Q: Why weren't we allowed to reopen without a waiver?
A: We feel strongly that while some may disagree with certain politics, we will set a positive example for our students and families by abiding by Romans 13:1-2.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:1-2 NIV
MCS is entering its 35th year and it’s our fiduciary responsibility to protect our future. Based on legal counsel advice and our insurance and accreditation standards, we will not risk our long-term plans by reopening without the County and State’s approval.
Q: Has the school’s attorney been consulted regarding the legalities of our reopening?
A: Yes, absolutely. We also have been following closely the recent lawsuits filed against the state of California by churches and schools. As previously communicated, and recently upheld by the US District Court for the Central District of CA (docket #47 dated 8/13/20), we’re bound by directives from the Governor’s office. The Supreme Court has also upheld similar cases brought forth by churches across the country.
Q: What is the State’s Monitoring List?
A: The State’s Monitoring List tracks counties’ data across five COVID-19 related epidemiological metrics. In order for Orange County’s public or private schools to reopen, OC must be off this list for 14 consecutive days unless we receive an approved waiver. As of 8/23/2020, Orange County was officially off the State’s Monitoring List. In order for our 7th and 8th graders to return in person, OC needs to remain off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. Now that our waiver has been approved by the state, the state's guidelines say that we may remain open even if OC gets back on the monitoring list. When we open, we must adhere to all public health guidelines.
Q: What is the Construction Committee’s role in the Phase 2 construction?
A: The Construction Committee is a group of parent volunteers with deep construction experience. They advise and bring expertise to the Board and School team. The Construction Committee identified and interviewed the slate of potential General Contractors and made their recommendation to the Board. They’ve been instrumental in mitigating issues as soon as they arise, leveraging relationships with suppliers and tradespeople when needed.
Bogh Engineering is our General Contractor and IMG is our 3rd party Project Manager. Neither company has any familial or monetary ties to any member of the committee, Board or school. The Construction Committee has served as a unified team through weekly meetings for the better part of a year and have collectively donated thousands of hours of their time to this project. We are very grateful for this team and Phase 2 would not be as successful as it is without them!
Q: What exactly are the construction delays?
A: Bright Future Phase 2, as with any construction project, has experienced hurdles and through creative solutions has mostly stayed on schedule to hit our September reopening date. Over the past 4 months, Bogh Engineering and IMG, the 40-60 daily tradespeople and the Construction Committee of volunteer parents have worked around the clock to mitigate every issue, making up for lost time where possible. They’ve done a tremendous job and the campus is looking incredible with 10,000 additional sq. ft., atriums and windows bringing natural light inside our classrooms, additional safety features and larger, additional classrooms - all so that we can fulfill our innovative academic plans. Yet within the last 2-3 weeks, COVID-related complications have started to impact our schedule beyond our control.
- Costa Mesa’s Fire & Safety Department is down to a single inspector due to furloughs causing approval delays. They’ve gone above and beyond to prioritize our project.
- Positive COVID cases within our construction team have resulted in a mandatory 2-day cleaning and testing.
- Consistent with prior statements issued by Department of Homeland Security, border customs slowed considerably as they narrowed their focus to essential materials, resulting in some delayed deliveries of key materials.
- Some materials suppliers have been impacted by COVID, affecting their order fulfillment timelines.
Know that we’ve explored every angle and leveraged every relationship in an attempt to meet our September reopening date. We remain confident that this team has and will continue to work unceasingly to open our campus as quickly and safely as possible.
Q: How will MCS’s Remote Learning work?
A: MCS will begin the school year as originally planned on September 15th. However, all students will begin with remote learning. MCS’s remote learning curriculum provides the highest quality academic programming, with multiple daily sessions, specialist offerings, and teachers and instructional aides supporting small groups each day. Though we’ll begin remotely, the school team is currently planning for Meet the Teacher Day and other potential in-person community-building opportunities to meet classmates. The school team will provide more information on these opportunities in the near future.
Q: Will there be community-building events in a safe, outdoor location?
A: Though we’ll begin school remotely, the school team is currently planning for potential in-person opportunities to meet the teachers, classmates, and begin community-building. The school team will provide more information on these opportunities in the near future.
Q: Will my child/children be required to wear masks for on-campus learning?
A: In accordance with the requirements outlined by the California Department of Public Health, masks will be strongly recommended TK-2 and required for grades 3-8. Please refer to the Face Coverings and Other Essential Protective Gear info as outlined by the State.
Q: Are our teachers nervous about returning?
A: 85% of our teaching staff have elected to return in person as soon as possible. We have designed ways for those with medical risks and concerns to remain involved in our remote learning program. Just as we are prioritizing the health and safety of our students, the health and safety of our staff is paramount and mitigating health risks for them is vital.
Q: Why is tuition for remote learning the same as in-person learning?
A: Reopening under the CDPH's guidelines requires additional resources such as specialized curriculum, classroom technology, learning platforms, and additional personnel to provide our students with the quality academics and student support for which MCS is known. Additionally, IT staff is required to support our faculty, staff and families. We have added significant resources to support this program, all while trying to maintain our existing cost structure to operate the school. In fact, these costs amount to ~$1000/student which aren’t being passed on to families. Delivering a high-quality, Christ-centered education, both on-campus and remotely, requires equal tuition for both offerings.
Q: Can we weave in and out of remote learning and on-campus learning?
A: Please refer to the Commitment to Remote Learning by participating MCS families. We encourage you to choose the best option for your child’s long-term educational success.
Q: With the whole school starting with remote learning, has the Friday 8/21/20 decision date to choose which program we want been moved?
A: Yes, we've extended the deadline to Friday, Aug. 28, 2020
Q: What happens if someone in my child’s cohort tests positive for COVID-19?
A: Please refer to the Communications Plan as outlined by the state of California.
Q: What are the cleaning protocols MCS will have?
A: Please refer to the Cleaning and Disinfection information on our Operations page.
Q: Will we be leaving as many windows and doors open to promote fresh air flow?
A: With the addition of our two 1,000 sq. ft.+ atriums and new exits and courtyards, our plan is to provide as much fresh airflow as possible. Additionally, we’re using Merv 11 filters and we’ve increased the air exchange with our 48 new HVAC units, which bring in and circulate abundant fresh air.
Q: Will parents be allowed in the classroom?
A: At this time, parents will not be allowed on campus unless they have prior approval from School Administration.
Q: Will my child’s temperature be taken each day?
A: Please refer to the Health Screenings information on our Operations page.
Q: How will children be isolated if they present COVID-19 symptoms while at school?
A: Please refer to the Health Screenings info on our Operations page.
Q: Will there be a full-time nurse onsite everyday?
Q: Are the Teachers going to be routinely tested for COVID-19?
A: Our staff will be periodically tested per the CDPH guidelines. Please refer to the Testing of Staff and Students info on our Operations page.
Q: If someone in my immediate family travels out of the country, will my student have to quarantine? How will MCS control/monitor this?
A: Please refer to the Identification and Tracing of Contacts and Communications Plan info on our Operations page.
Q: What form of contact tracing will MCS use?
A: Please refer to the Identification and Tracing of Contacts and Communications Plan info on our Operations page.
Q: How will students move throughout the campus?
A: Our new building provides an additional 10,000 sq. ft. of new space including two hallways both upstairs and downstairs allowing unidirectional traffic flow. Please refer to the Entrance, Egress and Movement information on our Operations page.
Q: Are our new classrooms larger to allow for more space between students?
A: Yes, each classroom is brand new and larger than our prior classrooms. Please refer to the Physical Distancing information on our Operations page.
Q: Is there a chance that our campus gets shut down after reopening?
A: Yes, as with everything in 2020, there are no guarantees. The State’s current guidance mandates that we move to Remote Learning if >5% of our total student and staff test positive within a 14-day period. Please refer to the Triggers for Switching to Distance Learning information on our Operations page.
Q: How many students and staff do we have?
A: We estimate our TK - 6th grade on-campus students to be 548 and our staff to be 90. This means if over the course of 14 days, 31+ students and staff test positive, we will be required to switch to Remote Learning. Given the positive data trend for Orange County, we anticipate to come off the State’s monitoring list sometime in September 2020, which would allow our 7th and 8th graders to be back on campus, too, on our target date of October 9th. With all our students on campus our student population will increase to the 710-730 range.
Q: How will the cohorts be determined?
A: Class placement determines the 2020-21 grade-level cohorts, which will consist of 20-24 students. Students choosing the Remote Learning Program are included in these Cohorts and will participate online in their classes with their on-campus Cohort mates. Please refer to the Cohorts information on our Operations page.
Q: Will my child have the same teacher throughout the school year?
A: Yes. In elementary, students’ class placement will remain the same throughout the year regardless of remote or in-person learning. Middle school students will maintain their class schedule as assigned from the beginning of the year and will rotate through a 6-period day as usual. Please refer to the Entrance, Egress and Movement information on our Operations page.
Q: Will there be specialized instruction for elementary school (P.E, science, music, etc.)?
A: Yes. The plan is for TK - 5th grade cohorts to rotate through the regularly-scheduled specialist classes with revised bell schedules to allow for additional cleaning between use. 6th - 8th grade will rotate through enrichments and electives as scheduled.
Q: Will elementary school have recess?
A: Yes. The plan is for TK - 5th grade to enjoy play time at recess as a cohort. We will maintain the same recess and lunch schedule as we have in previous years. It’s important that all students are provided outdoor play time.
Q: Will there be Chapel and assemblies?
A: Yes, we’ll continue weekly chapels though it will look different from previous years. It will be a combination of live streaming, outdoor, and small group gatherings. Assemblies will be determined throughout the year as appropriate.
Q: What new technology are we bringing in to help facilitate remote learning?
A: MCS has invested significantly to support our reopening plan. All teachers are now equipped with laptops and external monitors. All classrooms supporting Remote Learning students have upgraded higher resolution document/webcams, teacher headsets and room microphones. These Parallel Learning classrooms will also be equipped with an additional TV and camera for in-person and remote students to see and interact with each other. We’ve also purchased and are evaluating 4 SWIVL units that track the teacher around the classroom. We’ve also acquired additional iPads for students enrolled in remote learning.
Q: Will students be offered the appropriate support depending on differentiated academic ability?
A: Yes, our teachers, specialists, Support Program staff, and instructional aides will provide differentiated learning for our students.
Q: What security and privacy guidelines will be established for Zoom?
A: We’ve reviewed and are following Zoom’s recommended best practices for securing our Zoom sessions. As we did last year, each teacher’s session is password-protected. Teachers admit students through the waiting room. Additionally, Zoom links are changed regularly.
Q: Have we considered Zoom alternatives? If not, what are the primary reasons we settled on Zoom?
A: We’ve decided to continue with Zoom for a variety of factors including ease of use, cost, added security features via waiting rooms and session-specific passwords. Additionally, the breakout rooms support our small group discussions and the whiteboard feature provides flexibility for additional visual communication. Sessions can be recorded for later viewing. Zoom’s ability for us to disable private chat and group messaging allows us to prevent students from holding side conversations. Finally, MCS students and teachers are already familiar with Zoom and the learning curve will be easier, allowing our students to get into subject material much more quickly at the start of our school year.
Q: How will carpool drop-off and pick-up work?
A: Please refer to the Entrance, Egress and Movement information on our Operations page.
Q: Will MCS offer the After School Program (ASP)?
A: We will offer ASP, though Morning ASP will be strictly reserved for dual-working and single parent families requiring morning care. Please refer to the Entrance, Egress and Movement information on our Operations page.
Q: Will there be athletics for middle school?
A: Currently, the CALOC league, in which we participate, has delayed the start of all sports until mid-October. We’re awaiting their direction. Additionally, we’re considering other after-school sports camps and opportunities for students which will be communicated after the start of the year.
Q: Will we still have field trips (DC, Pine Valley, museum, etc.)?
A: All overnight experiences including Pine Valley (6th grade) and Washington, DC (8th grade) have been postponed to early spring. It’s our intention to provide these trips to students if the circumstances permit. Single-day field trips will be considered as appropriate and will based on availability.
Q: What will be the structure and expectations for Remote Learning?
Q: If we choose a different option other than MCS this year, are we guaranteed our spot when we return?
A: MCS has been blessed in the past year by unprecedented interest and enrollment applications. At this time, we have waiting lists across many grades, and unfortunately, cannot guarantee a spot for your family if you choose a non-MCS option this year.
Q: Is there additional financial aid available for my family during this time?
A: We do have limited, short-term, emergency financial aid as well as an MCS Community funded COVID-19 Relief Fund. Please email us for more information.
Q: How can I support MCS families that may be in financial need during this time?
A: Our community is so grateful to the families that have generously given to the COVID-19 Relief Fund. Please email us for more information about contributing.
Q: How else can I help?
A: The Construction Committee may be reaching out to parents with construction experience for some community-building and boots on the ground help (furniture moving, materials moving, etc.) in the last stretch of the construction project. Please email us if interested.
Additionally, we appreciate your continued prayers, grace and understanding as we move through this challenging time. Please send all questions to the MCS Board directly so that the school team can focus on preparing for the upcoming year.
Q: Why/how have some other local Christian schools already announced they are reopening for in-person learning?
A: Other schools have chosen to reopen in spite of the State’s orders and without the required waiver.
Q: Has MCS considered supporting a home-based, micro-school approach or learning pods to support in-person learning?
A: After extensive research and discussions with our accreditation organizations, insurance providers, and staff, it was not deemed a viable option.
Q: Did MCS receive a PPP Loan, and, if so, how are the funds being used?
A: Yes. We have used funds to support the additional resources to keep our staff fully-employed during this pandemic, support our Remote Learning program with additional staff, hardware, software licenses, safety equipment and supplies, additional custodial and health office staff, social distancing signage, as well as covering some income loss.
Q: Will we still be charged student fees?
A: Fees will be calculated and billed once we understand the program costs for the academic year.
All MCS community members are required to notify the Health Office if they, or a member of their household, or a person with whom they have had close contact, tests positive for COVID-19. If a community member develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or is self-isolating due to suspected or known exposure (exposure of >15 minutes within 6’ distance) to COVID-19, he/she is required to notify the Health Office immediately at (714) 437-1700