COVID-19 Update Center

School Reopening

Latest Update August 13

We have started a Q&A document where the community can submit questions as well as read answers to questions that have been posed. We will work to answer the questions you submit as soon as we are able to do so and will update information if it changes. 

 

We ask that you consult the responses on this Q&A prior to contacting the school. August is always a very busy time, but this year we are developing entirely new procedures and protocols for nearly everything children and teachers do throughout a typical school day. 

 

August 11 was the first day that our full staff returned to work, and some details remain forthcoming as our full team prepares for the year ahead through in-service this week and next. 

 

As always, we thank you for your support and patience as we work to develop the best Montessori educational experiences we can within the constraints in which we find ourselves.

 

 - The SVCMS Leadership Team

 

Update August 7

Dear SVCMS Families,

We appreciate that 2020 is and has been a difficult year for us all. We grieve every time we get another announcement about a district moving to remote learning. School is such a significant part of our lives, the impact is magnified. Uncertainty about school creates a hardship for families who rely on school schedules, for students who thrive by having contact with their friends and guides, and for staff who wish to be in their classrooms. 

On 8/4, SVVSD announced they were updating their reopening plan to be 100 percent online-learning model through September. Later that day, BVSD announced the same.

After thorough discussion in last night’s board meeting, we have determined that while we long to be with our students in person, we require an interim approach to the start off the year in which we tread carefully into in-person delivery.

This decision was informed by our surveys, public health guidance, the direction of neighboring  and districts, our own feasibility analysis, as well as careful consideration of the impact of our decision on the long term sustainability of SVCMS.

We have decided that SVCMS will use these first six weeks of the school year in a Remote PLUS model to reintroduce in-person learning mindfully. We will deliver remote learning, and schedule a series of outdoor, in-person learning times for students. We will also have scheduled family education and training to allow our families to build into in-person learning.

In preparation for our Town Hall Call today I’d like to share our initial thinking. Based on our decision, faculty and staff will use their in-service schedule for the next two weeks to fully flesh out plan details by level.

In accordance with our current calendar, SVCMS will Reopen on 8/25 in Remote PLUS Learning. Students will begin with a six week schedule that includes:

  • A dedicated guide will support a small cohort of peers within their virtual classroom.

  • Guide and peers will remain constant

  • Cohort will work together over the course of the six weeks both remotely and in regularly scheduled outdoor work-cycles under health department approved health and safety conditions.

  • Remote learning will be according to an established and stable schedule

  • Families will receive weekly guide support.

Students will be placed in their cohorts based on parents indication of a future preference for either Hybrid or Fully Remote learning.

All students will be invited to attend a six week schedule of in-person meetings to transition back to school after such a long time away. These meetings will include relationship building, learning activities, and importantly will focus on how we “do this thing called school in a pandemic” so that we can intentionally build capacity for success among all student as we endeavor the unknowns of a really different year ahead. If families prefer not to attend these meetings, we will make other arrangements to accommodate them.

Remote learning will include a blend of synchronous (Zoom) and asynchronous (independent work or pre-recorded lessons) learning, following a set schedule each day. Attendance will be taken daily and all levels will have a high degree of live interaction with students.

Parents will also be invited to meet with school leadership following a syllabus of topics ranging from Montessori Assistant training topics, to home support/set-up, to assessing the best option for your family based on a COVID Risk Tolerance Scale, to how to establish safe social pods, among other topics. Parent meetings will be aligned with student meetings.

In today’s Town Hall meeting, we invite you to share your wishes/wonders, questions, and concerns with us so that we can use the time before school begins to prepare for a productive start to our unique school year.

We've haven't been able to be in community with one another in a long, long time. Our Remote PLUS Plan will allow our community to slowly build the required habits and trust needed to make in-person learning possible. 

We know working parents are especially challenged and need the help of others in our community to make being a member of our community work. Our Remote PLUS six week plan  will also facilitate the formation of learning and socialization pods for our families to lean on in the coming months.

What do we need to teach our children in a pandemic? How to be safe. How to care for others. How to make hard decisions that are based on needs not wants. How to be flexible and able to adapt to constantly changing and really frustrating situations. How to endure personal discomfort for the good of the community.

Please join the Community Meeting at 2:00 p.m. if you can. We truly appreciate that it is going take a ton of work to make this work for everyone. You have our commitment to work in partnership with you to the fullest extent of our abilities.

Thank you!

 

Sincerely,

SVCMS Leadership

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Update August 6, 2020

On August 4, families received an email from SVVSD regarding their decision to move school to a remote learning platform through the end of September. BVSD has also announced their intention to start remotely. SVCMS is currently weighing its options for reopening. We are considering offering both Hybrid and Fully Remote offerings. For now, we are focusing on the first 6 weeks of school with our reopening planning because we know the public health situation will continue to evolve.

 

At this time, our Reopen Team feels comfortable resuming a limited, in-person Hybrid learning model with small cohorts and physical distancing as well as recommended mitigation measures in place. In order to flesh out the feasibility of our reopening plans, we would like to receive one more round of feedback from our families in light of the evolving situation with surrounding districts and schools, and the climate in general.

 

We are basing this decision on the following:

  • The Boulder County Health Department has given us clearance to resume in-person learning. (See letter from BCPH executive director.) 

  • Case counts of COVID-19 within Boulder county remain stable and well below the 5% positivity metric set by health experts. SVVSD covers a wider geographic area that include portions of Weld county, which are experiencing an increase of cases.

  • Based on the prior survey and the strong interest in a fully remote option, we believe we can limit student contact to a single guide and a cohort of approximately 10-15 students, depending on the level. Middle school will have the smallest cohorts of less than 10 students per cohort. Others may have between 10-15 students, depending on the size of our fully remote student population.

  • Our school size is an advantage in terms of outbreak management and disease mitigation vs. larger systems with more complicated operations (transportation, sports, broad geography served, etc.)

  • We have performed extensive work and upgrades to the ventilation systems in our buildings (further information on this work is detailed in the attached Health & Safety Guidance Document)

 

However, we also understand that for many families any level of in-person learning does not feel comfortable at this time. Many in our community have expressed concerns due to underlying health conditions, living with older family members, or the relatively young knowledge and limited data that is available on the virus. Even with all the safety and mitigation measures we put in place, resuming in-person learning does assume some risks. As a result, we are offering a fully remote option for families that are unable to commit to in-person learning at this time.

 

We expect that over the course of the year ahead we will have periods of time where some or all of the community will need to be in a fully remote educational model. Our goal is to make these transitions as seamless as possible. Thus our plan for both the hybrid and fully remote models is to follow a centralized curriculum that can be executed flexibly and continuously over a changing landscape.

 

The fully remote option will be more structured than what you experienced in the Spring. For CH, LE, and UE, we plan to have guides who are specifically dedicated to providing synchronous remote learning, as well as ongoing support opportunities for parents. For Middle School, students would participate in combined synchronous lessons through Zoom, as well as independent Occupations work in the mornings, while joining peers in the afternoon for remote instruction. 

 

Students and parents can expect a daily schedule, where they check in with teachers at specific times and also work independently throughout the day.  A primary goal will be establishing and maintaining a strong teacher to family/student relationship. Attendance will be taken daily. For this model to be successful, parents will need to be actively engaged in supporting and monitoring their child’s progress. The Hybrid and Fully Remote models do differ by level, so please read the full details noted for your child’s level below.

 

Families were sent one last survey on August 5 seeking input for the Board of Director's vote on August 6. We recognize that this is a very difficult decision, but only your honest input will allow us to determine what is feasible for the school year ahead. The scenarios the school is able to offer depend upon the number of families who select each option (hybrid/remote). Accurate data is critical to our planning. Therefore, we ask that each family take this survey as soon as possible but by not later than noon on August 6 at the latest. The SVCMS BOD will hear recommendations from school leadership at their meeting at 6pm tomorrow, so time is of the essence.

 

As you consider your options, it is important to note that at this time, masks are required for all students age 3 and above at all times when indoors. They are also required outdoors when a 6 ft. physical distance cannot be maintained. From our experience with camps this summer, students adapted to wearing masks well. Our guides will be respectful, kind, and gentle with their guidance on this. However, continuing research shows that masks do aid mitigation efforts, and our internal survey data also shows that our community supports masks wearing by a ratio of 3:1. If masks are a hard stop for you, please choose our fully remote option.

 

Further details about health guidance and procedures that will be in place for our Hybrid model may be found here. This document details quarantine procedures, improved building ventilation measures that have been put in place at school, and increased cleaning and sanitation practices.

 

We will be hosting a town hall  at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, August 7 via Zoom to update the community on the proposed plans (which will be informed by the results of this survey) as well as to answer any questions that will help families make the right choice for their child (ren).

 

We will issue an opportunity for families to OPT-IN to the Fully Remote option over the weekend of August 8-9. The deadline for making this choice will be Monday, August 10th by 10:00 a.m.

 

 Please check your email from SVCMS to take the survey (one survey per child, which includes dual-household families.)

 

Thank you for your continued support and prompt response to this survey.

 

 - SVCMS Reopen Team

Update April 20, 2020

St. Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD) schools will remain closed for the rest of the year. As you may know, both SVVSD and SVCMS have followed the direction of the Governor's Office and our local, county, and state health departments with regard to our pandemic responses. Today Governor Polis shared that K-12 school buildings will remain closed and distance learning will continue for the rest of this school year. We are heartbroken by the news and also know that the Governor's decisions are data-based and these efforts are intended to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe.

As I shared when we began our endeavor to deliver Distance Montessori, the SVCMS faculty and staff are absolutely committed to maintaining our strong connections and providing meaningful and engaging learning opportunities for our students and their families. We know how important our many end of year traditions and celebrations are to our community and we will begin working on ways in which we can celebrate together even as we remain physically apart. Level Leaders and I will share more information about end of year plans as soon as they become available.

We know this will be hard news to share with students. We recommend simple, straightforward communication. Older students will likely become aware of this news in the near future, if they haven't heard it already. Younger children may hear about it over time, but not necessarily right away as parents are likely the gatekeepers of their news. We are here to support you so please let us know if we can be of service in any way.

We miss everyone very much and look forward to connecting in person with all of you as soon as it can happen safely. In the meantime, we will continue to identify opportunities for maximizing connection from a distance. 

May all of you find daily opportunities for happy memory making,

May all of you and your loved ones be safe and healthy,

May all of you experience peace in your hearts, 

And, may all of you remember that You Are Enough.

With sincere appreciation for our SVCMS Family Community.

Katie Torres

 

Update April 1, 2020

On April 1, the Governor extended school building closures through April 30. During this time our Distance-Montessori learning will continue. SVCMS will share additional updates as soon as we learn information that impacts our instructional or end of year celebration plans.

We appreciate your continued community and value our special SVCMS village during this challenging time.

Update March 12, 2020

Letter from Head of School

As more cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue to be reported, health officials in Colorado and Boulder County are closely monitoring the global outbreak and making preparations.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and Boulder County Public Health are working closely with health care providers to share information.

 

 You can see updates on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website.

If a major outbreak were to occur, SVCMS would follow the health department and/or district’s lead on any quarantines, closures, or other health measures needed. 

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. These viruses spread through coughing or sneezing, much like the flu.

Some coronaviruses are common and regularly cause illness in the U.S. each fall and winter.

Other coronaviruses like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV have caused outbreaks internationally and have been known to cause severe illness. A vaccine for COVID-19 is not currently available. 

Based on current information, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 to the general American public is considered low at this time.

 

What can my family do to stay healthy?

The risk to the general public in the U.S. from this virus is currently considered low, but just as is recommended for other respiratory viruses, people can protect themselves and others by practicing everyday actions:

  • Clean hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub.

  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.

  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms.

  • Stay home if you are sick.

Feeling Sick? 

As always, we encourage students who feel ill to stay home, especially if they are experiencing the symptoms listed in the llness Section of the Parent Handbook (page 19). Students who are experiencing symptoms such as a fever, cough, or shortness of breath and have visited Wuhan or had close contact with someone who is suspected to be infected with the novel coronavirus in the past 14 days should seek immediate medical attention.

SVCMS will continue to remain in close consultation with our partners in public health.

St. Vrain Community Montessori School (SVCMS) is a public K-8 charter school in the St. Vrain Valley School District. Our tuition-based Preschool and tuition-free Kindergarten, Elementary, and Middle School programs offer an authentic Montessori education in a standards-aligned environment.

© 2017 by St. Vrain Community Montessori School

 

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