Superintendent's Letter - June 26, 2020
Dear Dock Students and Families,
I hope you are finding time to relax in different ways this summer. We all need to refresh after a taxing spring season with the unprecedented challenge of a pandemic, coupled with social unrest in our country. In Mark 6:31, Jesus invites the disciples to come away and rest a while. That is good advice for each of us this summer.
Information and guidance regarding the beginning of school this fall continues at a rapid pace. Governor Wolf announced that our county will enter the green phase on Friday, June 26, as our community begins to open up more significantly. We are expecting additional guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the coming days. This letter includes recent actions taken by our Board of Trustees as well as some indication of how Dock Mennonite Academy may open in the fall. Please note that any of the guiding principles for this fall may change as we continue to monitor advice from multiple sources.
Actions of the Board of Trustees:
1. Approved a Pandemic Team to lead through this time of discernment. This team will work with many other people from a variety of sources in preparing a plan for Board consideration that will guide our opening this fall. The team is comprised of the following people:
Dr. Conrad Swartzentruber – Superintendent
Dr. Sharon Fransen – Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction
Mrs. Patti Baker – Director of Finance and Operations
Mr. Martin Wiens – Grades 9-12 Principal
Mrs. Bronwyn Histand – Early Childhood-Grade 8 Principal
2. Approved the opening of Dock’s summer camp program in July with modifications to minimize risk.
3. Approved the opening of summer athletic practices with careful guidelines and modifications to lower the risk for our students.
4. Approved the opening of our campus for low-risk rentals with careful guidelines and modifications when we enter the green phase.
Fall Opening Priorities:
1. Lowering the risk for students and teachers as they return will always be our top priority.
2. Having students return with the fewest restrictions possible.
3. Creating an environment where students can learn while feeling safe.
Guiding Principles for Opening this Fall – all subject to change:
1. Symptom screening will be conducted by parents/guardians before the student leaves home each morning. Any student who displays symptoms will remain at home.
2. Self-screening for symptoms will be conducted by all staff before leaving home each day.
3. Temperature screening will not be required upon entrance to school.
4. Continued education regarding the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 will be provided for students and staff.
5. Students and staff who feel symptomatic after arriving at school will immediately go to a designated room away from other students and medical personnel will be notified.
6. Wearing face coverings will not be required of students but will be permissible for those who choose to wear them.
7. Each classroom will be reviewed and designed with the maximum distance possible between students. Classroom configuration and student seating will be altered to achieve additional distance between students.
8. All high-touch surfaces will be disinfected regularly. An intentional and systematic sanitizing cleaning protocol will be followed daily to lower the risk of infection from surfaces.
9. All students and staff will wash their hands on a regular basis. Hand sanitizer will be made available throughout our campuses.
10. Schedules and traffic in hallways will be reviewed and modified where feasible to reduce the number of students in the hallways simultaneously.
11. Lunch procedures and schedules will be reviewed to lower risk during lunch time.
12. We will monitor air quality and provide fresh air as much as is feasible. All HVAC units and filters will be inspected before school opens in August.
13. Visitors to campus may be limited.
14. Students riding public buses will follow the guidelines set by that school district.
As a small and nimble school, Dock can adjust to a variety of recommended practices that will help keep our students safe. We can change quickly to achieve the best balance of safety for students and returning to Dock’s high standards of learning and exploring. We continue to invite your feedback as we finalize our plans throughout the summer.
Keep reading and growing! Find times to relax and breathe deeply. A great year lies ahead for Dock!
Dr. Conrad Swartzentruber