ECA Families,

I hope this letter finds you and your family feeling renewed after a summer of travel, reconnecting with family, restarting of Sunday schools, and generally returning to a more normal way of life. As I step into my new role at ECA, I am witness to a flurry of activity as the teachers and staff prepare for a new year. There is excitement in the air, and we look forward to the bright faces of our students filling our classrooms, halls, playgrounds, and chapels.

In the midst of an extremely challenging 18 months, ECA was blessed to have in-person instruction throughout the school year. Our faculty and staff were grateful at the end of a successful school year, and they are all the more optimistic for this next one. There are still unknowns about the future of the Covid-19 virus, its variants, and the government’s responses. However, we can celebrate a fundamental difference from this time last year. The vaccines have made this virus far less threatening and deadly, and the governmental restrictions far more measured and muted.

ECA’s response to the ongoing pandemic will once again be guided by our convictions. Education is a fundamentally human endeavor, and a classical Christian school is all the more dependent on relationship and community. Our teachers are not merely teaching content but modeling how to live the Christian life with knowledge and wisdom. Students are not only gaining new skills, but learning to bear with one another in love (Eph. 4:2). Our school, perhaps more than any other in our community, values life-on-life instruction and the discipleship of students in the context of love. Our personal interaction is necessary for our mission to succeed.

Through the many challenges of last year, we did learn some good lessons and will continue best practices: protocols for cleaning, frequent handwashing, good ventilation and air filtration where available, outdoor activities, keeping students with symptoms at home, support for those at home, good communications, etc. Furthermore, we must continue to be respectful of our civil authorities and caring of others in our community.

So, what will be different this year? To the extent we are able, ECA will not require masks, and there will be no social distancing. Also, we will avoid quarantines as much as we are able, relying instead on good communication and personal responsibility. Of note, the state health department states that schools with high rates of Covid-19 vaccinations are exempt from quarantining for routine exposures. Furthermore, we will not impose restrictions on our gathering as a community and will, in fact, encourage the many ways our community does come together: regular meetings, special events and performances, volunteers in the classroom, lingering at the playground after school, prayer groups (e.g. Moms in Prayer!), etc.

While many of us will find relief in this posture, we must still be respectful of those who take a personal posture that is more restrictive. Love compels us to be gracious towards those who still wear masks or take other measures according to their conscience. To put it in very simple terms: people are more important than what we think about masks.

After such a year as 2020, we have all learned not to presume upon tomorrow (Prov 27:1), and we recognize that constraints may be placed on us at any time. That said, this is the posture that the other administrators and I have discussed, and we will do our best to uphold it this year. We once again ask for your partnership in communicating well and keeping sick children at home. And by God’s grace, we will have a fantastic year together!

In Christ,

Stephen Sprague
Head of School

August 13th, 2021