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School News

Update Center

August 26, 2020



New guidance from the Indiana Department of Health was just released yesterday that will change current guidance when a student or faculty/staff member must be excluded from school and when they can return.  Attached are two important documents that will provide specific updated information.

New Symptom Screening Guidelines – the CDC and ISDH have updated the symptoms you are checking, to rule out some of the more common/mild symptoms that are often attributed to many other things outside of COVID-19.  No longer is a runny nose with clear discharge or mild headache considered a COVID-19 symptom. Parents and schools are now asked to focus on the following symptoms:

  • Temperature of 100.4 degree F or higher
  • Sore throat
  • New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline)
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
  • New onset of severe headache, especially with fever
  • Loss of taste or smell

Updated guidance on when a person who has tested NEGATIVE can return to school: anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 who had a negative test and is NOT a close contact of someone with confirmed COVID-19 may return to school under the following guidelines:

  • Must be 24 hours fever free without the use of medications
  • Other symptoms resolved
  • No doctor’s note required
  • REMINDER THOUGH – if this person is a close contact to a confirmed case they MUST complete the 14-day quarantine even if they test negative

You can always access the most up to date documents and guidance on our website at

Those who previously were excluded with symptoms and now may return to school due to these changes will be contacted directly by our school nurse, Mrs. Lahey. 

Thank you for your continued support for our comeback plan.  We love having your children in school and we are working hard with you to make this as safe an environment as possible.  Please discard the previous guidelines you may have and use the new guidelines HERE and Return to School Guidance (8-25-20) as you prepare for each school day.

In Christ,

Jacob Pennekamp

August 5, 2020

ESM Comeback Plan FAQ | Face Masks and Social Distancing

Thank you families for coming to ESM Registration Days!  We look forward to the year ahead and partnering with you as we get ready to start school on Wed, Aug. 12th.  You've had great questions about the Comeback Plan.  Check out this quick video where Mr. Pennekamp visits a classroom and gives us a peek at what masks and social distance look like for our ESM school family. 


July 22, 2020

ESM Comeback Plan Announcement

Dear parents, students, and friends of Emmanuel – St. Michael, 

These truly are remarkable times.  As health officials and all school districts are providing information on plans and requirements, I appreciate your patience and your partnership.  We are in this together, and that is more than just a time appropriate slogan.  As fellow parents, members of the body of Christ, and a school community… together is not only the best option, it’s how we are designed to live out our mission. 

Our school leadership, teachers, administrators, and board members have discussed this plan in various forms even as we were ending the previous school year.  The guidance and response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and the plans for our start to the school year have been developed in good faith, based on what we know at this time.  On a daily basis, we will monitor the situation in partnership with our local health department, the Indiana State Department of Health, and guidance from the CDC and the State of Indiana.  Parts of this plan may change with new information.  What will not change is the desire and commitment of ESM to safely partner with parents to educate students for life and nurture faith for eternity.

Our plan is to open with in-person instruction for students beginning August 12th for K-8 and August 17th for preschool as was originally scheduled. 

We did not arrive at this decision lightly.  After discussing many options, it was determined that ESM could create a plan that delivers in-person instruction within the guidance currently provided by health officials.  And, it was also determined that we do not have the resources to provide a fully online, remote learning option to parents simultaneously to in-person instruction.  If the need arrives for ESM to transition to online remote learning for a small or large group of students, we will be ready.  However, we are not able to offer this as an alternate and individual choice for parents.

So, the full comeback plan outlines many details which I encourage you to read fully. At the same time, I understand that it will lead to many additional questions.  Over the next few weeks leading up to the start of school we will continue to update a FAQ document and provide additional communications with guidance on specific areas of the plan. 

In regard to face masks, at this time we will require that everyone entering the school wear a reusable face mask.  Specific guidance will be coming, but the simple cloth, over the ear masks are sufficient.  We only ask that they fit well, are easy for students to put on, and do not have any design or messaging that conflicts with our Christian message or values. 

Social distancing, frequently cleaning and disinfecting, changes to procedures, the purchase of additional student technology, and new health protocols and practices are all important to the success of our plan.  You can read about those fully in the attached document.

In the true spirit of partnership, it is critical that parents be attentive to the daily health of their children.  Each family will be required to self-screen for both symptoms and history of exposure PRIOR to arrival at school each day.  No one should enter the building and potentially expose other students and staff while symptomatic or with a known exposure history. 

As a parent myself, I understand the worry and concern you may have.  This plan may not meet your family’s specific needs.  If you have questions or concerns, please voice them to me, our assistant principal, Keri Latin, or our Director of Early Childhood, Jennifer Ackmann.  There is a link on the update page through which you can submit a question and our emails are available through the “About” tab on the website.  If in the end, a return to in-person instruction is not your choice for your child, please communicate with us as soon as possible and we will help you with any transition you need to make.

There are some important changes to our registration and typical back to school process. 

Registration for all grade levels will take place at the Getz Road Campus in the gymnasium on Monday, August 3rd and Tuesday, August 4th. To prevent overcrowding, please CLICK HERE to sign up for a day and time block. Enter the building through the school entrance (door 11) and follow the signs.  You must have a mask on to enter the building and we will be practicing social distancing during this process. If you cannot attend registration on one of these days, an appointment must be made in advance of the first day of school.  Students who are not registered will be unable to attend school until the registration process is completed.  You may make an appointment by calling the school office at 260.422.6712.  Registration packets will be mailed at the end of this week and received the week of July 27th.

Teacher Meet & Greet

We appreciate your patience as we know you are excited to learn your child's class placement.  You can expect to hear directly from your child's teacher next week and their plans for a classroom meet and greet which will replace the typical back to school night and home visits.  While the larger events will not be possible for building community in our school, building a healthy relationship between the classroom and home is still vital to our mission and ministry. 

1 Corinthians 12 reminds us that we are the body of Christ.  We share in sufferings and celebrations.  We honor each other, love, and support one another.  We are all unique, but we are connected as a family, the children of God.  We are in this together!

While school may look different for a while, we look forward to engaging with you as we have in the past, providing education for life and faith for eternity.

May the Lord bless you as we complete our summer break.


In Christ,

Jacob Pennekamp, Principal

Concern or question?

Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know by creating a message to school administration here.

Ask here

Additional resources

Provided by the Indiana State Department of Health & the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions: