Covid-19 Information Hub

Last Updated – January 21, 2022

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 an 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

Students and Staff have 3 courses of possible action after illness on how they can return after an illness once they have notified the School Nurse and their classroom teacher, as listed in the MCS Safety Precaution Manual 2021/2022:

1) Proof of negative PCR Covid Test performed in a clinical setting AND May return once symptoms have improved for a 24 hr period & fever free for 24 hrs without use of fever-reducing medicines. A negative Antigen Test in most cases is not sufficient as a mode to return to school after an illness. This is due to a higher level and range of inaccurate results produced by Antigen Testing and also the recent high transmissibility of the Omicron variant. Additionally, due to the increased transmissibility, there is an inability to ensure that there has been no known or suspected exposure to an individual who has contracted COVID-19.

OR

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.

OR

3) Person has not been tested or received Doctor’s note: Learn or work remotely for a minimum of 5 days and return to school when fever-free for the last 24 hours of isolation, without use of fever-reducing medicines AND may return to school with a negative antigen test conducted in a clinical setting or at MCS on Day 6.

Once you obtain the results of a PCR COVID Test Result or Doctor’s Written Note of clearance, please privately message that to the School Nurse.

*MCS has obtained Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment Certification (CLIA) which allows any trained staff to conduct and interpret Rapid Antigen Test Results & conduct PCR Testing where specimens are sent to Mako Medical Laboratories via courier for processing.

Depending on local conditions and testing availability, Local Health Departments have discretion if they will accept at-home tests for public health purposes. The Durham County Health Department does not allow at-home testing as a mode to return to school after an illness, only a test performed at a Clinical Setting.

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 (NCDHHS), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

  • Safety Steps

    MCS Safety Steps:

    Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit (K-12), NCDHHS Guidance
    ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit, NCDHHS Guidance
    MCS Safety Manual 2021-22; applying guidance from the Durham County Department of Public Health (DCDPH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
    School Pass Daily Health Questions
    – Onsite COVID-19 Testing via our state-sponsored Testing Program with Mako Medical
    – MCS has obtained Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment Certification (CLIA) which allows any trained staff to conduct and interpret Rapid Antigen Test Results & conduct PCR Testing to send specimens to Mako Medical Laboratories via courier for processing.
    – Internal MCS Public Health Group
    – 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 of breathable fabric and a nose wire
    • Wear the mask snuggly over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin
    • Choose a mask with fabric that blocks light when held up to bright light source
    • 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 Guidance 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 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.

    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.