COVID-19 Information and Resources
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Email Updates from School
June 8, 2020 - Director's Weekly Letter #9
This will probably be the last of this unique series of parent COVID-19 letters for this school year, but I wanted to say thanks to each of you for your teamwork during 2019-20. We are so glad we were able to celebrate the end of the year this past weekend in the class meetings, and we are especially glad that our 18 graduates were able to be “sent off” with our love and prayers and with a unique memorable ceremony!
Our June Jamboree begins tomorrow and about 50% of our ECA students will be participating. We are hoping this will be a positive experience for all. If you have any questions, write email@example.com. Remember, these activities are free, but we encourage you to make a donation of any size to our building fund if you are able.
Just a reminder…
All families are invited to one of the optional Town Hall meetings Tue-Thu, Jun 9-11 where we hope to share more about what next school year might look like academically. We want to share lessons learned with home-based learning, adjustments we plan to make, and different scenarios we are exploring to best meet the needs of our ECA community. All meetings will be at 7:30p and the links to each meeting are below.
- Tues, Jun 9 – in English … https://meet.google.com/mic-
- Wed, Jun 10 – for families with students entering 1st to 12th grades … https://meet.google.com/epw-
- Thu, Jun 11 – for families with students entering PK or K … https://meet.google.com/ovk-
Textbook and library material returns have begun, and sometime between today and Wednesday you should receive a call asking you to meet us at the door to receive your yearbook and other personal items while you also return what you have from ECA. If you need to check what ECA materials you owe, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or use the instructions in the Parent Letter COVID-19 #8 that had detailed steps.
Praying that you can continue to have special times as a family this summer. We appreciate your prayers as we seek to restructure our educational model to adapt it to the current situation, a model that combines home-based and at-school learning.
Our office staff is working all summer, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything. God bless you!
May 29, 2020 - Director's Weekly Letter #8
- Tues, Jun 9 – in English … https://meet.google.com/
- Wed, Jun 10 – for families with students entering 1st to 12th grades … https://meet.google.com/
- Wed, Jun 11 – for families with students entering PK or K … https://meet.google.com/ovk-
We would like to share with you what we think next school year might look like, some financial and logistical input, and some implications. Send any questions to email@example.com by Mon, Jun 8 and we will try to answer as many as possible during this time. Return of textbooks and library materials is scheduled for Mon-Thu, Jun 1-4 and we are hoping to do an exchange so we can give you any of your child’s belongings that were left at ECA. We are still working out the logistics, but be on the lookout for more information this weekend as to how and when this will happen. In the meantime, please gather all library books, textbooks and any other ECA supplies, books, or materials and place them in a bag with your family name on the bag. IF you are passing near the school and can drop them off at the front gate before Tue, Jun 2, that would be great. If not, we will share the plan with you. Follow these steps to see what books your child (and you, as parents) currently have checked out through the library:
- Verify account. Do this by directly accessing the library record online, going to library.eca.edu.co. When the page opens:
- Enter your username (this is the same email that you use to access FACTS/RenWeb)
- Click on ¨forgot password¨ (this will allow you to create a password)
- Enter password and log in
- Click on “Préstamos de parientes,” or “Relatives’ checkout”
- Confirm that you are prepared to return materials. Do this by clicking here. A spreadsheet will open and you will be able to mark the appropriate columns. https://docs.google.
com/spreadsheets/d/1hnk- 4rCpIYiZfpGbHdc8uT7T8hrvNnkgx- Cb2VJsgFg/edit?usp=sharing
- Students in grades 4-12 may also access their accounts directly through “Staff and Student Login,” entering their ECA email addresses.
We would appreciate it if you would help us by responding to the Parent Perception Survey that you received so we can analyze the data and learn from your input. All end-of-year celebration ceremonies will be virtual. We will be publishing the schedule for our virtual good-byes in the upcoming bulletin so you can be sure not to miss these special times. June Jamboree will run for 3 weeks, Tuesday to Friday mornings starting Tue, Jun 9 and ending Fri, Jun 26. There will be activities for all ages (including incoming PK) and the schedule and sign-up will be in Monday’s bulletin. There will be an opening devotional, songs and exercises, then two different sessions of your choice. Families can choose to be involved in any or all of the offered activities. These classes are free to ECA families, but we would ask you to consider giving a donation of any amount toward the ECA building fund. What a crazy way to end this school year, but we pray that each of you has been able to be strengthened as a family and to figure out what lessons God had for you to learn! Thanks for your prayers for us as we navigate these unchartered waters and try to serve you the best we can. Beth Afanador Director
May 12, 2020 - Director's Weekly Letter #7
May 5, 2020 - Director's Weekly Letter #6
Apr 28, 2020 - Director's Weekly Letter #5
Dear ECA families, We had the privilege of meeting by Zoom with our 12th grade parents last weekend to talk about options for closing the year well and celebrating the 18 seniors. Whatever we end up doing, we know that this graduating class of 2020 will definitely stand out as a unique class with a very memorable graduation experience! It was good to share ideas with our parents and respond to questions. We want to ensure that we are keeping our communication channels open with all our parents, so have scheduled four different parent meetings for next week. We will have a panel from our ECA leadership team to answer questions that have been sent in, and share results of multiple surveys that have been taken. We may be able to respond to some questions during the meeting, but some of our answers may be, “We don’t know.” We are working with multiple scenarios regarding the future in academic, financial, and logistical areas, but the truth is COVID-19 terrain changes constantly and the decrees and governmental guidelines are uncertain worldwide. International travel and visas, job and financial security, school logistics with expected new protocols…all are open to speculation. We are blessed to be following a God who knows the future and who promises wisdom. We are doing the best we can to follow His direction as we walk into the unknown. All parents are invited to join us at one or more of the Town Hall meetings listed below. These meetings get their name from an old USA custom where community members gather with political or community leaders to share ideas, gather input, or to discuss upcoming decisions. Each of our ECA parent Town Hall meetings will open with the principal sharing specific information about the academic side, then we will move into other topics that are more grade generic, so you are welcome to come and go if you have children that fit in multiple age groups. These Town Hall meetings are totally optional, but we want to be as transparent as possible about our ECA plans and the challenges we are facing. We will be recording the meeting and making the link available. Hope to see you next week on Google Meet!
Apr 21, 2020 - Director's Weekly Letter #4
Dear ECA families, Every day is an adventure during this COVID-19 chapter. We have no option, but to trust in God to guide us into this uncharted territory. Although the prolonged quarantine through mid-May announced yesterday by our president is not a huge surprise and does not affect our schooling model, it definitely affects many of you parents with your work routines. Communication Though our ECA office is closed, you can still reach us by calling the ECA cell phone 314-219-0968 during school hours. Our receptionist, Jenny Sanchez, will answer and make sure you get the information or support you need. We are planning a series of Town Hall meetings starting the week of April 27. These will be optional times for parents to interact with our school leadership, based on previously submitted questions. You are free to send any type of ECA-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org any time, but if you send them by Friday, April 24, we will include them in our Town Meeting agendas. You can ask questions about academics, finances, future plans, logistics, events, or whatever you feel we have not covered in our communications. We want to make sure we are keeping our channels open, even when we are not in our ECA offices. We will be sending invites out in the near future after we see what types of questions are coming in. The first week of June is still undefined as to what our calendar will look like, so stay tuned as we respond to the news and our governmental leaders’ guidelines. At this time, the only official news is that on-campus classes cannot resume before May 29. There are definitely indications that that date could be extended…even until the end of 2020. We are closely monitoring the official (and non-official) information that affects ECA’s future planning, and we will keep you informed about any decisions. Parent Points According to our Handbook the purpose of parent participation points is to be actively involved in your child’s school world. We want to thank and congratulate the many families who have been visibly involved in ECA throughout the school year and have already amassed the necessary points to have no extra payment. Considering the reality that ALL of our parents are now immersed in their child’s educational world, we have decided that ALL families will receive 200 points for 4th quarter for their incredible involvement and support of their children’s education. In other words, ALL families will meet the point quota for the 2019-20 school year, even if this forced involvement was not something any of us planned or wished to happen this way. We are truly grateful for the titanic effort that all of you are making to support your kids from home as we try to guide this learning process in a new format. We are learning to be a team, parents and ECA, in a new way, and your support is critical in this new chapter. ECALI We have decided to continue with ECALI classes virtually starting this Thursday, April 23 and continue through Thursday, May 28. We will meet from 4-5pm and all participants should be receiving more information. If anyone has questions about these English/Spanish classes, contact ECALI@eca.edu.co . Finances Thanks to many of you who donated for our food and transportation workers who have been without income since classes ended. We have been able to raise about $7 million pesos so far, which is about 15% of our goal. Keep our ECA families who are facing financial challenges in your prayers. If you have any questions or issues when making payments, let us know at email@example.com. Registration If you are planning for your child to be an ECA student for the 2020-21 school, you should have already registered. You received an email with instructions, but if you have any questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Prayer Wall If you want prayer or want to pray for ECA community members involved in the COVID-19 battle, feel free to visit our prayer center at https://eca.edu.co/updates/
Apr 13, 2020 - Director's Weekly Letter #3
Dear ECA families, Knowing that we cannot have students on campus until May 29 at the earliest, we are now making plans for the next 7 weeks. We are looking at academic, logistical, and financial implications for this new normal, and I would like to share some key information with you. Academic implications We will continue delivering academic content in a format similar to what we did before Easter Week, with the plan of continually adjusting and improving as we respond to feedback from students, teachers, and parents. There may be changes in how we grade, the intensity of certain classes, or schedules as we seek to best meet the needs of our community. Hopefully, all of us will grow in our abilities to better use technological tools, to organize time in our homes, to be disciplined with new expectations, and to sort out priorities as we focus on the most important academic objectives. We continue to seek to give our students as excellent an education possible in this new context, without burning out teachers, students, or parents. We want learning to be a positive experience! The last day of our academic quarter will be Fri, May 29. We will not be using the traditional semester exams to finish the semester with our 7th-12th graders, but each teacher will decide how to tie up the semester class in the most appropriate way. Semester grades will be based on 3rd and 4th quarter grades equally – 50% each. May 28 and 29, which were designated for review or exams, will be normal school days. Logistical implications The first week of June will be focused on spiritual, emotional, and social closure for the year. The format will be decided in mid-May as we watch how the COVID-19 situation is playing out here in Bogotá. We are praying for wisdom, and you will be informed as decisions are made as we get closer to those dates. Key event decisions Cancelled Pre-kinder visits for the incoming group (Admissions decisions will be made without observations.) Battle of the Books Postponed Missions trips – tentatively moved to September or October 2020. Team members will receive more detailed information. Still to be determined in the next couple weeks whether cancelled, virtual, face-to-face in June, or some other option we still have to create…we will keep you informed. There are many indications that groups will not be able to meet for some time, but we will be monitoring the situation closely before making any final decisions. The Emperor’s New Groove, our spring play National Honor Society induction Staff Day/Teacher Day celebrations Senior retreat Senior appreciation chapel Senior Banquet Year-end celebrations Graduation 40th Anniversary celebration (probably postponed to Aug 7) Financial implications Understanding the situation we are facing, we have extended the 10% discount for early payment for April until Fri, April 17. We are still accepting donations to help our cafeteria and transportation team receive some funds since they have been out of work since mid-March. We have only received about 3 million pesos so far and our goal is closer to 50 million pesos to help these almost 50 workers who have served us faithfully throughout the year. If you have any questions or issues when making your payments, let us know at email@example.com . If you are up-to-date on payments, you should have received your Payment Category for 2020-21 this past week. If your financial situation has changed greatly since turning in your paperwork, and you need to request that your situation be restudied, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Closing announcements Remember, you should register for the 2020-21 school year by Mon, April 20 to avoid any late fines. You received an email with instructions, but if you have any questions, contact email@example.com. If you know of anyone in our ECA circles (alumni, parents, present or past staff, or their family members) who are at risk due to this virus – doctors, nurses, paramedics, lab workers, etc. or patients who are fighting the virus – let us know at https://eca.edu.co/updates/, to add them to our prayer center. Be sure to update any specific concerns. We hope you are taking advantage of your ECA-paid membership in RightNow Media to access countless excellent Christian videos for all ages in both English and Spanish. If you have questions about this, contact Sarah Trussell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to all of you who prayed for my brother as he fought the COVID-19 virus. I am happy to report that Kent is home, quarantined for 2 weeks, but very grateful to be alive. Our prayers continue to be with him for the virus to be completely eradicated from his body, and for his lungs to heal and recover completely.
Apr 1, 2020 - Director's Weekly Letter #2
Dear ECA Parents, As we move into week 3 of this adventure of virtual learning, we continue to look for ways to support you as you supervise your children in their academic pursuits there in your homes. Our teachers are working hard to create lessons that meet our academic objectives for the 4th quarter, and that are interesting and doable off campus. At this point, on-campus classes are still scheduled to start on Mon, April 20, but this date could be moved, depending on how the COVID-19 virus develops here in Colombia. The Minister of Education confirmed this week that no new date has been set and that they are watching the COVID-19 curve before making any changes in the already announced class start date for schools. Our school calendar was planned with this week as a 4-day school week so we will be having classes Mon-Thu. Some of our teachers plan to post work on Mon, April 6 so that those who want to work ahead have that option – but no work will be required to be turned in during Easter week. The work that is posted during Easter week is available for those families who prefer to organize computer or family time over a 2-week period so that the week of April 13-17 is a bit less intense. Just a reminder, you should be paying your April tuition normally. Though we have changed the mode of providing educational services due to the country-wide response to the COVID-19 virus, we are still committed to helping your child meet the educational objectives for this quarter, and to being able to close this school year with the appropriate certificates and grades. Our teachers and administrators are working overtime to make the needed adjustments to deliver content in new, but effective, ways. We appreciate your support as we gather feedback and make adjustments on this virtual education path that is somewhat new to all of us. As far as transportation and food contracts, we will not be charging anything for the month of April. Since the last 11 school days in March were already charged (and hopefully, already paid for), we will be communicating later regarding this credit, depending on whether we re-establish on-campus classes as projected or not. These days may be used to complete April or for a credit in May. If we do not return to classes this school year, we will be sharing our plan for crediting the payment for transportation, lunches, and/or snacks when we have a clearer idea of how this school year will close. But, we do want to propose an opportunity to bless our drivers, monitors, and cafeteria workers for those of you who are willing and able. If all of our ECA families could donate at least 50% of their normal food and/or transportation costs, we can help those who have served us faithfully all year since they are without any income since school closed. If you are able to bless these families, the process is as follows: Make a deposit or transfer for the workers of Asher (food) and/or Lobena (transportation) to Bancolombia savings account #93219126679. Send a copy of the deposit slip or the transfer to email@example.com with the amount designated for each company. ECA will give a certificate of donation to each family that donates toward the Asher and Lobena teams that have served ECA. A support committee made up of a representative of the parents, ECA, and each of the companies will decide the amount that each driver, monitor, or food service worker will receive, so there is complete transparency in this process. We want to ensure that the benefit is as great as possible to as many families as possible. If this current COVID-19 situation will affect your ability to fulfill your financial commitment to ECA, either fulfilling payment plans for debts incurred in past months or paying for the last 2-3 months of the 2019-20 school year, communicate with us at firstname.lastname@example.org asap so we can work with you to find a way to help you through this complicated chapter. It is critical that you take the initiative to contact us if you need support for your financial situation. Thanks again for your support during this crisis. If you have specific prayer requests, especially related to COVID-19 patients or for health workers who are serving COVID-19 patients, go to our ECA website (www.eca.edu.co/updates) and add the information so our community can be praying with you/them. I also want to thank all of you who have been praying for my brother who continues sedated and stable in Intensive Care on a ventilator. There is no evidence of the infection having left his lungs to affect other organs. His body is fighting the COVID-19 virus with the help of an experimental drug. Each day is a small victory and all your prayers are part of the process. We expect him to be taken off the ventilator on Mon, April 6, if all goes as planned. Be in contact with the teachers or school administrators if you have suggestions or ideas to keep improving our processes during virtual classes. If we can help in any other way, contact our office staff. Our school staff is praying that the ECA community will take advantage of these days of quarantine to strengthen our families and pray for so many who are suffering during this COVID-19 crisis. Beth Afanador Director
Mar 24, 2020 - Director's Weekly Letter
Dear ECA Community, We survived our first week of a totally different educational model due to the current COVID-19 global crisis! I am thankful for the incredibly positive effort that our staff, parents, and students have displayed with this abrupt change, and I know we will continue to make adjustments as the situation evolves. I am convinced that God wants us to use this challenge as an opportunity to grow, learn, and serve others. Each of us will have to seek out what it is that God wants us to learn and how we are to be a light for His kingdom during this difficult time. Know that the ECA staff is praying for you as you figure out new priorities, new activities, and new dynamics. Since this educational rhythm is new to all of us, it will obviously take some tweaking. We need to figure out how to maintain as many of our curricular objectives as possible while also responding to the reality of mostly non-teacher parents supervising at home, many who are also supposed to be working full-time. Working from home and supporting children (especially the younger ones) learning at home is no easy combination. It is even more complicated for parents with multiple children or for those who do not feel competent in English. But this is our new reality so we will need to be in communication and giving feedback, as we try to work out solutions to the current situation. Though the president has decreed no classes on any school campus until Monday, April 20, this date obviously will be confirmed or changed depending on the impact of COVID-19 on Colombia, and especially Bogotá. As we watch other countries, and as we track our own accelerated Colombian curve of confirmed cases, the possibility of having virtual classes for more time than the proposed date is probable. Much depends on how seriously our population responds to the measures being placed on us, as well as how our health system deals with the oncoming swell in serious cases. For now, we plan to follow our previously published calendar of classes and holidays, but all school days will be virtual until further notice. If you have questions or concerns, be sure to communicate first with the teacher involved, and, if necessary, with the principal. Help us help you by responding to any surveys that we send out so we can make appropriate adjustments. We have an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) document on our website, dealing with COVID-19 and ECA. If you want to know about payment expectations, school actions, or other issues, check this out. If you have a question you think should be added to our document, send it in for our team to deal with. I want to encourage us to keep medical professionals in our daily prayers. Since our son-in-law, Lucas, is an emergency room doctor outside of Toronto, we have an inside view of the health crisis. As we touch base daily with our daughter and hear stories of the situation in Canada, a country with a solid medical system, we are trying to envision what Colombia will probably struggle with soon. There are not enough Intensive Care beds, respirators, quarantine areas, gloves, masks, virus tests, etc., to deal with the onslaught of cases. Though the first seriously ill patient in their city was admitted yesterday (a 50-year-old man), the staff is aware that soon they will be dealing with many more complicated cases. Stress, fear, and sadness permeate the medical team, as they realize that it won’t be long until they will be making decisions of who lives and who does not, since there are not enough beds or respirators to get multiple patients through the weeks of not being able to breathe on their own. The hospital where Lucas works has converted three whole floors of normal beds into COVID-19 care units. Medical professionals will have to double and triple time spent at the hospital, leaving them vulnerable to becoming sick, due to exhaustion combined with stress. Citizens are donating supplies to hospitals and sewing reusable cloth masks as an inferior alternative to the approved medical masks that should be used, but enough supplies are not available to deal with the needs. But the advice repeated over and over is: STAY HOME! Do not take this lightly and do understand that things are likely to get much worse before they improve. I do covet your prayers for Lucas, but even more, be reminded to practice social distancing and take quarantine and sanitation measures seriously. Support and pray for all medical personnel who care for those affected with the COVID-19 virus. Let us know any special prayer requests during these upcoming weeks. Especially, let us join you in praying for any family members or friends who have been confirmed positive for the COVID-19 virus. Be creative in showing God’s love and compassion during this country-wide emergency … we need to be a light! And enjoy the challenge of learning at home … make the best of this chapter we are going through. With our prayers, Beth Afanador Director
Mar 15, 2020 - No on-campus classes for the next 2 weeks
Dear ECA community, The President just announced that no schools nationwide are having on-campus classes starting tomorrow, Mon, Mar 16. ECA will begin virtual school on a week-to-week basis until Spring Break, based on country conditions. Teachers will be sending schoolwork by 3:00p Tue, Mar 17. The main goal is to prevent the spread of infectious disease – through family quarantine and preventative social distancing. Classmates who would like to work together should use virtual means to do so. These are NOT vacation days. We are planning to count these virtual days as school days. Therefore, students are expected to complete all coursework with diligence and responsibility, within the time frame allotted, according to teacher instructions. The Spring Play and Mission Trips are postponed until the situation improves. More information will be sent out in the near future. The library will be open Mon-Tue, Mar 16-17 for any family who wants to check out books. Thank you for your prayers. We will keep you informed of any changes as the situation develops.
Mar 13, 2020 - ECA's Response to COVID-19
Yesterday we were able to share with all our staff and students different measures we are taking here at ECA to help protect our community from the COVID-19 virus and we are attaching a copy of some basic measures that are in place. We ask you as parents to work with your students to follow through on the various norms and routines we are following, and we ask all of our students to review the attached guidelines. At this time, we feel it is safe and wise to continue classes, keeping in mind the precautions below and keeping very in touch with the quickly-changing reality presented at this time. Today, it was publicly announced that for now, the government is not contemplating suspending classes, but that could change any day. We, as a school staff, are making plans for the possible need to have virtual classes, but our desire is to continue with normal classes as long as possible. Students will be bringing books home this Friday, just in case something occurs over the weekend, but they should bring them all back on Monday, unless you are notified by email of a change in schedule. We are planning to have normal classes next week! We will be postponing indefinitely several events including planned field trips to the theater, the Fri, March 27 Easter Program and the March 28 PTF Family Day. Other events we will be doing virtually, like the Wed, March 25 Parent-Teacher Conferences. Also, we would like to discourage all visitors, including parents, to come on campus until after Holy Week, unless it is absolutely necessary. Please plan your prayer and committee meetings off campus and preferably do not enter ECA unless a face-to-face appointment is necessary. If you do come on campus and have been traveling recently, we ask you to stop by our nurse’s office to have your temperature taken. We do plan to continue with the spring play that is being held at the United Church of Bogota for maximum audiences of 200. We will have some added security measures set up for this event. This could change if something drastically changes in the next 5 days, but this is our plan for this time. Do buy your tickets asap and if we have to cancel, your money will be refunded. We also are planning to continue with our April 2-8 mission trips here within Colombia. We are monitoring national travel carefully, but hope we can continue with these important trips that our students have been preparing for the past months. Keep these groups very much in your prayers! We are thankful for the wide variety of excellent resources, information, and advice we are receiving from multiple valid sources, and we covet your prayers as we try to make wise decisions that affect our ECA community. We will do all in our power to safely move forward with having normal classes, and we will continue to inform you of any changes or pertinent information.