Last Updated – October 25, 2020

Sections Added/Updated This Week
Health and Safety
Arrival and Dismissal From Campus (Updates in green)

MCS is currently in Phase Yellow.

Check out our Welcome Back Video! It has information that will be helpful as you transition back to being on campus.

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 2020-2021 school year. Nevertheless, we recognize that precise predictions and perfect solutions will remain elusive during the continuation of the pandemic.

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

Guiding Principles

The school and task force are committed to:

  • Prioritizing the health, safety, and well-being of our students, families, faculty, staff, and community.
  • Delivering a high-quality Montessori education through both an in-person and distance learning approach.
  • Supporting the individual needs of the MCS Community through an equity and inclusion lens.
  • Building strong community ties through consistent and transparent communication and engagement.

Decision Making Process

The administration and staff have been working throughout the summer to plan and implement steps to best serve our mission while maintaining the health and safety of our community. Additionally, MCS has formed a Reopening Task Force made up of an excellent group of MCS staff and community members; including epidemiologists, public health experts, and an expert in anti-bias classrooms.

We have identified 4 phases of reopening: red, orange, yellow, and green. We understand and recognize the need to shift between several, or potentially all 4, phases at some point during the 2020-21 school year. For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, regardless of which phase we are in, a remote option will still be offered if there are enough students to warrant it at each level. Our decisions will be based upon:

  • Announcements made by Governor Cooper regarding the state’s general status and progress on reopening plans
  • The metrics set forth by our Health Care Providers (listed below)
  • The needs of our faculty and staff
  • Input from all members of MCS Reopening Task Force
  • Health Metrics

    These are the public health metrics that will be used to determine phased return to on-campus learning as well as what would advise a return to distance education.

    1. Focus on the three counties where the majority of our students/parents and faculty/staff reside: Durham, Orange, Wake
    2. Focus on trends (down, up, flat) rather than hard-and-fast thresholds, over a one-to-two-week period.

    Specific indicators may include, but are not limited to:

    • Number of cases in the community, per 100,000.
    • Allow not only for those tested who are positive, but also the percentage of those who are not being tested. (If there is extensive testing, then the positive rate should be under 5%.)
    • Local hospitalization capacity.
    • Monitor the number of cases that occur on campus with our current, very limited cohorts.
    • Monitor number of cases/clusters reported from local schools/colleges that have opened in-person more fully
  • Phase Red

    • MCS students and staff at all levels will be in distance learning mode.
    • No students on campus.
  • Phase Orange

    • Toddlers are on-campus, spending most of their time outside, and split into 2 classes.
    • Outdoor Forest Class provided for a small number 3’s and 4’s. A small group of Elders doing supervised distance learning on campus will join this class at 1 pm.
    • Small cohorts of students from Lower/Upper Elementary, and Adolescents are able to do supervised remote learning on campus.
    • All employees and students over the age of 2 are required to wear masks unless eating, drinking, or sleeping.  
    • Pick-up and Drop-off are staggered by level to maintain small groups in a space at one time.
    • Parents are not to be on campus other than using the drop-off and pick-up lane unless asked by a member of the Administration.
  • Phase Yellow

    The Phase We are in at This Time

    • Classes will begin to open gradually as determined by the metrics set forth by Health Care Providers, input from members of the entire Reopening Task Force, and the needs of Faculty/Staff.
    • Which classes opened first will be determined by the Program Directors and the Head of School. 
    • It is possible that we may need to move back into Phase Orange/Red if the metrics set forth show that safety has been compromised. 
    • The Outdoor Forest classroom will dissolve and Primary/Elders will return to their regular classrooms. Adam Miller will teach the students from Room 202 again.  
    • Primary students who were originally assigned to 202 will go back to working with Adam instead of their distance learning teacher.  
    • As metrics improve, more classes will be added to on-campus learning. 
    • Rochelle Hayes will remain in distance learning for any Primary families who still wish to take part in it. Rochelle’s students who return to campus would be reassigned to an on-campus teacher.
    • All employees and students over the age of 2 are required to wear masks unless eating, drinking, or sleeping. 
    • Pick-up and Drop-off are staggered by level to maintain small groups in a space at one time.
    • Parents are not to be on campus other than using the drop-off and pick-up lane unless asked by a member of the Administration.
  • Phase Green

    • All students who are comfortable returning to campus are allowed
    • Masks will still be worn unless stated otherwise
    • Many restrictions may still be in place depending on the metrics:

    – Eating meals outside, remaining 6ft. Apart
    – Reduced number of students in a classroom
    Classroom teachers may be split to work with a smaller number of students

    • Toddlers merge into one classroom.
    • No Outdoor Forestry Class will be offered for Primary/Elders.
    • Pick-up and Drop-off are staggered by level to maintain small groups in a space at one time.
    • Parents may still be asked to not be on campus and remain in their cars.

Academic Plan

  • Toddler

    Distance Learning

    Students may be expected to:

    • Enjoy family life with developmentally appropriate contributions

    Parents are invited to:

    • Remain mindful and respectful about the growing self-esteem and sense of independence that your child is developing
    • Offer help to your child with the hardest part of a task (not the whole task)
    • Initiate verbal communication, frequently asked questions, share concerns and observations
    • Be consistent; follow routines and clear sequences for each activity
    • Limit screen time
    • Include your child in household chores
    • Provide opportunities for outdoor activities (gross motor skill development)
    • Let go of perfection. What you are experiencing now is not the final goal. It is the foundation.
    • Enjoy and appreciate time with your child
    • Make a schedule together that works for your family (when to take breaks / have time outdoors etc)

    At the Toddler level, MCS admin and teachers will

    • Provide parents with this “Learning From Home Handbook
    • Initiate individual support and communications based on each child’s needs
    • Provide detailed updates and consultation regarding toilet learning, sleeping habits, activities (fine/gross motor)
    • Share the current class routine/schedule and then suggest guidance in setting up a daily routine at home
    • Share guidelines and suggestions for screen time
    • Share general and individual suggestions for activities for fine and gross motor skills, providing pictures/videos/materials for parent viewing
    • Provide suggestions for books and songs to support language acquisition
    • Provide videos of teachers singing and performing hand actions to well-loved class songs
    • Share suggestions for practical life activities at home e.g. recipes, food prep, house chores, clothing tips, etc.
    • Be responsive to parent questions and be available to offer guidance and tips for activities or any other element of support for your child’s development
    • Provide daily morning circles of approximately 20 minutes.
    • Provide materials, and instructions for using those materials, to support learning from home at intervals throughout distance learning
    • Provide weekly virtual office hours for parents.
  • Primary

    Welcome back!

    We are excited to welcome our Primary students back to campus! This Learning Plan outlines the details of MCS’s reopening plan. 

    We have consulted with and/or researched the reopening plans and guidelines from several local private Montessori and independent schools, several national and international Montessori schools who have shared their plans online, the local public systems, the Interim Guidance for Childcare Settings from the NCDHHS, the MCS Reopening Task Force, the MCS Public Health Advisory, and the CDC to create several plans. We considered a variety of options and designed this particular plan based on the information gathered from these organizations, all while looking through the lens of Montessori philosophy and child development.

    Plan

    • All currently enrolled students in-person on campus 5 days per week, 8:15 – 8:30 to 3:00
    • All students on campus in small cohorts of no more than 13 students
    • 2 adults per classroom
    • In-person students will have outdoor environments in which they can work as well as the classroom
    • Lunches and snacks will be eaten primarily outside
    • Two primary teachers teach the full-time distance learning cohort – Rochelle Hayes and Lisa Fish
    • Spanish will be offered virtually for the distance learning cohort only
    • PE will be offered in-person to the in-person elders only and will be outside (during bad weather there will be no PE)
    • Art will be offered virtually for the distance learning cohort elders only
    • There will be no before school or after school care in an effort to maintain cohorts and limit potential COVID exposure

    Schedules

    In-Person Learning
    8:15-8:30 Arrival
    8:30-11:30 Work Cycle
    11:30-1:00 Lunch and Recess
    1:00-3:00 Rest time and Elder Work Cycle
    3:00 Dismissal

    Distance Learning
    8:30-10:30 Morning Circle & Work Cycle
    10:30 – 10:40 Closing Circle
    10:45 -1:00 Planning time, lunch, possible office hours
    1:00-2:00 Elder Work Cycle

    Other Considerations / FAQ
    Please carefully re-read the MCS Families Safety Guidelines document for more information about health & wellness protocols and policies.

    For those continuing to participate in distance learning from home, please be sure to re-read the MCS Distance Learning Handbook.

    Have you considered other schedule options, such as two days on campus and three days off?
    Yes. At this time there is no need for any alternating schedule at this level as our current enrollment meets the recommendation of having no more than 50% of our maximum enrollment on campus.

    Why can’t students who are in person have virtual Spanish and elder art?
    We recognize that our plan is imperfect and this is one of those imperfections. Our specialists cannot come into the classrooms because we are trying to maintain cohorts as a safety measure. Offering these lessons virtually is highly distracting in a Montessori classroom where the curriculum is purposefully designed to engage students through materials that are not based in technology. Art lessons are frequently incorporated into the morning work cycle and our art specialist is available to share lessons with classroom teachers should they want them.

    Why can’t elders enrolled in distance learning have virtual PE?
    Again, we recognize the imperfection of our plan. Asking a PE teacher to present live lessons and either recording lessons or simulcasting presents a series of challenges ranging from the difficulties of purchasing and operating equipment during a simulcast PE class to the limitations of scheduling and expecting teachers to teach the curriculum to the whole school in two formats. We recommend that you encourage your child to get outside and move their bodies every day.

    What happens if I enroll in one program and then need to change to the other before the end of Winter Break?
    Please speak with your child’s program director. Staying with your original choice is the best option. We understand there are extenuating circumstances that might warrant a change and we will do our best to work with you. Please understand that there is no guarantee that we can make a change. The design of cohorts in both options, schedules, and number of students are all complex issues that are not necessarily easily changed.

  • Lower Elementary

    Distance Learning

    Sample Daily Schedule for Lower Elementary

    Students are expected to:

    • Plan and organize work with guidance from parents
    • Follow teachers’ guidelines and academic expectations
    • Work with integrity on assigned tasks – do your best!
    • Be present and ready to learn

    Parents are invited to:

    • Prepare a workspace in the home that meets the child’s particular needs, paying attention to chair and table height, lighting and distractions, and level of parental support needed
    • Establish a consistent routine and work schedule together
    • Follow along with the teachers’ suggested activities to maintain skills and concepts
    • Provide opportunities for your child to share/present work to you
    • Make a schedule together that works for your family (when to take breaks / have time outdoors etc)
    • Check-in with your child regarding the daily work plan

    At the LE level MCS admin and teachers will:

    • Provide parents with this “Learning From Home Handbook
    • Provide students with a document highlighting goals and expectations of distance learning
    • Provide synchronous and asynchronous learning environments in all core curricula
    • Initiate individual support and communications based on students’ needs
    • Provide the current class routine/schedule and then suggest guidance in setting up a daily routine at home
    • Offer a routine/daily schedule that attends to the social, emotional, academic, and physical needs of the student
    • Offer guidelines and suggestions for screen time
    • Share suggestions for practical life activities at home e.g. recipes, food prep, house chores, etc
    • Be responsive to parent questions and be available to offer guidance and tips for activities or any other element of support for the students’ development
    • Provide daily morning circles of approximately 20-30 minutes
    • Provide materials and instructions for using those materials to support learning from home
    • Offer guidance to students on learning how to use technology that is needed for online learning (Google Classroom)
    • Provide virtual office hours for parents and study halls for students
    • Provide synchronous as well as asynchronous instruction in art, music and P.E.
    • Provide support in navigating technology to attend and participate in lessons and turn in assignments
    • Provide opportunities for third-period presentations to the larger community (parents, specialists, administration, peers)
    • Provide opportunities to receive student feedback

    Program-Specific Needs and Characteristics

    • Respect the stage of development – many Lower Elementary students are at a “concrete level” and require the Montessori materials to complete certain tasks. Teachers will guide you regarding what works makes sense for your child
    • Develop ideas that allow the opportunity for Lower Elementary students to build from their interests. Examples may include projects, journals, creative writing, geometry constructions, Practical Life at home
    • Encourage socialization. Lower Elementary students are extremely social; they will need to feel connected to their friends

    One note regarding sharing or presenting work:
    It is a regular occurrence in an Elementary Montessori classroom for children to present their work or projects to one another. This is something you can replicate at home. Planning a presentation or sharing time at the end of a project is very exciting for young children and gives our older students an opportunity to use their voice. It is an essential part of the learning process as it requires synthesis of learning to describe, explain and express yourself clearly. It feels celebratory as well!

  • Upper Elementary

    Distance Learning

    Sample Daily Schedule for Upper Elementary

    Students are expected to:

    • Prepare a workspace in the home that meets their particular needs, paying attention to chair and table height, lighting and distractions, and level of parental support needed
    • Plan and organize work as independently as possible
    • Follow teachers’ guidelines and expectations
    • Be their own advocate when assistance or further clarification is required
    • Communicate directly with teachers
    • Submit or review assigned work according to guidelines
    • Organize notebooks and Google Classroom folders
    • Be ready and present for work daily

    Parents are invited to:

    • Guide your child to set up a prepared environment at home
    • Establish a routine and work schedule
    • Follow along with the teachers’ suggested activities to maintain skills and concepts
    • Meet and review your child’s assignments; provide opportunities at home for work presentations
    • Make a schedule together that works for your family (when to take breaks / have time outdoors etc)
    • Share and discuss current events and news items with your child

    At the UE level, MCS admin and teachers will:

    • Provide parents with this “Learning From Home Handbook
    • Provide students with a document highlighting goals and expectations of Distance learning
    • Provide synchronous and asynchronous learning environments in all core curricula
    • Initiate individual support and communications based on students’ needs
    • Provide the current class routine/schedule and then suggest guidance in setting up a daily routine at home
    • Offer a routine/daily schedule that attends to the social, emotional, academic, and physical needs of the student
    • Offer guidelines and suggestions for screen time
    • Share suggestions for practical life activities at home e.g. recipes, food prep, house chores, etc
    • Be responsive to parent questions and be available to offer guidance and tips for activities or any other element of support for the students’ development
    • Provide daily morning circles of approximately 20-30 minutes
    • Provide materials and instructions for using those materials to support learning from home
    • Offer guidance to students on learning how to use technology that is needed for online learning (Google Classroom)
    • Provide virtual office hours for parents and study halls for students
    • Provide synchronous as well as asynchronous instruction in art, music and P.E.
    • Provide support in navigating technology to attend and participate in lessons and turn in assignments
    • Provide opportunities for third-period presentations to the larger community (parents, specialists, administration, peers)
    • Provide opportunities to receive student feedback

    Program-Specific Needs and Characteristics

    • Respect the stage of development – some students may still be at a “concrete level” and require the
    • Montessori materials to complete certain tasks. Avoid “teaching” shortcuts for subjects such as Mathematics
    • Develop ideas that allow the opportunity for Upper Elementary students to build from their interests. Examples may include projects, journals, creative writing, geometry constructions, Practical Life at home
    • Support the need for Upper Elementary students’ group work – working with a friend (if possible) may be very well received
    • Encourage socialization. Upper Elementary students are extremely social; they will need to feel connected to their friends

    One note regarding sharing or presenting work:
    It is a regular occurrence in an Elementary Montessori classroom for children to present their work or projects to one another. This is something you can replicate at home. Planning a presentation or sharing time at the end of a project is very exciting for young children and gives our older students an opportunity to use their voice. It is an essential part of the learning process as it requires synthesis of learning to describe, explain and express yourself clearly. It feels celebratory as well!

  • Adolescent

    Distance Learning

    MCS Adolescent Distance Learning Schedule 2020-2021

    Students are expected to:

    • Prepare a workspace in the home that meets their particular needs, paying attention to chair and table height, lighting and distractions, and level of parental support needed
    • Remove cell phones and other devices that may cause distractions from workspace
    • Attend synchronous lessons and scheduled conferences on time with materials needed for that work
    • Attend student-initiated Google Meet work sessions for class project work and assignments
    • Review both individual and group lesson expectations
    • Advocate for themselves when in need of support by reaching out to guides and peers as appropriate
    • Submit or review assigned work according to guidelines
    • Organize notebooks and Google Classroom folders
    • Actively use and bring a planner to morning meeting and every class
    • Actively engage in building community through inclusivity and striving for kindness and respect of all members

    Parents are invited to:

    • Collaborate with your adolescent in preparing a workspace in the home
    • Support your adolescent in removing or mitigating distractions during synchronous learning
    • Invite your adolescent to prepare a meal for the family once per week
    • Invite your adolescent to contribute more than usual to household chores
    • Share and discuss current events and news items with your adolescent
    • Make a schedule together that works for your family (when to take breaks / have time outdoors etc)

    Adolescent Teachers will:

    • Provide parents with this “Learning From Home Handbook
    • Offer a routine/daily schedule that students will be able to independently follow and interact with
    • Offer a routine/daily schedule that attends to the social, emotional, academic, and physical needs of the student
    • Offer live, synchronous instruction and project-based work in the disciplines of Humanities, Science, Math, Writer’s Workshop, Spanish, Mindfulness, and Microeconomy
    • Offer live, synchronous instruction in the Arts & Movement
    • Offer weekly advisor group meetings
    • Offer service-learning opportunities
    • Offer guidance to students on learning how to use technology that is needed for online learning (Google Classroom & Thinkwave)
    • Provide materials and instructions for using those materials to support learning from home
    • Offer third-period presentation of big work to the community (Place Study, Peace Study, & Graduation)
    • Offer small group support to learning as needed during daily work blocks
    • Be responsive to parent questions and concerns through email and Google Meet Conferences

    Program-Specific Needs and Characteristics

    • In general, we expect Adolescent students to take responsibility for completing their work within the timelines provided
    • There is an opportunity for parents and students to discuss topics of inquiry from their studies.
    • Watching or reading the news together, and otherwise having adult-style conversations is very important
    • While we don’t expect parents to review assignments, please do support work completion
    • Adolescents crave and require social interaction. Please facilitate ways your child can meet with other classmates or friends outside of school

     

For distance learning academic support, please consult our Learning From Home Handbook. If you have any additional questions, please contact your student’s program director.

Health and Safety

The safety, health, and well-being of our students, families, faculty, and staff are always our top priority. We follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Please be aware that this is an evolving process. As we receive more information, some items are likely to be added to this list; while others will possibly change.

For students/families and staff/faculty who are working and learning on-campus or for any distance learning families or community members visiting campus, we have adopted the following health and safety measures for 2020-2021.

  • Arrival and Dismissal From Campus

    Drop-off Schedule

    Level Arrival Time Pick-up Time
    Toddlers 

    Primary

    Lower Elementary

    Upper Elementary 

    Adolescents 

    (8:00-8:15) 

    (8:15-8:30)

    (8:30-8:45)

    (8:30-8:45) 

    (8:00-8:15)

    (2:30-2:40)

    (3:00-3:10)

    (3:30-3:40)

    (3:30-3:40)

    (3:30-3:40)

    Here is a video that shows the Drop-Off and Pick-Up routes in the parking lot.

    Here is a video that shows the path students will take to and from class during arrival and dismissal times.

    *If you have children in more than one program level:

    For Drop-off:

    – If the children have different drop off times, drop off at the earlier time.

    – If the children would be in different levels of the parking lot, use the parking lot tier for the older child.

    For pick up:

    – If the children have different pick-up times, pick up the earlier child first. E.g. If you have a Primary and an Elementary student, come through and pick up the Primary student from 3:00-3:10, wait until 3:30, then go through and pick up the Elementary student. If you want, you may park in the 3rd tier of the parking lot while you wait for the later child. Please remain in your car.

    – If the children have the same pick-up time but at two different levels of the parking lot, pick up where the older child waits 

    All students will use the car line for drop-off and pick-up. We will have a staggered schedule to help cut down on traffic in the parking lot. Parents/Guardians are strongly encouraged to remain in their vehicles at all times unless told otherwise by an Administrator or to buckle their child in a car seat. Staff may help a child out of a car seat. However, they are not allowed to buckle anyone in a car seat, booster, or seat belt. Parents/Guardians will sign students in and out electronically from their car.

    We also encourage parents to designate the same parent or individual to drop off and pick up the child every day if possible. Avoid designating those considered at high risk such as elderly grandparents who are over 65 years of age if possible.

    At arrival, before the student exits the vehicle, a health survey will be presented to the parent. If the parent answers yes to any of the Screening Questions, the child will not be allowed on campus. The student will also have their temperature taken with a non-touch thermometer. Any student with a temperature over 100 degrees will not be allowed on campus.

  • Campus Preparations

    Below is a  list of projects already completed or will be completed over the next few weeks to prepare campus and classes for the return of students for in-person learning.

    I-wave r or c air purifiers installed to all HVAC systems on campus

    – Tents, shade umbrellas, or rain coverings placed outside most classrooms so students can eat lunch and do activities outdoors

    – Air Purifiers placed in each classroom

    – All rugs and porous materials removed from rooms and stored in the gymnasium

    – Additional no-touch thermometers purchased for quicker drop-off time and for classroom use as needed

    – Fenced in areas built around 201, 202, and 203 classrooms for younger students to work outside in contained areas

    – Fountains on campus turned off and covered (Classrooms will have filtered pitchers for water.)

    – Landscaping trees and bushes trimmed and playground mulch turned to better beautify the campus (We waited on this to reduce expenses over the summer.)

    – Sandboxes covered with tarps

    – Face coverings available for all students

    Merv-13 filters placed in all air returns on campus (These filters are stronger than our typical Merv-8 and will help to better purify the air in the classrooms.)

    – Adolescents materials moved into the Spark Center

    Buckeye Eco® One-Step Disinfectant/Deodorizer/Cleaner E22 used to clean and disinfect classrooms (This is an eco-friendly product, kills coronavirus in 3 minutes, and is less harsh than our standard bleach water solutions.)

    – Classrooms deep cleaned prior to rooms being opened 

    – Nurse’s Station set up and stocked with supplies

    – Horseshoes painted 6ft apart around campus so students will have a place to stand and remain distant from their classmates

  • 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.

    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

    Reusable face shields should be cleaned and disinfected after each use according to manufacturer instructions or by following CDC face shield cleaning instructions.

    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 has been in touch with North Carolina Department Health and Human Services who will be helping to lead an investigation if someone tests positive. Although turnaround time for decisions made by the local health department are not predictable, based on what we have seen at this time from other child centers and summer camps, it appears that reaction time is within 24 hours.

    If a class is put 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.

    Please click here for a detailed chart of our policies and procedures.

For detailed information about all aspects of our on-campus health and safety plan, please refer to the MCS Families Safety Precautions for 2020-2021. If you have any questions, please contact Dave DeHarde.

Communications

  • Important MCS Reopening Update

    October 2, 2020

    The MCS Board of Trustees met Wednesday, September 30th to review a presentation from the school’s Reopening Task Force and a recommendation from MCS Administration regarding plans for a phased return to in-person instruction.  We want to acknowledge and thank the public health and other professionals on the Task Force who have volunteered their time and expertise to monitoring and interpreting community health metrics since the task force was formed in August. Based upon improvement in these metrics, observations and feedback from other local private schools who are in-person, and extensive safety measures the school is implementing, both the Board and the school feel it is an appropriate time to move MCS into the next phase of reopening. Phase Yellow allows for a staggered re-introduction of students on campus by level for in-person learning beginning October 19th. The school will also continue to provide families with the option of a full distance learning program for those who need or wish to stay remote.

    Please note, Phase Yellow adheres to strict safety procedures outlined in the MCS Families Safety Precautions and implements a staggered drop-off schedule by level for in-person students. However, this phase does not include before-school or after-school care.

    In order to prepare the campus and classrooms for the return of more in-person students, the school will need to adjust the calendar. October 15 and 16 will be teacher workdays. There will be no classes on these days except for at the Toddler level, which will operate as normal. To make up these days of instruction, we will have classes on December 18 and January 19, two dates that were originally part of Winter Break and a teacher workday. These dates have been updated on the MCS Calendar.

    The schedule for reopening is as follows:

    – Toddler students will remain in-person.

    – Monday, October 19 – Primary students who select in-person learning return to campus five days a week. All distance learning students will continue remotely.
    Click here to view the Primary Learning Plan.

    – The Upper and Lower Elementary students who select in-person learning will be alternating weeks of in-person and distance learning. Students who select distance learning will continue remotely.
         – Monday, October 26 – The first cohort of in-person Elementary students return to campus while the second cohort remains in distance learning.
         – Monday, November 2 – The second cohort of in-person Elementary students return to campus while the first cohort spends the week in distance learning.
    Click here to view the Lower Elementary Learning Plan.
    Click here to view the Upper Elementary Learning Plan.

    – Monday, October 19 – Adolescent students who select in-person learning return to campus five days a week. All distance learning students will continue remotely.
    Click here to view the Adolescent Learning Plan.

    We are asking families to select their preference for in-person or distance learning through Winter Break, no later than Sunday, October 11 using the selection form below. We understand this is a big decision and are here to help you make the best choice for your family. While our hope is that most families’ commitments will not change, as this can be disruptive and stressful for both students and staff, we are aware that we are in unprecedented times and exceptions may have to be made. We want to work with you and support you as much as we can.

    In order to support your decision making, we will be offering Q&A sessions for each level. Below are the schedule and links.

    – Primary – Monday, October 5, 6:30-7:30 pm
    – Lower Elementary – Tuesday, October 6, 6-7 pm
    – Upper Elementary – Tuesday, October 6, 7:15-8:15 pm
    – Adolescent Community – Wednesday, October 7, 6:30-7:30 pm

    In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Program Directors.

    We appreciate each of our families partnering with us as we navigate the pandemic together.

    Selection Form – Please submit no later than Sunday, October 11

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdiU2f8q3cWmxgPVX0EESheAAFfCzA9psZk9E92OuSvIDuurA/viewform?usp=sf_link 

     

    Important Dates

    • October 5 – Primary Q&A session
    • October 6 – Elementary Q&A session
    • October 7 – Adolescent Q&A session
    • October 11 – Last day to select in-person or distance learning
    • October 14 – Student cohort assignments sent to families
    • October 15 & 16 – Teacher work days (no class except for Toddlers)
    • October 16 – Adolescent and Primary welcome letters sent
    • October 19 – Adolescent and Primary in-person begins
    • October 23 – Elementary welcome letters sent
    • October 26 – First cohort for Elementary in-person begins
    • November 2 – Second cohort for Elementary in-person begins
    • December 18 – Flex make-up day 
    • January 19 – Flex make-up day

     

    Important Links

    Covid-19 Information Hub

    MCS Families Safety Precautions

    A note from the MCS Nurse

    Primary Learning Plan

    Lower Elementary Learning Plan

    Upper Elementary Learning Plan

    Adolescent Learning Plan.

     

    Drop-off Schedule

    Level Arrival Time School Day
    Toddlers 

    Primary

    Lower Elementary

    Upper Elementary 

    Adolescents 

    (8:00-8:15) 

    (8:15-8:30)

    (8:30-8:45)

    (8:30-8:45) 

    (8:00-8:15)

    (8:15-2:30)

    (8:30-3:00)

    (8:45-3:30)

    (8:45-3:30)

    (8:15-3:30) 

    *If you have students at more than one program level, you can drop off all students at the earliest drop-off time.

  • September 27th Community Update

    The Reopening Task Force met on September 16 to review the work of the subcommittees to date and provide the MCS Administration with guidance on the continued development of a reopening plan.

    The MCS administration will present the plan to the Board of Trustees this coming Wednesday, September 30. This plan will include the earliest date the school feels would be feasible to welcome more students for on-campus learning.

    Based on the outcome of the board meeting, the school will share the next steps with the community by Friday, October 2. This communication will include:

    – Details on how the school plans to continue to deliver high-quality distance learning AND more on-campus learning to meet the needs of each student

    – A schedule for implementation of the reopening plan at each program level

    – A survey for families to commit to the mode of instruction that best meets their needs in the next phase along with a decision deadline

    While MCS’ planning is independent of public schools, it can be noted that our plans align with Governor Cooper’s recent announcement that public schools have the option to begin welcoming K-5 students for in-person learning as early as October 5.

  • September 13th Community Update

    Our health advisory group will continue to assess local health data on a weekly basis. They will assist the Task Force with interpreting data as it relates to decisions about our school’s phase of reopening.

    Our program directors and Assistant Head of School for Facilities and Operations continue to plan for a safe, phased return to more on-campus learning as conditions become more favorable. An update will be shared with the Task Force and MCS Board later this month.

    There are several community-building activities underway for all students and families as well as welcoming our newest families. Special thank you to the PTO, MCS staff, and those of you serving as Family Ambassadors for your great efforts in supporting this important work.

    The Task Force will share an update on the work-to-date at the MCS Board Meeting on September 30.

  • Reopening Task Force Purpose and Goals

    An excellent group of MCS staff members and volunteers from the MCS community have agreed to give their time, effort, and expertise to the task force. Below, you’ll find their names and the respective roles they will play on the Task Force. Besides the over 100 years of Montessori teaching experience on the task force, we have senior epidemiologists, public health experts, and an author on anti-bias classrooms. We are incredibly fortunate to have a group this qualified who care about the MCS community and its mission to help us navigate these challenging times.

    The goals of the Task Force are:

    • Determine our education priorities and community values
    • Determine a plan for ongoing decisions about school reopening
    • Establish a plan for clear communication
    • Explicitly define our financial, staffing, and campus constraints
    • Establish protocols for collecting and monitoring COVID-19 data in our community
    • Determine the process and thresholds at which the school will re-open to on-campus learning

    Our school’s top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our students, families, faculty, and staff.

    Reopening Task Force Members

     

    Administration
    Head of School Tim Daniel, MA
    Asst HoS Operations Dave DeHarde, MSA (Pri, LE)
    Communications Dir Delphine Andrews, MA
    Asst HoS Academics Keturah Russell
    Dir Ed Tech & Comms Coord Lisa Bohn, MFA
    Program Director EL Kalpu Shah
    Program Director AC Angela Molfese, MA
    Primary Teacher Rochelle Hayes
    Diversity & Equity Officer Shavonne Joyner, MA
    School Nurse

     

    Megan Moore (Pri)

     

    Board of Trustees
    President Harry Park (UE, AC)
    Vice President Amanda Ingraham (UE, AC)
    Finance Luke Moland, MBA (LE, UE)
    Secretary / Task Force Coordinator Jenn Mallen, PhD (LE, UE)
    Governance Iheoma Iruka Thompson, PhD (Pri, LE)
    Diversity & Equity

     

    Gaby Valdivia, PhD (UE)

     

    Community
    PTO Lakshmi Vasist Johnson, PharmD (Pri, LE)
    Health Kathie Swain, Sc.D. (LE)
    Health Marjory Charlot, MD, MPH, MSc (Pri, LE)
    Health Liz Stevens, MPH, RN (Tod, Pri)
    Health Trevor Jolly, MBBS (LE, UE)
    Legal David Hostetler, Esq