The Christian School at Castle Hills has continued to monitor, assess, and plan with local health organizations, our accrediting body (ACSI), the CDC, and the US Department of Education to develop action plans and campus priorities in responding to the COVID-19 developments. The school has researched best practices and protocols for elevating and maintaining the safety of our campus for our students, staff and families. Our primary goal is to protect the children and your families, and we will continue to pray for all the families affected during this time.

This page was created so that you will have the most updated information regarding COVID-19 and how our school is maintaining the safety of our families. Please see below for school information, helpful resources, and our previous letters sent from our Administration to our Eagle families.

SCHOOL INFORMATION

In light of the governor’s extension of the state social distancing policy, we will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. We will continue our distance learning program and will continue to stay in contact with our Eagle families in how we can best serve you.

What a challenging time this has been in walking this out together.  It has been a challenging time walking this out together, but chin up because we’ve got this – better yet, God’s got this!

Stay tuned here for the most recent updates from our school in response to the COVID-19 developments.

If you have not picked up your Distance Learning Materials packet, books, and Chromebooks please call the school office at 210.878.1000 to schedule a time you can come by and pick those up.

 

FOR ASSISTANCE

a. Learning/Help or Assistance for your student, contact your teacher by email.

b. Technical problems with your laptop or device – email chstech@castlehills.school.

c.  All other help can be accessed by contacting the principal or staff in your student’s building via email or by calling 210-878-1000.

All of your daily lessons will come to you through BRIGHT WHEEL beginning Monday, March 23 through April 3. Please call the Preschool Office at 210.878.1074 to schedule a time to come pick up your Online Distance Learning “Support Material Packets” if you haven’t done so already.

Our PreSchool is OPEN for families of first responders and those who work in essential services and businesses. Extensive health and safety protocols will be implemented that will require strict caring adherence from both teachers and parents in providing service to these important families serving on the front lines taking care of our city. I want to commend our Early Childhood Director, Abby Esparza, and the 15 teachers and aides who stepped forward to say that they would like to reopen for the benefit of these precious families. Our families are served by some amazing and inspirational people in our preschool ministry.

For more information, contact our Preschool Director, Abby Esparza:

aesparza@castlehills.school  |  210.878.1070

(Athletics, Programs, Trips, Activities, etc.) are postponed until further notice pending developments and recommendations from local health officials.

The following national ACT and SAT dates have been postponed:

AP testing is still set but may utilize the late testing dates.  If we have to do late testing, there will not be any additional charge.  If testing is later than the normal late testing dates, we will be notified by the College Board and will let parents know.

If you do not have internet in your home, please contact an internet provider (Comcast, Spectrum, AT&T) since many are providing FREE internet during school closings.

We have a number of assistant teachers and aides who may be looking for opportunities to work temporarily taking care of kids if someone is looking to hire a sitter. If this would be of help or interest to you, simply reply to the email below and filling out the following information:

PARENT NAME:
PHONE NUMBER:
ADDRESS & ZIP CODE:

AGES OF CHILDREN:
DAYS OF WEEK AND HOURS:

We will compile a list and distribute it to interested staff members, who can reach out to connect with families looking for help.

Since COVID-19 is affecting so many families in different ways, most local school districts are offering free breakfast and/or lunch for any child under the age of 18. Most of the districts do not require that your student attends a school in the area, nor do they require that you live in the district to get a free meal, although check each district for their requirements and any other additional information. If the district is not listed for your area below, check the district’s website for information. I also suggest checking social media posts from these districts as they may post updates and changes.

Links for local area school districts:

If you or someone you know has lost their job or has been furloughed, then here’s a list of businesses that are currently hiring:

  • ALDI
  • AMAZON
  • COSTCO
  • CVS HEALTH
  • DOLLAR GENERAL
  • DOLLAR TREE
  • DOMINO’S
  • INSTACART
  • JET’S PIZZA
  • KROGER
  • MICROSOFT
  • PEPSI CO.
  • POSTMATES
  • PUBLIX
  • SHIPT
  • SLACK
  • TARGET
  • TRADER JOE’S
  • UPS
  • UBER EATS
  • WALMART
  • WHOLE FOODS
  • ZOOM

PREVIOUS LETTERS FROM OUR SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION

SUPERINTENDENT’S CAMPUS UPDATE
MONDAY | APRIL 6, 2020

 

Check out the “Superintendent’s Campus Update” video above for all the most important info and news you need to know as a family.


Our PreSchool Reopened Today to families of First Responders and those in Essential Services and Business. Welcome back, Little People! Loving, laughing and learning are now officially back on campus.

ALL SCHOOL EASTER CHAPEL coming your way on “Good Friday!”

– This will be a special message for all families on Easter.

BONUS: “Easter Weekend Tips”

  • Decorate Easter Eggs Together (Google: “Resurrection Eggs” for ideas)
  • Watch a Classic Easter Movie Together – Mr. Pinkston’s personal favorites:
    Secondary Families: “The Passion of the Christ”
    Elementary and Preschool Families: “Veggie Tales: An Easter Carol”
  • Check out these 2 great links on how to share Communion together with your kids at home on Easter

TEACHING KIDS ABOUT COMMUNION >

HOW TO TAKE COMMUNION WITH YOUR KIDS >


WE HAVE A NEW COVID-19 HOTLINE EMAIL

chcares@castlehills.school

Respond to this email address if your family or a family you know that needs help right now during these hard times.

Simply Email the following:

  • We can help a family.
  • Our family needs help.

Then describe “what you might need” or “how your family might help another family”.


EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FUND UPDATE

Our Emergency Assistance Fund is helping the school overcome the extreme challenge in the COVID-19 crisis.  These funds (1) serve as a bridge to help us get through this immediate financial challenge, and (2) assists us in taking care of our staff and school family.

Gifts to the Emergency Assistance Fund are tax-deductible and are making a great difference!


As we often say on campus, and even more today –
“The Best is Yet to Come in Christ!”

God bless your family this week!

COVID-19 CASTLE HILLS UPDATE
FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

March 30, 2020


K-12 CAMPUS CLOSURE EXTENSION
In light of the president’s extension today of the federal social distancing policy through April 30, we will extend the K-12 campus closure of classes through that date. Should the government projections change in the days ahead, favorably or otherwise, we will continue to evaluate our decisions on the reopening of classes on campus in light of the best interest of your children and family. What a challenging time this has been in walking this out together.  It has been a challenging time walking this out together, but chin up because we’ve got this – better yet, God’s got this!

CASTLE HILLS PRESCHOOL PROGRAM
Our PreSchool classes will reopen on Monday, April 6 for families of first responders and those who work in essential services and businesses.
 Extensive health and safety protocols will be implemented that will require strict caring adherence from both teachers and parents in providing service to these important families serving on the front lines taking care of our city. I want to commend our Early Childhood Director, Abby Esparza, and the 15 teachers and aides who stepped forward to say that they would like to reopen for the benefit of these precious families. Our families are served by some amazing and inspirational people in our preschool ministry.

ONLINE DISTANCE LEARNING EDUCATION 

As we continue online distance learning program, we have been getting great reports on engagement and participation from so many motivated students from preschool up through the senior class. Although we are learning a lot in the first week and will be making continued improvements as the days go by, we are getting great reviews from parents in a constant stream of affirmations and thoughtful comments in emails and social media. We invite ideas or suggestions related to improving the online delivery of lessons and quality education from our teachers straight to your home. Our principals are digging into the online lessons and working with this wonderful team of teachers every day to sharpen our instruction and our connection with your kids.

Though this time of physical separation is emotionally painful and inconvenient, we are seizing the opportunity to solidly prepare each student for the year ahead. We will continue to focus on those things that are most essential to each student’s future success. We invite you to reach out to your teacher or any of us on the administrative team for any way that we can assist or make your child’s learning experience better.

CAMPUS CHAPELS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY 

Last week, we began our weekly online chapel. We will continue delivering the high praise of God (student style) and the heartfelt delivery of the word of God each week. We are trying to package these messages in a way that they speak to where we are all living in this season. We have one intended goal, simply pressing our school family towards Jesus in the challenge of daily life. We ask that you sit down together as a family for WORSHIP WEDNESDAYS. Our hope is to lift you up and give you some things to talk about related to going through hard times together and facing giants in life. We are living in a laboratory where we are being tested in finding God real in our personal journeys.

BONUS: Right now, we’re giving out some incredible Chick-fil-A GIFT CARDS by mail, if you are the winner of the BEST CHAPEL NOTES AWARD!

You may or may not know that I have 35-40 students who take some “off the charts”, unbelievable chapel notes each week and give copies for me. Usually our student’s notes are better than my preaching. From time to time they are quite artistic, as well.

NOTE: Younger kids are welcome to send colored Chapel pictures. Sometimes those are simply the best!

Take a pic of your notes on Chapel Day and email them to superintendent@castlehills.school.  Our judges will choose the winners!

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FUND UPDATE

Our Emergency Assistance Fund is helping the school overcome the extreme challenge in the COVID-19 crisis.  These funds (1) serve as a bridge to help us get through this immediate financial challenge, and (2) assists us in taking care of our staff and school family.

Gifts to the Emergency Assistance Fund are tax-deductible and are making a great difference!


HOW IS YOUR FAMILY DOING?

Seriously, are you folks doing all right? In the school family, we are here for each other. It would mean the world to us if we could help you with one thing or another in the days ahead. We are all reaching out to kids here and there, but if your son or daughter could use an encouraging call or if I can be an encouragement to you as a parent, TEXT ME at 210.260.3226 (cell). I’ll make arrangements to get with you in a short time.

I’ve never been prouder to be the Superintendent of the greatest school in South Texas, or should I say the Galaxy! We are all here to serve you and your amazing kids.

Looking forward to a terrific week in tough times! God bless us all!

March 17, 2020

Dear Castle Hills School Families,

While you are away for this extra week following spring break, the teachers and administrators have camped out here on campus every day. They are working hard preparing for whatever changes the COVID-19 developments bring our way.

Next Monday, we had hoped to be back in school with our wonderful students. However, after President Trump’s appeal yesterday to close schools and limit group size to no more than 10 people for 15 days, we will be closing the school campus through Friday, April 3. That is actually about three days past President Trump’s request as an extra precaution.

Therefore, we are going to be ready, and we need you to be ready to do school through a new Online Distance Learning Program in which we will be “bringing the classroom to you” – from your teachers right to your computer at home.

This will require each family to accomplish a small number of tasks by the end of the day Friday to make sure you are “ready to go” for this ONLINE SCHOOL beginning on Monday.

K-12 PARENT ACTION STEPS AND “NEED TO KNOW” INFORMATION

  1. Pick up your Distance Learning Materials packet, books, and Chromebooks this Friday 7am – 9am, 11am – 1pm or 4pm – 6pm in order to begin Distance Learning on Monday. Go to the school office in your student’s building for directions. If possible, only one parent come in the building for pick-up.
  2. If you do not have internet in your home, please contact an internet provider (Comcast, Spectrum, AT&T) since many are providing FREE internet during school closings.
  3. We have a new location on our website for COVID-19 INFORMATION
    Go to www.castlehills.school/health to stay updated on the coronavirus daily for all you need to know. All campus information, helpful documents related to our school closing, the distance learning program, and other helpful links will be on our website. Check back frequently.
  4. Mini-Lesson Test Drive – Before we fully engage Distance Learning, teachers will send a mini-lesson as a practice to ensure students are able to navigate through the lessons.
  5. Where to get HELP during Distance Learning:
    Learning/Help or Assistance for your student, contact your teacher by email. Technical problems with your laptop or device – email chstech@castlehills.school. All other help can be accessed by contacting the principal or staff in your student’s building via email or by calling 210-878-1000.
  6. Parent-Teacher Conferences will continue this Friday as previously scheduled. These conferences will be conducted by telephone instead of in person.
  7. Student Activities (athletics, programs, trips, school activities, etc.) are postponed through April 17 pending developments and recommendations from local health officials.

PRESCHOOL PARENT INFORMATION

All of your daily lessons will come to you through BRIGHT WHEEL beginning next Monday, March 23 through April 3.  Your Online Distance Learning “Support Material Packets” can be picked up in the PreSchool Office (in the 18 month-2 year-old Early Education building) this Friday 7am – 9am, 11am – 1pm or 4pm – 6pm.  If you have additional questions, call the office at 210-878-1074.

CLOSING WORDS FROM MR. PINKSTON

As you can see – we can adapt to a crisis together as a school family, take care of all our wonderful students, and be a light in our community while going through hard times together.

I remember fondly how my school pulled together during and right after the 9-11 crisis.  Our teachers, parents, and students rose to the occasion; God worked in our lives.  We were better, stronger, and closer as a school family for walking together through that valley.

I believe that will be true for us here at Castle Hills. Be positive, calm, and confident about all this with your kids.  Make time to do things together, pray together, make everybody’s favorite meals, do online church together on Sunday!  Have some fun together – make some memories!

Thank you for being the best school family in the galaxy – take the action steps above, and we will be off to a great start in our online learning adventure on MONDAY!

Remember, we love you, and God loves you today – I know He will protect, provide, and take care of your family.

Contact me for any help I can be to your family as we walk this path together. Even in times like this, the best is yet to come!

March 14, 2020

Attention all Eagle parents,

We have come to the decision to add the Preschool (18mos-4yrs.) to our closure plan next week. As stated in our previous letter, we are continuously conferring with local health officials & the CDC on the guidelines we should be following regarding the COVID-19 virus. We apologize in advance for the inconvenience this will put on many families of preschoolers. Regarding our previous decision on keeping the Preschool open, we thought it was best to continue offering preschool classes this week since the preschool was not on spring break. However, we need to account for the larger number of those families who have traveled to high-risk regions.

Therefore, we will follow the same school closure plan for the preschool program that we initiated for the older students. THE PRESCHOOL WILL BE CLOSED FROM MARCH 16-20. All of the rationale and reasons for this decision are included in the previous letter that we sent out on March 13. Please read that previous letter below.

Our primary goal is to protect the children and your families, and we will continue to pray for all the families affected during this time.

March 13, 2020

To Our Castle Hills Family,

We at the Christian School at Castle Hills are ever committed to our mission in providing a safe, academically-excellent, and Christ-centered education for your students.

The Christian School at Castle has continued to monitor, assess, and plan with local health organizations, our accrediting body (ACSI), the CDC, and the US Department of Education to develop action plans and campus priorities in responding to the COVID-19 developments. We have been preparing for this for weeks and “we must stay the course.”

We have decided to extend spring break and close school (K-12 only) March 16-20. Our plan at this time is to keep our Preschool program open this coming week; however, if a Preschool family traveled over spring break to a high-risk area, we are asking you to self-quarantine by staying at home through the entire next week.

We are making this decision because of the following:

1) the significant number of families and students who have traveled over spring break, especially in light of this morning’s announced confirmed travel case of COVID-19 in San Antonio.

2) the closure this week will enable teachers and staff to continue developing our plans and training for distance learning in the event of an extended school closure.

At this point, there are no members of our staff or school families who have reported any exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, we are asking families to follow the Metropolitan Health and CDC guidelines if you have traveled recently, in the links below.

In light of the most recent developments of the COVID-19 situation, CHS will take the following actions to ensure the health and safety of our school community.

  1. We will extend spring break and close school (K-12 only) March 16-20 so that faculty and staff can continue developing our plans in preparing for distance learning.

  2. We will initiate our distance learning plan beginning March 23 in the event of an extended school closure.

  3. All school events, rehearsals, competitions, school trips, etc., will be suspended for the week of March 16-20. Information about student activities when students return to school will be forthcoming.

  4. Parent-Teacher Conferences scheduled for March 20 will be conducted by telephone at the regularly scheduled appointment times. Report cards will be emailed beforehand. More information will be forthcoming.

  5. Classes and other scheduled events will resume Monday, March 23, unless an extended closure is deemed necessary as we follow developments.

  6. We will continue our current plan for campus-wide elevated sanitizing, disinfecting, and extensive hygiene measures for teachers and students. While your students are away, the entire campus is being treated by an outside contractor with a professional grade germicide that protects surfaces and kills viruses for 90 days. (The MSDS sheets on this germicide indicate that the product is completely safe for children and adults.)

  7. We will prioritize taking care of our students as they return to school to warmly address their emotional and spiritual needs during this time of uncertainty. We encourage teachers and parents to create a positive, securing, calm response to COVID-19. See the links  below on guidance for family talks.

  8. We are asking that anyone in the school family that has traveled out of state over the break to a high risk area to self-quarantine and stay home for 14 days from the time of your return home.

  9. We encourage you to communicate with your primary care physician and CHS school nurse Timi Rathmell (trathmell@castlehills.school, 210-878-1065) with any family health updates. In particular, if anyone in your family tests positive for COVID-19 during this closure, please contact her immediately.

Let me assure you, Castle Hills is making this decision in the best interest of your children, family, staff, and community and with much counsel, prayer, and deliberation.

Finally, and most importantly, we should all be praying for a hedge of protection around all of the children in all of the schools around our city. We should not be fearful or anxious. We should be cautious and safety oriented. We believe this plan maximizes the potential safety for your children. Children should sense a calm confidence in their parents and teachers as we work together to protect our campus from infectious illness. God is good in every situation, and in every situation God will bring about good in our lives. Ultimately, we are dependent upon the Lord for His protection over our kids every day of their lives. Let’s live and pray in this manner.

Please contact me with any questions or help at 210-878-1003 or email chcares@castlehills.school. Most questions that will arise in the minds of parents will be addressed in the forthcoming emails you will receive from our offices next week. Stay tuned here for the most recent updates from our school in response to the COVID-19 developments.

March 2, 2020

Parents and School Family,

With the serious concerns rising around the world and here in the United States related to the potential for the coronavirus outbreak, the school has researched best practices and protocols for elevating and maintaining the safety of our campus for our students, staff and families. It is important for the school to stay on top of the best information and recommendations from health professionals both nationally and locally.  All that we are hearing indicates that the risk to our school community is low.  I want to assure you, that nonetheless, we will remain vigilant.

We have contacted the CDC, the City of San Antonio Health Department, and other area school districts about protecting students across our campus from the coronavirus, as well as all the more common respiratory infectious diseases. Note that the flu, which is a much more likely cause of serious illness in young children and older adults, is also still a very significant concern. The symptoms we are told to look for are the combination of fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

It is important for parents to keep kids home with a cough, fever, and shortness of breath until at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.  Our teachers will also send kids to the nurse immediately upon recognition of these symptoms.

The protocols and procedures for protecting our children on campus from the coronavirus are exactly the same as those standard precautions for protecting students from the flu.  We are emphasizing the simple and effective habits of frequent handwashing, especially before eating and after using the restroom, as well as covering every cough or sneeze with a tissue or in your inner elbow.

We have engaged widespread campus sanitizing and disinfecting procedures across campus, including in classrooms, restrooms, cafeteria, hallways, stairwell railings, door handles, etc.  All of us, both teachers and school families, need to be attentive to this protocol at school and home.

Finally, we do not anticipate a rise in the likelihood of school closures in our area.  Yet, if that were to happen, we are fully prepared with a plan to rapidly adjust to that situation. Any family traveling or in contact with those traveling to a country, identified by the CDC affected by the coronavirus, should immediately contact the school (in advance).  We will be following the protocols set by the CDC and San Antonio Health Department.   We do have a plan in place similar to what we follow if there is a major flu outbreak.  In the unlikely event that it becomes necessary, we will take the standard appropriate course of action.

Several parents have asked how they can help. On WEDNESDAY of this week, any interested families can donate disinfectant wipes, boxes of tissues, and hand sanitizer. Beyond the excellent work that our janitorial staff is doing with disinfecting throughout the buildings, these items will add an extra layer of protection in the classrooms and around the campus. Note: Attached below are three healthcare website links that might be helpful to you.

God is good in every situation, and in every situation God will bring about good in our lives. Ultimately, we are dependent upon the Lord for His protection over our kids every day of their lives.
LET'S LIVE AND PRAY IN THIS MANNER.

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