Critical Information From You via Survey – Casa di Mir Montessori

Critical Information From You via Survey

Community Update

Dear Parents,

We are getting critical information from you via the survey sent out last week.

Thank you to all who responded!

Here’s the information we’ve collected from the survey, so far:

  • 79 students are ready to come back for on-campus learning.
  • 26 students are in an “undecided” category.
  • 15 students are interested in continuing with online learning only.
  • 43 families have not responded.

We realize you are all waiting for more detailed information. It is an intricate dance for our community as our plans depend on you – and your decision about your child returning depends on our plan! This letter is to give you a deeper view into our planning to help move us along in the dance. We do need to hear from all families in order to make decisions regarding staffing for our modified schedule, as well as an online learning option, if possible.

We see coming back to school as a community effort. We all have a role to play in keeping us safe. Careful choices by all of us while away from school makes a difference to the whole community. At school, we will closely follow the guidelines from the CDC and local agencies in order to keep our whole community safe.

Guidelines from the CDC and local agencies are requiring us to maintain smaller, static groups of 10 or 12 students. If all/most students can return to school on-site, we will see the following configurations:

Middle School and Upper Elementary

  • MS with two teachers in two rooms, full time
  • UE with three teachers, in three rooms, full time (pods of about 12 students/one teacher)

Because we have additional classroom space available at the Upper Campus, we’re able to offer full-time schedules on-site.

  • LE students will be divided into six “pods” of about 12 students each, with a dedicated teacher for each pod.
  • Schedule for LE and Primary:
    • 3 days on-site, 2 days online; alternating with 2 days on-site, 3 days online (So, a student might be on-site M-W, and online Th-F. The following week, that student would be on-site M-Tue, and online W-F. The other group would be reversed with classes on-site every Th-F and alternate Wednesdays.)
  • School hours for on-site learning will be:
    • MS – 8:30am to 3:30pm
    • All elementary 8:30am – 3:15pm
    • Primary 8:30 am – 1 pm or 3 pm or 5 pm (depending on the length of day you enrolled your child for)
  • In class and online learning will be blended and your child will be with their designated teacher for all 5 days.
  • Primary: Given space configuration, Kinders will be given their own classroom space that is separate from the primary program. There will two pods for this group. The younger primary students will be grouped into 4 pods.
  • We plan to continue Spanish, Art and Music classes. Aikido will be suspended until regulations allow it.

Plans will have to adjust based on the numbers of students who join us on-site for classes. Allocating staff for solely online learning will definitely be considered, if we can manage this along with the on-site classes. Please consider that starting a new year online will be very different than ending the year after relationships have already been established.

Facility Modifications

There will be facility changes to support the safety and health guidelines. Among the changes are the following:

  • Additional classrooms spaces are being designed to so we can accommodate several pods at a time.
  • Multiple handwashing stations will be added outside as well as inside .
  • Hand sanitizing stations set up at all entries, classrooms & high traffic areas.
  • Signs posted to:
  • Report symptoms of respiratory illness
  • Handwashing practices
  • Coughing/Sneezing etiquette
  • Support physical distancing practices

Entry & Visitation

  • Limited visits on site-only: essential, emergency (very brief)
  • Parents wash hands (and assist the child washing hands) before drop off, prior to picking up the child, and when they get home.
  • Rely on carline for drop-off and pick-up to drastically limit adults on site.
  • Visual Wellness checks at the cars of all children upon arrival. We will ask health questions, if concerned.
  • Temperature/symptom screening at the cars at drop-off and pick-up. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher may not enter the facility.
  • Bring your own pens for signing in and out.
  • The entry point for students on Lower Campus is at the back of the school.
  • Enter rooms one at a time to allow for physical distancing.
  • Handwashing or hand sanitizing upon entry is required for all staff, students and visitors.

Mitigation Strategies

  • We will communicate ongoing updates about COVID -19.
  • Daily disinfecting and cleaning service, as well as teacher/student wipe down
    • Commonly touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected daily, such as doorknobs, light switches, Montessori materials.
  • There will be no whole group community activities.
  • Internal group activities have been limited to foster physical distancing.
  • We will utilize outside spaces when possible.
  • No field trips unless outdoors with proper distancing. Transportation by family car or proper distancing possible.
  • Carefully define the allergies of your child and the typical symptoms present.
  • Keep children with cold or flu symptoms home.
  • If your child shows symptoms of COVID-19 or there has been an exposure, we will notify you and ask that you contact your child’s medical provider. Your child should remain home until tested and cleared to return to school.
  • We can provide food and medication following strict rules when a child is waiting for parent/guardian to pick up.
  • Emergency contact information is updated prior to the start of school and updated when needed.
  • Students will have a kit of frequently used materials at school for their own use.

What we’ll need from parents:

  • Sign onto a Care for Community Agreement
  • Clarity on safe choices when you are away from Casa
  • A thorough read through the guidelines we will be preparing in detail as an addendum to the student handbook.
  • Help teaching the basic hygiene requirements to your students (see below)

Hygiene Support

The instruction children will need is something that has to begin at home. We would appreciate you discussing that these are precautions that each child must take at this very unique time. Giving context to children in a matter of fact way with a sense that this won’t always be the case is important to settle fears or worries. Please start instruction on the following:

  • They must use a tissue or an elbow for coughing and sneezing and wash hands afterwards.
  • Older children are requested to wear masks, so practicing now and becoming more familiar with the feeling of this is helpful.
  • When using the bathroom, children can take a bit of toilet paper and use it to push the knob or handle and then toss in the toilet. Students must wash hands and use a paper towel or long sleeve to open the door.
  • Create opportunities for some outside “play dates” with friends to help practice distancing in a social situation. Explore ways to greet each other while maintaining physical distance.

There will be necessary changes in procedures on campus when we open in August. In order to maintain the health and safety guidelines from our local public health department and the CDC we have revised our drop-off and pick-up procedures, lunch procedures, visitors and tours, among other things. Look for more detailed information in the Parent/Student Handbook Addendum which will be provided in August. Our staff will be fully involved with their pods seeing them through both the on-site and online parts of their weeks or fully engaged on-site with the UE and MS students. They will receive training and guidelines for implementing the health and safety procedures while focused on the academic and social-emotional development of the child. For LE and Primary, students’ time on site will be concentrated on lessons and hands-on experiences and building relationships that will carry them through the online times, as well.

We are fully aware that this is a very fluid time for plans. This letter contains an abbreviated look at our on-site planning so you have an idea of what we are offering. If we’re required to go back to sheltering in place, of course, we are prepared to return to online learning.

We hope that receiving this information will help you feel more confident in making the decision to allow your child to attend school on campus in August.

If you are a parent who did not respond to the survey, or you responded with uncertainty, we need to hear from you! You’re important to us and our decision-making. If, based on the information provided here, you have better clarity on what you are wanting for fall, please send an email to Anne Nguyen @ to clarify your choice. If we don’t hear from you by June 15th, we’ll reach out to you.

Thank you!

Tyler Bourcier Head of School

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