MVC’s Reopening Plan: FAQs
The following questions and answers summarize the discussion held at an all-school Zoom session held on Monday, July 27 at 7:00 pm.
Remote Learning & Academics
Why is MVC opening in Level 4/remote learning?
Earlier in this month, Governor Newsom issued a state-wide mandate prohibiting schools – including public, charter, and private – located in counties on the watch list of CA counties that the state is monitoring for COVID-19 concerns to open for on-site learning.
Can MVC apply for a waiver?
No, we cannot. Waivers are only available to elementary schools in California, and Santa Cruz County has indicated that they will not open applications for waivers.
How will remote learning this fall look different from remote learning last spring?
This fall MVC students will experience synchronous (i.e. real-time) learning by joining their teacher who is literally teaching from the classroom with the help of Zoom (utilized by the learner) and onsite DTEN boards (utilized by the teacher). Students will attend classes according to the bell schedule, Faculty members have recrafted lesson plans to maximize remote engagement, including peer collaboration and off-screen yet in-class activities. Last spring, MVC could only offer crisis remote learning; this fall, we are pleased to provide strategically planned remote learning.
What is a DTEN board?
DTEN boards are new instructional technology with which every classroom at MVC was equipped over the summer. They provide remote learners with a full view of the classroom that includes the teacher and, at Level 2 & 3, all classmates learning in-person. Excellent microphones capture voices at normal volumes with clarity and screen-sharing, including the ability to annotate in real-time (i.e. “write on the board”), create a seamless experience for students learning from home.
How long will MVC operate in Level 4?
It depends. Once Santa Cruz County is removed from the watch list of CA counties that the state is monitoring for COVID-19 concerns (and hence mandated by the state to offer remote learning only), we estimate it will take approximately 14 days for us to reactivate the necessary services (Cafe, busing, etc.) and fulfill the County’s requirements to obtain permission to reopen for in-person learning. MVC would move from Level 4 to Level 3 initially. Many area schools have committed to an entire semester of remote learning; MVC has not.
In Level 3, how will you divide students to ensure only half are in-person each day?
This map reflects the geographic division we will use to determine who’s learning in-person and who’s learning remotely on any given day.
What is ACCT?
The midday ACCT (Advocacy, Chapel, Clubs, Tutorial) period on the bell schedule is time students are required to set aside for a variety of interactions. ACCT is hosted by Flex teachers (for new families, Flex is similar to a traditional homeroom). Mondays will be dedicated to community-building, connection, and care. Tuesday through Thursday, students will have voice and choice about which chapel to attend, as well as clubs and tutorial support.
What about chapel?
We are excited to offer you chapel as a way to support and know each other well. Once a week, during the ACCT period in the schedule, you get to be in a group (of about 10 people). You’ll have some choice as to who’s in it — as well as its type. Some high school venues (such as Sisters and The Current) are still options, but most of us will choose between a group with a primary emphasis on enjoying real relationships with one another — or with God. All students will attend chapel.
When will student schedules be finalized and available?
Our goal is to make student schedules available on or before Monday, August 3. There may be fluctuations between August 3 and the beginning of classes (not courses but periods) due to an unusual level of admissions activity this year, so be sure to check again right before the first day of school to view your final schedule.
Has Moodle changed at all?
Yes! All MVC courses have been standardized such that students’ full schedules will have a consistent layout and design.
Will tests and large projects be coordinated so that students are not overwhelmed?
Yes! All MVC teachers will schedule summative assessments on one shared calendar (visible to students) and there will be a limit to the number of assessments given in one day. The transition to semester grading (in lieu of quarter grading) will remove the end-of-quarter “deluge” many students and teachers felt at the halfway point of each semester.
Where will teachers teach from?
In order to make full use of our new DTEN technology, teachers will teach from their classrooms.
In Level 4, will students be in front of their iPad for six hours a day?
Teachers will embed opportunities to go offline into their learning plans. This will include activities allowing students to execute non-screen-related learning (e.g. read from a physical book, create a physical project).
Will students be assigned homework in addition to class time?
The 80-minute block schedule class session provides enough time during class for students to demonstrate their learning, vastly reducing the amount of homework required. We want students to have time for after-school activities, family, and friends.
What about Horsemanship/Contract PE?
Belmont Stables will continue to offer students the opportunity to earn PE credit through horseback riding by providing after-school time slots. Please contact Cassie Belmont for more information.
How will we get textbooks?
Information about how to access textbooks and fee amount is forthcoming in future Mustang Flyers. Textbook fees will be taken directly from families’ FACTS account, half on August 15v and the remainder on October 15.
What about school supplies?
Middle school students can find their grade-specific lists on the Ready for Takeoff web page. They should go ahead and purchase everything listed, regardless of which operating modality we find ourselves in. High school students will be informed by teachers what supplies they will need, if any.
If I signed up for transportation, will I still be charged?
Absolutely not! All payments have been suspended until we move to Level 3, at which point we’ll be directly in touch with registered families on how bussing will work – logistically and financially – in the new level.
How will busing work in Level 3?
Busing will be offered on an alternating East/West basis to allow multiple buses to pick up at certain stops. This map distinguishes which ZIP codes will have bus service on East Days vs. West Days. To better serve families moving between in-person and remote learning (whether mandatory at Level 3 or optional at Level 2), MVC is in the process of implementing a tracking system whereby students access a prepaid amount of rides and pay only for those rides they use throughout the course of the school year. Details are currently in process and will be shared as soon as possible.
How will you socially distance on the bus?
In Level 3, buses will carry no more than 28 students at a time. Seating will be clearly marked to indicate where students may and may not sit to maximize social distancing. Students will load back-to-front/unload front-to-back to maintain social distancing. Siblings may sit together as long as 6’ distance is maintained from all other students. On-campus modifications, including but not limited to wearing of face coverings and disinfection between student uses, apply to buses.
What about personnel not working during Level 4? People in the Cafe, driving bus?
Unfortunately, bus drivers have been furloughed at this time. It is our hope that we can bring them to work as soon as possible. Cafe workers are employees of our outsourced provider, Epicurean Group, who has also been forced to furlough workers.
What about athletics?
At the direction of CIF and CCS interscholastic athletics will not officially start until January; practices can tentatively start in mid-December. We are working within our Pacific Coast Athletic League to schedule two condensed sports seasons, Season 1 and Season 2. Our goal is to offer the same athletic team options as we did pre-pandemic and will follow all necessary regulations to keep our student-athletes safe. The CCS Executive Committee has extended the CIF/CCS summer period through Saturday, December 12, 2020. When approved by Santa Cruz County and then by MVC, every effort will be made to allow student-athletes the opportunity to participate in return to training on campus safely.
What about fine arts?
Fine arts classes will continue via remote learning, but in-person performances and events are not possible in Level 4. Teachers will make sure that students enrolled in courses that require MVC-supplied materials get them as needed. We are looking at virtual performance opportunities to allow students to continue to perform and create.
What about school pictures?
We have postponed school picture day to mid-October. Should we remain in Level 4 at that time, we will postpone further.
Because operating costs will go down in Level 4, will families receive a discount on tuition?
MVC’s low (relative to the local market) day tuition has always been made possible by revenue from the boarding program that housed between 80 and 100 students in our dormitories. Due to global events, revenue from this program has all but disappeared. This, combined with the huge expenses MVC has incurred to teach remotely well and to get equipped in a healthy and safe way for in-person learning, has eliminated any flexibility in this school year’s budget.
Couldn’t new students come on campus in small groups just to familiarize themselves with it?
Our County officials have indicated to us directly that we are not permitted to bring students to our campus for any reason and/or in any sized group at this time.
What about students’ social-emotional health?
We are working to make sure that though they are remote, students do not feel distant. Opportunities for community connection with their peers will be integrated into class time as well as after-school hours.
What about the Freshmen Retreat?
Bible Leadership (the class that hosts the Freshmen Retreat) will provide alternative opportunities early in the school year to help freshmen make meaningful connections with teachers and peers.
What about the Washington, D.C. trip for 8th Graders?
We are in close communication with the company that hosts our trip and they have extended the early bird sign-up rate far into the fall at this point, and will extend further if health and safety considerations make that necessary.