Fall Re-Opening Guide

Arbor Montessori School

Recent Communications

This page was last updated on 8/21/2020

The Arbor Update, 8/17

Children entering a Montessori classroom for the first time benefit from a gentle orientation to their new space. In a way, we are all entering a new space for the very first time this fall; let’s be gentle with one another as begin our return to campus as a community for the first time in five months…

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Previous Messages

July 31st: A Message from Our Interim Head of School

July 24th: Arbor 2020-2021 School Year Information

July 15th: All-School Fall Re-Opening Survey


 

Community Partnership

The Arbor community relies upon each family to do their part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our school community. This includes activities and behaviors outside of school. We rely on a mutual commitment to the wellbeing of each other as a primary strategy of keeping our school community safe.

We ask all Arbor Families to commit to:

  • Practice physical distancing and wear a mask while both on and off campus.
  • Make significant consideration to limiting risks outside of Arbor (such as limiting social contact with those in the community or keeping contact only with those within the family’s COVID-19 “bubble”)
  • Keep students at home if they have been exposed to anyone who has COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  • Keep students at home if someone in your household is ill or has been closely exposed to COVID-19.
  • Honor requests for families to limit access to campuses to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Make efforts to arrive and pick up children on time, particularly when addressing any student who becomes ill while on campus.
  • Report family exposure, illness, or any other information to the school that will assist us in maintaining a safe environment.
  • Follow CDC recommendations regarding travel & self-quarantine when returning from travel.

Re-Opening At a Glance

Masks

All children ages 3 and up are required to wear masks. The teachers will offer lessons on how to wear masks, remind children not to touch their masks, and help children who need assistance adjusting their masks throughout the day. We will also have a collection of disposable masks if something happens to a child’s mask throughout the day.  Please note: Children under the age of 3 should not wear masks.

Temperature Checks

Staff will conduct a daily temperature check of your child upon arrival. Staff members will have daily temperature checks as well. Any child or staff member presenting with a temperature >99.5oF or higher as measured by a non-contact forehead thermometer, or showing signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will not be admitted to the school.

Campus Access

While students are on campus, access will be limited to students, teachers, and staff. Parent access will be limited.

Cleaning & Sanitizing

Daily cleaning routines will be enhanced at the classroom level and school-wide; this will include the comprehensive sanitizing of the hands-on materials used in the classroom, as well as the regular disinfecting of classroom surfaces, bathrooms, indoor common spaces, and playground surfaces.

Class Structure

Class sizes may be limited to allow for physical distancing. Physical distancing will be explained, modeled, and reinforced by all faculty and staff.

Technology

Teachers will continue to facilitate digital learning using our new learning management system, Schoology. Teachers will create, manage, and share academic content through this virtual platform during the hybrid and distance learning models.

Arrival & Dismissal

Arrival and dismissal procedures will be modified to allow for daily health screenings and to minimize contact between students from different classrooms. Please allow extra time for morning check-ins, and pick up children promptly at the end of the day.


 

COVID-19 Decision Making Process

Arbor Montessori School has convened a COVID task force to monitor the global outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This committee will review information from the medical community and government authorities in order to make careful, intentional decisions that are in the best interest of our community’s health and safety. In addition, the committee will continue to review and update the safety protocols and procedures outlined for returning to campus.

The COVID-19 Task Force includes our current Board President, the Interim Head of School, the chair of the Health & Safety Committee, our Business Manager, the Board Treasurer (and Head of the Finance Committee), a faculty representative from each level of the school, and key members of our Arbor community with expertise in this area. Our sources of information include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Health care professionals in our Arbor community
  • Dekalb County Health Department
  • Georgia Department of Health
  • Center for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Local, state, national, and international government officials
  • Bright from the Start (Childcare Licensing)

Guidance and data from these sources will be used to inform our path towards the safest return possible for our employees and students. While we remain aware of the latest news and information available from these sources, our decisions are made independently. As an independent school, we do not operate under the same authorities as public schools and will make the best choices for the health and safety of our community, and we will hold ourselves to a high standard.

The COVID-19 Decision Tree, available for download below, offers insight into how information will be interpreted and inform our plan for learning for the first portion of the school year, and at regular intervals thereafter.


 

Learning Models

In-Person Learning

This is our typical model for education. Additional health and safety protocols are in place to ensure the safety of students and staff. This method most closely reflects our traditional Montessori learning environment and is the preferred method for educating our students. Arbor will conduct in-person learning when COVID-19 levels in the community permit.

Hybrid Learning

This learning plan offers a combination of in-person and distance learning. The specific combination of in-person and distance learning will vary by level, based on the reason for the transition between learning models (e.g., if one cohort has a COVID-19-positive case), and based on additional community factors.

Distance Learning

If circumstances require a full school closure, we will implement our distance learning program. Teachers will offer a curriculum through our learning management platform, Schoology. Faculty and staff will supplement lessons with printable materials, defined learning schedules, clear expectations for assignments, and opportunities for accountability and feedback.

Fall Learning Plan: Hybrid Model

Arbor Montessori School will begin the school year on Monday, August 24th, following a Hybrid Learning Model at most levels. This decision was made with guidance and data provided by the Board’s COVID-19 task force and input from Arbor faculty and staff. We are committed to offering the highest quality Montessori learning experience while also providing the safest possible return for our students and our staff. While we anticipate starting the year following this model, we will continue to monitor the latest information available and acknowledge that plans may change at any point in the year.

The Hybrid Model for learning is new for the Arbor community. This blend of in-person learning and distance learning will offer students an opportunity for both Montessori-style learning and opportunities for social interaction while taking safety and exposure into consideration. Further details have been sent directly to the parent community via The Arbor Update, our weekly email newsletter.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will families have an option to choose distance learning if uncomfortable sending their children to school?

Yes. Parents will have the option to choose 100% distance learning for their children when in-person and hybrid models are in use.

Will my child need to wear a mask?

Yes, in most cases. All children ages 3 and up are required to wear masks. The teachers will offer lessons on how to wear masks, remind children not to touch their masks, and help children who need assistance adjusting their masks throughout the day. We will also have a collection of disposable masks if something happens to a child’s mask throughout the day.  Please note: Children under the age of 3 should not wear masks.

How will you make sure sick students do not come to school?
Temperature checks upon arrival will only catch those with a fever. We ask that as a community, all families commit to our health and safety protocol and attest that they are symptom free daily.
Will early morning and after school care be offered?

Early morning care and after school care will not be offered during our current hybrid learning model.

Will the shuttle bus be running between campuses?

Bus service will not be offered during our current hybrid learning model.

What technology setup will my child need to access online learning?

Students will need a computer with a reliable internet connection and a webcam to access Schoology and participate in Zoom calls with the class. Operating system should not matter, but decent bandwidth does. Visit Schoology’s Help Center for more details on optimal system requirements. 

Are parents allowed on campus this year?

While students are on campus, access will be limited to students, teachers, and staff. As a general rule, parents will not be allowed into the building in order to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis in special circumstances approved by the administration.

Will I receive notice if my child is exposed to a positive classmate or staff member?

Yes. Arbor will notify all impacted families and will follow the COVID-19 protocol for closing a class if needed. 

How can I, as a parent, support Arbor right now?

We ask that parents will be understanding with teachers and staff as we navigate these difficult times. We know that current plans are not perfect, but we are working hard to provide as much as we can for as many families as possible. Your support at this time means the world to us.