On January 24, 2022, Justice Thomas Rademacher, a State Supreme Court judge in Nassau County, ruled that Governor Kathy Hochul’s statewide mandate ordering students and staff in public and private schools to wear masks while indoors is unconstitutional and can no longer be enforced. The Governor has indicated that her administration will seek an immediate appeal of this decision. Meanwhile, the State Education Department insists that the mask mandate is still in effect. No doubt this is going to lead to much confusion in schools across the state Tuesday morning.
Since March 2020, when the world first learned of the novel Coronavirus, the Lima Christian School Board and its administration have strived to implement health policies and procedures that would protect our students, faculty, and staff from COVID-19 exposure. Our cleaning procedures and physical distancing policies, for example, have exceeded both CDC and state guidance. With gratitude to the Lord for His wisdom, leading and protection, Lima Christian School has had minimal COVID-19 transmission on school grounds and been able to maintain in-person instruction when many others could not.
Lima Christian School’s policy regarding the use of face masks is:
Health permitting and regardless of vaccination status, all school personnel and on-campus students will be required to wear face masks when physical distancing cannot be maintained and in common areas. School personnel and students will not be required to wear a face mask when appropriate physical distancing can be maintained during instructional times.
For the moment, this policy remains unchanged. It was not created by state mandate, and it remains undissolved by any court action. Lima Christian’s medical and administrative staff maintain communication with the local health department. We are hopeful that as COVID-19 rates drop within our region that these policies can soon be a thing of the past.
While we know that many are growing weary of these protocols, we urge patience toward one another. Philippians 2:3-4 challenges the follower of Jesus Christ to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Thank you for helping us put others first. When the lessons of this pandemic are long behind us, it is our hope that the lessons of Christian love toward one another will long be remembered.
Hello LCS families,
I pray that you were able to enjoy the Christmas holiday and that you have felt God’s blessing over this Advent season. As we look ahead to the return of school, I wanted to touch base regarding a few things related to COVID.
First, our COVID numbers rose a bit during the break with several positive cases across grades, affecting both students and teachers. If your child was considered a contact, you would have already been contacted by your local health department. Thankfully, this wasn’t a widespread issue.
Second, given the increase in spread during this time, the health department is recommending, but not requiring, that people wear N95 masks or double mask using a paper mask and then a cloth mask as a second layer.
Third, if your child was isolated or quarantined during Christmas break, we will need the release paperwork for your child to return to school. You can email the release to our nurse at email@example.com. If we do not have this paperwork, your child will need to sit out of class until we receive the required paperwork.
Fourth, as a friendly reminder, please keep your child home if he/she has any symptoms of COVID-19. The current variant is highly contagious, and we want to do our best to reduce the likelihood of school transmission. If you choose to keep your child home, please call the school to let us know. Thank you so much for your understanding and helping us in this way.
Finally, God has continued to show His goodness and faithfulness to Lima Christian School as we continue to deal with the virus and all that comes with it. As I reflect over the last year, I am counting all the blessings I have received from each of you as we have walked together on this journey. It is an honor to be a part of your child’s school career at this time and I wait expectantly for God to continue to show up in this new year.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
Mrs. Vicky Britton M.A. CCC-SLP
Lima Christian School
Lima Christian School has developed a day-to-day school plan for this academic year. The School Board approved the plan after consulting with the New York Department of Health. However, just after the plan was approved, additional school guidance was released from the state. Our Board is in communication with state officials and a legal team regarding how the most recent guidance may impact our previously approved plan. As a result, changes may be forthcoming. Thank you for your patience as we work through some of these issues.
Although daily health screenings and temperature checks are no longer required, it is imperative that we work together to minimize our COVID exposure. To this end, we are asking that parents abide by the school’s request to keep children home who show symptoms of COVID-19. For a reminder of possible signs and symptoms of COVID-19 please review the CDC’s symptom list here.
Possible signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include (but are not limited to):
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Please keep your children home from school if they exhibit any of these symptoms.
As part of our current school plan for this year, students, faculty and staff will be required to wear a face covering when appropriate physical distancing cannot be maintained. This means that a mask must be worn in common areas such as restrooms and hallways where a distance of 6 feet cannot be ensured. Desks have been properly placed in each classroom to ensure adequate physical distancing during instructional time. Therefore, at this time students and teachers will not need to wear masks while students are seated. When closer than 6 feet, they will be required to wear a mask. Hand-washing will be encouraged, and hand sanitizer stations are located conveniently throughout the school building.
Drop off and dismissal procedures have returned to pre-COVID processes. Students should be dropped off at the front entrance rather than at the gym entrance. At the end of the day, your child(ren) will be dismissed to buses or parent pick up. A structured process for K-6 was mailed to parents, so please make sure you have that communication. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the school office.
The senior class of 2022 will be selling lunch this year, so an email with lunch options will be coming soon. Until then, please plan for your child(ren) to bring their lunch.
Thank you for your diligence in partnering with the school to continue in-person instruction, five days a week. Our school remains committed to providing a safe learning environment for our students and faculty. We pray with you for God’s continued provision and discernment as we begin this school year. Further communication will be sent out with any updates as we move forward.
Yesterday, the state announced that neither Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, nor the state Department of Health, will be issuing guidance to govern the reopening of schools this year. That responsibility will fall upon local districts and health departments. LCS is in communication with our health department to determine what recommendations it would like to see for our school in the coming Academic Year.
At this time, for the sake of both continuity and to be responsible in light of the rising Delta variant numbers in our region, we anticipate that our 2021-2022 plan will look very similar to last year’s. The school will inform our community of any further developments as they become available.
Currently, LCS is maintaining a plan that allows for 6′ of social distancing in order that students are not required to wear a face mask during most of the school day. Masks would still be required in public district busing and common areas, such as hallways and restrooms.
In light of some continuing COVID restrictions, the school will maintain the relaxed dress code that was put in place last school year. This relaxed dress code allows for athletic clothing as acceptable school attire. All other dress code rules still apply.
Modesty for all our students remains a priority. Specifically, dress code rules regarding leggings and jeans will be enforced. Leggings are not permitted unless worn under shorts (on gym days) or a skirt that meets dress code requirements. Jeans are permitted under certain guidelines. As stated in the dress code policy, fraying, rips, holes and tears are unacceptable.
At this time, students have the choice to dress up for chapel on Fridays, keeping in mind that they may have gym. Please familiarize yourself with the full dress code policy located in the Family Handbook. You can find the Family Handbook by logging into Sycamore and looking under the Documents tab.
On Friday, June 4, the New York State Department of Health released a letter indicating the requirement that students wear face masks while indoor schools was scheduled to be lifted effective Monday, June 7. Lima Christian School was looking forward to the final three days of school (with temperatures approaching ninety degrees) being mask optional. However, on Sunday, June 6, the State Education Department released a notice to schools stating, “No changes have been, or will be, made by the Executive until after Monday, June 7 to afford the CDC an opportunity to respond to the letter.”
This is different than what Lima Christian School was told last Friday.
As a result, when students arrive on campus on Monday, the state requires that Lima Christian School follow the mask policy that we have been employing all year long. Face masks will be required when physical distancing cannot be maintained and in common areas. Thankfully, in most school settings, students will still not need to wear face masks. On Monday morning, a supply of masks will be made available for those who may need one.
Thank you for your patience as we navigate the ever-changing waters of government bureaucracy and the biblical principle of submission to those in authority over us, while prioritizing student and staff health.
The School Board
On Friday, the New York State Department of Health released a letter that Commissioner Howard Zucker penned to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The letter notes that an executive order requiring that students wear masks indoor schools is scheduled to be lifted next week
According to the letter, effective Monday, June 7, 2021, and as a minimum statewide guidance, schools do not have to make vaccinated or unvaccinated students wear face masks while indoors, though it is “strongly encouraged” for those who have not completed their vaccinations for COVID-19.
Lima Christian’s policy has been that “health permitting, all school personnel and on-campus students will be required to wear face masks when social distancing cannot be maintained and in common areas. School personnel and students will not be required to wear a face mask when appropriate social distancing can be maintained during instructional times.” Our school has maintained 6’ of social distancing between desks so that students have not been required to wear face masks while in instructional time.
However, in accordance with the state’s newest guidance, effective Monday, June 7, 2021, Lima Christian School will no longer require mask wearing on school grounds, whether indoors or outdoors. Be advised that students who arrive via busing may still be required to wear a face mask on district buses. Decisions regarding the wearing of face masks may vary by district.
Mask wearing recommendations for kids are “a moving target,” said Dr. Sharon Nachman, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Stony Brook Medicine. “Now that kids 12 and up can be vaccinated, it’s important to recognize that these are going to be mixed groups,” she said. “Some kids are vaccinated, and then there’s those who can’t be. There’s no reason to mask-shame anyone. There are reasons why some parents have made a family decision to have their children wear a mask.”
Lima Christian is notifying our faculty, staff, students, and their families now in hopes that each family can have a conversation regarding their decision whether or not to mask on school grounds before Monday.
Thank you for working with us through the challenges and the blessings of holding five-day, full-day, in-person instruction throughout this pandemic academic year.
On Behalf of the Board,
Jason J. McGuire