Mask Updates Beginning Feb 22, 2022Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 2/18/2022 11:00:00 AM
We’ve taken MANY steps toward normal this year. Each of them has been a welcome change for some and a really frightening change for others. At times, we’ve had to step back to a more restrictive plan as our community impacts have worsened. Through each of these steps, our administration and our Board of Directors have focused on safety and in person learning. Our guidance has always started with our state guidelines, specifically the StrongSchools Toolkit. Within this toolkit, there have been requirements (things we have to do) and recommendations (things that we should consider for our community). We have always followed all requirements and have followed the recommendations the experts in our community have felt best met our particular school’s needs.
Our school will begin the next step forward on Tuesday. We will begin making masks optional for people on our campus. The Board’s decision on this issue is in line with the direction we are seeing from our State leadership. Just yesterday, Governor Cooper encouraged all North Carolina municipalities and school boards to end their mask mandates in the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, we know that students and staff members have varying risk factors and varying comfort levels with masking. We want everyone to feel confident about making this choice with their family. I encourage each family to think and talk this weekend to make decisions about your expectations for your students on campus. Our teachers will not be expected to supervise those masking decisions, so it is imperative that students understand their family’s expectations.
In keeping with the Toolkit, ECS will still require students and staff members to wear masks on campus for 5 days upon returning to campus after any COVID-19 case isolation. Families can review the full policy here on the ECS website, but the key points are described below.
- Individuals (including staff, students, and/or visitors) may choose, but are not required to, wear a face covering on ECS grounds, including indoors, except in certain limited circumstances;
- Individuals are required to mask for 5 days following return to school from isolation due to a positive test and/or symptoms of COVID-19 (masks not required during lunch or outdoor activities);
- ECS will keep updated records of student who must mask following isolation, and such masking will be enforced using the honor system. Students found in violation of the 5-day post-isolation masking requirement will be sent home for the remainder of the original 10-day isolation period.
We also know that all students who ride the YMCA bus and the Pride Ride will continue to be required to wear a mask on the bus in compliance with federal regulations. Those families must be sure to continue packing a mask each day.
As with all steps back toward normal, we will continue to evaluate this step and its impact on our community. We will adjust if needed. Our Board of Directors will continue to discuss our masking policy at the monthly Board of Directors meetings. I wish you each a wonderful, long weekend and look forward to seeing everyone back on campus on Tuesday!
Christi Whiteside, MSA
Guest Blog - School Nurse, Sarah IpockPosted by Lauren Manfreda on 1/28/2022 3:00:00 PMGUEST BLOG, Sarah Ipock, School NurseECS has recently implemented our "test to stay" program. This program is for mask required settings only, and allows unvaccinated students who are exposed to another positive student while unmasked the opportunity to stay in school instead of quarantining at home. Fully vaccinated students who are exposed are not required to quarantine unless they develop symptoms consistent with COVID.Students who are exposed (meaning 15 minutes or more of close contact in a distance of less than 6 feet) should COVID test on the day of notification of the exposure (may be a home test, rapid antigen test at school, or a PCR test). They should then test again on as close to day 5 after the exposure as possible (must be a rapid antigen test or PCR test). If the tests are negative, and they remain symptom free they may continue to attend school during the 5 day quarantine period.Rapid antigen testing is available at school M-F, during normal school hours. Our school nurse can work with you to schedule testing for your student if needed. You can also visit this link to find out where free PCR COVID testing is available in your area.We continue to closely monitor our lunch room to determine close contacts for each positive case reported to the school. Please note that if your child sits at a table with or near a positive case, you will only be notified if it is determined that they are within 6 feet of the positive student, and have had 15 minutes or more of close contact. Students not meeting those requirements, even at the same table with the positive case will not be notified.Sarah Ipock, RNECS School Nurse
Covid Protocol UpdatePosted by Lauren Manfreda on 1/15/2022 9:25:00 AM
This pandemic has dealt us all another blow with the extremely contagious Omicron variant. We continue to seek ways to comply with all state guidance to keep our students safe while maintaining as much normalcy as possible. Last Friday, the NCDHHS updated its guidance for schools, adding a “test-to-stay” option for individuals who would otherwise be required to quarantine. NCDHHS implemented this change after seeing results from a study conducted by the ABC Collaborative (a group of Duke University physicians), which followed five North Carolina mask-required school districts that implemented a test version of this program in the fall. For the six week duration of the study, the group found no documented transmission from a study participant to another person. Under the test-to-stay program, individuals are exempt from quarantine if they show no symptoms and test negative for covid on the day of exposure notification and five days after exposure. For now, test-to-stay is allowed in mask-required schools only, but the ABC Collaborative is currently studying the effectiveness of test-to-stay in mask-optional schoosl. As always, we are adjusting our ECS policies and procedures to match the new NCDHHS guidelines.
Guidance and ECS procedures that did not change:
- Exposure is defined as 15 minutes of unmasked time within 6 feet of one another.
- Fully vaccinated students are not required to quarantine when exposed UNLESS the vaccinated child has Covid symptoms or a positive Covid test.
- Unvaccinated students are not required to quarantine when exposure occurred in a masked setting.
- The ECS Covid dashboard will continue to be updated each Tuesday and Friday.
Guidance and ECS procedures that did change:
- Unvaccinated students considered exposed to Covid are no longer required to quarantine IF we follow the following protocol:
- ECS continues being a mask-required school, except for lunch and outdoor recess.
- As soon as possible after being notified of an exposure, the student takes a PCR test, a rapid test, or an at-home test. Rapid tests may be taken on-campus with written or verbal parent consent. If the test is negative, the student may remain on campus as long as he/she does not have Covid symptoms. Five days (or as close to 5 days as possible) after the exposure, the student must be retested. The family may take a PCR test or a rapid test with our school nurse, but we will not accept an at-home test. If the student tests negative and continues to be symptom free, he/she will be considered out of the danger zone and may resume normal school procedures.
- Middle school students will end the simultaneous mask-off time at lunch and return to the previous 30 minute lunch procedure. Each student will be encouraged to remask once he/she has finished eating.
- All grades will resume snack time prior to fourth quarter. Snack time will be brief and students will remask as soon as the eating time ends.
- We will no longer send grade level emails when a student in a grade has tested positive. Instead, we will only email the families whose children are considered exposed according to state guidance. We encourage each family to regularly check the Covid dashboard for information regarding Covid in our community. We also continue to encourage every family to monitor their children for Covid symptoms
Christi Whitside, ECS Director
Second Semester Updates, Hello 2022!Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 1/7/2022 4:00:00 PM
Happy New Year! I am counting on 2022 being more friendly than 2021 was, but snow and ice impacting our first day back wasn’t friendly at all! Thanks to everyone for being so flexible yet again!
I have a few updates for our ECS community as we begin our second semester.
Lunch: Our elementary students have been eating lunch while seated at separate desks, silent for their 15- 20 minute unmasked eating time, and then remasking. This works for elementary students who enjoy the videos they watch and don’t seem to mind the brief silent time too much, and the elimination of talking while unmasked decreases their risks. We do not need to change this procedure at this time.
However, we knew that the elementary plan was not developmentally appropriate for middle school students. Instead, they sit at tables in groups facing one another. They talk while they eat and have that social time that is so essential for adolescents. When Omicron numbers increased dramatically over track out, we had to consider our options for decreasing that risk during middle school lunch. We looked at what a lot of other schools are doing. Some eat in total silence, some sit in rows all facing the same direction, some just have a normal lunch like in previous years. Some schools only allow students to be unmasked for 15 minutes to silently eat while unmasked.
We decided on a combination of a few of those plans: Our middle school students stay masked until all students are seated and ready to eat, unmask for 15 minutes of eating and talking, and then all who are finished go outside while those who need to finish stay inside. Ensuring students are only unmasked for 15 minutes decreases our requirement to quarantine anyone who has been unmasked near a student who tests positive. All students are seated with friends and can talk through this entire lunch and recess time. Their total lunch/recess time has not changed.
We will monitor our students and adjust if needed and hopefully relax these procedures soon when Covid statistics in our area begin to decrease. We are posting the start and stop times for the 15 minute eating period to help students manage their time and eat! Middle school parents should note that it might be beneficial to adjust breakfast and lunch foods to ensure what is eaten is especially healthy and very filling while we are following this lunch procedure.
Covid protocols: The state is also providing updates to the Strong Schools toolkit located at https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/media/164/open. The guidance is scheduled to be updated again within the week, but there is one significant change everyone should know about. The required quarantine period for someone exposed to Covid but unvaccinated has been decreased to 5 days off-campus. In some specific cases, the person would be required to follow the 5 day quarantine with another 5 days back on campus but masked at all times (for us this would mean masked at recess). While I wish this was the last change, I’m certain there will be more.
We asked PAWS to put out an SOS asking for a group of parents who would be willing to serve as emergency substitutes for their child’s class or grade level in a situation where we could not get a substitute and other options would significantly compromise our school program. Please know that one of our biggest worries is that an outbreak among our staff would force us back into remote instruction. We’ve seen this with other schools and want to ensure that it does not happen to us. Preparing for worst case scenarios allows us to maintain the integrity of our core classes, our enrichment and elective classes, our student support programs, and the logistics of our lunch, recess, and carpool. While we hope to never need these willing helpers, we are so incredibly grateful that we have more options moving forward! Anyone willing to join this list or interested in joining our regular substitute list should email Janet Van Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all you continue to do for us during this on-going unprecedented time!Christi Whiteside, MSADirectorEndeavor Charter School
End of the first semester and moving into 2022!Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 12/17/2021 7:00:00 PMECS community,Twenty-one months ago we closed our doors for what we thought would be a few weeks until the “Covid situation” cleared up. We had no idea that our entire world was changing. We certainly had no idea of the losses our students would endure or the hurdles our teachers would face. We had no idea the impacts of Covid on our construction timeline, our ability to welcome our new students and staff to campus, or even our safety in having our students inside for lunch and music classes. Through all the scenarios we could never have imagined or prepared for, this community has risen to each new challenge. Our students have adjusted and moved forward. Our teachers have reset and rescheduled while keeping their focus on academic growth and building community. Our families have moved fluidly and have managed to be supportive and generous throughout. The original vision for Endeavor started with a community of educators and families working together, never has that been more important, so thank you!I am ready for 2022! Our bigger and better community is ready for 2022! We are ready to start our second semester strong! We have much to look forward to this spring! Big events will include our Stride for the Pride Fun Run and Color Run, Field Day, a spring middle school dance, the first major production in our new auditorium, a special Day of…, and our first graduation on our campus.We also look forward to the time when we can begin to step back our Covid protocols. Making masks optional is the step forward that we all most want to implement. Our Board of Directors will continue to monitor our community data, especially after holiday travel. I want to be sure that all our families understand the changes that will happen to our quarantine requirements IF we make masks optional. Right now, while students and staff are masked, we no longer are required to quarantine classes when there is an exposure. If masks become optional, only students and staff who do not have symptoms AND who are fully vaccinated will be able to avoid being quarantined when there is an exposure. We know many families have made the decision to vaccinate, and many have made the decision not to vaccinate. We also know that many families are still making that decision, so we felt it was important to share the implications of not being vaccinated once masking becomes optional at some time in the future.I wish each of you a track out of health and happiness and family! I look forward to seeing you in the new year!Christi Whiteside, MSADirectorEndeavor Charter School
Thank You and Updates!Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 12/10/2021 4:00:00 PM
I speak on behalf of all staff members when I thank you for the holiday love you showered us with on Wednesday. From the lunch, to the poinsettias, to the gifts, we felt so appreciated! We also felt so grateful for you and your generosity. Thank you for supporting us in so many ways this week and throughout this crazy time we are all in!
A few updates as the quarter nears its close:
- Please consider coming for lunch and recess duty next week. We are desperate for help in many grades including middle school!
- We are seeking a new staff member. If you know any great social studies teachers, please forward them the job description below!
- We have one more week of school, be sure students are competing assignments until the end.
- Powerschool grades will not be finalized until next Friday at 4:00. At that point the grade will be final for quarter 2 and semester 1. We do not send paper report cards for anyone in grades 3-8. The report card is the finalized grade in Powerschool.
Endeavor Charter School is seeking a Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator.
Are you passionate about Social Studies? History? Geography? Cultures? The Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator (SSCC) will establish the components of the ECS Social Studies program and work with teachers to ensure increasing rigor, consistent vocabulary, and hands-on methodology. The SSCC will observe Social Studies teachers, co-teach, demo teach and work with small groups of students and teachers as needed as well. The SSCC will teach Social Studies based electives to students in grades 6-8 as well as a SS based enrichment class to either kindergarten or first grade students. He/She will plan school-wide Social Studies events. The SSCC will serve as a part of the curriculum team and will have carpool and lunch duties some days.
The ideal candidate will:
- have experience teaching Social Studies in upper elementary and/or middle school
- be currently certified and highly qualified to teach elementary or middle school Social Studies in NC
- build a supportive relationship with colleagues and build community with students
- be a professional representative for ECS in public situations
- be flexible and responsive as unexpected events arise
Have a great weekend!
Thankful for our community!Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 11/19/2021 4:35:00 PM
It is already Thanksgiving time! I can't begin to fully express my thankfulness for all of you this year! We have had a wild, wonderful, crazy start to this year! All of our new families, new students, new staff, and new facility have all added so much to our community! Yesterday was the one year anniversary of our ground-breaking for the new construction. We have accomplished so much in that year and we couldn't have done it without you! We are grateful for each and every one of you! I wish you all a holiday of rest, family, and time to enjoy the bounty in your life.Christi Whiteside, MSADirector, Endeavor Charter School
Second Quarter Successes!Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 10/29/2021 3:00:00 PMECS Families,This quarter is off to a great start! Last Friday’s Fun Fest exceeded all my expectations! The family turnout was amazing! We estimate over 1200 people attended this event! The booths were great, and teachers running them had so much fun seeing our students and families outside of class! I saw so many happy faces! The weather was even perfect! Thank you so much for your support of our school! As a fundraiser, Fun Fest also exceeded my expectations. Thank you for investing in our school with every wristband, raffle ticket, snack food, and auction purchase. Coming together in such a fun way felt like another big step back to normal!Last Friday we also held our first Opening Ceremony of the year for middle school. Open and Closing Ceremonies are gatherings we hold to unite and excite the middle school students each quarter. We gather in the gym and talk about special events coming this quarter, have some games/challenges, provide a student challenge related to Liveschool or character, ask some trivia questions with prizes, and host a high school performance to get them thinking about ways to be involved in high school. Friday we enjoyed a performance by the Color Guard from Rolesville High School. It was so nice to see our entire middle school together, cheering along their teachers and our guests!This week we’ve had class pictures and picture retakes. I got to watch one of our sweet kindergarten classes getting lined up by height and placed for their pictures. They were so happy just to be in the gym together!Yesterday we finally met the requirements to use our beautiful new auditorium! Arts classes, primarily Drama, are already moving into this space. I can hardly wait to see our spring musical, Frozen, and our 8th grade graduation in this wonderful new space!Today, we are holding the first experience in a new middle school tradition – Fear Factor Day! Students in all middle school classes will conduct experiments and complete class activities focused on the creepier side of life. Thanks to Roberts Oxygen for helping us locate some of our special Fear Factor Day supplies!Today we also learned that Endeavor is a top five finalist in the 2021 WRAL Voters' Choice Awards presented by M&F Bank! The WRAL Voters’ Choice Awards (VCAs) are a celebration of the best local businesses, people and landmarks that make Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Fayetteville and surrounding areas such great places to live. Our Middle School is a finalist this year! Please vote for us (one vote per email account) and share the link! We’d love to add winner this accolade to our list of success for this year!Vote for ECS in the "Middle School Category" here: https://www.wral.com/2021-wral-voters-choice-awards/19868188/#/gallery?group=396386Thank you for all you do to help us succeed!Christi Whiteside, MSADirectorEndeavor Charter School
Updates on a few things...Posted by Christi Whiteside on 9/10/2021 4:55:00 PMECS families,It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since 9-11-2001. I looked today at our 8th grade students establishing a memorial of flags and was very proud of their efforts and of Ms. Doyle for taking the time to help her students honor the people our country lost.This week I have a lot of short updates to topics I’ve addressed previously.1 - Our Covid dashboard has been updated. We’ve added a second tab available at the bottom of the dashboard chart. This "Historic" tab will add the info from the previous dates the dashboard was updated. I recognize that our efforts to provide this information have not provided as much information as you’d like. We continue to look at what information we can provide without that information being identifying. If you take a look at that historical data, you’ll see that our percent of positive student cases has continued to decrease. We are proud of the changes we’ve made in taking all eating outside and believe that change is contributing to this improved data. We also are very appreciative for the decisions you make off campus to protect your child. Those cautious decisions also protect our classes and our staff! www.endeavorcharterschool.com/covid2 - Carpool continues to be smooth, but we can do better!
3 - Birthday treats - While Covid is still a concern, please limit birthday treats to individually wrapped, store bought items. We’ve seen lots of boxes of doughnuts coming in and lots of hands reaching for them.Many apologies for the traffic delays this afternoon! The road work is contracted to stop no later than 3:00. It did not stop at that time today. We have contacted all the appropriate parties to ensure this does not happen again. Thank you for your patience!!
- Please stagger your arrival times! When you arrive between 8:25 and 8:35am and between 3:30 and 3:40pm your wait time will be dramatically decreased! Your child will be safe in his/her classroom, and you will gain time back in your day!
- Parents of our younger students, if your child cannot open the car door independently, please PRACTICE! Practice every day when you get home. With continued practice, this is a skill that can be learned! Until he/she is able to do this, please arrive at OFF PEAK times as suggested above. At those times a delay is less impactful for the other families.
- We’ve noticed some families dropping off kids before the car has reached the sidewalk. Please don’t do this unless a staff member directs you to do so. If your car is curved away from the sidewalk, your child is not visible to the adults!
- Have you joined a carpool yet? All the cool kids are doing it! :-)
In a few weeks' time...Posted by Lauren Manfreda on 9/3/2021 4:00:00 PMECS families,Thanks to everyone who joined our ECS Virtual Covid Town Hall last night! We had a great turn out, and all of us on the panel appreciated your interest, your great questions, and your support!Some big takeaways include the following:We are focusing all Covid related decisions around the following guiding principles:
The most common symptoms in Covid positive ECS students are:
- Protect the health and safety of our ECS community; and
- Promote a hands-on, familial learning environment in keeping with the ECS mission.
Our ECS Covid dashboard is now available at www.endeavorcharterschool.com/covid and will be updated each Tuesday and Friday. Our small size limits our ability to provide more specific information that could be considered identifying.We have already taken many steps this year to respond to the new demands of Covid. A timeline below shows our new actions this school year.August 4 - ECS 1st day of 2021-22 school year with elementary school on-site and middle school at Vision campus. We opened the year with the following new supports in place for our students
- Sore Throat
- Stomach Ache
- Runny Nose
August 13 (8th day of school): ECS gets the TCO to use the new classrooms and moves out of VisionAugust 16 (9th day of school): ECS holds all classes on our campus with middle school eating in the Commons, ECS moves elementary school lunch to the MPR for distancingAugust 17 (10th day of school): 1st grade class placed in quarantineAugust 19 (12th day of school): 5th grade placed in quarantineAugust 20 (13th day of school): ECS acquires cafeteria tables for MS lunch and orders tables for ES lunch, ECS moves MS lunch outsideAugust 22 (15th day of school): snack moved outside for elementary school and ended for middle schoolAugust 29 (weekend): ECS volunteer parents assemble elementary school lunch tables, THANKS to Lend A PAW!Sept 2 (22nd day of school): ECS moves elementary school lunch outside pending future weather and installation of shade structureWe commit to continuing to review our data and that of our community as we make future decisions regarding Covid and its impacts on our community. I wish you all a safe, healthy, happy Labor Day weekend!
- Our K-3 Literacy Specialist was increased to a full-time position.
- We hired an Early Learners Curriculum Coordinator to support K-2 teachers and students.
- We hired a third full-time Special Education teacher.
- We are offering remediation electives in reading and math for middle school students.
- Middle school teachers offer office hours for one subject each morning for students needing extra support.
- We added a full-time Guidance Counselor.
- We hired an MTSS Coordinator to monitor the data regarding students needing extra support.
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