HEALTH, SAFETY & WELLNESS PROTOCOLS
MCMS COVID-19 Prevention Policies
Madison Community Montessori School is fully committed to safeguarding the health and safety of all of our faculty, staff, students, and community members. We comply with all public health guidance for operating schools during the pandemic.
Community Engagement and Wellness
Family Engagement through Service and Learning: weekly opportunities to connect, serve others, and learn together as an MCMS community.
The Great Outdoors: We’ll be exploring every possible opportunity to get outside into nature with the children this year when in person and will share some of our great resources with families for fun at home too!
Mindfulness: Regular practice supports the well-being of all of us during this uncertain and anxious time.
Social Connection: While abiding by physical distancing protocols, we still recognize the very real need children have for connecting socially and having fun & working together. We’re developing creative ways to be sure these needs are met. We are happy to encourage social connections by helping parents to coordinate small pods of 3-4 families within each classroom community, who can then support each other at home during virtual periods.
Support for children: In-person or virtual, we acknowledge the needs children may have as they transition back to school, and are prepared to lend a listening ear as well as extra understanding and encouragement while maintaining consistency and reasonable expectations.
We ask all families to help us keep the health and safety of the MCMS community a priority. Families can do this in the following ways:
- Make sure you have completed the daily health screener and temperature check before arriving at school or Learning Out
- Be consistently on time for drop-off and pick-up
- Do not enter the MCMS school building unless prior arrangements have been made
- Practice wearing masks and talking to your children about the proper use and importance of them
- Make the commitment to keep our community healthy by abiding by all Public Health Madison and Dane County guidance in your personal lives outside of school
The engaging and independent Montessori program at MCMS remains unchanged and will continue to support our mission of respecting children and their natural joy of discovery. The global pandemic is certainly impacting how we teach, with the primary difference being the medium in which teaching and learning happen at MCMS in the 2020-21 school year. We are prepared to move between different learning models throughout the year as community public health conditions change. Below you will find more information about our learning models.
Learning at MCMS
Our goal is to be together in person, whether indoors or out, whenever possible throughout the coming year, while keeping the safety of our community as our primary consideration. When it is deemed safe to be in person, we will attend up to four days per week (M-Th), with Wellness Fridays at home, to include some optional touch points with teachers and classmates as well as many other opportunities.
Montessori education has always valued being in the natural world to learn about our culture, history, biology, and community. We have developed an innovative program combining virtual learning with in-person, outdoor experiential education for our older students to explore and learn at local parks twice per week. This program offers our elementary and adolescent students safe opportunities for in-person social interaction and emotional development.
Learning from Home
We are so proud of how our community came together in the spring to jump into the world of Montessori virtual learning! While we’re able to build on areas of success from the spring, we’ve also had the time this summer to make improvements and structure content and schedules more intentionally to support the needs of children at each level. For additional details about Learning from Home at each level, please follow the links below.
UPDATES TO OPERATIONS
We have looked in to all aspects of our facility and operational policies for ways to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Some changes are short term and will be adjusted as we move in and out of phases. Other changes will be permanent and have a continued positive affect on our community’s well being. Here are just some of the ways that we have adjusted MCMS for you.
- Building access is limited to staff and students only during the school day. Parents will remain outside for drop off and pick up. Cleaners will have access nightly, and any other vendors or service providers will schedule visits outside of school hours with our Director of Finance & Operations for times.
- Cleaning and sanitization policies and procedures have been updated. Our nightly service consists of hospital-grade disinfectants, color-coded Microfiber cloths (traps 99% of dirt), Microfiber NO DIP flat mops (no cross contamination) and HEPA Vacuums (traps 99.7% airborne allergens). During the school day our staff will continue to disinfect all multiple touch points. Disinfecting and sanitizing solution is provided in every classroom. The solution used utilizes Signet Neutral Disinfectant (DS1) which meets the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. Lastly, hand sanitizer and no-touch soap dispensers (wall mounted and free standing) are placed throughout the MCMS building and campus for anytime availability.
- Drinking fountains in the common areas have been restricted to bottle fill mode only. The smaller fountains in the classrooms have been temporarily disconnected or removed. We encourage all staff and students to use individual drinking bottles, fillable with the no touch units on each floor.
- HVAC & air quality is another area of extreme investment. Our school is equipped with eight individual systems, each controlling only one to two rooms. While other buildings you visit may share air throughout, our classrooms never share air with more than one other room. We have commissioned local experts to test and balance air flow in all rooms. We have also installed auto-cleaning air ionization systems throughout the building. Bipolar ionization works to safely clean indoor air, leveraging an electronic charge to create a high concentration of positive and negative ions. These ions travel through the air continuously seeking out and attaching to particles. This sets in motion a continuous pattern of particle combination. As these particles become larger, they are eliminated from the air more rapidly. Additionally, positive and negative ions have microbicidal effects on pathogens, ultimately reducing the infectivity of the virus. This bipolar ionization is ozone-free and completely safe while in-person.
- An isolation area has been created in the Toddler room. This room was selected as it currently unused, has its own restroom, and has direct access to an isolated outdoor area. It is outfitted with, among other things, washable bedding, an audio and video monitor, and interior monitoring window.
- Restrooms have stringent daily disinfecting procedures. They have also been upgraded with no-touch soap and paper towel dispensers, all in an effort to limit multi touch points.
- Physical Distancing has been addressed in both classrooms and common areas. Classrooms have been reconfigured to accommodate 15 children in each classroom with six feet of physical distancing in between each workspace. Furniture has been removed from common areas in an effort to create space and deter congregation.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including access to surgical masks, KN95 masks, gloves, and face shields are available to any staff member. We ask every family to provide their child with clean cloth face coverings every day, but we also have available child-sized cloth masks for any student who loses or soils their mask and needs a replacement during the school day.
- Signage is visible throughout the MCMS campus, inside and out. This includes protocols for masks, hand washing and physical distancing, as well as reminders for covering your cough and directional markings.
Daily Arrivals and Dismissals
We have developed drop-off and pick-up procedures that ensure students can maintain physical distance while entering and leaving the building. One-way foot traffic and staggered arrival and departure times for different levels of the school assist with orderly and safe entry and exit.
Our In-person Operating Plan has been created based on guidelines, protocols, and mandates enacted for Dane County. Below you will find additional resources and links with the most recent information available.