March 16, 2020
UPDATE March 16, 2020 11:00am
Dear Parents and Students of Wheaton Academy,
It is so comforting that in difficult times like the ones we are in, we are able to rest in the hope and assurance that we have in Jesus Christ. The peace and hope that is ours as children of God is so real in these days. We want to encourage our community to stay grounded in the truth during these upcoming weeks. We need to continue to support one another and stay connected, even though that looks different right now. Wheaton Academy is here to support you, as students and families during this uncertain time.
As we begin a new paradigm for our learning over the next two weeks, we wanted to provide you with some information to help you navigate what off-campus learning, which is now called “E-learning” will look like. We are grateful that Wheaton Academy has been doing off-campus learning/E-learning for many years, and our faculty are already working on creative and engaging ways to ensure that learning continues during this time:
- Students should use their OnCampus accounts to get information and expectations for their classes each day. The requirement by the state for all E-learning is that students will engage in about five hours of instruction and activities each day. At Wheaton Academy, we have instructed teachers to provide between 45-60 minutes of learning for each class. This will look different in different classes, but your teachers have been preparing and planning to make these times meaningful for you.
- Our schedule will remain the same, so students should plan on having each class 4 out of 5 days, and Wednesday and Thursday, the learning time will be longer than Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.
- Lessons and learning experiences will be released one day at a time each day, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Today, Monday, March 16, will be a transition day, and while there will be a lesson, teachers are going to work with students to help them get used to a new way of learning.
- Students will be able to engage with the content at their own pace and at the time of their choice. Teachers will be available to provide support and answer questions throughout the day. They will communicate with students on a class by class basis of what that will look like. Typically, teachers will be most available during the day from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- There will still be assignments – including tests and quizzes. Teachers will work with students, set expectations and due dates as well as provide support during this time.
- It will be critical for students to communicate with their teachers – they can use the messaging feature in OnCampus as well as other means that teachers will set up for classes, as they use many resources to help students learn in this different format.
- Remember, one of our goals is to prepare students with the College and Life readiness traits they will need, and social intelligence and self-advocacy are an important part of that. Please encourage your student to be proactive, ask questions, tell their teachers when they need help – and let them do the communicating. This time will be a great opportunity to develop that skill.
- Wheaton Academy will continue to release chapels. Our goal is to provide a virtual chapel experience during the week. You and your student can watch this together. This week, our first chapel will be released on Tuesday, March 17.
- Students with a study lab or other tutoring experience can continue that in an E-learning way. Their teachers will be in contact with them, as well.
- One way for us to live out God’s call of loving our neighbor is to honor the idea that this time is for social distancing. You have no doubt seen many articles on what this means, and we want to do our part in this community effort. We have communicated with teachers and staff that we will not be meeting with students in person. Any communication with a teacher should take place virtually.
- Driver’s Ed through Excel driving school will not meet on campus. Please contact Excel directly for information on how they will proceed moving ahead.
- Because this situation is rapidly changing, we will be in communication with the College Board and the ACT to find out information about what will happen with upcoming testing this spring.
If you have individual questions about a specific class, please contact your student’s teacher. We will also be happy to provide answers to questions and support as well. Each of our departments will be considering how to continue to help families during this time, so keep watch for updates and communication on what that will look like. We are continually monitoring the developments of what is happening and will consider upcoming April events as we get more information.
We know that this is an uncertain time, and in those times, we all want answers. We all desire to know what is coming next. And yet, right now, we don’t have those answers. But we do have a God who does know, and He is faithful in all things and at all times. We want to leave you with Psalm 91:
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.
We are so thankful for the Wheaton Academy community. The students, teachers, and families have risen up and responded so well to these unprecedented times, and that is a blessing.
Principal, Wheaton Academy
UPDATE March 13, 2020 2:15pm
Dear Parents of the Wheaton Academy Community,
In light of the rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19 and recommendations from public health officials, Wheaton Academy is closing the building to students beginning today, March 13, 2020 at 3 pm until Sunday, April 5. All after school practices and activities today will be cancelled. As of today, we don’t have any cases of COVID-19 in the Wheaton Academy community. However, we believe this action is prudent and responsible.
We will be moving to an E-learning situation for the weeks of March 16-20 and March 23-27. Wheaton Academy has had our E-learning plan submitted to and approved by the Regional Office of Education. We will use our learning management system to provide for the continuity of instruction. Students will be receiving specific instructions on Monday, March 16. During this time, we will not have any on-campus activities, including co-curricular, athletics, or any other events.
We will begin the implementation of E-learning on Monday, March 16. We are thankful that we have been doing E-learning in a variety of forms for years, and our students are used to this process. Our teachers are also well prepared to ensure that learning can continue during this time.
We will continue to work with local health officials to monitor any changes or additional time that we may remain closed. At this time, we hold on to the fact that we serve a God who is not surprised or overwhelmed by these circumstances; instead, He is Sovereign and in control. We understand this situation is challenging, and we appreciate your understanding and support during this time.
Head of School
UPDATE March 12, 2020
As we consider the COVID-19 global pandemic, we are committed to staying informed and keeping our community safe. We are committed to acting in an abundance of caution, and we will make decisions in the best interest of all in our community. Today, we participated in a call with the DuPage County Department of Health, the DuPage County Regional Office of Education and other school districts in the county. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in DuPage county or with any Wheaton Academy student. However, with the number of cases across the state and region increasing, and in light of the communication we have had with the DuPage Country Health Department, we are taking the following measures to reduce the spread of illness throughout our community:
- The senior trip scheduled for next week will be postponed if we can find a later date. We are working with Joshua Expeditions to try to reschedule the this trip if possible later this spring.
- The spring break trip for international students is cancelled.
- All field trips are cancelled.
- Athletic practices and competitions may continue as planned
- We will continue to have chapel and community time, but these events may take an alternative form, including watching from classroom locations.
- We are cancelling all rentals and activities from outside groups.
- Willow Creek church will continue to rent our Fine Arts Center space only and will do a cleaning after using the space. After tomorrow’s chapel, Wheaton Academy will not use the auditorium until after Spring Break. Classes will continue in the basement of the Fine Arts Center.
We are also continuing to prepare for the possibility for E-learning and have had our E-learning plan certified by the Regional Office of Education. Additionally, if your student or family has concerns about attending school due to being part of a vulnerable population, we will work with you to provide continuing education.
In addition, we are reminding all students, staff and faculty, that if traveling to any area listed on the CDC Travel Advisories with a Level 2 or above Travel Notice that those individuals are asked to stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days following their return.
If we do have a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Wheaton Academy, we will close school for a minimum of 24 hours. At that point, the DCHD would help to assist the situation, evaluate our cleaning and disinfection practices, and reduce the risk and vulnerability to students. We would then work on a plan to move forward. As for now, school will remain open and we will continue our cleaning and disinfection practices as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We will revisit these protocols as necessary. As we receive new information, we will send it to you as soon as we can.
While these are unprecedented times, we know God is sovereign. We trust His goodness in this uncertain time. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this situation together.