public health threat.

WHO recently declared a public health emergency of international concern. Cases have been identified in international locations including the United States (U.S.). WHO has recently raised the threat of global spread of the virus to VERY HIGH.

Yesterday afternoon, I got off a conference call hosted by Governor Murphy for public and private schools. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey; 9 individuals have tested negative. This conference call also provided guidelines and procedures on how schools should be handling this situation. One quote that I found helpful from the teleconference was “This is no time to panic, but rather a time to prepare”. 

NJ Department of Health Coronavirus Webpage (Updated Frequently)

Most at risk: Older people and those with other health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart problems.

Facemasks should only be used by those who show symptoms of COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the disease to others.

Everyday Preventative Measures

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An easy way to mark the time is to hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice while scrubbing.
  • If water and soap are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick or becoming sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue (not your hands) and throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces with regular household cleaning spray or wipes.
  • Do not travel while sick.
  • Seek medical care right away if you have both symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath and have either recently returned from countries with known infections or have direct exposure to others diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

TCS Precautions

  • Each class will promote good hygiene with students
  • All students will wash their hands before eating lunch every day
  • CDC handwashing poster will be placed near every sink throughout the school
  • Classrooms, desks, phones, doorknobs, computers, and other items will be cleaned multiple times per week
  • Purchase of hand sanitizer station at both the main office and kitchen areas
  • Attendance policies may be changed if there are excessive due to sickness

TCS will continue to follow the CDC guidelines, encourage all students and staff to follow precautionary measures, and keep the community updated. I am working closely with the board in regards to this situation. 

The Briefing by Al Mohler from last Thursday is an excellent piece to listen to as we consider the perspective Christians should have during this time. I had the opportunity to share it with the secondary students in homeroom on Monday, with a very attentive response. May God give you opportunities to continue this discussion with your children, and ultimately, may He use it for their salvation. Another helpful Christian perspective can be found here. 

Please pray along with me that God may protect all the students and families at TCS, along with the rest of the world, and that He may be pleased to use this virus for His glory and our good. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly with any questions or concerns.

In Christ,
Mike Picciottoli
TCS Head of School

School Closed