|The Year of COVID |
It’s been seven months since COVID disrupted our lives. It’s hard to imagine an area of life that hasn’t been impacted by the Coronavirus. Work, church, shopping, travel, entertainment, sports, social interaction, family life and, of course, school. Since being forced from normal classroom life, we’ve had to navigate a maddening maze of ever-changing, sometimes contradictory regulations and rules mandated by the Governor’s office, county Health and Education Departments, and the CDC. We have struggled to consider the varied and often contradictory needs and desires of the 200+ TCS families. We’ve been able to create a patchwork of distance learning, home-schooling and on-campus pods that provide workable solutions for nearly all TC families. I am grateful for the patience, support and even encouragement from so many TC parents, guardians and grandparents throughout this process. I am grateful for the faculty and staff who have gone the extra mile to adjust and do whatever they can to still provide a high quality educational experience for all students despite our current less-than-ideal teaching environment.
Big picture, things are going well. The Preschool is slowly growing back to normal enrollment as the economy slowly returns to normal. The elementary grades are benefitting from the waiver. We continue working with the county to provide for more “normal” classes while still employing reasonable guidelines. The county has been helpful, and we believe positive changes can be made soon. If the county’s COVID numbers continue their most recent trend, we might be back to the classroom on the Jr-Sr High campus as soon as October 28th. But the best and most important bit of good news, is this. To date we have had no COVID cases on any of our three campuses. Praise God! We are grateful for His protection. While we do everything reasonable to reduce the risk of infection for students, faculty and staff, we know we are all in the hands of our sovereign God. He is our ultimate protection.
The “COVID Tax”
All of this has come at a price. I call it the “COVID Tax.” Early indications were that the cost would be enormous. But we have been able to take some cost-cutting actions that have, at some points, increased pressure on teachers and staff but not at the cost of increasing risk. The freedom to use the unique architecture of the elementary campus will greatly reduce the “tax,” by eliminating our need to staff pods. When, the Jr-Sr High campus returns to the classroom, pods will no longer be required. This too, will reduce the COVID tax significantly. But “COVID tax” money has already been spent. Even when all pods are eliminated, there will still be more than $11,000 per month needed for COVID related expenses throughout the remainder of the school year. These COVID-related expenses are not covered by tuition and so will need to be covered by contributions. In a couple of weeks, I will let everyone know the past and projected COVID tax. I am confident God will lead those who can, to be generous in providing all that’s needed.
Thanks for the privilege of serving you.
God bless you and your family,
Dr. William Hoyt, Head of School
Constants in a Sea of Change
While we have been trying to adjust to the ever-changing dynamics of the COVID pandemic, there are three things that have not changed. Faculty, staff and Board alike are committed:
1. The health and well-being of our students, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
2. Academic excellence.
3. Biblical Truth and Christian values.
All three commitments have guided us in making decisions for the 2020-21 school year. Regarding the physical health of our students, we will do all we can to limit their exposure to COVID, but we are also aware of the negative emotional impact of distance learning and its deficiency in areas like socialization.
Our commitment to academic excellence drives us to campus and classroom instruction. And our commitment to Biblical Truth and Christian values causes us to address our fear of COVID in the context of trusting our God who has numbered our days even before we are born.
The Plan Forward
We are already at work, preparing to implement the attached plan. It’s not designed with the goal of pleasing everyone. The diverse opinions, beliefs, fears and specific family circumstances makes that impossible. So, our plan represents what we believe to be best for our students, what’s reasonable to expect of faculty and staff and what’s practical at each age level.
While there’s still some uncertainty and some details that will change, this is our pathway forward as of today. We will be responsive to changing factors that make adjustments in the plan advisable.
On a personal level, I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to communicate directly with me and with my fellow administrators and staff. You have been insightful, encouraging and respectful. It is a privilege to serve you and your students.
Dr. William Hoyt
Head of School