March 12, 2021
Dear Grand Rapids Christian Parents:
One year ago, our world and certainly our school community was turned upside down. March 12, 2021, marks the one-year anniversary of school closures across the country and around the globe that sent us down a path we had never traveled. March 17, 2021, marks the one-year anniversary of Grand Rapids Christian Schools’ launch of full virtual learning and the beginning of the innovative instructional delivery we comprehensively implemented throughout the year.
Looking back, it has been quite a journey. It has been a time of uncertainty along with new discoveries. Through it all, God’s presence has been felt and, even through difficult times, we have personally and as a Christian school community experienced comfort in the reassurance that His hand has been at work and knowing all things hold together through Him.
Grand Rapids Christian Schools campuses have been open for in-person instruction, with the exception of the brief high school closure mandated by the state health department late in 2020, since August 19.
By the grace of God, our students have had the opportunity to grow academically, spiritually, and socially in community with Christian educators and fellow students all year long. That is something to celebrate!
You may be interested in knowing that, since January 1, 2021, Grand Rapids Christian Schools has seen a total of only eight (8) known positive COVID student cases in Preschool — 8th grade (none at Rockford Christian and the Evergreen Campus!). Though there has been a recent bit of an uptick at the high school, a number of those cases were contained within a specific athletic team. Many of our faculty and staff members have been fully vaccinated, and we have definitely turned a corner.
As we look forward, we do so with confidence that God is guiding our path.
Our administrative team continues to discuss ways we can be sources of encouragement to families and students, and we seek opportunities to return to our more typical routines. I share this to say that, as we work with the Kent County Health Department and continue to follow CDC guidelines, we recognize new opportunities to slowly relax several of the restrictions that have guided our mitigation efforts since we began school last August.
In Preschool — 8th grade, masks will now become optional while students are outdoors at recess. We have moved to a three-foot rather than six-foot social distance rule in preschool — 8th grade when identifying close contacts when a student tests positive. For staff, participants at meetings will no longer be required to wear masks if each participant has been fully vaccinated.
Our goal is to keep moving forward on our path to a normal school routine, responsibly of course. I continue to meet weekly with county superintendents and the health department to review health circumstances and health and safety guidelines. And we closely monitor seven-day averages throughout the county in order to track the downward trend we have been praying to see.
Over the upcoming weeks and as we look ahead to 2021-22, we hope to move carefully and prayerfully to a less-restrictive environment, making wise decisions as opportunities arise. All revisions to our plans and protocols will be purposeful and careful, just like we have been this entire school year.
It has been a wonderful year in spite of the challenges we have faced. I am thankful for our faculty and staff and their incredible efforts this year. I am thankful for our parents who have persevered and supported us throughout the past 12 months. In a real sense, we have made history together. Above all else, our efforts have been to the glory of God.
With that as our ultimate focus, let’s finish this year strong. Together, we can take steps forward, while remaining committed to the health and safety of our students and staff, as we fulfill our mission to prepare our students to be effective servants of Christ in contemporary society.
Superintendent, Grand Rapids Christian Schools