The past year has confirmed that having students in the building for in-person learning is best for them academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. With this in mind, Westlake Christian Academy has prepared the following plan for returning to school, in compliance with guidelines from the CDC, State of Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). This plan is subject to change, as health guidelines are updated and according to local Covid-19 transmission rates.
- Keep students in school
- Keep students and teachers safe
- Protect the quality of the instructional process
In order to meet these objectives, Westlake will follow guidance from ISBE/IDPH that recommends a layered approach to mitigating the risk of COVID-19 transmission at school. This includes utilizing the option for local schools to remove one mitigation at a time when local transmission is low.
Covid-19 Mitigation Strategies
- Physical distancing: As much as possible, WCA will work to keep students at least 3 feet apart.
- Masking: Masks will be optional in the school but required for all students and teachers (regardless of vaccination status) in large group settings, such as chapels or assemblies. ***Update 8/3/2021*** Due to changing guidance from ISBE and increased local transmission of Covid-19, masks will be required for everyone inside the school. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly.
- Handwashing: Teachers and staff will continue to encourage regular handwashing and provide accessible hand sanitizer.
- Ventilation: To increase outside airflow, WCA will keep classroom windows open as much as possible.
- Cohorts: WCA will continue to limit the number of students that a class has direct contact with (closer than 3-6 feet for more than 15 minutes), so that we can minimize the number of students who need to quarantine if there is COVID exposure at school. We will have four cohorts:
- Grades Preschool-Kindergarten
- Grades 1-3
- Grades 4-6
- Grades 7-12
- Preschool, Pre-K and Kindergarten will eat in their classrooms.
- Elementary students (grades 1–6) will sit with their class in the lunchroom. Students will be at least 3 feet apart and sit at an assigned table.
- Secondary students (grades 7–12) will have assigned tables in the lunchroom. Juniors and seniors will have the option to sit outside at the picnic tables when the weather permits.
- Covid-19 Testing:
- WCA will offer regular COVID-19 testing for student athletes, with parent consent.
- WCA will require a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days of the high school retreat, other trips, and athletic tournaments.
- Illness: Students must stay home if they or anyone in the household is exhibiting any COVID-like symptoms (see below for details).
When anyone in your household is sick:
- Keep your child home if they or anyone in the household is exhibiting any symptoms that are recognized by the CDC as possible COVID-19 symptoms:
- 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
- If a child develops a fever (100.4 or higher), respiratory symptoms, or any Covid-19 symptoms during the school day, the student (and siblings) will need to be picked up immediately.
- Siblings may return to school when the sick child or household member receives a negative COVID test.
- The sick child may return to school with a negative COVID test and once symptoms are improving. Please take extra caution this year. When in doubt, stay home an extra day.
- Absences should be reported via the website or WCA App by 8:00am.
In the case of a positive Covid-19 diagnosis or exposure, WCA follows CDC guidelines for quarantine. Currently, the CDC guidelines state that local public health authorities determine and establish the quarantine options for their jurisdictions. As such, WCA will follow guidelines set forth by the Lake County Health Department.
Remote learning will only be available for long-term COVID related quarantines or long-term medical situations. Students will not be permitted to join on the first day that an absence is reported. These guidelines and procedures will be presented in detail on Back-To-School Night.
Any students being transported by the school for any school event will need to wear a mask while riding in a car or bus to that event. Windows will be open to provide ventilation.
WCA will limit visitors to the classrooms during the school day to those who are essential to the instructional program. For indoor events that take place outside of the school day, such as athletics, concerts, and drama, masks will be required for all.
Parents will need to sign a COVID-19 waiver.
Westlake follows IDPH guidelines for school sports. Currently, masks are not required for outdoor sports. Per IDPH guidelines, masks are recommended for indoor sports.
- Before Care will meet in the cafeteria, but students will sit in separate groups by grade level.
- Children may not bring any personal items, such as blanket, pillow, stuffed animal, or toys. The school will provide a blanket, which will be laundered every day.
Do you have questions regarding the guidelines?
Please feel free to call the office at (847) 548–6209 or contact us.