COVID-19 INFORMATION AND UPDATES
4/15/2021 "Travel Quarantine"
Hello! Dr. Walner here on a Thriving Thursday afternoon. We are back in full strength following Easter break and less than two months left in this most unique school year! We are finishing strong!
The safety protocols for school providing in-person instruction are working: These include masking, distancing, quarentining, cleaning and sanitizing, and contact tracing. These guidelines have been developed in consideration not only of our students, but also of our adult faculty and staff. As we become more comfortable, it is easy to slack off in our compliance. But I am often made aware that our compliance in these protocols is making it possible for our school to be open and to provide a robust learning environment for our students.
Fortunately, as the number of COVID cases in our county has declined, the LA County Department of Public Health continues to revise the guidelines for schools providing in-person instruction.
For example, guidelines now allow that student desks may be as close as three feet apart—but adult desks must still be six feet from students. The permitted levels for grade level cohorts has been increased, as well, which has provided us more flexibility in our classrooms and allowed us, today, to have our first chapel in the Church Sanctuary. How wonderful it was to have our
K-5 and then our 6-8 students worshipping and learning God’s Word together today.
While the distancing requirements have been adjusted, the masking guidelines have not. As we indicated in the re-opening plan published on our website, face coverings for all adults and children are required to be worn during arrival, dismissal, and at any time on campus. Keep in mind that the arrival process begins with the screening process before pulling forward to the drop-off point. So grateful for your cooperation in this area.
Also, if you should travel outside of California, you will need to quarantine for 10 days upon return unless you are fully vaccinated or meet some other criteria. Please contact Mrs. Siewert and she will be glad to assist you.
In this very challenging season, our souls have been challenged in many ways. We have found that our Diamond Standards are essential guides for how to act toward others, especially in challenging times.
For example, our diamond standard focus for this week is Unity, which means we are peacemakers. We quench criticism and gossip and resolve conflict quickly with gracious yet forthright communication to the appropriate individuals, not by complaining to others. There are so many small and subtle ways in which the enemy of our souls attempts to steal, to kill, or to destroy the vitality of our relationships and community. It takes a conscious effort to deflect an offense or to lovingly respond to a different viewpoint. But by yielding to the direction of the Holy Spirit, we will be the face of Jesus to others. As one of my favorite poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote in As Kingfishers Catch Fire: “Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His to the Father through the features of men’s faces.”
As we finish this week, may we reflect Christ in many places to one another and to the Father in the features of our faces—even from behind our masks!
4/12/2021 "Middle School Update"
With the Los Angeles County experiencing a decline in COVID-19 cases, the Department of Public Health recently updated their guidance for K-12 schools.
· Previously, the cohort size was 14 students and 2 adults. Now that the county has permitted middle and high schools to open, the cohort size for grades 6-12 is 80-120.
· Previously, the required distance between student desks was 6 feet. This has been revised to 3 feet. However, adults are to continue to be 6 feet from students and from other adults, as much as possible.
The BCS middle school faculty has considered these changes and made the following revisions to the middle school program. Distance learners will continue to engage as they have been.
The two 8th grade cohorts will be combined to one class for English, Science, Bible, and History.
All middle school math classes will meet for in-person instruction during their currently scheduled math period. (Geometry students will still meet at 7:45am for class, with an advisory period from 8:30 to 9:15, after which they will join the other 8th graders.)
Cohorts will be combined for recess and lunch, but grade levels will still be assigned grade-level specific areas of the lunch areas and playgrounds. Grades levels will not comingle on the playground.
There is no change in the Encore classes schedule. The 4th quarter encore class assignments and locations will continue as planned.
Students will begin holding in-person house meetings (Aequitas, Fidelitas, Integritas, and Veritas) in mid-April.
We are confident these adjustments will enhance the middle school student experience during the final quarter of a most unique academic year.
3/3/2021 "Back on campus"
We’ve just completed a dozen days of in-person schooling—it’s been great to see the campus populated with students and faculty. About 15% of our students continue to participate via distance learning.
On the COVID front, The COVID-19 protocols are working. We are seeing a decline in the number of positive cases in Los Angeles County and across the state. Governor Newsom has announced that restaurants may re-open for outdoor dining. As for schools, LA County school are preparing for reopening soon and the permissible size of cohorts has been changed form 12 to 14 students.
The CDC recently stated that schools are safe places when following these protocols. LA County health officials have remarked at how seriously schools are taking these measures. Basically, the protocols work: masks, frequent handwashing, 6-foot spacing, cohorting, and sanitization.
I am proud of the work our students, faculty, and staff are doing.
Just one class has had to quarantine, due to potential contact. Three members of our staff had been exposed but began and completed their quarantine before returning to school. To date, we have no known positive cases that can be traced to the school. Contacts seem happen on weekends and at family gatherings, so be wise as you gather with family and friends.
1/6/2021 "Reopening Plan"
I write to provide an update on our decision to briefly delay the opening of school to in-person learning. I regret not being able to provide the broader background for this decision at the time but am glad to do so now AND to provide a new date for opening.
The opening of school presumes that there are teachers in the classrooms and staff in the halls and playgrounds. Several of our faculty and staff were impacted by the 10-day “stay at home” order for those who traveled outside the Los Angeles and Southern California Region. The county order came after some staff members had traveled some distance. Also, some of our team have been impacted by COVID-19 and were not able to return to work on January 7, needing to quarantine before returning to campus.
Second, we learned that there were some additional I’s to dot and T’s to cross with the County before we reopened. Because it is important that we open and STAY open (rather than open prematurely and risk being closed down due to technicalities), we needed to make sure these items were taken care of.
Third, there are some technology pieces that our tech team needs to complete in order for our teachers to effectively navigate the teaching of their in-person cohorts, as well as the students who will be joining in distance learning.
So, next week, in-person learning for grades 3–8 will begin on Thursday, January 14, 2021
Monday and Tuesday will continue distance learning (grades 3-8), with Wednesday off to allow our faculty and staff to make final preparations to open the school to all grade levels on Thursday and Friday (these days will end at 2:00 PM). There will be no enrichment or encore classes.
The next week (January 11-15), our K-2 will continue their current in-person schedule, Monday through Friday, with the school day ending at 2:00pm (1:00pm on Friday). There will be no enrichment or encore classes.
The following week (January 18-22), beginning Tuesday, January 19 (following the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 18), we will return to our regular schedule. The school day for Grades K-8 will begin at 8:15am and end at 3:00pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesdays, the day will end at 2:00 pm to allow for faculty professional development. The enrichments and encore classes will also begin this week.
Creating stable cohorts of 12 students at all grade levels has required additional staffing, especially in our middle school. I will be sharing more regarding this in the future.
Teachers will communicate with distance learners regarding their specific grade level class schedules.
We are grateful for everyone’s flexibility during these past several months. We are having to make adjustments, seemingly every week, in many areas of our lives. I am so looking forward to getting back into a regular school routine to provide at least one stable component in our students’ and families’ lives.
4/20/2020 “Learning at Home” extended to June 3rd
Dear Bethany Community,
Greetings to you all as we return to school from Easter Break. After a week of respite, we are ready to return to distance learning from home.
Due to the regional and local responses to COVID-19, public and private schools in Los Angeles County have been directed to close their campuses through the end of the school year. Campuses in Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) will remain closed through May 28, 2020. Other districts have made similar announcements.
Also, Los Angeles County’s Office of Public Health has continued “Safer at Home” provisions through May 15, 2020.
Based on these current recommendations, Bethany Christian School is prepared to continue our K-8 distance learning format through June 3, the end of the school year. While this certainly impacts our traditional year-end activities, our faculty and staff are working on some creative options to help us celebrate our students’ learning successes and bring closure to our year. [And should our government and health authorities allow for an earlier return to school, we are glad to do so and will inform you as that information comes to us.]
Although Bethany Christian Preschool remains closed, Mrs. Leon and her team are preparing to launch a summer program as soon as the preschool is allowed to open again.
We are grateful for the words of encouragement to our faculty and staff during this time—it means a great deal. Be sure that we appreciate you and all that you do to stay connected to our Bethany learning community.
William Walner, Ed.D.
4/10/2020 Message from Dr. Walner
Dear BCS Parent,
It is the morning of Good Friday, and I am taking a moment to reflect on the past four weeks of school life at Bethany Christian School.
I am so proud of our school community—our students, parents, and teachers— for so quickly embracing the complex challenges we have faced during this unique season. The strength of the Bethany community is perhaps most evident in times such as these, and your response has been remarkable. I want you to know that our faculty and staff have been praying for you daily and remain committed to providing the best Christian school experience possible under the banner of our mission” to partner with parents to educate, develop, and nurture students for a life of Christ-centered excellence.”
I also want you to know how hard your child(ren)'s teachers have been working to convert their physical classrooms into digital ones. They have been putting in long hours adapting their curriculum and instruction to a new platform to continue to provide excellent academics while remaining committed to discipleship. I pray that you are experiencing all of this hard work coming to fruition.
While we do not fully understand how long the COVID-19 crisis will impact us, it is clear that some in our community have and yet may experience hardships. We want to be there for you during this time. As a result, we have made a few adjustments to our charges and have created opportunities for greater financial support, if needed. Please refer to the FAQ below.
Tuition collected during this time will ensure that your child's academic experience is uninterrupted. We are committed to supporting our teachers who are working beyond full-time hours to serve all of our students.
Additionally, it is during times like these that the body of Christ rises up to bear one another's burdens and comes to the rescue of those in need. If you are in a position to give to the BCS Tuition Assistance Fund for families with demonstrated need, please pray about how generous you can be so that more families can be helped through this time. (Note: All online donations marked for the Bethany Christian School Fund received through May 31, 2020, will go toward this purpose.) You may also mail a check to the school if you prefer.
God will carry us through this season—He is not surprised by this and He is ready AND able to provide for us as we look to Him during this time.
Partnering with you in His service to our children,
William D. Walner, Ed.D.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is BCS prorating or refunding any fees?
Families will receive a refund for any prepaid childcare fees and preschool tuitions for school days in which those services are not provided.
What about K-8thtuition fees?
Full tuition collected during this time will ensure that your child's academic experience is uninterrupted. We are committed and continue to meet our monthly financial obligations such as teachers’ salaries and have invested in additional resources in order to deliver a quality online experience.
What about prepaid fees for extended (overnight) field trips (4th, 5th, & 6thGrades).
We are working with the providers of our extended field trip experiences (4th, 5th, and 6thgrades) and will provide credits to accounts when these funds have been received from the providers. All tuition and fees should be paid in full as we transition to distance learning.
I just lost my job, is there any additional help BCS can provide?
Because of the generosity of our community, BCS has established a tuition assistance fund for which families in need may apply. If you’ve recently lost your job, or have a significant loss of income, please email Barbara Sargent if interested in applying for assistance.
3/26/2020 - Bethany Christian School Closure Extended to May 1, 2020
Dear Bethany Community,
I trust you and your families are well and staying safe in these unique days!
“Learning at Home” extended to May 1st.
Bethany Christian School continues to provide ongoing education for our students through a distance-learning format. Our faculty and administration work from home. Teachers have enrolled me in their Google classrooms, and I am able to gain an overview of the instruction going on from K through 8thand in the HEP program (a virtual “walkthrough” each class!) I am impressed by the creative and fun ways our teachers and students are remaining connected through this time.
Our administrative team continues to closely follow the COVID-19 communications coming from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), along with recommendations from Los Angeles County and our local school districts.
At this time, public school districts have extended their dates for school closure. Los Angeles Unified (LAUSD) states they will reopen on May 1. Pasadena, Monrovia, Arcadia, Temple City, and Duarte school districts state they will reopen on May 5.
Based on current recommendations, Bethany Christian School will continue in a distance learning format through May 1st. Monday, May 4thwill be a pupil-free teacher preparation day on campus, with students returning to campus on Tuesday, May 5th.
Caveat: If our government and health authorities allow for an earlier return to school, we are glad to do so and will inform you as that information comes to us. It is also possible that we will be required to extend “learning at home” beyond May 5th. Again, if this becomes the situation, we will let you know as soon as we know.
Easter Break will be the week of April 13-17, 2020, as planned. No distance learning will be provided during this time. Our students (and our teachers!) will need a break from screen-time. Use this time for deep spring cleaning, family ancestry heritage projects, or writing the family novel! Or get a head start on spring landscaping! Teachers will be ready to resume distance learning on Monday, April 20.
Many thanks to those of you who have sent emails of encouragement to our teachers and staff—it means so much. Be sure that we appreciate you and all that you do to stay connected to our Bethany learning community.
Blessings to you all,
William Walner, Ed.D.
Bethany Christian School, Sierra Madre 626-355-3527
3/19/2020 - Bethany Christian School Closure Extended to April 3, 2020
Dear Bethany Community,
A hearty, “Well done!” to our students (AND parents!) for adjusting quickly to the online learning format. Our teachers report that students are engaging well. I am grateful to our faculty team for the extensive work they have done (and continue to do!) to help our students to move forward in their learning during this unique time.
We continue to monitor the situation to ensure the health and safety of our school community. We realize that we are not operating in isolation, but in sync with the wider community in which we live. In response to the President’s call (along with other health agencies) for a 15-day plan to slow the spread of COVID-19, a number of our local public-school districts have determined to extend closure through Friday, April 3, 2020.
Therefore, Bethany Christian School will also extend the on-site closure of school to Friday, April 3rd. Teachers will continue to guide our students in their online learning.
Also, our preschool will be closed beginning Monday, March 23, 2020, and will align their closure with the K-8 program. Preschool families should refer to a separate letter from Mrs. Leon, our preschool director.
The faculty and staff of Bethany Church and our school continue to pray for each of you and for our community. We are grateful for your prayers on our behalf, as well.
We will continue to keep you posted as new information becomes available.
William Walner, Ed.D.
3/19/2020 - Bethany Christian Preschool Closure Effective March 23, 2020
Dear Bethany Preschool Community,
Our primary responsibility during this coronavirus pandemic is the health and safety of our Bethany students, families and staff. With that as our #1 priority, and out of an abundance of caution, we believe that it is in the best interest of our families to close Bethany Preschool and align with our K-8 schedule beginning Monday, March 23through Friday, April 3. April 13-17 is our scheduled Spring Break. We will update you weekly with additional developments and potential re-opening date.
Barbara Sargent will be crediting your tuition account for each week that the preschool is closed. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While we had hoped to remain open for families who need childcare, it became obvious this afternoon that it is no longer possible. This decision was difficult but necessary for the health and safety of our entire BCS Community. Our leadership team will continue to check their emails regularly to support you and your family to the best of our ability. Please don’t hesitate to email us for assistance or concerns.
We have curriculum packets prepared for your children for the next two weeks. You are welcome to pick it up at Bethany Preschool today through Friday, March 20, along with any personal items you might need during our school closure. We will email more packets in the weeks to come.
During this time at home, I would recommend: reading books, puzzles, play outside, play dress-up, cook together, make playdough and have dance parties. Play is how our children learn.
Now more than ever we need to be reminded of what Jesus said: “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
We thank you for your trust as we work together to minimize the risk and exposure to protect the health of our entire community. All of us at Bethany Preschool will continue to pray and stay vigilant and as informed as we can to protect our health and well-being during this situation. Should you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the school office. 626.355.3527 ext.1653.
Blessing to you all,
3/17/2020 Message from Dr. Walner
Good evening Bethany families and community.
We continue to stand in awe of the goodness of our God.
Click here to view the message Dr. Walner has prepared for you.
If you have questions or need assistance, you are encouraged to call the school at 626-355-3527 or email us at email@example.com.
Emails and phone messages will be monitored during regular office hours, 8am-3:30pm.
3/13/2020 - UPDATE ON OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Dear Bethany Community,
Toward the end of our Pi Day opening assembly this morning, I shared with our students, faculty, and guests about our school’s response to the COVID-19 virus. Most importantly, we are a people of faith. As a friend of mine said yesterday, “We are not a people without a God.” And our God is a refuge for His people. He is also a God of wisdom and desires His people to respond wisely and not in fear.
“…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
After consulting with local health authorities, private and public education agencies, the BCS board, our church leadership and faculty, our administrative team has determined that we will close our K-8 classrooms and transition to distance learning beginning Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27, 2020. This decision is not made lightly, and we recognize that it will cause some hardships for many of our families. Information regarding this situation changes rapidly and we will remain in constant communication with authorities and provide regular updates to our families, teachers, and staff.
Our school office will remain open and available to respond to questions and concerns.
We are determined to ensure that teaching and learning continues through meaningful and powerful distance learning. This will be a new method of delivery and there may be bumps along the way—I am confident that the Bethany community will walk together in unity and grace as we learn and grow together. Our K-8 faculty instructional planning is targeted to take place on Monday, March 16, and Tuesday, March 17. We anticipate that distance learning for students will begin on Wednesday, March 18.
Our preschool will remain open next week, Monday through Friday, in order to provide service for working families. We are able to do this because of the small class sizes (12 children or less) and the ongoing sanitization processes that are already in place. Students will remain in small groups. Large groups, such as recesses and chapels, will not meet. We will review this decision on Thursday, March 19, and provide an update to the preschool families at that time.
Also, our HEP classes will not meet during the K-8 classroom closure.
The following events are also canceled or postponed:
All sports events are canceled until further notice.
All field trips scheduled during this time are canceled.
Open House (March 26) is will be rescheduled and modified.
Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fair is canceled.
Our ACSI/WASC accreditation visit (March 22-25, 2020) will be rescheduled for the fall.
Alice in Wonderland, Jr., is moved to May 1-2, 2020.
8th Grade Knott’s Berry Farm Physic Fun Day will be rescheduled.
We are in much prayer for the Bethany community—church and school. And we are so grateful to the many of you who have shared words of encouragement and indicated that you are praying for our team.
Blessings to you all,
William D. Walner, Ed.D.
3/6/2020 - UPDATE ON OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Hello Bethany families.
Bethany Christian School partners with parents to provide a safe, secure, and healthy learning environment for all. We are committed to the health and well-being of our students and staff.
As you may know, there have been updated reports shared regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). While there have been isolated cases outside of China, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), our community as a whole is at a very low level of risk. We want to reassure you that we continue to monitor the situation There is currently no reason to suspect the coronavirus (COVID-19) will approach or impact our community.
We would like to use this as an opportunity to remind you about some best practices to avoid spreading any infection:
If your child is sick or exhibiting contagious symptoms such as fever, dry cough, or having trouble breathing, please keep them home from school to avoid spreading illness. Your child must be fever/vomit free for 24 hours without medication before returning to school.
Remind your child that hands should be washed often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Refrain from shaking hands, instead, connect with a fistbump or elbow bump.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used.
When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Dispose of tissue immediately and wash hands.
Avoid contact with anyone exhibiting cold-like symptoms.
Additionally, if planning to travel, please refer to the CDC's Traveler Guidance website and follow appropriate safety precautions.
Again, we are confident in the global health community's assessment of the low-risk level and will be monitoring the situation closely through the CDC and WHO (World Health Organization) in case that assessment changes. In the meantime, if you have any additional questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out to us at 626-355-3527.
Lastly, it is important that we do not act out of fear, but rather focus on treating everyone in our community with kindness. Kindness is a part of our school culture and I know that we will continue to support an environment in which all students, staff, and families feel welcome. Be aware of the misinformation surrounding the coronavirus.
You can get the most accurate information on the CDC website here.
Thank you for your partnership and support of our school community.
Bethany Christian School