Greetings, First Baptist Community!
Happy New Year! I pray that each of you has had a blessed Christmas season. We have had a very successful first half of the school year and are so grateful to our FBS Community for coming together to promote the safety of our First Baptist Community, returning to school in person, and supporting our commitment to academic excellence with a Christian perspective. I am writing to share our response to the surge of Covid cases in our county. The MUSC tracking that we follow has raised its rating of the prominence of Covid to the most serious category– "Severe.” The incidence of cases has risen fourfold in a brief time and has reached record proportions in our state. The Omicron variant appears to be significantly more transmissible than Covid-19 yet less severe.
Like schools throughout the country, we have to take measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. Having lived with the pandemic for almost two years, we have a sharpened perspective on the impact and success of the customary options, in terms of taking measures that protect the physical and emotional health of children. We aim to preserve in-person education. This outcome requires a team effort and putting aside preferences for a greater good. We want to forestall returning to virtual learning. However, we will opt for that last resort if the virus spreads aggressively among FBS community students and teachers. We are grateful to all members of our community who have been united in their efforts to preserve in-person learning. I am especially thankful for the tireless work of our nurses, Laura Lempesis, Caroline Clum, and Chelle Carter.
At the beginning of the school year, we released our COVID-19 Return to School Plan (linked here). As part of the plan, we implemented an interim mask policy that required all students, faculty, and staff to be masked while indoors unless students submitted a medical waiver. Our policy states that when the Charleston Area COVID-19 Impact is “Moderate” or “Minimal” for 7 consecutive days, we will not require masks for individual students on campus, with the exception of indoor group gatherings, such as chapel and instances of mixed grade levels.
The most recent MUSC local Charleston Area COVID-19 Impact has shifted from “Minimal” to “Severe” as of December 31st. In light of this change, FBS will return to the Interim Mask Policy until the metrics return to “Moderate” or “Minimal” to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff and to preserve our desire to protect in-person learning. It is our hope that this period of time is short-lived, and we can return to our standard mask policy as soon as possible. We will continue to recognize medical waivers, which absolve students from wearing masks in classrooms. Please note that the waiver only applies to classroom settings and is not valid for chapel, mixed grade gatherings, or extracurricular activities.
Because the incidence of Covid in Charleston is rising so quickly, we request that regardless of waiver status, everyone mask up for the next two weeks or until the Covid rating returns to “Moderate” or “Minimal.” Naturally, we hope and pray that the spread dramatically declines soon. We will also continue to implement the safety guidelines provided by the South Carolina DHEC for quarantine and isolation protocols. Please note that DHEC protocols have changed and are linked here.
Please see the general expectations below:
Contacting your campus nurse is the first line of defense when determining next steps for your child.
Downtown Contact: Nurse Lempesis (email@example.com)
James Island Contact: Nurse Clum (firstname.lastname@example.org)
All faculty and staff must wear masks.
All visitors must be masked when on campus.
All spectators to extracurricular events must be masked.
The day-to-day Covid protocols and operations are delegated to the Principals and Nurses, so please communicate regularly with your respective Nurse and Principal.
First Baptist Athletics will adhere to the following policies effective immediately:
Students and Coaches/Staff
All students, coaches and staff will be required to wear a face covering indoors at all times - this includes all indoor areas such as the gymnasiums, locker rooms. lobby, etc. Students may remove face coverings during live play, conditioning, weight-lifting or other similar strenuous activities. Social distancing is recommended for all teams, when applicable.
All visitors and spectators will be required to wear a face covering at all times for after school activities, events, games. etc. - you may temporarily remove your face covering while actively eating/drinking.
Our best chance to return to the near-normal conditions prior to Christmas relies on wholehearted teamwork. Let’s join hands and hearts as a community to get back to the normal pulse of our school.