Dear Valor Community:
We wrote to you on Friday evening to make you aware of additional positive cases in our community. Over the weekend, we were alerted to more cases. As we have consistently stated, we remain committed to in-person learning, but with the timing of these recent developments, we believe it is prudent for us to reevaluate our current approach. With each new positive case within our community comes additional contact tracing, quarantines, substitute teachers, and various logistical changes in order to maintain our on-campus presence. We are also noting a significant uptick in general attendance issues as more families are taking additional precautions by keeping their students’ home from school.
Our primary goal related to making decisions in light of the pandemic has always been a high regard for on-campus, in-seat instruction. We still maintain that posture as our primary goal and have been one of the few schools to start the year on-campus five days a week and have maintained that posture since August. However, facts and circumstances, and the timing of the semester, also play into our decisions in working proactively and preemptively to create the very best experience for our students, and the very best teaching and learning environment we can provide.
Given where we are in the semester, with the heightened spread in our community, and our desire now to “thread the needle” to end this semester in as high a quality way as possible, we have determined that we will shift to a temporary remote learning environment, effective mid-day on Wednesday of this week and continuing through November 20 which will start our Thanksgiving break. We anticipate returning to on-campus learning after Thanksgiving on Monday, November 30 with additional plans for flexibility related to the completion of the semester.
We are not being forced to make this decision because of a COVID outbreak in the school. In fact, we do not see a rise in transmission inside the school, and our school continues to be a safe environment for students. But we are experiencing a significant rise in cases outside of the school and in our community. While it may be possible to just keep going with on-campus instruction, the requirements of quarantine, contact tracing, logistics of substitutes, the last-minute changes to classes or cancellations, and the likelihood that transmission would become more regular in the school, all work to gradually erode and dilute the best academic product we can provide. So, we believe a temporary remote learning situation in advance of Thanksgiving break gives us the very best chance to continue a high-quality academic experience, and also gives all of our students and families the most effective environment for reducing the spread of COVID, and to return to campus for the completion of the semester.
During this time, we will not be closing the campus. In fact, we expect many of our teachers will conduct remote sessions from their own classrooms. We can also provide in-person support with teachers available on a scheduled basis, and we will continue with our co-curricular programs, to the extent that they can be safely conducted. Lunch will continue to be served daily on campus from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm in the Commons should your student desire to come by and grab a bite to eat.
Shown below are the schedules we will operate on-campus for Wednesday this week, and remote classes beginning on Thursday and continuing for the following week.
We will have more to communicate soon with regards to coming back to campus after Thanksgiving and our plans for ending the semester. In the meantime, please continue to be vigilant about all of the safety protocols for living with this pandemic. Please continue to be in prayer for our students and faculty and staff to have an exceptional two weeks prior to our Thanksgiving break. And, above all, let us be grateful to the Lord that our school has really endured very little disruption so far this year, and we can have confidence and peace about quickly returning to school where we know it is in our students best interest to partake in our brand of life-on-life teaching and learning, and pursuing important spiritual relationships with their peers and adult mentors in their lives.