Portsmouth Christian Academy's COVID-19 Updates

Thanks for visiting our Covid Update page. Here you’ll find our Back-to-School plans, health and safety protocols, and communications between our school and community/state leaders as New Hampshire navigates the ever-changing Covid landscape. Our goal is to keep you informed about our plans, our positions, and our policies as we endeavor to keep our students engaged in on-campus learning safely and responsibly for as long as possible. If you have questions, please reach out to us at 603-742-3617.

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Recent Health and Safety Updates - January 13, 2021

Our local region continues to face significant challenges due to rising cases of COVID-19, yet the school continues to adapt well. We continue to review our protocols, make adjustments, and communicate with local health officials and families. We are grateful for our community’s cooperation as we aim to keep our doors open. Like much of our region, we have dealt with COVID in our community. Despite this, the numbers below summarize the current health conditions of our school, indicating our ability to continue maintaining safe in-person and off-site learning for our families.

  • Classrooms have been open 96% of all possible class days across each grade so far this year.*
  • COVID has closed us down only 3% of the time: 4th and 5th grade for 10 days each, grades 9-12 for 1.5 days, and 3rd grade for 2 days.
  • Our classrooms, on all other days, have been open to receiving students on-site.
  • The week of January 8th, 2,424 additional health screenings were submitted, with 39,500 to date.
  • 2 positive COVID tests reported in the past week, with both individuals on track to return.

PCA leadership anticipates the second wave to continue impacting the Seacoast region for several weeks to come. Because of our involvement and close ties with the broader Seacoast community, we urge those in our school community to continue limiting close contact outside of school as much as possible. As the vaccine becomes available, we also ask our families to prayerfully consider whether or not to get it (noting that it is currently only approved for those 16 years old and above). Our teachers and staff will likely have it available to them from March through May (“Phase 2A” according to Governor Sununu’s press conference, Tuesday, January 4th, 2021).

At PCA, in our churches and in your homes, we see hope in the challenges ahead because of God and our community. May we commit to following God and never let our love grow cold, no matter how hard it gets. God’s love never fails. There is great hope in that.

Key Links:

NH Travel Guidance (1/11/2021)

NH Employee Travel Guidance (1/11/2021)

*This includes a snow day that closed all of our classrooms down for one day.

School will reconvene on 4 January, both on-site and off-site. PCA teachers are planning on being on-site.

Our daily goal is for PCA to be welcoming and safe for students on campus. In this current environment, we must make adjustments, and the return on January 4 will vary by school.

  • Lower School students (PCAP—8th Grade) will return unless a family indicates otherwise.  If a family does not want their Lower School child to return OR their child will not meet the return criteria (provided to families), they must notify the school of how long the student will remain off-site.
  • Upper School students (9th-12th Grade) will not return unless a family indicates they desire to return and meet the return criteria (provided to families). Each family must notify the school of when your child plans on returning: January 4, sometime that first week, the following week, or you don’t plan on returning your son/daughter on campus for the foreseeable future.

Parents have been asked to complete a return declaration form as soon as possible so PCA teachers can prepare lessons, classrooms, and be most ready to engage with both on and off site students.

PCA is taking these deliberate steps now as we are in a period of the pandemic in which we will continue to see widespread community transmission, likely for the next 45 to 60 days. Along with a two-week holiday, the chances of risk may increase; these steps will help us all return with greater confidence and keep classes going longer. The key is how we view and manage our close contacts both on and off campus as we prepare to return.

Thank you, again, for working with us during this very challenging time. We seek to support each family in their decisions as we also continue to operate and run the school safely for all of our community.

Key Links:

o   NH Travel Policy (For PCA families)

o   NH Policy for Employees

o   NH Guidelines: What happens if I test positive?

o   NH Guidelines: What happens if I have been identified as close contact?

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Dear PCA Community,

This morning PCA received notification of positive test for COVID in our community. Based on initial review, I assess at this point that the case is likely limited. Importantly, the individual was never on campus while symptomatic (remained off campus), followed all screening protocols, and reported the positive test result as soon as possible.

WHAT WE DID – Upon notification, PCA immediately executed our planned response protocols, which included:

  • Care/reach out to the family most directly affected
  • Initial assessment of impact to community (timelines, areas, people)
  • Contact with official medical authorities
  • General notification of staff, faculty, and school families
  • Direct notification of those families identified as having close contact
  • Communication to all families and staff that notifications to close contact is complete
  • Town halls with the staff/faculty and families

GOING FORWARD – PCA will make adjustments according to our plan and will continue to:

  • Communicate with our staff, faculty, and families over the weekend
  • Return to campus with majority of PCA on Monday (with likely increased safety protocols)
  • conduct off-site learning for the small part of the school directly affected, and return them to campus based on our return plan
  • Continue coordination with state and local health officials
  • Support our families, faculty, and staff in every way: educationally, physically, spiritually

Your continued support and prayers are appreciated for those directly impacted as well as for those in our entire school as we continue to accomplish our critical mission of education, especially in a COVID environment. Thanks to those who have prepared us for this day, which we anticipated would come. We are ready; we will continue to care for our people; we will remain safe; we will continue our mission of maximizing each child’s God-given potential.

Mike Runey, Head of School

PCA is back in person this school year. By planning now how best to meet the needs of our families, we maintain the quality of our current model while improving differentiation by incorporating the use of technology.

We have developed an enhanced hybrid learning approach that allows PCA teachers to teach from PCA, to students at PCA, and reach beyond PCA to offsite students. This means our teachers deliver instruction from our campus to onsite students in the classroom, and have the capability to deliver the same instruction to offsite students. Offsite students participate in the full traditional school day including lectures, class discussions, Socratic seminars, group projects, and more, just as they would if onsite, through video conferencing technology and learning tools that engage them where they are.

Hybrid learning is designed to integrate the best of face-to-face and online activities so that they reinforce, complement, and elaborate one another, offering opportunities of choice, extension, and skill reinforcement.

You might be asking, “Why so much emphasis on a different model of learning?” There are two major reasons: rapidly changing health and safety guidelines and the unique health situations within families that may force families to deem onsite learning unsafe. This hybrid learning approach allows for agility, permitting high quality, familiar learning to continue without interruption.

Click here for the 2020-2021 Academic Year Calendar

Click here for a recent Facebook Live interview, which explains our decision to implement Enhanced Hybrid Learning.

Contact Information

Admissions:
The Admissions Office is open over the summer! To learn more about PCA, schedule a virtual or in-person tour, or ask questions about the application process, email admissions@pcaschool.org or call 603-742-3617 ext. 121. The Admissions Office is open from 8 AM – 3 PM Monday through Friday. You may also learn more about PCA by browsing our website.

Lower School:
Lower School families may contact Sue McKenney at the Lower School Office with questions.

Upper School:
Upper School families may contact Kim Cummings at the Upper School Office with questions.

Head of School:
To contact the Head of School Office, please contact Shirley Tuten.

Advancement:
If you are interested in learning how you can support the mission of PCA, contact Dan Schmunk, the Director of Advancement.
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PCA Community

Compassionate Community was a theme for PCA during this past school year, and that was no accident! While social distancing meant we were not physically coming together as a community, there were many ways that we continued to build community from afar. Now that we’re together again, both in person and virtually, we encourage you to continue interacting as part of our community. First, if you haven’t already, be sure to join the PCA Community Facebook Group to interact with other members of the PCA family. Second, check the Better Together Blog for posts from members of our community, which may include resources, advice, or reflections meant to encourage and support the PCA family. Third, follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with information from PCA!

Interested in Becoming a Part of the PCA Community?

Approach the school year with confidence that your child will participate in engaging and effective learning at Portsmouth Christian Academy. We are accepting applications now for students who wish to enroll in time for the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Start the conversation by filling out the form below to contacting the Admissions Office.

  • NameGrade Level