The following letter was sent to current VLHS parents today, March 12, 2020.
March 12, 2020
FYI – God has placed us in our positions for such a time as this!
Since I last wrote on March 3, there have been many developments relating to the Coronavirus Pandemic that have elevated concern. We continue to follow the direction of the Michigan Department of Education and the Saginaw County Health Department, as we work to provide a safe healthy learning and work environment at Valley Lutheran. In addition, we are taking steps to do our part to limit the spread of the virus by canceling some events and adjusting other activities at school.
Classes will be held as scheduled. This includes after-school practices – athletics, drama, and others. Some have voiced concern about holding classes, as many Michigan universities have moved to an all online format. Universities face different challenges including students returning to campus after spring break from all over the world, and dormitory living. If we need to close school, we will provide e-learning in a more robust format than planned for extended snow days.
Several events are cancelled and this list will be reviewed on a weekly basis. Most notably, and sadly, the Lenten Tour is cancelled and the home concert postponed. This important ministry event means much to our musicians who have worked hard in preparation. We hope to find a way for them to share their hard work and talents. Parents of musicians will receive information regarding the Tour through Google Classroom as becomes available. Field trips, athletic contests and end of season banquets are cancelled through Sunday March 22.
We continue to monitor daily activities and make adjustments within our daily routine to provide a healthier environment. Specifically we are considering chapel, lunch hour, and classroom seating in order to provide more space between students. The use of disinfectants was increased at the writing of my first letter, increased again last week, and will continue to be foremost in our thinking. Hand sanitizer is readily available throughout the building.
You have already been of great help. Your calm in this storm rubs off on your children and is a great encouragement to those of us who work with your children. Your honesty in reporting absences and keeping students home at least an extra 24 hours helps limit the spread of all sorts of viruses. Providing personal hand sanitizer for your child has helped our limited supply go further. Modeling good health habits and encouraging your children to do the same makes a big difference.
The practical things we can all do are:
· Stay home if you are sick, and advise others to do the same. Contact your doctor for more information.
· Always cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
· Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
· Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and warm water are not available. I recently read that in a computer model the spread of a virus was reduced by 50% if everyone washed their hands! In the same article it defined “often” as 10 times daily.
· Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
· Get your flu shot. It won’t protect against the Coronavirus but it will help protect against other viruses.
· Review your travel plans by going to CDC.gov/travel.
We will continue to monitor the situation and follow the direction of the public health agencies. As the situation is very fluid we may find it necessary to implement additional responses to this disease and we will update you as we receive information. For more information see the MDHHS website – Michigan.gov/coronavirus.
As Paul Eschmann gave the bad news regarding Lenten Tour to Golden Voice and the Symphonic Band he reminded them of this year’s tour theme – “Be Still.” He went on to remind them of the other half of the verse – “and know that I am God.”
John Brandt, Ed.D.