Maria Montessori School Reopening Plan

Last updated Aug. 31, 2021

COVID-19 testing

Policies and procedures

Cleaning and disinfecting in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak

Maria Montessori School follows the CDC’s guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.

These efforts include the following:

  • Staff will routinely clean, sanitize and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, especially materials.
  • All bathrooms will be cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day.

Clean and sanitize materials

  • Materials will be cleaned and sanitized between each use by the assistant.
  • Materials that children have placed in their mouths or that are otherwise contaminated by body secretions or excretions will be set aside until they are cleaned by hand by a person wearing gloves. These materials will be sanitized prior to use by the next person.
  • Machine washable cloth materials will be used by one individual at a time and will be laundered before being used by another child.

Clean and disinfect bedding

  • Each child’s bedding is kept separate and stored in individually labeled bins. Cots and mats are labeled for each child. Bedding is cleaned at least weekly.

Cleaning and disinfecting procedures if an infected person (staff or child) has been in a school building

  • Close off areas used by the individuals with COVID-19 and wait 24 hours before beginning to clean and disinfect to minimize the potential for exposure to respiratory droplets.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Staff will clean and disinfect all areas used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
Health screenings

Daily staff and child health screenings are important to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and all other illnesses at school.

Parent screening of child prior to morning arrival

  • Each child must have had a health screening completed and logged by a parent/caregiver on School Cues by 7:45 a.m. prior to arrival each morning. Children will not be allowed on campus until daily screening IS completed. The following form can be accessed daily using the School Cues app or by going online to schoolcues.com.

Staff screening of child at school

  • Staff will conduct and log the temperature checks of each child and adult in the community before lunch daily. Additional temperature checks will be conducted if needed.
  • Staff will make a visual inspection of the child for signs of illness which could include flushed cheeks, rapid or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue or extreme fussiness. If the child exhibits any of these symptoms at arrival or at any point during the day, the child will be isolated and parents will be required to pick up their child within one hour of being contacted by MMS.

Click here to download the MMS COVID-19 screening form.

Lunch visitors

We cannot accommodate on-campus lunch visitors at this time.

Travel policy

Click here to download MMS’ pretravel questionnaire.

Click here to download MMS’ post travel questionnaire.

Because travel poses unique risks, including spending time in security lines, in cabins where social distancing is not possible, in vehicles that may have previously driven other contagious individuals and in enclosed areas with poor air circulation, your risk of exposure to COVID-19 during such travel increases. 

While traveling, please wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing. Please make these prudent choices and do your best to live safely. We are depending on you and your families to follow the best safety practices so we can continue to stay open. After all, staying open and keeping everyone safe and healthy is our ultimate goal; we are relying on you to help us do that.  

We know that families will be traveling throughout this school year. In addition to following all of the safety protocols while traveling, it is equally important that, after trips, students only return to campus if they are well and have no known exposures. If you know of anyone traveling with you that has had possible exposure, stay home and consult your family practitioner prior to returning to campus. We are happy to support your student in remote learning if there is any probable exposure until it is safe to return. Thank you for taking this seriously and keeping the MMS community safe! 

Restricted travel

Students who travel under the following circumstances will be required to “quarantine” away from school per consultation with the nurse and CDC guidelines.

  • Travel by common carrier, including airplane, train, or bus 
  • Domestic travel to a location with a spike in COVID-19 cases (defined by the CDC as reporting 5,761 cases or more in the previous 7 days) 
  • International travel 

Please use the travel questionnaire to notify the school in advance.

Unrestricted travel

If you travel by means other than those listed above, parents will also be asked to complete the student travel questionnaire as soon as possible. At this time, unrestricted travel includes travel by car and overnight stays in a hotel, motel or rental property. A post-travel questionnaire must be filled out and submitted at least 24 hours before your planned return to school. The information provided in these travel questionnaires will be considered in MMS’s decision as to whether a student must “quarantine” away from school for a period of time before your return to campus. 

Things to consider when planning an unrestricted trip: 

  • Will you be attending any large gatherings of 50 people or more?
  • Will you be partaking in any activities where you are unable to socially distance? 
  • Will you be dining out?

Policy for isolation, quarantine and testing for all staff and children

COVID-19 symptoms at school – children

If COVID-19 symptoms begin while at school, the child must be sent home as soon as possible. Sick children will be kept separate from well children and staff contact will be limited as much as reasonably possible, while ensuring the safety and supervision of the child until they leave.

Classroom staff will follow these isolation procedures:

  • Classroom staff will take the child to the designated isolation location.
  • The classroom staff will inform the office staff of symptoms exhibited.
  • Office staff will contact parents to come to school to pick up the child.
  • The office staff will supervise the child until the parent arrives.
  • Once a parent has left with the ill child, the isolation room is cleaned and sanitized by office staff.
  • Materials, toys and furniture touched by the child who is sent home will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
  • Families are encouraged to coordinate decision-making around the child’s care with the family health care provider if there are specific health concerns, chronic disease, or complex social or emotional dynamics in the home.
  • In the case of a child who has symptoms that could be attributed to COVID-19 and does not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, the child is assumed to have COVID-19, and cannot return to the community until the individual has met the return criteria for children or staff with positive case of COVID-19.
  • A child who has exhibited symptoms that could be COVID-19 can return to school if the parent has obtained a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for return based on a negative COVID-19 test and an alternative diagnosis. 

COVID-19 symptoms at school – staff

Staff are encouraged to monitor their health and required to perform daily health screenings for symptoms of COVID-19. They are encouraged to stay home if exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and to contact their health care provider. Staff exhibiting new or worsening symptoms of possible COVID-19 at school should:

  • Leave the classroom.
  • Obtain a COVID-19 test.
  • Follow the recommendations of their health care provider.
  • In the case of a staff member who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and does not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, the staff member is assumed to have COVID-19, and cannot return to the community until the individual has met the return criteria for children or staff with positive case of COVID-19.
  • If the staff member has symptoms that could be attributed to COVID-19 and wants to return to work before completing the above self-isolation period, the individual must obtain a medical professional’s note clearing the individual for the return based on a negative nucleic acid COVID-19 test and an alternative diagnosis.

COVID-19 exposure – staff and children

If a staff member or child is identified as someone who came into close contact with someone outside the classroom community who is diagnosed with COVID-19, that staff member or child will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days per CDC guidelines. Close contact means being closer than six feet apart for more than 15 minutes when the person was infectious.

Positive case of COVID-19 in the classroom community – children or staff

If COVID-19 is confirmed in a child or staff member in a classroom community, all persons regularly in that community will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days per CDC guidelines. The following actions will be taken by school administration:

  • Contact Child Care Licensing to report the presence of COVID-19 our school.
  • Notify the Tennessee Department of State Health Services.
  • Notify staff and parents/caregivers that a member of the classroom community has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Confidentiality will be maintained.
  • Notify the school community that a child in the school (not their community) has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Confidentiality will be maintained.
  • Close the specific classroom community per CDC guidelines to allow self-quarantine for all children and staff in the classroom community who have been in close contact with the person diagnosed with COVID-19 (per CDC guidelines). Decisions about extending closure will be made in consultation with the Tennessee State Department of Health.
  • Complete disinfecting procedures. 

Children or staff with positive case of COVID-19 who exhibited symptoms and stayed home (in isolation) can return to school/work when all of the following criteria are met:

  • At least three days (72 hours) since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications); and
  • Respiratory symptoms such as coughing or shortness of breath are improving; and
  • At least 10 days since symptoms first appeared or negative results of an FDA Emergency Use Authorized COVID-19 molecular assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens are collected less than 24 hours apart (total of two negative specimens).
Return to school decision support algorithm

Low risk symptoms: sore throat, nasal congestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, myalgia, headache, fatigue.

High risk symptoms: fever of 100.4 or greater, new onset of a cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste/smell.

Symptomatic students:

A student with a COVID-19-like illness (one “high risk” or two or more “low risk” symptoms) should be assessed by a physician and tested for COVID-19 as well as influenza, RSV, group A Streptococcus depending on the signs and symptoms.

  • If the test is negative or another pathogen is identified and the person is not a contact of a COVID-19 case, then the student can return to school when symptoms improve and is afebrile for 24 hours or more with a note from physician.
  • If the test is positive, no test is done or no other pathogen identified, the student must stay home for a minimum of 10 days and is afebrile and symptom-free for 24 hours or longer.

Asymptomatic students:

Anyone who comes in contact with a known COVID-19 case must isolate at home per CDC guidelines.

If a student chooses to get tested after exposure, the student may return to school if symptom free and receive two negative tests taken 24 hours or longer apart.

If any child shows signs and symptoms, they will be removed from their classroom, given a surgical mask and isolated in a safe environment. A staff member will be with them at all times dressed in proper PPE. Guardians will be notified and are asked to retrieve children within the hour.

Please click here to view the Tennessee Department of Health’s Public Health COVID-19 Return to School Decision Support Algorithm.

Quarantine and isolation defined

Quarantine – Quarantine is used to keep someone who might be exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.

Isolation – Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. In the home, anyone sick or infected should separate themselves from others by staying in a specific “sick room” or area and using a separate bathroom (if available).

COVID-19 communication

Maria Montessori School will communicate with families if either a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19.

Resources:

Monitoring absenteeism

Any unusual patterns will be considered when evaluating the need for temporary or long-term building or campus closure. Decisions about extending closure will be made in consultation with the Tennessee State Department of Health.

Healthy hand hygiene

Washing hands can keep you healthy and prevent the spread of infections from one person to the next. All children and staff will engage in hand hygiene at the following times:

  • Arrival to the classroom and after breaks.
  • Before and after each work choice.
  • Before and after eating or handling food.
  • After using the toilet or helping a child use the bathroom.
  • After coming in contact with bodily fluid.
  • After playing outdoors or in sand.
  • After handling garbage.
  • Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth because that is how germs enter our bodies.
  • After assisting children with handwashing, staff should also wash their own hands.

Follow these five steps to wash your hands the right way

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Use hand sanitizer for adults when you can’t use soap and water

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations.

How to use hand sanitizer:

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
COVID-19 shutdown plan

In the event that a specific environment or the entire school needs to close due to COVID-19, each environment has established a plan and procedure.

  • The Toddler environment will provide materials for pick up and host a weekly parent support meeting.
  • The Primary environment will provide packets for pick up and host daily storytime via Zoom.
  • Elementary 1 will provide a packet of supplies for pick up, a list of potential needs at home and themed lessons with possible follow-up from 8:30-11:30 a.m. via Zoom.
  • Elementary 2 will provide a packet of supplies for pick up, a list of potential needs at home and themed lessons with possible follow-up from 8:30-11:30 a.m. via Zoom.
  • Middle School will have scheduled online school from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., and a list of potential needs to have at home will be sent out.

In the event that an individual child needs to quarantine, your child’s teacher will contact you directly.