Covid-19 Information Hub

Last Updated – June 22, 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) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS).


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, 919-493-8541
Head of School: Angie Wenger, 919-493-8541

What if a student, family, or staff member have received the Covid-19 vaccine? See pg 9 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 made contact with the Main Office.

1) Negative covid test: 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 explanation of illness to be clear that student or staff poses no risk for contagious illness such as ear infection, allergies, sinus infection, etc. Note based on Telehealth is not sufficient as the individual can’t be assessed in person (assessing ears, throat, etc). If student/staff have 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 symptoms of Covid-19 and has not been tested or received Doctor’s note: Learn or work remotely for a minimum of 10 days & return to school based on symptoms improving during the last 3 days of isolation & fever free for last 3 days of isolation, without use of fever-reducing medicines

CVS Pharmacies have been found to return the quickest covid test results (within 1-3 hrs). Also, Pediatrician Offices generally have the capability of performing covid tests. 

 The Durham County Health Department COVID Hotline states that if there is a positive case for ANY age group on campus, regardless of if masks are worn and social distancing is enforced, all students in that classroom would need to isolate/quarantine at home for 10 days. Any vaccinated staff or student would not need to isolate/quarantine or be tested unless symptoms arise for that individual.

  • Safety Steps

    MCS Safety Steps:
    – NC Strong Schools Toolkit, NCDHHS guidance
    – MCS Safety Manual 2020-21, CDC guidance
    – School Pass daily Health Questions (anyone on campus)
    – Prioritize Hand Washing
    – Cleaning Hard Surfaces & opening windows
    – Frequent outdoor time, outside for eating snacks & lunch unless raining
    – Fenced areas to separate younger students
    – Masks worn while on campus 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
    – 3 feet social distancing inside & outdoors
    – Staggered start dates/ times for grade levels
    – Observing what other local schools have done/are doing
    – Collaboration with COVID-19 Testing Vendor “Express Test NC” (offers testing for our MCS community 7 days per week)
    – Flu Shot Clinic onsite (Fall)
    – School Hosted COVID Vaccination Clinics, for approved ages
    – School Immunization Requirements for Enrollment
    – School Nurse on campus, MCS Covid Task Force, MCS Health Committee
    – All MCS Staff are CPR, First Aid, AED Certified
    – Cohorts will not mix during lunch. Cohorts separated during outdoor recess. The outdoor areas, including the playground, can be divided for use into 5 or 6 areas for cohorts to separate (possible to rotate 30 minute times slots per area).
    – Windows in classrooms open from top (if possible) 1-2 inches during cold weather; Aim for cross-ventilation, (e.g. windows open on opposite sides of the room).
    – Turn on restroom & stove top exhaust fans to draw in outside airflow (when able)
    – 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
    – Eat immediately prior to outdoor time, to allow the room to ventilate while occupants are outside (ideally with windows open) OR open the windows fully for 15 minutes
    – Housekeeping deep cleaning
    – Filtration Systems, air purifiers, EPA approved Disinfectant Sprays
    – CO2 Monitors in each classroom to balance best possible ventilation with temperatures (Goal for good air quality in an indoor space is <600-1000 ppm)
    – Floor Unit Air Purifier for each classroom
    – Upgraded each HVAC system throughout the campus to MERV-13 Filters with I-Wave Cleaning System, which are hospital quality for better air filtration. The I-Wave Unit hits the air with a uv light as it is leaving the system and cleans the air as it leaves the systems. All fans on the HVAC turned to ON instead of AUTO to help air to circulate best.

    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

  • Decision Trees

    In order to provide more clarity and transparency around our decision-making process, we would like to share Three Decision Trees which we use as basic guides. Please keep in mind that these are guidelines, and overall decisions regarding COVID-19 concerns for MCS need to be made on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with our local Durham County Health Department.

    The three Decision Tree scenarios are: 

    1. Positive COVID-19 Case
    2. Household Member of a Student Tests Positive
    3. What if a student, family, or sta member has received a Covid-19 vaccine?
  • 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.


    • 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.

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.