Reopening Plan

* Updated on August 7, 2020*

Frequently Asked Questions and Family Pledge

Veritas recognizes the importance of having a learning environment in which students and teachers are able to interact face-to-face.  Equally, we also recognize the need for having an environment that addresses the health and safety concerns of our students, faculty, and staff.  Veritas plans to hold our first day of school on-campus on Wednesday, August 19th.  We have created the following Reopening Playbook which outlines the various measures and procedures to facilitate a safe and healthy on-campus environment for the 2020-2021 Academic Year.
 
Additional information will be published as we draw closer to the start of the 2020-2021 Academic Year, so stay tuned.
 

Previous Reopening Communications

The Year Ahead 2020-2021
 
Dear Veritas Families,

Greetings from Veritas! I hope your family is enjoying the remaining weeks of the summer, having good times with family, relaxing with the different pace of schedule, and staying healthy and safe. Our campus is buzzing with activity, as we continue working toward the priority of reopening safely on the first day of our 2020-21 academic year.
We welcome our many new families and welcome back our returning families! Despite being in an unprecedented time, we are enthusiastic about this year. We look forward to seeing our students on campus and online, engaging them academically and watching them develop spiritually and socially. This year is no different than others in one respect – our faculty and staff are deeply committed to laying a foundation of faith and academics, pressing onward through the current challenge before us. We are grateful for your strong support of Veritas. While this year will have its challenges, as a Christian community of learners, we will meet what is ahead of us with prayer, resolve, and a deep sense of trust in each other; and as always, our decisions will be guided by our mission and values.

The Year Ahead: 2020-21 is unique this year. It has been shifted online alongside our Return to Campus Playbook. We have moved our communications online to keep the information up-to-date. You will receive several waves of communication from our administration and faculty between now and the first day of school. Additionally, we plan to provide several short videos on the return to campus and distance learning options, as well as behind the scenes tour around campus to see our classrooms and new configurations.

We also welcome several new faculty members to campus this year, each of whom is excited to share their expertise in our students’ development. We know that each individual will become integral to the success of our students. I invite you to take the time to read through this webpage to familiarize yourself with the upcoming year as well as our new faculty and staff. They look forward to welcoming your children on campus and online this year!
As you saw reflected in our Return to Campus Playbook, we have given careful attention to clinical research-based safety practices combined with resourceful teaching and learning strategies. To support our priority of safely being on campus and providing families with the utmost flexibility, Veritas has made substantial investment in facility modifications, technology, and personal protective equipment. We worked together and with outside experts to create a unique way for Veritas to use our resources and our campus to open school safely. Our Family Pledge sets the stage for our safety protocols and expresses the part that each member of our community plays in maintaining those protocols. Please pay special attention to the Family Pledge detailed on our website.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our success in creating a safe environment for our whole school will depend on our commitment to those values that have always undergirded our community: selflessness, caring about our neighbor, and good leadership by everyone who count themselves as a part of the Veritas family: students and their families, faculty, staff and their families. We will move onward together as never before to fulfill the mission of Veritas in this moment of uncertainty and disruption.

To create as strong a beginning as possible, we have made some schedule adjustments to our opening days (August 19-21) in each grade. Our students, faculty, and staff need opportunities to grow confident in new expectations and patterns of activity on campus and online. We have decided to use the first three days of school to practice the new safety procedures and patterns of activity with smaller numbers of students on campus. One third of the students will be on campus each day so we can observe and modify the procedures as needed to be most efficient and effective. See the schedule below of which grades will be on campus each day. Your child's teacher will send a daily schedule with information regarding the Distance Learning Option. All classes will return to campus concurrently on August 24th.

Finally, in the midst of our planning, we know we all need to remain flexible and supportive. The coming weeks and months may present moments where we need to pivot to a contingency plan, whether as an entire school, a class, a small group, or an individual family. In those inevitable circumstances, we will press ahead, making the best decisions we can for our community and seeking first to support our students with safety as our priority. In any circumstance, we are confident that we will move onward with our mission laying a Foundation for Life.
Best wishes and I look forward to the new academic year!

Kind Regards,

Brad Sewell
Head of School
 

 

Dear Veritas Community,
 
More than two months ago, while the COVID-19 pandemic was growing rapidly, Veritas transitioned to remote learning. I am grateful for and amazed by the success of that quick pivot by everyone. Our teachers demonstrated their talents in designing learning experiences that reflect our commitment to academic excellence and Christian formation. Our students adjusted to and engaged in online learning environments and worked hard. As parents, you have been great partners, displaying patience and support. As a school community, we strived to maintain the centrality of relationships and our commitment to mission and values. The spirit and love of Veritas have manifested themselves in many ways, and I believe that we will be an even better, stronger school community as a result of having gone through this challenging period together.
 
We have been working diligently in recent weeks to contemplate and prepare for reopening in August. In mid-July, you will receive the 2020-21 Return to Campus Playbook outlining our plans for reopening in the fall. Naturally, all of us are curious about what's next, so I would like to share with you just a few thoughts before we send the July communication.
In creating and implementing any plans, we hold our students' and employees' safety as our highest priority. We will continue to carefully monitor medical and other professional experts' information, as well as guidelines or requirements as they may be provided by local, state, and federal government offices and agencies. There are still many unknowns, so let me stress that at this time, declaring definite plans is neither possible nor wise.
 
All that said, we are preparing for on-campus learning, with the first day of classes being Wednesday, August 19.
 
Returning to on-campus learning will require a number of steps and procedures by students, parents, faculty, and staff. It is essential to our moving forward to have a firm commitment and strong partnership from everyone to act in unified and disciplined ways to protect oneself and others. I am confident that we can adapt our behaviors so that we can have classes on campus safely. We ask that you join us in conveying to your child the seriousness of complying with and obeying all new safety measures.
 
Below are some of these protocols and actions we envision as of now. We will be communicating more throughout the summer as guidelines and protocols may change. As we proceed throughout the school year, we are hopeful that measures may be relaxed.
 
Before School Begins
  • Everyone will be required to complete a comprehensive medical questionnaire for their child prior to reentry.
  • Attend online Safety Procedures Training in early August.
 
Daily Precautions
  • There will be daily, early morning screenings of body temperatures and other symptoms before classes begin for each student and employee. Only students and employees showing no symptoms and a normal temperature will be allowed to participate in on-campus classes and activities.
  • Students will be asked to wear their face covering when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Many students will choose (or need) to wear masks all day.
  • Protective Plexiglass shields will be placed at each student and teacher desk.
  • Every student, as they enter classrooms, will be required to use the hand-sanitizing gel from the automatic, hands-free dispenser by the door.
  • We will adhere to social distancing guidelines for separation in classrooms and throughout the campus in addition to the Protective Plexiglass shields. Because of campus size, we will not need to limit or rotate days and weeks in which students can be on campus, as many schools may be required to do.
  • High touch areas like our seats and desks will be disinfected before each use.
  • Certain designated hallways will be one direction only. Additionally, we will limit the number of students in the hall at one time by staggering class transitions and movement.
  • The campus will be disinfected throughout the day.
 
Further Considerations In Process
  • Chapels and other larger assemblies will be held virtually for each classroom.
  • Athletics and after school care are being re-imagined. We are researching still-developing recommendations and guidelines from state and local athletic associations as well as medical experts regarding how and when team sports can return.
  • Restrictions and protocols will be in place regarding visitors to campus.
 
Safety First
We recognize and respect that some parents and students may not feel comfortable in returning to campus in August. For those who feel uncomfortable returning to campus, we will make arrangements for students to take classes remotely and will install the necessary technological equipment over the summer to enable this option.
 
While there is much uncertainty, I am confident of this: we will make careful, thoughtful, and collaborative decisions based on the safety of your child and Veritas' values. We will promote their physical safety as well as their psychological and emotional well-being. We need one another as we are wired for relationships and connectivity. Thank you for partnering with us as we help your child lay a foundation for life. It is an honor to walk alongside them, and with you, playing a central role in their academic and Christian formation.
 
We will continue to be in touch with you over the summer as information and our plans become clearer. In mid-July, we will email all of our families as much planning information as we have at that point, including Safety Procedure Training for students and parents. In early August, you will receive the school's traditional The Year Ahead: 2020-21 mailing (which outlines information regarding the upcoming academic year), along with updates to information about reopening.
 
To conclude, you have been an amazing parent community, supporting us at school and offering help when we needed it. I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated your resilience and positive attitude. While our full attention is focused on reopening, we are still making significant progress on transforming our auditorium into Foundation Hall to complete Phase I. I have included a picture for you to see the differences already.
 
 
We cannot wait to see you in August!
 
Onward,
 
Brad Sewell
Head of School
As a community, we belong one to another and should love our neighbors as ourselves. It is up to each of us to take measures on campus, at home, and in all aspects of our lives to keep us safe as a community. Our work together will control transmission, sustain our on-campus learning experience, and do our part to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19. We request that all families returning to campus commit to these responsibilities by digitally signing the Family Pledge, which will be sent out before the start of the school year. All Veritas employees and families will be asked to make the same commitment.
 
Family Pledge
 
We pledge to:
  • Self-screen and screen members of our family daily, especially immediately prior to coming to campus.
  • Not come to campus if our student(s) or someone in our household is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Inform the School if our student(s) or someone in our household is symptomatic or has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Notify the School of any potential exposures, symptoms, or positive COVID-19 test results in a timely manner as outlined in the School’s protocols.
  • Encourage our student(s) and their families to practice social distancing whenever feasible.
  • Have our student(s) and their families wear a face covering particularly when physical distancing is not possible or difficult.
  • Encourage our student(s) and their families to commit to frequent hand-washing and sanitizing.
  • Cooperate with local, state, and federal agencies in contact tracing efforts.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit our General Frequently Asked Questions page.  You can also find specified frequently asked questions regarding medical information, Middle School, and Early Education & Lower School.

 

2020-2021 Reopening Plan

Veritas recognizes that the ideal teaching and learning environment is one in which student and teachers are able to interact face-to-face. We equally recognize the vital importance of creating a campus environment that addresses the health and safety concerns of our students, faculty, and staff.
Veritas is working collaboratively to develop strategies and protocols that allow flexibility and transparency. Our priority is our community’s health and safety while staying true to our mission and core values of laying A Foundation for Life.

We are using guidance from public health officials, local government requirements, our accrediting independent school association (SAIS), and resources from other schools and leading organizations and agencies. Veritas will continue to make careful, thoughtful, and collaborative decisions based on the safety of our students, faculty, and Veritas’s values. We will promote our students’ physical safety as well as their psychological and emotional well-being. We need one another as we are wired for relationships and connectivity.

This Return to Campus Playbook provides the Veritas community with an overview of the 2020–2021 school opening procedures. The playbook is a brief summary of what to expect as we open our classrooms and campus. It describes options for learning and teaching during this academic year. Veritas is committed to serving our students with programs that are engaging, flexible, yet responsive to the current pandemic.
The Veritas Community, guided by our mission, prepares students for lives of service and learning through academic excellence, character development, biblical literacy, and intentional engagement opportunities.
 
Veritas is committed to delivering our mission through an educational experience deeply rooted in on-campus programming while also providing learning options for those that are unable to be on campus due to significant health risks of the student or a family member in residence. Even in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic, we are deeply committed to partnering with our parents to provide an outstanding education.

In order to safely and effectively reopen campus, Veritas is actively assessing information, acting decisively, and developing guidelines and procedures in service of our community. The following are our principles for reopening campus.
 
Principles for Reopening Campus
  • Protect the health and safety of students and employees
  • Be compliant with government orders
  • Utilize guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),
  • Texas Education Agency (TEA), and American Pediatric Association
  • Establish effective use of spaces and places to support physical distancing
  • Provide students with some familiarity with school routines for learning
  • Set clear expectations for everyone

First Days of School
If government restrictions remain lifted, we will hold our first day of school on campus on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. In addition, Veritas will provide Safety Procedures Training for students before returning to campus.

We anticipate ending the school year as planned on Friday, May 26, 2021. While our priority is to be on campus as much as possible, we are also preparing for potential interruptions and may need to adjust the calendar accordingly. As always, we will remain communicative and provide you with more information when and if needed.
 
Returning to campus is going to look and feel different for us. Veritas is implementing many changes to support physical distancing and the best practices necessary for school to reopen safely.
 
To ensure everyone is familiar with these changes, along with our new safety protocols and guidelines, Veritas is providing all students schoolwide with Safety Procedures Training through videos and online forms to become familiar with new routines in smaller groups before the first official day of school, Wednesday, August 19.
 
To support physical distancing, Veritas is making adaptations to campus which include (and are not limited to) establishing directional traffic patterns into, out of, and throughout all campus buildings; spacing of desks in classrooms; and restricting gathering sizes and occupancy in meeting spaces and places.

Faculty and staff will receive professional development during in-service days this summer and safety procedure training in the following:
 
  • Arrival and dismissal expectations
  • Entering and exiting classrooms and buildings
  • Use of Materials
  • Lunches and snacks
  • Recess and outdoor breaks
  • Healthy hygiene practices
  • Proper cleaning and disinfecting practices
  • After School Care
Veritas has created a four-tiered, color-coded system to help define the health status of our campus environment. These tiers provide general guidelines for activities on and off campus. Any change in status level or any other critical information will be communicated to the school community via email.
 
Level of Alert General Conditions Learning Environment
Green (Low)
  1. No known cases currently at school
  2. Families, faculty, and staff closely adhering to Veritas safety protocols
  1. Campus is open
  2. All students on campus
  3. Open all days
  4. Limited cohort mixing
Yellow (Moderate)
  1. Possible cases in school community
  2. Families, faculty, and staff not adhering as closely to Veritas safety protocols
  1. Campus is open
  2. All students on campus
  3. Open all days
  4. Further reductions in cohort mixing
Orange (Heightened)
  1. Several possible cases in school community
  2. Families, faculty, and staff struggling to adhere to Veritas safety protocols
  3. Waning epidemic control
  1. Possible transition to Option 2 Calendar
  2. Follow local and state guidelines, making use of remediation days
Red (High)
  1. Multiple new infections in school community
  2. State Health Department, Mayor, or Governor has issued a stay-at-home order or otherwise closed schools
  1. Possible transition to Option 2 or 3 Calendar, depending on needed remediation days
Standard 2020-2021 Academic Calendar
Veritas will adhere to our current Standard Academic Calendar which places the first day of school on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 with no changes to our normally scheduled holidays and breaks, and with the last day of school on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.  Community events, such as our Back-to-School Night, Annual Chili Cook Off, Family Day, and Productions will either be cancelled or altered to accommodate for an online presence.
 
Calendar Options 2 and 3
Veritas has created two additional optional calendars which incorporates 13 days (option 2) or 21 days (option 3) or remediation should a full school closure be necessary.  The optional calendars will extend the 2020-2021 Academic Year to June 2, 2021 or June 15, 2021, respectively.

 

On-Campus Learning

The ultimate goal for the 2020-2021 Academic Year is to sustain an environment for on-campus and face-to-face learning. With our plan, we are also providing learning options for those that are unable to be on campus due to significanct health risks to students and other family members which would closely line up with the scheduling and learning that students have available to them while on campus.
 
In considering the safe and effective reopening of our campus, Veritas has and continues to assess information in creating guidelines and procedures which provides the safest environment to our community without significant effects on learning.
 
Even putting forth our best efforts, there remain circumstances beyond our control. We anticipate, based on CDC predictions, possible outbreaks of COVID-19 which could possibly impact on-campus programming in the future. We are preparing for these scenarios through various calendar options. In the event we are notified by government officials or the health department of the need to close the campus, the school will first operate under the Standard Academic Calendar and transition, as needed, to the other calendar options for remediation time (see calendars in following pages).
 
Our Commitment
In the event that we are required to limit or restrict access to campus or parts of campus (for example, to restrict access for just one division), Veritas will transition to teaching virtually for a period of time. During any period of temporary virtual learning, we remain committed to:
  • Delivering on our mission.
  • Providing students with a high quality, student-centered learning experience.
  • Communicating clearly and consistently.
  • Remaining flexible and adjusting to our families’ needs.
Veritas is able to serve and engage our community in ways that are flexible and accommodating while still delivering on our mission. Our approach to the hybrid learning model does not change our ability to carry out our mission. We are expanding our capabilities so that everyone in our community is able to benefit from a Veritas education and experience continuity whether on campus or through distance learning. Veritas will continue delivering a high-quality educational experience regardless of the location in which teaching and learning take place.

What is Hybrid Learning?
Veritas provides a location-based education with teaching and learning experiences on campus. While we understand the on-campus experience is the most suitable approach for the majority of our students, we also recognize that some families may not be able to have their children return to campus for reasons related to the virus. In order to support all of our students, Veritas will use technology to extend the reach of the classroom beyond the physical space on campus, providing real-time access to students who are at home. Students will be able to access the classroom remotely and maintain their daily learning schedule.

What is a Hybrid Classroom?
Every classroom serving PreK-8 will be equipped with technology (a camera, microphone and speaker) designed to create a more immersive experience for those students learning remotely. When students are absent for a day, week or longer, they are still able to actively participate in their classes, learn, and ask questions.
FACTS SIS
RenWeb (FACTS SIS) will continue to be Veritas’ main information system for our families. Parents and students will have access to grades and homework through this platform. The link to RenWeb (FACTS SIS) is easily accessible from the homepage of our website, www.veritasca.org.
 
Google Meet logo
Google Meet will be utilized by 3rd-8th grade students who may need to join a live feed of their classes should they remain home. Schedules will adhere to on-campus learning and students must log in at their class’ normal schedule. All class information, including homework and grades will remain on RenWeb (FACTS SIS).
 
Zoom logo
Zoom will be utilized by Early Education-2nd grade students who may need to join a live feed of their classes should they remain home. Schedules will adhere to on-campus learning and students must log in at their class’ normal schedule. All class information, including homework and grades will remain on RenWeb (FACTS SIS).
 
ClassDojo logo
ClassDojo will be utilized for expanded educational resources by Early Education-2nd grade students if required to remain home. All class information, including homework and grades will remain on RenWeb (FACTS SIS).
 
email icon
Email communication will remain the main platform of communication between Veritas and our families. Teachers, administration, and school office personnel will be sending pertinent information regarding school procedures, scheduling changes, or other important information.
 
Veritas Logo
The Veritas website will be the main information hub regarding any important school information including any scheduling changes or closures, updates to school procedures, and access to all information that has been previously communicated to families.
 
Facebook LogoInstagram Logo
Veritas will utilize its social media platforms, namely Facebook and Instagram, to disperse various important information regarding any schedule changes. Posts to social media relating to any important school information will be in addition to our other communication platforms.
 
Veritas is looking forward to resuming our regularly planned programs. Each program will maintain the same safety protocols and guidelines, including physical distancing, as the rest of campus.

Athletics
Our goal is to resume team sports if our athletic associations continue to offer this as an option. Our ability to do so is determined by government guidelines provided by the State of Texas. At this time, we are still waiting for additional information regarding formal competition for 2020-2021 and the possibility of resuming team sports in the fall. Please continue to follow school communications for updates and additional information.

Fine Arts
The Fine Arts Department will resume programming. Veritas Conservatory of Music will continue private lessons upon the start of school.

Volunteering and Visitors
In order to minimize risk and maintain a healthy environment for our students and teachers, we will begin the school year by strictly limiting access to campus buildings to students, teachers, and essential personnel. While we understand that some members of our community may be disappointed, it is important to note that we will not resume on-campus or in-classroom volunteer opportunities right away.

Lunches and Snacks
As we start our school year, students will be eating in their classrooms or another designated space, as we will not be using the lunchroom until the guidelines requiring physical distancing is lifted. Our food service will continue to provide our students with lunches without self-serve options.
 
Before and After School Care
Before Care from 7:00-7:30AM will not be offered at the beginning of the school year. We anticipate this changing and relaxing this requirement in the future. After School Care will continue to be offered with additional staffing and maintaining safety guidelines.

 

Our Health & Wellness

Keeping our Community Safe
 
The changes Veritas is making to spaces and places on campus to accommodate physical distancing are only one aspect of supporting a healthy campus environment. Keeping our campus healthy is a collective effort, one we are asking everyone in our community to support. With everyone’s understanding and cooperation, we have a much better chance of minimizing risk and maintaining a healthy environment for our students, employees, families, and the community.
All families must commit to supporting Veritas’ health, wellness and safety protocols and must agree to keep children home when they are not feeling well, have COVID-like symptoms or have potentially been exposed. Each family will be required to complete the Veritas Health and Wellness Pledge, which will be made available in early August and must be completed with the other medical documents required for the start of school.
Daily Temperature Checks
To further support a healthy campus, we will perform daily temperature screenings in the mornings. If a student has a temperature of 100.4° (infrared) or 99.4° (axillary) F or higher (per CDC Guidelines), they should stay home. Daily temperature checks by Veritas will be rapid, infrared, and non-touch.

Requirements for Face Coverings
We view the use of face coverings as an important way that we, as a community can slow/stop the spread of the virus and protect each other. Students will be required to bring a face covering to school every day. Use of the covering will be determined based on physical distancing.

We understand that prolonged use of face coverings could be difficult and even inappropriate for some students (especially our younger students), and we hope to provide flexibility based on meeting physical distancing criteria. We also know there will be students on campus who will wear face coverings for longer periods of time, including students who are directed to do so by their healthcare providers.

Important for all students:
  • Bring a face covering to school every day (Veritas will have additional face coverings on campus if needed)
  • Students will be asked to wear their face covering when physical distancing is not possible
  • Many students will choose (or need) to wear masks all day
 
New Nurse’s Clinic Location
We have temporarily relocated the Nurse’s Clinic to C2. This new location will create additional space and distancing for students with various ailments and symptoms.

Important: If a student is sent to the clinic and is running a fever, coughing, or experiencing
shortness of breath, they will not be allowed to return to class. The Nurse’s Clinic will have designated places for sick students, and they will remain there until they are picked up by a parent or guardian.
You Can Help
Creating and maintaining a healthy campus environment is essential and is going to require everyone’s support and participation. Over the summer, families can help reinforce safety protocols by:
 
Teaching healthy hygiene practices:
  • Avoid touching your face - especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Encourage frequent hand washing especially before and after eating.
  • Use hand sanitizer when hand washing is unavailable.
  • Practice coughing and sneezing into elbows.
  • Add daily temperature checks to the morning routine.
  • Avoid touching your mask, try to limit touching only the handles.

Maintain Preventative Health Practices:
  • Ask how they are feeling and give them space to share and ask questions.
  • Maintain a routine at home to provide stability.
  • Continue reassuring them that the adults in their lives are there to support their well-being, both physically and emotionally.
  • Reach out for help.

Teaching and encouraging health protocols:
  • Visually show and practice physical distancing.
  • Practice wearing a face covering.

 

Additional Questions?

 
If you have any specific questions please email our Campus Administrator, Zachary Villafuerte at zachary.villafuerte@veritasca.org.