Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Veritas is continuing to closely monitor the evolving situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Though a few cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in the Houston Area, the Texas Department of State Health Services has stated that “the immediate risk to most Texans remains low.”  Please continue to check back regularly for any community updates.
 
The Veritas campus will be closed until Friday, April 30th.  Our Distance Learning Plan (DLP) is in affect from March 24, 2020 - April 30, 2020.  All sports practices and games are also cancelled.
 
Visit our Distance Learning Plan (DLP) Webpage for more information.
 
Please click on any of the messages below to read any updates.
 

Dear Veritas Families,

 

The heroic efforts of our faculty and staff “Zoom” into our homes each day and remind us of how Veritas is blessed by a talented cast of professionals, deeply committed to instilling a Christian foundation of faith and academic excellence. As we moved online to a ‘Virtual Veritas’ and further away from each other socially through this period of confinement, I asked our faculty to share a few of their silver linings.  

 

I must admit that we probably all share a little of the sentiment, ‘What silver lining is there during this pandemic?’ Having expressed that thought, our faculty shared more than a few silver linings both professionally and personally. I’m sure you will share many of the thoughts I heard from them: 

“This has forced me to slow down.”

“Never to take for granted what I thought was a normal day of teaching.”

“It’s allowed me to reshift my perspective: I realize more the blessings that God has given to me.”

“It’s made me look around at the beauty outdoors, which I’m usually too busy to slow down and see.”

“Seeing our students rise to the occasion of remote learning.”

 

Surely, you have a few silver linings as a family as well. So, I have asked Mr. Villafuerte to take this prompt to our social media platforms. Please share your silver linings with us online. This will be a great way for us to be an encouragement to others. 

 

Speaking of silver linings, earlier this week, our Board of Trustees, approved the Family Assistance Fund to help Veritas families who have been financially affected due to the pandemic. While we do not yet know what the full impact of COVID-19 will have on our city and nation, we are very mindful of the economic effects this may have on our families. Our goal and commitment is to ensure no child is denied a Veritas education due to financial constraints and to help move us through this crisis with the least disruption to our lives as possible. Again, if your family has been impacted due to COVID-19, please reach out to us. We will send more information next week about this new Family Assistance Fund.   

 

We are also looking ahead and making plans on how we will finish the current school year. Of course, we will have a few changes to our calendar, taking several of our last campus events online and making them virtual for our community to attend and honor the achievements of our students. You will find  those updated events below. Prior to each event, just like our weekly chapel, we will email links for families to join. 

 

We have now settled into our new schedules, and with a few minor tweaks, we will hold this course until the end of the school year. Our survey which is sent each Friday will also continue to be emailed for the next couple of weeks, making adjustments when necessary to make this program as meaningful as possible for our students. Please take time to complete this so we can hear how you all are doing.

 

Lastly, if we can help in any way, please reach out to us! 

 

Brad Sewell

Head of School

 

Annual Business Report Thursday April 30th

 

Virtual Athletic Awards Ceremony Thursday May 7th 6 pm

 

Virtual Awards Chapel Thursday May 21 more information to come

 

Last Day of School Thursday May 21st

 

Dear Veritas Parents,
 
I hope this message finds all of you well and staying healthy. Last week, I spoke with several of our students in middle school, and they all report that while they miss their friends and being on campus, they are doing well and adjusting to remote learning. All of the students said they were setting up routines that worked for them. Some of our students even said they now enjoy taking walks, riding bicycles, and going for a run. They also offered great feedback and suggestions to help them as they continue distance learning. We want to hear from you, too! We are continuing our surveys this Friday so we can get your perspective of how things are going at home.
 
Despite our hopes for a return to campus in May, Governor Abbott extended the on-site closure of all private and public schools through the end of this school year. While many of us expected this announcement, the finality of the news is saddening. In light of both the Governor’s announcement and the projections it was based on, we will extend online learning at Veritas through the end of the school year.
 
This announcement only strengthens our determination to foster the academic growth and spiritual foundation of our students while supporting their health and well-being through this time away from campus. Our work together will take on new meaning and even greater importance in the days ahead as we move into our final weeks of the school calendar. Our faculty and administration will continue doing their absolute best to offer our students a great distance learning experience.
 
As you are aware, we are now in a period where remote learning has become the new normal. All of our students are now having multiple synchronous classes per week, along with their asynchronous work. In contrast to all of the uncertainty that is out there, some things are very clear and certain to me in this period. Veritas’ mission applies, as much as ever, in this new reality. Everyone at the school is continuing to make every effort to offer a foundational Christian education with academic excellence within our Distance Learning Plan. Our school’s mission is a guiding beacon in this period, just as it has always been!
 
We also know that our students are experiencing a wide range of home situations right now. We are committed to working with students who have uniquely challenging circumstances at home to make our education feasible and as equitable as possible. Again, if there is anything we can do to help you, please let us know.
 
Our parents are also experiencing a variety of circumstances as well. You have children of different ages and developmental stages. Some of you are worried about family members, and some have elderly parents who may be states away or living with you. Some of you feel stressed and some relaxed. Some of you are working long hours at your jobs, and some may be experiencing unemployment. The list could go on.
 
Remember, that all of us at Veritas are here for your family and will help you in any way that we can. Please reach out to us! We will get through this together, supporting one another. I believe that we will be an even better, stronger school community as a result of having gone through this challenging period together. We miss you and as always are praying for you. We look forward to having everyone back on campus again.
 
Thank you and God’s blessings to you and your family.
 
Brad Sewell
 
​Head of School​​​
Dear Veritas Community:
 
We are into our second week of Veritas online, and it was truly a blessing to see so many of our students and families joining chapel this morning. During this high time of social distancing, these interactions become so necessary to us for connecting with each other. Since Governor Abbott extended the executive order to continue practicing social distancing with schools remaining closed through April 30th, we have more at-home time than ever. Whatever your circumstances, I hope you are keeping healthy, creating and adjusting to new routines, having quality time with family and God, as well as having fun!
 
Online learning is an entirely new endeavor for many of our students, so it will take time for them to learn how it is different and how to use the new tools involved. In the meantime, it takes them longer to do almost everything, and that’s perfectly fine. Of course, the faculty are also expanding their knowledge of online learning and finding new and better ways to teach online. They have been working around the clock to provide our students with the highest quality experience in distance learning. This is a period like none other, and thus a continual adjustment for everyone. So, again, in this initial learning period, patience and grace are required of us all. We appreciate your support through this process.
 
I also recognize that many of the families in our school community, depending on circumstances, may be experiencing high levels of stress. If there is any prayer we can offer or assistance we can provide, please let us know. We will all get through this together, helping one another!
 
I would like to provide you below with a few resources and reminders:
 
Distance Learning Plan / Coronavirus Webpage
You can click here to view a PDF copy of our Distance Learning Plan (DLP). A copy will also be on the School Forms and Documents webpage on our website. It has helpful information for our parents during this period of Veritas going online. This document includes our most current schedules and the various phases of our DLP. Please use this as a resource. As we move further into distance learning, this document will be updated. Please remember that we have centralized all communications regarding COVID-19 on our website, click here for the most current information.
 
Distance Learning Survey
Since starting remote learning, we are making it a practice to survey our families and see how things are going for you. We will use your feedback to improve what we are doing. We are aware that each family has been affected differently by the transition to online learning. Mr. Villafuerte will continue to send these surveys each Friday through the early stages of our Distance Learning Program.
 
School Closure & Easter Break
Veritas will remain closed through April 30th per Governor Abbott’s executive order. We will be in communication regarding school opening in the coming weeks. As a reminder, even though we are engaged in online learning, we will still take Easter Break to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and therefore pause from studies on Good Friday, April 10th, and the following Monday, April 13th.
 
Parenting in Times of Crisis
On Thursday, April 2nd at 7 p.m., SAIS, our accrediting agency, is offering a free webinar for parents on the challenges of parenting during these unprecedented times. To learn more and register, please visit the SAIS Registration site. SAIS has partnered with Rob Evans, Ed.D., and Michael Thompson, Ph.D., to present this webinar focusing on the challenge of parenting in these unprecedented days by offering a chance to reflect on and share the burdens and to troubleshoot key dilemmas.
 
Rob and Michael are psychologists who have each consulted hundreds of independent schools, including dozens in the midst of crises of various kinds, and to many more in the days after 9/11 and the 2008-09 financial meltdown. I encourage you to join this webinar.
 
Sincerely,
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School
Dear Veritas Community:
 
I hope everyone’s week is going smoothly as possible and you are staying healthy! I miss seeing the students each day and taking part in our community. We are in our first week of remote learning and all of us are adjusting to this new reality. Hopefully, online learning is going well for everyone these first few days. I have seen several images and videos of our students adjusting to educational life on the web. It will not, of course, be the same as being in class, but we are confident that they will still be getting an excellent education.
 
In addition to their schoolwork, I hope your students are finding more time for hobbies, reading, and perhaps, even a little more sleep than usual — anything that keeps them positive and joyful. It is going to take time for all of us to find normalcy in daily routines so be patient with your students and yourselves over the next couple of weeks! In a short period of time, we are learning so much.
 
Remote classes have begun, and things seem to be off to a solid start. Most certainly adjustments will need to be made. With all coursework going online, systems need to be tested. We will work tirelessly to make this an excellent experience learning for our students as they learn new methods of fully interacting online with its new challenges. With each day that passes, we will gain a better understanding of virtual platforms and how our students are responding to their new digital space.
 
We understand that our families are managing many new complexities, such as working from home while also trying to assist children with schoolwork. As we progress in this new schedule and platform, we will study closely how we might make necessary adjustments to create the most flexibility for all.
 
Staying in touch
Thank you for your patience and support as we determine and communicate our decisions and actions regarding Veritas’ closure. While we are communicating with all of you, we are continuing to closely monitor the news and information about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our state and across the country. We are continuing to consult medical and public health experts, both locally and nationally. And we are working with our colleagues at other schools, as well as organizations like the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS), many of whom are also determining their actions in the wake of this outbreak.
 
Technology Survey
Look for a brief technology survey from Mr. Villafuerte on Friday. We are aware that each family in our community is affected differently by the transition to online learning. We want to make this process as seamless as possible. Reflecting on your experiences from home will help us make necessary adjustments to meet our families where they are. Thank you in advance for your feedback.
 
Parenting in Times of Crisis
On Thursday, April 2, at 7 p.m., SAIS, our accrediting agency, is offering a free webinar for parents on the challenges of parenting during these unprecedented times. To learn more and register, please visit the SAIS Registration site. SAIS has partnered with Rob Evans, Ed.D., and Michael Thompson, Ph.D., to present this webinar focusing on the challenge of parenting in these unprecedented days by offering a chance to reflect on and share the burdens and to troubleshoot key dilemmas.
 
Rob and Michael are psychologists who have each consulted hundreds of independent schools, including dozens in the midst of crises of various kinds, and to many more in the days after 9/11 and the 2008-09 financial meltdown. I encourage you to join this webinar.
 
A Time to Pray
Please continue joining me in praying for our city, our nation, and all the countries that have been so adversely affected by COVID-19.
 
Lastly, thank you for your support, dedication, and cooperation during such an unprecedented time. While our circumstances have changed in these past few weeks, our end goal of providing our students a Foundation for Life remains as firm as ever.
 
God’s Blessings,
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School
 
Dear Veritas Families:
 
We hope you are safe and healthy as we all adjust to life during this global pandemic. In a time when community is difficult to achieve as we are all at home, it was very encouraging to have so many students and families logging in to watch Mr. Villafuerte lead our initial chapel this morning via Zoom. If you were unable to join us, please consider attending next week!
 
While we do not yet know the full impact of COVID-19 will have on our city and nation, we are very mindful of the economic affects this may have on our families. Our Board of Trustees has already been in discussion about how we can work together with our families to ensure that we all make it through this crisis with the least disruption to our lives as possible. It is our goal and commitment to ensure no child is denied a Veritas education due to financial constraints. If your family has been adversely affected by COVID-19, please contact any of the following members of our Administrative Team:
We appreciate your patience and support as we do our best to respond to this ‘new normal.’ Though we do not yet know the full path set before us, we know that the Lord remains ever faithful to His people in the midst of difficult times.
 
Sincerely,
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School
 
Chris Dewhurst
Board of Trustees Chair
Dear Veritas Community,
 
We learned earlier this week that our city is taking advanced, necessary steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many school districts, and specifically HISD, have announced closures through the week of April 10th in a collective effort to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 and establish social distancing.
 
As a result, Veritas will also remain closed until Friday, April 10th following government guidance and to keep our most vulnerable community members healthy. We will return to school on Tuesday, April 14th, following our Easter Break.
 
During this closure, Veritas has established a Distance Learning Plan (DLP) to ensure that our students have a level of educational continuity. The plan, though different from the daily classroom experience your child receives at Veritas, will ensure the same relationship-based educational experience that you have come to expect from our teachers. You will receive more specific details about our DLP in the coming days.
 
We will continue to regularly communicate with you throughout the closure time. Also, as we continue to navigate through this uncharted situation, please continue to pray for all who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 and for all the officials who are making decisions to help curb the future impact of this illness. Thank you for your continued partnership.
 
With prayers for all,
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School
Dear Veritas Community,

As I am sure you have heard by now Houston Independent School District has made the decision to close schools until March 30th due to the growing concern over the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) .  Because of this and along with the emergency health declaration over the City of Houston and Harris County, Veritas has decided to keep our campus closed until March 27th.  Our Distance Learning Plan (DLP) will be implemented beginning Tuesday, March 24th.  During this time, the campus will also undergo a deep-cleaning process to ensure a clean and sanitized environment for our students upon their return.
 
In order to keep our school community safe, we are asking all members of our community (families, faculty, and staff) to complete a confidential Spring Break Travel Form.  Please complete this form by Monday, March 23rd.  All Veritas community members who may be traveling are encouraged to exercise an abundance of caution as you travel and adhere to the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  As a reminder, any Veritas community member who has traveled to a CDC Level 2 or 3 destination, is asked to self-isolate and not return to campus for 14 days upon their arrival back to the United States in order to prevent the exposure or spread of COVID-19.
 
Mrs. Delgado and Ms. Gallegos will be sending additional communication to each of their departments to outline the DLP that your child will be utilizing during the school closure.  Though the DLP we will be implementing will not be comparable to the daily learning environment students receive while on campus, it is our goal to provide a continued quality educational plan for our students.  My hope is that our closure will be short.  We are monitoring the situation closely and will give you updates as frequently as possible.
 
In order to provide the successful implementation of the Veritas DLP, we are asking parents to do the following.
  • Provide your child with a distraction-free space at home to complete assigned work and participate or watch any teaching lesson videos or live streaming.  We encourage you to periodically monitor your child to ensure good digital citizenship and practices while he/she works online.
  • Establish daily routines and expectations – help your child to realize that they are still “at school” though they may be home.
  • Ensure that your child is checking RenWeb (FACTS SIS) and/or Google Classroom daily and staying in communication with teachers.  If your child is having any difficulty understanding a concept or completing assignments, please contact their teacher; teachers will be available to answer any questions.
  • Check your email for any communication from your child’s teacher or the Veritas administration regarding assignments or schedule changes.
  • Please remain patient as “school days” under the DLP will begin at 9:00 a.m. and will end at approximately 3:30 p.m. daily – teachers will not be available to answer questions after hours until 9:00 a.m. the following school day.

Our hope is to return to a normal school schedule as soon as possible.  We will assess the necessity to continue offering the Veritas DLP on a week-by-week basis.  Communication will be sent no later than Thursday of each week regarding school scheduling for the next week.  Should you have any questions, please contact our Campus Administrator, Zachary Villafuerte at zachary.villafuerte@veritasca.org.
 
It’s probably fair to say that this is unprecedented territory for us all.  I know there is a large degree of anxiety and concern about what’s next.  That said, the current situation is a good reminder for us all to pray for those affected by this virus, for each other, and our local and national leaders as they make decisions.  As always I want to thank you for your trust, patience, and understanding as we navigate uncharted territory.  We will continue to be in close contact with information as we have updates. 
 
God bless,
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School
Dear Veritas Community,
 
As we continue to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak locally and abroad, the safety of all members of our school community remains our top priority.  Though the impact of COVID-19 continues to widen locally in Houston, we wanted to assure you that there are no presumptive or active cases within Veritas.  Please continue to implement basic precautions, such as thorough hand washing and proper coughing etiquette, to help limit the spread of any illness.
 
Because of recent local developments in the Houston Metropolitan area, especially with the emergency health declaration by Mayor Turner, Veritas has decided to close school for students tomorrow, Friday, March 13th.  Our faculty and staff will utilize the day to continue planning for any form of prolonged school closure.
 
We want to reiterate that if Veritas would need to close for a period of time, at the recommendation of health and government officials, we have contingency plans for distance learning for all of our students.  Though these plans will not be on the same level as being on campus at Veritas, we are committed to maintaining the continuity of learning for our students on all grade levels.  Each division of our school has outlined plans for distance learning which we will communicate to our community in the event that we close school.  We have many resources and a network of other schools to help in creating a quality level of distance learning.
 
As we continue to watch and monitor the local evolving COVID-19 outbreak, we are asking families to help us make the option of closing an easier process by doing the following:
  1. Students will be asked to bring home all textbooks and other necessary learning tools over Spring Break.  Should the need arise for school to be closed after Spring Break, having their materials will help our students be more prepared should we need to implement a distance learning program.  Homeroom teachers will help remind our students to bring home these items prior to the start of Spring Break.  It would be prudent for parents to bring an extra backpack for middle school students at dismissal to help students bring their materials home.
  2. Families should have high-speed internet, a personal computer, and a printer available at home to allow for distance learning.  Many of the options that we have for distance learning will require a personal computer (whether a desktop or a laptop), high-speed internet, and a printer.  If families do not have any of these available, please contact your Division Head (Ms. Gallegos or Mrs. Delgado) so that we can provide an alternative for your student. 
We also encourage you to continue checking our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information webpage to stay updated on all our communication regarding this evolving situation, by visiting www.veritasca.org/coronavirus/.  We will communicate to the school community using multiple channels should any schedule change take place, including during Spring Break.  If you have any specific questions, please contact our Campus Administrator, Zachary Villafuerte at zachary.villafuerte@veritasca.org or (713) 773-9605 ext. 103. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School
Dear Veritas Community,
 
We are writing to ensure you that the Veritas administration is continuing to carefully monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, both locally and abroad.   Our top priority is the health and safety of our students, families, faculty, and staff.  Though a few cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in the Houston Area, the Texas Department of State Health Services has stated that “the immediate risk to most Texans remains low.”
 
As the situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve, we wanted to make you aware of the local, national, and international professional health authorities that we are utilizing to monitor the situation (listed below).  We will continue to use the advice and expertise of these health authorities as we make any decisions regarding our school community.  We are prepared to take any appropriate actions should the threat assessment change in our region.
 
With Spring Break approaching, we know that many Veritas families will likely be traveling, and while traveling always carries some potential risks, we ask that families take extra precaution during this timeframe.  Prior to traveling, be sure to check any updated travel restrictions, travel advisories, or any other recommendations by both the U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding your destination.
 
Out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the health and safety for our students, families, faculty and staff, we are asking that any member of our community who will be returning from any CDC Level 2 or 3 travel advisory locations for Coronavirus to self-isolate for 14 days after your return before returning to campus.  We trust our families to be honest regarding their travel history to help prevent exposure to our school community.  Accommodations for student absences, make-up assignments, or remote learning alternatives will be made and handled on a case-by-case basis.
 
Currently, there is no plan to cancel any of our upcoming school-sponsored trips, as all the destinations are outside of restricted regions.  This includes our annual eighth grade trip to London and Oxford.  However, as this situation is continuing to evolve, we will continue to monitor any travel recommendations from the CDC or other health authorities in addition to the State Department regarding travel restrictions.  We will communicate any changes to our community utilizing multiple channels.  We understand that parents may choose to limit or prevent their children from participating in upcoming school-sponsored trips, and we support your decision to do so for the best interest of your families.  
 
We continue to encourage our community to be diligent in preventing this and other illnesses (such as influenza and the common cold) by washing your hands and staying hydrated.  Parents should also be familiar with our Student Illness Policy in your respective department’s Parent-Student Handbook regarding students who need to stay home due to illness.  As a reminder, the following are best practices to follow to avoid spreading any infection:
  • If your child is sick or exhibiting contagious symptoms such as a fever, a productive cough, or excessive nasal drainage, please keep them home from school to avoid spreading illness. Your child must be fever-free for 24 hours (without fever reducing medicine) before returning to school.
  • Remind your child to wash their hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose.  Dispose of tissue immediately and wash hands. 

Regarding Potential Changes to the Normal School Schedule
Veritas is actively working to respond to changing conditions as the Coronavirus situation continues to evolve.  We will continue to utilize the recommendations of all official government and health authorities.  We have begun developing contingency plans with detailed measures to support our community, should the threat assessment and level rise in our region.  Should any changes take place to our normal school schedule, we will notify you immediately.
 
As always, the safety and well-being of all members of our school community is our top priority. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact our Campus Administrator, Zachary Villafuerte at zachary.villafuerte@veritasca.org or (713) 773-9605 ext. 103.In light of this ever-changing situation, we pray that your Spring Break will be enjoyable, relaxing, and safe.
 
Sincerely,
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School​​​
Dear Veritas Community:
 
By now, I am sure you have been hearing recent news reports about the Coronavirus infections, which have been associated with Wuhan City, China, with confirmed cases in travelers identified in the United States.
 
Given the evolving situation, we thought it was important to inform you that Veritas is closely monitoring this development.  While much is being learned about this newly emerged virus, based on the current professional information, our local and state health officials deem the risk of local transmission in our community and the general public to be very low at this time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the World Health Organization, are closely monitoring the outbreak and are giving updated guidance to federal, state and local officials.
 
We are utilizing various resources to monitor the situation, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Harris County Public Health websites which are continually updated and provide real-time data on the number of confirmed cases both in the U.S. and abroad.  We will follow the professional healthcare guidance of these organizations as we monitor the situation as well. 
 
As we continue to be in contact with local health officials and monitor this situation, we will provide updates to our community should it become necessary.  
 
We would also like to take this opportunity to encourage our families to continue being diligent in preventing other illnesses such as influenza and the common cold by encouraging students to wash their hands and to stay hydrated.  Parents should also be familiar with our Student Illness Policy in the Parent-Student Handbook regarding students who need to stay home due to illness.
 
We want to remind you of some best practices to avoid spreading any infection:
  • If your child is sick or exhibiting contagious symptoms such as a fever, a productive cough, or excessive nasal drain, please keep them home from school to avoid spreading illness. Your child must be fever-free for 24 hours (without fever reducing medicine) before returning to school.
  • Remind your child to wash their hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap.
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose.  Dispose of tissue immediately and wash hands. 
 
For more information about the flu visit www.flu.gov. We will notify you of any additional changes to our school’s strategy to prevent the spread of illness.
 
Thank you for your efforts to keep all members of the Veritas community in good health. Although we can’t eliminate the spread of viruses, our collective efforts can significantly minimize their reach and overall impact.
 
We have included below resources that we are using to monitor the Coronavirus situation.  
 
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School