Dear MCS Community,
On behalf of the school leadership team and the Construction Committee we’d like to update the community on important start-of-school details. Our school team is working tirelessly to prepare, so we ask that you refer to the FAQ and send any questions regarding this update to the Board directly. Your grace is appreciated in allowing the school team to stay focused.
Our decision is driven by the following factors. Extensive details can be found in our FAQ:
- Despite hurdles, Bright Future Phase 2 construction has stayed close to schedule to hit our September reopening date. Yet within the last 2-3 weeks, COVID-related complications completely out of our control with respect to construction crews, city inspection bandwidth, and critical building materials/supplies have significantly impacted the schedule. Construction will not be completed in time for us to start the school year on campus, thus the necessity for remote learning through October 9. Please refer to the FAQ for more details.Know that we’ve explored every angle and relationship in an attempt to meet our September date. We remain confident that this team has and will continue to work unceasingly to get our campus open as quickly and safely as possible.
- As of 8/19/20, Orange County has come off the State’s Monitoring List. The county needs to remain off this list for 14 consecutive days in order for us to reopen in-person education without a waiver. Please see details in the FAQ.
- MCS submitted its Waiver on August 10, 2020 seeking approval for on-campus learning for TK-6th grades and we’re still awaiting the State’s approval.
- Please reference the MCS Fall Reopening Plan for details about our On-campus and Remote Learning programs.
- Please refer to our FAQ and send all questions regarding this announcement to the Board directly.
Lewis Brewster, Board Chair
Ruth Sanchez Kobayashi
Blessings to you and your families! Today, I am praying Ephesians 1:16-23 over our school community which beautifully says,
“I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that God, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His inheritance, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at His right hand, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name not only in the present but in the age to come. For God placed all things under his feet!” Praying for wisdom, hope and a filling of His great power in you. Amen!
Preparations for the upcoming school year continue and the Fall 2020 Reopening Plan is now complete. The reopening plan was established in collaboration with members of the “Fall 2020 Reopening Committee”, consultation with health and legal counsel, guidance from CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and Stronger Together, and in full compliance with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
With the established goal of returning to in-school learning, it is important to understand we will do anything and everything necessary to:
- Obtain waiver approval which requires strict adherence to requirements set forth by the CDPH.
- Reopen for in-person learning on the first day of school and remain open avoiding any form of closure as much as possible.
- Mitigate risk for all community members. Decisions not only consider the health and well-being of students but that of our staff. We understand the reduced risks for younger children. However, it is our responsibility and priority to mitigate the risks for staff so they can safely and confidently return to in-person work.
- Remain as fluid and flexible as possible understanding that, as the situation changes, we will adjust our practices and protocols as necessary.
Understandably, the reopening plan will prompt many questions. Over the next several weeks, we will communicate more specifically on several of the topics within the reopening plan including, but not limited to: face coverings, cohort groupings, hygiene practices, physical distancing, and arrival/dismissal protocols. We recognize it will be helpful to understand how this plan will be implemented and applied throughout the school day and further communication on individual topics will provide this clarity. The MCS Fall 2020 Reopening Plan can be found on our website
In His great wisdom, hope, and power,
Head of School
Understand all guidelines and requirements for a safe re-opening
Monitor OC health statistics and facts and collect data from both staff and parents to inform decisions
Consultation with legal counsel, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (MCS’s accreditation body), and school insurance agents
Collaboration with a consortium of Christian and independent private schools
Consultation with medical experts
Complete multiple trainings: health, safe practices, workplace and employee protections
Establishment of a “Fall Reopening Planning Committee” with 17+ individuals representing all MCS stakeholders
Order necessary safety-related supplies and equipment
Completion of the school re-opening waiver released 8/3/2020. Important Note: though the waiver only applies to TK-6th grade, 7th and 8th grade parents, do not lose heart! We are working to provide in-person learning for all of our students. Additional details regarding the waiver approval and in-person learning opportunities for all students will be provided as possible over the next couple of weeks.
Prayer and seeking God’s wisdom and will above all
Fulfilling the school’s mission to “build a firm foundation through Christ-centered education” and our core values of a Love for Christ, Exemplary Academics, Whole Child Focus, Culture of Innovation, and Connected Community
Returning to in-school learning
Seeking the best interest of our students to meet spiritual, academic, emotional, social, and physical needs while also considering the best interest of families
Seeking the best interest of our staff as we understand and prioritize their health and safety needs, assumed risks, comfort levels, as well as the best interest of their families. MCS staff interests are vital and will be prioritized as we open the school. It is vital families recognize the importance of our staff’s well-being.
Protecting the long term stability and sustainability of MCS. This is temporary. Our current situation related to COVID-19 will pass, therefore we will make decisions that meet current needs while balancing the long-term interests of the school. Current decisions can not and will not jeopardize or negatively impact the future of our school.
Opening safely AND remaining open which will provide the most stability, best meet needs, and ensure the greatest success for all.
We humbly ask for your faithful commitment to praying with us and for us. There is power in a praying community and we fully recognize our need for prayer. It is vital to each of us and it binds us together in unity. And, with great confidence we trust that God answers prayers! So we ask that you, “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” Ephesians 6:18.
We ask for your continued understanding, grace, kindness, patience, and trust. Rest assured we are working diligently on your behalf and no stone is left unturned. We fully recognize the need for clarity, information, and, as much as possible, certainty about the year ahead. It is vital that families understand our complete efforts and investment in providing information that is needed. In addition, we ask that parents know we will do everything and anything necessary to ensure our students can return to campus. With sincere hearts we ask, just as Peter did of the church, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate, and humble” 1 Peter 3:8.
We thank you for your commitment. Just as MCS will not make temporary decisions that could potentially have a negative impact on our long term future, we ask parents to prayerfully consider all decisions and remain committed to MCS. Our admissions team is busier than ever as we continue to enroll new students. We currently have waitlists in several grades with other grades very close to full capacity. We will continue to enroll students according to our enrollment and operating plan. As always, current families have priority for 2021-2022 reenrollment. Given the extreme interest we have experienced in the past several years to attend MCS, we cannot guarantee future enrollment unless you are currently enrolled for this school year. Please understand and trust, this is only shared to ensure families can take all information into consideration as decisions are made for the upcoming school year and beyond. We love our community and our genuine hope is that we remain together through this storm and we will be stronger for it!
Head of School
The entire MCS community is continually on my heart and mind; from our beloved staff, our amazing students and their parents, to our faithful partners. I have specifically prayed for God’s presence to fill you to overflowing as you rest, relax, and enjoy quality family time this summer. We all recognize our need for His presence in our daily lives, communities, and the world and I pray that you experience Him in ways that are unique and specific to you.
Also, at front and center is the 2020-21 school year, which I am sure is on your minds as well. Thank you for the extension of patience as we navigate through all matters related to the Fall reopening.
As previously communicated, our plan and intention is to fully reopen this Fall. This plan has not changed and, barring any significant changes in local health or mandated restriction, this plan will not change. We eagerly look forward to Meet the Teacher Day on Tuesday, September 15th and welcoming our students on campus the next day for the first day of school in our newly-completed campus! We are unwavering in our dedication to the school’s mission of “building a firm foundation through Christ-centered education” as we pursue our core values of Love for Christ, Exemplary Academics, Connected Community, Whole Child Focus, and a Culture of Innovation. These are our highest values and being together, on campus, is vital for achieving these and fostering the academic, social, spiritual, and emotional growth of our students. We want nothing more than to be back together with our students and community!
With the decision to reopen in the Fall in place, our next few months will be devoted to determining any necessary guidelines, practices, and programs to support our return while prioritizing the health and safety of all members of our community. We recognize the varying family situations, preferences, and needs. It is with this in mind that we invite parents to complete a survey, as your input will help inform decisions and plans. Please take a few moments to complete this survey.
As a school team, we confidently agree that there is tremendous wisdom in taking additional time to monitor, research, gather feedback from all stakeholders, and better understand local realities before determining reopening details. These decisions will be based on what is in the best interest of the MCS community including our staff and families and will be communicated in mid August, a full month ahead of reopening.
Continued patience, understanding and prayers are appreciated as we navigate through extremely unclear, continually changing, and difficult times. First and foremost, MCS is a community of believers, bonded as brothers and sisters in Christ, united in His purpose and mission. We are grateful for a united posture through an extension of grace, understanding, and love. Thank you for this vital care and unity. 2 Chronicles 20:12 says, “Lord we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Yes and amen!
In His Service,
Head of School
Dear MCS Families,
With just a few days left in the school year, the entire staff is wholly focused on a strong and successful completion to the school year. No doubt, this year brought unexpected challenges and I am grateful for how our staff responded and persevered through these challenges. To say that I am proud of each and every one of them would be an understatement. I am also proud of our students who have risen to the challenge, exhibited great resiliency, and conquered! Our staff couldn’t be more proud of our students. And, I am grateful for the support of the MCS families as we have all truly been in this together. This has been a time for unity and grace within the body of Christ and I thank you for answering that call.
Though our primary focus is rightfully on finishing the year, the 2020-21 school year is in view. As of today, it is our intention to fully return to school in the fall. We look forward to being together and celebrating the opening of our newly completed and expanded building on Meet the Teacher Day, September 15, 2020. We excitedly look forward to welcoming our students back on the first day of school, September 16th!
Given that we are four months away from the start of school, any other decision would be premature and without relevant data. It is important that we all recognize we are in unprecedented times facing situations where no one can be expected to have all of the answers. Over the next few months, we will continue to assess and monitor data, recommendations from health organizations, guidelines provided by government agencies, and evaluate local COVID-19 scientific realities. Please understand, though we are a private school, we must comply with certain governmental issues and mandates. We will remain steadfast in balancing all information with what we believe to be in the best interest of our staff, students, and families. We take seriously the responsibility of protecting the safety and well-being of every member of our community while accomplishing our school’s mission and core values. As always, we will be uncompromising in these efforts.
To be clear, it is, and has always been, the intention and goal to return to school in September. With this current decision in place, it is also prudent and responsible to plan for a variety of scenarios should the situation drastically change. We will act decisively and as necessity dictates. Decisive and quick action was successfully taken this year and will be taken again in the future, if necessary.
Please continue to pray and trust that God has a perfect plan for MCS and each of our families. Let us hold on to peace and “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful” Hebrews 10:23. God is sovereign and, as always, all of our decisions are prayerful, heeding His direction and wisdom at all times.