Dear Mountain Shadows Community,
We remain committed to promoting health and wellness in the Montessori tradition as we face the health event, coronavirus (Covid-19.) We invite every Mountain Shadows family to support our individual classroom cohorts with the following Shared Affirmations for a Healthy Community agreement. These affirmations of our off campus actions are meant to keep health related anxiety at bay, and role model how to be a part of a community of peers. I hope that every valued member of our community will engage in sharing the message, We will be ready to be together in community as caring friends on campus and away from campus. We are all in this together!
Our family is making a pledge to reduce our exposure with these affirmations:
- All family members will wear masks when in public and maintain social distancing.
- We will avoid indoor playdates with children outside of our school classes.
- Travel by air will be limited to absolute necessity. If our children should need to travel by air, we commit to a two-week quarantine upon returning.
- If any of our contacts or family members exhibit symptoms of Covid 19, the family will remain home until test results return negative.
- For a positive Covid test in our family, we will all quarantine for the 14 day recommended time by the CDC and wait for the school to obtain permission from the Health Department to welcome us to return to the campus.
We are continuing to follow local health guidelines for our campus Covid Response protocols. We will continue to share our plans and resources as they evolve.
All the best,
The MSMS Staff
Protocols of Note
- Our large classrooms and generous outdoor space allow us to welcome up to 15 students in each class.
- Classrooms will not be commingling.
- Our screened-in windows provide excellent ventilation.
- We are creating additional shade to our outside workspaces.
- Each level will have its own separate play area.
- Elementary students will enter and exit through the front door.
- Upper elementary students will use the ramp on the north side of the building.
- Upon arrival students will have their temperature taken and asked questions daily.
- Once inside, each classroom will have a separate entrance and exit.
Keeping Clean & Safe
- Teachers will be following all mask protocols.
- Cleaning procedures follow the school nurse and the health department guidelines.
- Material are cleaned before reshelving.
Our plan is to start in August with in-person school with a modified structure. Returning children will begin on Wednesday, August 19 along with new elementary students. New Primary students will have their first day on Monday, August 24 with new YCC students following their individual transition plan.
At this time the plan is to keep drop-off and pick-up times the same for the half (8 am to 12 pm) and full day students (8 am to 3 PM). The initial modifications to the schedule will only impact the Extended Hours programs.
EXTENDED HOURS PROGRAM
Extended hours will run from 7:45 AM to 4 PM. There will be no drop in service available during the modified schedule and no after hours care available for elementary students. Depending on staffing, this schedule may also include a shift in the times for early drop off in the morning. We are looking at the possibility of shortened hours to allow the staff the opportunity to complete the cleaning and disinfecting of the classrooms and outdoor spaces in preparation for the following day. Thank you for your understanding regarding these modified hours. We will open in August with extended hours going until 4:00pm. The program will continue to be evaluated monthly and hours will be extended as the staff and administration deem appropriate. Tuition credit will be given to people enrolled in the extended hours programs for the shortened hours available. This will be based on the time frame extended hours are offered and will likely be done on a monthly basis. Please check with your child class to confirm the early drop off time.
Each class will enter through a unique entryway to help avoid overlap in common areas as much as possible. For the beginning of school, parents will be asked to get their children out of the car and bring them to their classroom check in station. Parents must wear masks while they are out of the car and follow the social distancing protocol if waiting in line. Parents may also choose to wait in their car until the previous family is done dropping off their child or in the case of inclement weather. We are also asking that the same parent or guardian drop off and pick up the child each day if at all possible.
Parents should park in the regular drop off circle. They will bring their child to a designated YCC check in station in the circle. Parents will wear masks and observe social distancing markers if waiting in line.
Parents will park in the southern section of the parking lot and bring their child to the designated check in area. Final location of check-in station will be marked near Koral’s entrance gate to her classroom. Parents will wear masks and observe social distancing markers if waiting in line. Students will enter directly into their coatroom area.
Parents will park in the northern section of the parking lot and bring their child to the designated check in area for the classroom just outside of the fenced outdoor environment. Parents will wear masks and observe social distancing markers if waiting in line.
Parents should park and enter through the main school entrance. Parents should accompany their child(ren) to the front door of the school which will be hosted by the Admin Staff.
The Upper Elementary children will enter through the ramp on the north end of the parking lot next to the school mailbox. Parent/drivers should maintain their social distance, but wait at the bottom of the ramp near the mailbox until the MSMS staff person waves at them to signal that they may leave.
Pick-up will be in the same location, by class, as drop off. We are asking parents to come to the station of their class, practicing distancing and wearing a mask.
We will be using a touch-free sign-in and sign-out procedure so that parents will not need to touch anything during the arrival or dismissal processes. Children will be signed in and out using visual identification of the parent or caregiver. Please understand if clarification needs to be made due to masks. This process has worked well this summer, but may need to be modified as the weather changes. We are currently using paper for both sign-in and health check-in with the staff member completing the sign-in process. It is working well and we plan to continue with this process.
LATE DROP OFF
Parents arriving from YCC, Primary or Upper Elementary after usual check in will need to call the front office at 303.530.5353. Parents arriving late from the Lower Elementary may ring the bell as the front door is their designated entrance. An Administrator will acknowledge their arrival and contact the classroom to have a staff member meet them at the check-in location as we are limiting access to the building to essential adults only.
HEALTH CHECKS @ DROP OFF
Every morning, children will have their temperatures taken before they are checked in. If their temperature is above 99.4 degrees they will not be able to attend school and you will need to take them with you at that time. This is a conservative temperature level, but helps support the health and wellbeing of our students and staff. In the event of a borderline temperature, the staff member will wait a moment and retake the child’s temperature. The staff will continue the protocol of taking a child’s temperatures during the day if there are symptoms.
Every morning you will also be asked a series of questions provided by the Boulder County Health Department regarding your family’s health and exposure to other people as it relates to the COVID-19 virus. If you answer yes to any of the exposure questions, your child will not be allowed to attend school until we are able to speak to the Boulder County Health Department about whether/when your child is allowed to return.
Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation with adhering to these guidelines. We do not want to keep your child from attending, but we must follow these limitations and guidelines.
FRONT YARD AREA
During the pandemic, parents and families will not be able to stay in the front yard after pick up for the safety and wellbeing of our community. We know this is a special time for families to connect, but we need to suspend it until the threat of the coronavirus is reduced.
Children of all ages are taught the correct and complete process of effective hand washing. This includes wetting, soaping and scrubbing their hands for at least 20 seconds. This is also regularly revisited and modeled. All children will wash their hands upon arriving at school and regularly throughout the day. These will include, but not be limited to, before and after recess, before and after lunch, after using the bathroom, etc.
Students will be asked by their classroom teachers to provide their own supplies which will be kept separate from the other students. Supplies that are shared in the classrooms will be disinfected between use.
In the case of the illness of a child, the student will be isolated with an attending staff member until the child can be picked up. Each class will have a unique isolation area for their classroom group. We ask parents to be sure we have an accurate and attentive contact to call in the event of illness as the child will need to be picked up within 30 minutes if at all possible, but definitely within an hour or less.. For example, if one parent is going to be inaccessible for a specific day, please notify the classroom teacher and the front office via email with as much advance notice as possible to provide an additional phone contact prior. In the event that parents cannot be reached by phone, emergency contacts will be called. The child will need to remain out of school until they are 72 hours symptom free unless the child has COVID-19 symptoms. In this case, MSMS would work individually with that family and Boulder County Health Department to determine an appropriate re-entry date into the classroom.
Currently, Boulder County is stating that children with COVID-19 symptoms do not return to programs until “10 days have passed since their first symptom unless they have a clear alternative diagnosis from a medical provider”. Students with non COVID-19 symptoms will be excluded from programs based on regular “How Sick is Too Sick” state guidance (available here and in SchoolCues). As is always good practice, if your child is sick, please keep them home. In the event that someone on campus is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will report it to the Boulder County Health Department and they will advise us how to proceed. Families will be notified if their child has come into contact with a classmate or staff member on campus who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Per the Boulder County Health Department and CDC, current COVID-19 symptoms include: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
SCHOOL NOTIFICATION OF COVID-19
As previously stated, families will be notified if their child has come into contact with a classmate or staff member on campus who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
STAFF HEALTH CHECK IN
All staff will participate in the daily Health Screening upon arrival. They will have their temperature taken and answer the same Health Screening questions as the students.
Parents will need to provide all food for their children.
Half-day children: morning snack
Full day children (including Elementary): morning snack and lunch
Extended Hours children: morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack
PIZZA FRIDAYS: Pizza Fridays will be suspended at this time. Parents will be notified when Pizza Fridays are offered again.
The classrooms and materials will be cleaned and disinfected regularly with a deep clean each afternoon. Some materials may be limited or removed from the classroom if they are not being used. This restructuring will not negatively impact the children’s experience or work, but will simplify the cleaning process and reduce the risk of the spread of the virus. The protocols and processes will involve staff using CDC approved products used to disinfect items and spaces used by the children. Each classroom will follow a procedure throughout the day that is appropriate to their age level to assure that materials are disinfected by a staff member prior to being available to other students.
Childcare guidelines ask us to try to keep 3-6 feet between children when feasible. The large square footage size of our classrooms makes this requirement relatively easy to accommodate. Children will be taught the grace and courtesy of social distancing, but it is also acknowledged that they are children and will, at times, be closer together inadvertently. When this occurs they will be gently and respectfully asked to give each other additional room. The same is true for the adults. We will try to keep a safe distance from the child, but not to the exclusion of the child’s safety or social/emotional well-being.
The school is looking for the optimal group size to support each child’s development as well as address concerns regarding the spread of COVID-19. While Colorado is currently allowing child care centers to have groups the size of their licensing numbers, Mountain Shadows is looking at having more restrictive group sizes in support of the child’s needs and wellbeing. We will be limiting our class groups to a maximum of 15 students when we open in August. We will also follow the cohort system of isolating children from other groups in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus. In the event that students over the maximum of 15 want to enroll, we plan to collect applications and possibly create another group to support the additional students. The timing of opening these additional groups will be determined by student demand.
Teachers, assistants, and all MSMS staff will wear facial masks when they are with the children unless they are causing the adult respiratory distress. In addition to the regular masks, we have some masks with clear vinyl “windows” over the mouth area to help provide, especially for the YCC teachers, much needed facial communication cues with their students. Elementary children will be required to wear masks at all times when they are inside.
Students under 3 years old do not wear masks. If parents of children over 3 years old would like their child to wear a mask, they will need to send it from home. All masks will be sent home at the end of the day and must be cleaned daily. No child will wear a mask while napping or during snack and lunch.
Students will nap in spaces offering maximum distance. YCC and Primary will confirm their napping spaces by the start of school to match distancing requirements while maintaining consistency for the children. Primary classroom groups will remain separate during naptime. Weather permitting, we will open windows during naptime to increase ventilation of the nap areas. Blankets will be sent home weekly to be washed. Children may not have any soft animal, pillows, or other objects at nap time.
We have suspended school tours during the school day to prevent additional adults from entering the buildings. This restriction will extend to parents who will be asked to wait outside the school for drop-off, pick-up, and in the case of other situations.
Studies have shown that fresh air helps reduce the spread of the virus, therefore each class will look for additional time to spend outside in their outside environment or in other areas of the campus. Groups will not be mixed during outside times. Every effort will be made to allow for fresh air circulation within the classroom by opening windows when possible. Classroom windows will be opened first thing each morning to allow fresh air into the room.
Classroom teachers will be sharing additional information directly to parents about supplies, schedules, and other expectations before school starts.
All guidelines are subject to change based on the changing guidelines of the State of Colorado, the Boulder County Health Department, the Colorado Office of Early Childhood, and our school nurse. We will remain flexible during this time and will do our best to provide as much notice as possible to parents and caregivers. Please do not hesitate to ask questions or share ways we can improve our processes and protocols as we continue to work together to provide students with a safe and joyful learning environment while trying to limit the risk of spreading the virus. Please email your child’s teacher or the educational leadership at: email@example.com.
Please note that Mountain Shadows operates under a childcare license for children ages 1-12 year. This allows us to operate independently of the BVSD or other elementary school closure mandates. This gives us the opportunity to make decisions such as moving to online learning only when we, the Mountain Shadows staff, feel like it is necessary for the safety of our particular school community.