Policy Change - Face Masks 5/18/21
After having had the opportunity to review the feedback from parents and staff, the Heritage Christian Schools Board of Directors has approved the policy below, which was sent to you on Friday:
Beginning Wednesday, May 19, 2021, Heritage Christian Schools will no longer require mask wearing in our facilities. Wearing masks is encouraged. Please note the following precautions will remain in place:
- Students and staff will continue to distance from each other, trying to avoid being within six feet of others for more than 15 minutes whenever possible (unless working in an elementary cohort).
- Students and staff will continue to practice proper hygiene such as frequent hand washing and using hand sanitizer. Facility sanitation procedures will remain in place.
- If an unmasked student comes in close contact with someone at school who tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to quarantine as recommended by the Waukesha County Health Department.
- All other COVID-19 protocols will remain in place unless otherwise communicated by the administration.
- Masks continue to be required on buses per federal regulations.
- For WIAA-sponsored athletics, when traveling, the host school expectations must be followed along with WIAA expectations for the end-of-season tournament series.
The administration will continue to monitor active cases and quarantines within our school population and will make adjustments as necessary to this policy.
Our hope is as COVID-19 cases remain stagnant and low to further scale back some mitigation measures. While this decision departs from the recommendations of the Waukesha County Health Department, the administration will continue to receive and consider guidelines put forth by the Department.
We want to thank everyone who participated in giving feedback. While the majority of responders were in favor of this proposal (78% yes, 22% no), excellent points were made by many on both sides. At Heritage, we respect our differences and, in humility, seek to honor each other and learn from one another. May God unite us in the things that matter most, while we are gracious to those who differ with us in lesser things.
Quarantine Procedures Updated by WCHD 5/6/21
We continue to follow the guidance and recommendations of the Waukesha County Health Department (WCHD) as it relates to “staying safe to stay open.” The County continues to recommend that schools maintain their COVID-19 mitigation strategies, which for the Heritage Christian Schools includes requiring masking indoors, sticking with social distancing, utilizing plexiglass partitions and more.
We will continue these practices through the remainder of the school year but please note the following change, effective immediately, in order to align with the County’s guidance:
- Quarantining: HCS will implement a change the County announced on Thursday, May 6th, which was the relaxation of quarantine guidance to allow students possibly exposed to COVID-19 in school settings to continue in-person learning, if the following conditions are met:
- The school has committed to COVID-19 prevention policies, which include the following: mask wearing, implementing strategies to maximize distance between students, handwashing, ventilation and management of students exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19. Since students with mask exemptions are not wearing masks, they will be expected to adhere to previous guidelines and quarantine as directed by school staff.
- Close contacts remain symptom-free and agree to self-monitor for symptoms a full 14 days following exposure; close contacts will immediately remove themselves from the school environment if symptoms develop.
- Close contacts strongly consider getting tested on day 6 or 7 after exposure to help identify asymptomatic spread.
- Some exceptions apply when it comes to athletics and WIAA requirements. Student-athletes will receive more information in the near future.
As vaccination numbers increase and COVID-19 cases remain stagnant and low, our goal is to further scale back some mitigation measures for Summer Blast, which begins June 21. Specifically, HCS is considering additional changes to quarantining practices and is considering changing mask-wearing from required to recommended for all students and staff participating in summer school, both indoors and outdoors. Decisions made for summer programs will likely help inform our planning regarding mitigation measures in place for the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Mask Policy After Supreme Court Ruling 3-31-21
Many parents are asking how the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision on Marchr 31, 2021 regarding the governor’s mask mandate will affect our school mask policy. In the fall, when the governor imposed a mask mandate and the legislature was opposing it, Heritage’s administration set a policy, which our school board endorsed, that we would follow the recommendations of the Waukesha County Health Department (WCHD). This court decision has not changed that policy.
We understand that there exists a wide variety of strong opinions on what the school should do regarding masks, distancing, sanitizing, etc. If we choose only to follow court rulings and governor decisions, our expectations will change at a moment’s notice. The WCHD has given us reasonable guidelines that have been effective in keeping our doors open and allowing uninterrupted in-person instruction. While the numbers of positive cases has diminished in Wisconsin, we feel it is best to keep current policies in place. As a result, we expect all students who do not have a mask exemption to follow mask rules. This summer we will reevaluate the situation and set appropriate policies for the start of school next year.
COVID Procedures Update 12/9/20
Dear Heritage Families,
Our goal is to keep students safe while continuing to deliver in-person instruction, where we can care for them not only academically, but also spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and socially.
As you may know, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently revised the recommendations for quarantines related to close contact with those who have tested positive for COVID-19. Late yesterday afternoon, the Waukesha County Health Department (WCHD) sent a message to private schools informing us they are adopting these suggestions as guidelines. Heritage has consistently followed the lead of the WCHD, so we want you to know that this new protocol will begin starting today:
- The quarantine period is shortened from 14 days to 10 days for close contacts who remain asymptomatic, provided that daily symptom monitoring continues for the full 14 days.
- The quarantine period may further be shortened to 7 days for close contacts who remain asymptomatic and receive a negative COVID-19 test result from an FDA authorized diagnostic test (PCR or antigen) if collected within 48 hours of the proposed end of quarantine (on day 6 or 7 of quarantine). Symptom monitoring must continue for the full 14 days. Your student can return to school as long as they are asymptomatic and have proof of a negative test result.
- Parents who want to have their students return early (7 or 10 days) based on the guidelines above must notify the campus office no later than the day before returning.
- Asymptomatic means the person shows none of the COVID-19 symptoms for the entire period of quarantine. It does not mean the person has the virus.
- These new procedures are retroactive for current quarantines. The school will contact families with quarantines to confirm return date. Further details can be found on the WCHD website.
Please note we are asking that families report any student and family cases of COVID-19 to the main office during Christmas break so our staff can continue to conduct contact tracing. Call (262)432-0527 and leave a message if no one is available. When leaving a message, please tell us the date of the positive test, whether the student is symptomatic or not, and, if symptomatic, when the symptoms started.
Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work through the complex issues surrounding this pandemic. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom and guidance as we move forward.
FAQs for 2020/21 School Year
Q: What are the requirements for masks next year?
A: This subject was addressed in last week's Hotline and can be found here
. In addition to this, we will be following the existing Heritage dress code in asking that no lettering or wording be on the masks
unless the mask is issued by Heritage.
Q: Will Heritage be providing busing this year? Will safety precautions be in place?
A: Heritage will be running bus routes this year. Two newer buses were purchased last spring, adding to the fleet of HCS buses and vans. All Heritage vehicles will have spacing enforced to assure distancing. Students will need to wear masks, and drivers will follow specific protocols to assure students are following safety guidelines. Sanitizing will take place on a daily basis. Busing contracts can be found here
Q: Is there an online option for schooling?
A: Yes! Heritage has an affiliation with Liberty University Online Academy
that allows for students to maintain their HCS enrollment while attending online school. Contact Liz Hoek
for details. The deadline to register for online school was Friday, August 21.
Statement Regarding State Mandated Masks 7/31/20
Wisconsin's Governor Tony Evers announced on July 30, 2020 that all people in the state of Wisconsin ages five and up must wear masks while indoors until September 28. This changes several things about the plan Heritage released earlier the same week:
- Face shields will not be an option for personal protection equipment for the duration of the mandate. Therefore, Heritage will not be distributing these shields to students, faculty, or staff at the beginning of the school year, but may at a later date.
- We are no longer allowed to determine which situations inside the school where students or staff could take off their masks. Exceptions would include:
- A single person with 6 feet or more separation speaking to an audience
While we are disappointed to see these areas of discretion taken away from us, we still strongly believe that the positives of having school five days a week outweigh these negatives. We will continue to make plans to provide the best experience possible for our students while training and inspiring them through exceptional, Christ-centered education and programs.
Reopening Plan for 2020 - Video & Documents 7/28/20
Dear Heritage Families & Friends,
In recent weeks, our administrative team wrestled with decisions that could impact the sickness or health of many, as well as the difficulty or convenience of doing school. These are some of the hardest decisions I've ever been a part of making. As you review our plan, please know our love for our students and teachers drove these decisions, and we understand you might not agree with them.
Please view this video explanation of the plan, along with much of the reasoning that went into it. I hope you and others will hear our hearts as much as our words. You can reference (see below) the attached the plan and the PowerPoint presentation from the video, as well.
Thank you for granting us the honor of serving your children!
In His love,
Please note that this is an unlisted video on YouTube. Unlisted videos do not populate on searches and can only be accessed by using the link above.
COVID-19 Update 3/19/20
Heritage Christian Schools is complying with the State’s mandate of keeping schools closed for the duration of the public health emergency declared by Governor Evers on March 17, 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes all levels of the school including the Preschool. Currently, the State has not determined the duration of the emergency order. Be sure to watch the Hotline and website
Although there might be slightly different expectations depending on grade level, we feel strongly that the plan we are putting in place will allow us to continue to provide a high level of education to our students that you have grown accustomed to receiving. We are committed to a digital platform to allow this "distance learning" to be done at a high quality. Faculty will be trained early next week on the use of this platform.
Our expectation is to be fully up and running all "distance learning" classes by Monday, March 30th and we are prepared to continue with it as long as needed.
We are also working on a plan for students to retrieve needed supplies from school, as well as how to work through any hardships that technology might bring to a family during this time. Look for more information on those topics in next week's Hotline. We appreciate your patience during this trying time and welcome your prayers for Heritage as a whole.
The rescheduling of major events, such as the Peter Pan spring musical, will be announced when the State’s emergency order has been lifted.
COVID-19 Update 3/13/20
Dear Heritage Families,
Today, March 13th, Gov. Tony Evers directed the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to mandate a statewide closure of all K-12 schools. According to the news release, the mandated closure will begin Wednesday, March 18th. School will tentatively resume Monday, April 6th. This decision is part of the state’s efforts to contain the coronavirus in Wisconsin.
Heritage Christian Schools will be complying with this mandate. Our Elementary through High School students already have the week of March 16th off for Spring Break.
Our Preschool will also be complying with this mandate, closing Wednesday, March 18th. Preschool will be held Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th.
Please know that there are currently no confirmed cases of the virus on either of our campuses.
On Monday, March 23rd, K-12 teaching staff will report to school to prepare and plan lessons and educational experiences they can deliver and support during our prolonged school closure. We anticipate implementing virtual and/or “distance” learning on Wednesday, March 25th. More information regarding virtual instruction will be shared with you on Tuesday, March 24th.
Please note that all extra-curricular and after school events between now and April 6th are also cancelled. The activities include sports practices and games, robotics meetings, and the spring musical practices. Currently, our spring musical, Peter Pan, is rescheduled for April 23rd-25th.
While away from school, we strongly encourage families to follow the guidance and recommendations provided by the CDC regarding safe hygiene and travel. Students and staff who travel to any Level 2 or Level 3 country may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to school or work.
We recognize the significant burden this places on our families and community, but feel this is the right thing to do in response to an unprecedented health crisis. Our prayers will be with you as we walk this unknown path together.