One World Montessori Reopening Plan
Dear One World Families–
First, we want to thank all of you for your patience as we worked on our reopening plan for August. We also want to thank all of you for participating in the surveys we have recently sent out. Your responses, in combination with the recommendations from the CDC, have helped us draft our plan for reopening the school in August.
The surveys indicated that nearly half of our families wish for their children to return to school full-time with precautions while the other half feels more comfortable with their children returning with a hybrid or part-time approach. A small percentage of families opted for a virtual start to learning. After much discussion, we believe we can safely accommodate both a full-time and part-time approach. The full day students will arrive between 8:15-8:30 and leave in the afternoons between 2:45-3:00. The hybrid (part-time) students will come to school Monday through Friday. They will also arrive between 8:15-8:30, and carpool will run from 11:45-12:00. In order to run both plans concurrently, we will follow a modified Plan A schedule. In this plan, all students will have a morning work period while we utilize all of our space to maintain social distancing. The plan also incorporates the idea of “cohorts” as defined by the Center for Disease Control. The CDC website explains what cohorting is and how it works:
- One important strategy that administrators can consider is cohorting (or forming “pods”). Cohorting forms groups of students, and sometimes teachers or staff, that stay together throughout the school day to minimize exposure for students, teachers, and staff across the school environment.
- Ideally, students and staff within a cohort would only have physical proximity with others in the same cohort. This practice may help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by
- limiting cross-over of students, teachers, and staff to the extent possible, thus decreasing opportunities for exposure to or transmission of SARS-CoV-2,
- facilitating more efficient contact tracing in the event of a positive case, and
- allowing for targeted testing, quarantine, and isolation of a single cohort instead of school-wide measures in the event of a positive case or cluster of cases.
Though we have attached a more detailed document about our Modified Plan A Schedule, I want to briefly outline the strategies we are implementing to prevent the spread of the virus. We intend to do the following:
- Use building space differently so that students are spread out and socially distanced. We feel confident that the large space of our school coupled with our low class sizes will greatly work in our favor.
- Implement a cohort system during times that social distancing and mask wearing are harder to accomplish such as snack time.
- Limit shared materials and supplies. We will do this by providing each child with a box or bag containing all of the supplies he or she will need (pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissons, compasses, protractors, etc.). All community supply baskets (pencils, markers, crayons) will be removed from the classrooms.
- We will also be adhering to the mask guidelines the Governor outlined in his July 14th address, which states that all children 5 and above are required to wear a facial covering (we will accept either cloth masks or reusable plastic shields).
We have put a lot of thought into the safest way to bring our teachers and students back, and though we feel good about the plan, we also realize that there is no perfect fix when trying to live with COVID-19. Equally frustrating is the possibility that with the uncertainty of COVID, we may have to return to all virtual learning. For example, if the Governor shuts down the state to all but essential personnel, OWM students who are 5 and up will transition to an online learning platform, such as Edmodo and/or Zoom. Additionally, if a student, staff member, or community member tests positive for the virus, the school will close for two weeks and the students will shift to online learning. We fully realize that no matter how we proceed, the plan will not be perfect. However, at the basis of every decision is the safety, health, and well-being of the OWM community. We believe the adjustments we are making to our classrooms are worth it if we can prevent one person from getting sick.
Over the next week, we will send out additional information that further explains the reopening plan. We will also be sending out the Personal Items Lists for Students needed for each classroom and updated information about Parent Orientation/Open House. I know this is a lot to digest, and I am sure that many of you will have questions. Please don’t hesitate to call the school or email us and we will do our best to answer everything.
We appreciate all of your help and understanding during this unprecedented and difficult time. We are incredibly fortunate to have such a strong and supportive community.
Kirk and April Kennedy