Covid-19 Information Hub

Last Updated – September 28, 2021

Welcome to Montessori Community School’s COVID-19 Information Hub. Our school’s top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our students, families, faculty, and staff. We are constantly assessing the efficacy of health and safety protocols and broader environmental conditions as we continue to plan for a safe and productive 2021-2022 school year.

Our goal is to share as much information as possible. Below you will find information on our safety protocols and policies. We will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Resources

Health and Safety

MCS has a protocol for returning to school after illness, listed in the MCS Safety Precaution Manual 2021/2022. Please be sure each day to complete the “School Pass” Health Questions on your phone or computer, and report any illness to the school nurse and classroom teacher.

School Nurse: Megan Moore mmoore@mcsdurham.org OR Head of School: Angie Wenger awenger@mcsdurham.org at 919-493-8541

What if a student, family, or staff member have received the Covid-19 vaccine? See pg 16 of MCS Safety Precaution Manual.

To summarize our protocol in the MCS Safety Precautions 2021/2022, students and staff have 3 courses of action after illness on how they can return & have notified the School Nurse (or Head of School), along with their classroom teacher.

1) Proof of negative PCR or Antigen Covid Test AND May return once symptoms have improved for a 24 hr period & fever free for 24 hrs without use of fever-reducing medicines.

2) Doctor’s written note: Indicating that student or staff poses no risk for contagious illness. It is not necessary for the note to indicate diagnosis. A note based on Telehealth or Virtual visit is not sufficient, as the individual can’t be assessed in person. Once the student or staff provide a note, they may return once symptoms have improved for a 24 hr period & fever free for 24 hrs without use of fever-reducing medicines

3) Person has not been tested or received Doctor’s note: Learn or work remotely for a minimum of 10 days and return to school when fever free for the last 24 hours of isolation, without use of fever-reducing medicines.

  • Safety Steps

    MCS Safety Steps:
    Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit (K-12), NCDHHS Guidance
    MCS Safety Manual 2020-21; Center for Disease Control CDC) & American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Guidane
    – School Pass Daily Health Questions
    – Prioritize Hand Washing
    – Clean/Disinfect Hard Surfaces, EPA approved Disinfectant Sprays
    – Janitorial Staff to perform daily deep cleaning
    – Windows Open
    – Upgraded each HVAC system throughout campus; hospital-grade MERV-13 Filters with i-Wave Cleaning System
    – CO2 Monitor in each classroom to balance best possible ventilation with temperatures (Goal for good air quality in an indoor space is <600-1000 ppm)
    – Box Fan in each classroom
    – Turn on classroom restroom & stove top exhaust fans to draw in outside airflow
    – Frequent outdoor time
    – Outdoor eating unless inclement weather
    – Minimum 3 feet social distancing while masked inside & outdoors
    – All students spaced 6 feet apart during snack and lunch
    – Eat outdoors unless raining or uncomfortably cold temperatures; If eating must occur indoors, keep unmasked time to a minimum by washing hands, setting up tables, unpacking lunchboxes (including unwrapping food items), etc., all while masked. Masks come off only when ready to eat. Focus on eating rather than socializing while masks are off
    – Masking required indoors & outdoors unless eating, drinking, napping (Toddler & Primary), or age younger than 2yrs
    – Small class sizes/cohorts
    – Cohorts separated by level for safety: Toddler, Primary, LE, UE, AC
    – Flu Shot Clinic onsite (Fall)
    – School Hosted COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics, for approved ages
    – Enrollment Immunization Requirements
    – School Nurse on duty
    – Internal MCS Public Health Group
    – All MCS Staff are CPR, First Aid, AED Certified

    Masking Tip
    – Regardless of type of mask, aim for a tight-fitting mask (i.e. minimal gaps around the edges where mask touches face)
    – See “Face Coverings” Tab in COVID-Hub for mask tips

  • Face Coverings

    Everyone over the age of 2 is required to wear a face covering correctly at all times while on campus unless eating, drinking, or napping. This includes but is not limited to: inside the buildings, outside, recess, PE, the parking lot, the bus/riding in a vehicle with a chaperone, staff break times while on campus, the Main Office, the Teachers Lounge, and on all field trips. Outdoor masking is required, unless occasionally needing a mask break, in which distancing of 6 feet or more would be consistently maintained.

    If anyone on campus does not have a face covering, they will be asked to come to the Front Office where one will be provided. If someone has a reason/condition why they cannot wear a face covering, please speak with your child’s Program Director.

    Overview

    • Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 (no neck gaiters, valves or vented masks, or bandanas that are open on the bottom)
    • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
    • Masks should be worn by people two years and older
    • Masks should NOT be worn by children younger than two, people who have trouble breathing, or people who cannot remove the mask without assistance
    • CDC does not recommend the use of gaiters, face shields, or bandanas. Evaluation of these face covers is on-going but effectiveness is unknown at this time. CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks but a shield may be worn in addition to a mask.

    How To Select

    When selecting a mask, there are many choices. Here are some do’s and don’ts.

    How to Wear

    • Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection.
    • Be sure to wash your hands before putting on a mask.
    • Do NOT touch the mask when wearing it.

    Do wear a mask that

    • Covers your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
    • Fits snugly against the sides of your face

    For more information, visit the CDC’s How to Wear Masks web page.

    How to Clean

    • Masks should be washed regularly. Always remove masks correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used mask.
    • Include your mask with your regular laundry
    • Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the mask
    • Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry

    For more information, visit CDC’s How to Wash Masks web page.
    For more information, see CDC’s Masks web site. For information on the sources for our mask guidance, see Recent Studies.

  • Hand Washing

    Hand washing/sanitizing should happen as soon as one enters the school. Students and employees will wash their hands as they enter the classroom, before going outside, returning to the room after being outside, after restroom visits, before and after eating and before and after using materials. Signs will be posted to remind students and staff to remember to wash their hands. In addition, teachers will give lessons on the proper method of watching hands. 

  • What happens if a person tests positive for COVID?

    MCS will follow the recommendations of our local Durham County Public Health Department if someone at our school should quarantine. Local public health authorities make the final decisions about how long quarantine should last in the communities they serve, based on local conditions and needs. MCS has been in touch with the Durham County Public Health Department COVID-19 Hotline who will be helping to lead contact tracing if someone tests positive.

    Students who are not fully vaccinated after a close contact in a classroom or other school setting if masks were being worn appropriately and consistently by both the person with StrongSchoolsNC: Public Health Toolkit (K-12) Interim Guidance • Published June 8, 2020; Updated August 10, 2021 16 COVID-19 and the potentially exposed person do NOT need to quarantine. This is based on updated CDC guidance and studies that have shown extremely low risk of COVID-19 transmission in classroom settings when face masks were being used appropriately by both the person with COVID-19 and the potentially exposed person, as well as multiple layers of prevention measures in place to prevent transmission in school settings. This applies to exposures in classrooms, other in school settings, and school transportation but does not apply to exposures during extracurricular or athletic activities. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

    In the event of an entire class shifting into quarantine, the teacher, if well enough, will move into teaching the class in a distance learning scenario until the quarantine is over and the student(s) are approved to return to MCS.

For detailed information about all aspects of our on-campus health and safety plan, please refer to the MCS Families Safety Precautions for 2021-2022.