COVID Policy Updates
With all the recent updates from the CDC, the Pediatric Community, and other public health agencies; we know that many of you are wondering about our COVID policies for the coming school year. Community members should expect the following when we return:
- Indoor Mask-Wearing: After a year of regular mask-wearing and a summer of mask-optional outdoor explorations, we have a good idea of what children are capable of as far as distancing and safe play practices. With concerns about new variants and growing numbers of infected persons, expect to see CGMS policies around required indoor mask-wearing for all persons age 2 and older.
- Classroom Cohorting: Our classrooms will again be cohorted, reducing the number of children who are exposed to each other. This means that family members will again be placed in class together when possible and classes will have assigned times and spaces for outdoor play and Studio explorations. We understand that you all have busy lives and do not wish to police activities outside of our school. Please respect our cohorting practices by refraining from mixing cohorts during carpool, with the obvious exception of siblings attending different program levels.
- Strict Wellness Policies: Please keep the health of the entire community in mind and keep children home when they are experiencing symptoms like fevers of over 100, runny noses, coughs, etc. Specifics to follow.
- Evolving Visitation Policies: We know that many of you missed coming into the school last year, and we missed seeing you! We are exploring ways to bring our families back in while keeping our community safe. All visitors must be fully-vaccinated and mask-wearing while on the premises.
- Updated Travel Policies: We will continue to research and update our travel quarantine policies to assure that we are doing our due diligence to protect our community while balancing the impact that extended quarantines have on young students and their development.
- Continued Mitigations: We will continue to use previous mitigation strategies of indoor ventilation, regular handwashing, and extra cleaning as we have in the past.
At Children’s Garden Montessori School, we are committed to ensuring a safe and healthy learning environment to the best of our ability. We are working every day to balance both in-person learning and the safety of our children, our families, and our staff. As our community continues to navigate through this unique school year, we pledge to provide you with helpful and timely information about our school’s plans and protocols.
Please consider your actions, and make decisions with the whole community in mind.
- Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible to help Early Care and Education (ECE) programs protect staff and children in their care, as well as their families.
- Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination at this time. Therefore, we encourage following guidance put forth by the Colorado Department of Public Health which emphasizes implementing layered COVID-19 prevention strategies (e.g., using multiple prevention strategies together) to protect children and adults who are not fully vaccinated.
- If you travel, the most effective quarantine period for unvaccinated individuals is still 14 days following last date of exposure
- New acceptable alternatives are one of the following:
- 10 day quarantine if no symptoms, with continuity of mitigation strategies (masks, distancing, etc.)
- 7 day quarantine following negative diagnostic test and no symptoms, with continuity of mitigation strategies
- New acceptable alternatives are one of the following:
- Children who are experiencing any of the following symptoms must remain at home at least 24 hours after symptoms have fully disappeared: temperature of 100 or higher, cough, runny nose, sore throat, loss of sense of smell/taste, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, body aches, fatigue, chills.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
ARRIVING AT SCHOOL:
- We ask that parents and employees continue to monitor the temperatures of all children and employees before coming to school every day. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 F or higher must leave immediately.
- Children and employees must answer symptom checklists before arrival at school every day.
WHILE AT SCHOOL:
- All adults — employees, families, and other community members — are required to wear cloth or medical masks over their nose and mouth at all times while inside the school building. All children ages 2 years and up must also wear masks while indoors. For more information on our mask policies, please see our questions below.
- Teachers will create lessons and plans for how to stagger children’s bathroom use, set times for handwashing, and coach children on proper handwashing timelines and techniques.
- We will encourage and maintain social distancing through staff teaching and environmental design. Please see more information on our social distancing protocol below.
All community members should practice social distancing during pick-ups/drop-offs.
- Parents, caregivers, and other individuals must drop off children at the specific gate for their classroom during their drop-off window:
- Ward Hobbs AM: Northern Gate between 8:15 and 8:30 AM
- Toddlers AM: Center Gate between 8:30 and 8:45 AM
- 440 AM: Southern Gate between 8:15 and 8:30 AM
- Ward Hobbs PM: Northern Gate between 12:15 and 12:30 PM
- Toddlers PM: Center Gate between 12:30 and 12:45 PM
- 440 PM: Southern Gate between 12:15 and 12:30 PM .
- Parents, caregivers, and other individuals must pick up children at the specific gate for their classroom during their pick-up time:
- Ward Hobbs AM: Northern Gate at 11:15 AM
- Toddlers AM: Center Gate at 11:00 AM
- 440 AM: Southern Gate at 11:15 AM
- Ward Hobbs PM: Northern Gate at 3:15 PM
- Toddlers PM: Center Gate at 3:00 PM
- 440 PM: Southern Gate at 3:15 PM
- Family members should call ahead if they need to pick up a child early. They can pull up to the curb and use the front Ring to let administrators know they have arrived. A classroom team member will walk the child from the classroom to the car. If a classroom team member is not available, someone from the administration will do this task. Parents will walk their children from the appropriate gate.
Social distancing will be encouraged and maintained through staff teaching (Grace and Courtesy Lessons) and environmental design. This includes measures such as separating tables and chairs, placing dots on the floor to indicate the distances students should stand between one another. Each child has their own cubby space. Every activity is disinfected after use, the school has purchased plexiglass dividers, Halo air filtration systems, and other items that aide in the disinfection and distancing while at school.
We encourage all students to keep their hands and feet to themselves and avoid giving high-fives, hugs, handshakes, and fist-bumps. We are encouraging and supporting students in engaging in age-appropriate socialization.
Teachers will create lessons and plans to stagger bathroom use and coach children on proper handwashing techniques and timelines. They will also set specific times for handwashing, which will include:
- Upon arrival and every time children come inside
- After the completion of each activity
- After using the toilet
- After contact with bodily functions
- Before and after eating
Students must stay at home if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing COVID-19 symptoms. Any person with the following symptoms should not come to school. If they develop any of the symptoms while at school, they should leave immediately:
- Temperature of 100.4 F or higher
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- New loss of taste or smell
Other indicators of illness include but are not limited to the following:
- Congestion or runny nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
- Nausea or vomiting
In the event a student tests positive for COVID-19, that individual must remain at home until: 1) it has been 24 hours since they had a fever, 2) all respiratory symptoms have improved, and 3) it has been at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared. Students do not need a negative COVID-19 test to return to school.
If anyone in a student’s household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is showing COVID-19 symptoms, that student must remain at home for no fewer than 14 days, regardless if the student or employee receives a negative COVID-19 test result. If the student develops symptoms of COVID-19 during those 14 days, the student or employee must remain at home until 1) it has been 24 hours since having a fever, 2) any respiratory symptoms have improved, and 3) it has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
If a student has recently come into close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, that student or employee must stay at home for no fewer than 14 days. “Close contact” means being fewer than six feet away from someone who tested positive for COVID-19 for longer than 15 minutes. If the student or employee or anyone in the home develops symptoms of COVID-19 during those 14 days, the student or employee must remain at home until 1) it has been 24 hours since the students or employee had a fever, 2) any respiratory symptoms have improved, and 3) it has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared.
In the event an individual falls ill with symptoms that indicate a presumptive positive case of COVID-19 while at school, we will:
- Remove and isolate the suspected case from the classroom.
- After notifying the Head of School, an employee who is feeling ill must leave the premises.
- Students who show signs of illness, have a fever, or develop symptoms of infectious illness while at school will be isolated from others immediately. Staff will supervise them in a screened-off space, well removed from the rest of the school community before going home from school. A member of school leadership will contact the child’s family to arrange for immediate pick-up of the sick child. Students who are ill should follow the public health guidelines (above) for returning.
- Upon confirmation of a case of the virus in the school community (someone physically present on the school grounds), the school will contact the Denver County Public Health Department and follow their instructions.
- Unless a larger outbreak necessitates city or statewide closures, the Denver County Public Health Department is CGMS’s health partner to determine closures and complete contact tracing. CGMS is obligated to report to Denver County Public Health the names of any students or employees with confirmed cases. Based on health department guidelines, CGMS can report to students and families the occurrence of a known exposure. CGMS will not disclose the names of any individual with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 to the school community.
- Notify families via phone to pick up children should CGMS need to close immediately. Additionally, CGMS will send an email detailing instructions and health department orders on the reported COVID-19 case by the end of that same school day.
- Remove and isolate the suspected case from the classroom.
In the event of a positive case, CGMS will work with public health experts to determine the size of possible exposure. With minimum exposure, CGMS might close a specific classroom for cleaning. With broader exposure, there is a possibility that we will have to close the entire school.
All students ages 2 years and older must wear masks while indoors at school. These students should bring two clean masks with them each day. CGMS has a supply of masks as a back-up.
CGMS has purchased and has lanyards available in order to support students in keeping their masks clean and available. We strongly suggest purchasing additional lanyards to aid in ease and independence of use.
For students who need support in learning to use their masks, CGMS will provide them with opportunities to remove masks in special spaces where social distancing and individual work are possible, with the goal of fully adjusting to mask-wearing within the first few weeks of school.
Currently, outdoor mask-wearing is optional.
In order to keep the community as safe as possible, staff will:
- Have designated protocols on how and when to disinfect materials, which CGMS will clearly post in writing throughout the school.
- Disinfect materials and activities after each use. Staff will not use materials that cannot be cleaned and sanitized. Materials that children have placed in their mouths or that are otherwise contaminated by body secretions or excretions will be set aside until staff cleans them.
- Set aside materials that a child who is ill has been working with until they are able to clean them.
- Routinely throughout the day, disinfect, sanitize, and clean frequently used surfaces, as well as the children’s bathroom.
- Between morning and afternoon cohorts, disinfect the whole classroom — this means shelves, tables, chairs (including chair backs), bathrooms, and frequently touched surfaces (light switches, door handles, etc.). Additionally, staff will sweep, mop, and vacuum.
- Use Electrostatic Spray Tech between classes, when needed.
Please note that children’s books, like other paper-based materials such as mail or envelopes, are not considered high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfection procedures.
- We are implementing space schedules to allow all children to use the outdoor and indoor spaces, with minimal overlapping of classes.
- Small groups will take daily walks for outdoor enjoyment, and we will provide extra space in classrooms and on the playground during large group times.
- Vents and air returns are clean, open, and fully exposed to allow for proper air ventilation.
- We have assigned one child per cubby to maintain social distancing.
- During larger group play, when only one class cohort is on the outdoor playground, we will ensure shelves are covered in the other classrooms’ space (for example: the lower yard should have its shelves covered when Ward Hobbs is on the playground).
- We will implement schedules and routines to allow for movement between indoor and outdoor spaces, with consideration and protection of cohorts and classrooms.
Snack time will continue to be a free choice activity. After washing their hands and serving their snack, children will sit in a designated area to eat. These areas will be at least six feet away from one another so that children can safely remove their masks while eating. Afterward, staff will help children replace masks, ensure children wash their hands, clean their plates, and disinfect the eating space.
WHAT ARE CGMS’ CURRENT LEARNING OPTIONS FOR CHILDREN IF THEY CAN NO LONGER BE IN CLASSROOMS FULL TIME?
Moving to full distance learning curriculum will be based on health necessities considering factors such as:
- Recommendations by local public health authorities
- Mandates by the Governor of Colorado to return to a “Stay at Home” mandate.
- Outbreaks within the school, requiring us to shut down in-person learning completely
While attending in the distance model, we will follow the State recommendations for Stay at Home orders. Once those orders lift, we will consider transitioning back, and considering the following conditions:
- The viral spread of COVID-19 is decreasing or stable in the state of Colorado, specifically in the Denver Metro area.
- No COVID-19 cases occur within the CGMS community of staff, students, and parents.
- Guidelines, indicators, and recommendations related to school attendance are strong or positive.
- We have found, through experience, that space, modifications, and protocols that we have adopted are sufficient to accommodate our needs.
If the above conditions exist and we have determined we can safely accommodate, we will increase in-person days over time.
Using our distance learning resources, we will coach parents on how to set up a consistent at-home workspace for their child. We will provide families with schedules, work ideas, additional materials, and online options while distance learning.
We strive to update this page as frequently as possible with the latest updates. We will also use our email system and phone calls to alert families to pressing information. If you have any questions, please reach out to us via email.
Colorado COVID-19 Updates
CDC COVID-19 Guidance
COVID-19 Guidance for Schools
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