If you have questions about when to stay home or returning to school here is a link to the Vermont Dept of Health site to help families make the best decision.
We, as a school, have been working hard to develop Hilltop Montessori School’s Re-Entry Plan for the Fall of 2020. We have great appreciation for the staff, teachers, Board members, and parents who offered and helped to develop this plan. It is nimble and able to adjust to changing situations.
Every decision and action we take in preparation for the reopening of Hilltop Montessori School, HMS, for the 2020-21 school year is guided by the following core principles:
- We will proactively guard the health, well-being, and safety of the children, adolescents, and adults in our immediate community, the surrounding community, the state, and the world.
- We will remain true to our Montessori values and our mission, for students to practice responsible independence in a caring community of curious, critical learners and thoughtful citizens.
- We will continue to cultivate a culture of belonging, with a deep commitment to each community member feeling embraced, valued, respected, and celebrated.
We are committed to holding your child in whatever format possible. We are not looking to try to mirror the way things were, but will explore any advantages and opportunities provided by each stage of reentry. Our commitment is to make the coming year rewarding, productive, loving, and positively memorable for our staff, students, and families.
The year ahead will require a strong partnership between families and the school. Please read through the attached document carefully and thoughtfully to begin that shared commitment, and set both ourselves and our children up for a safe and successful year ahead.
Daily Temperature Checks and Screening
The VTDH and AOE are requiring daily temperature checks and the completion of daily screening questions for school entry. Health checks will be done prior to the student getting out of the car at drop-off. A staff member will record the child’s temperature and then ask a series of questions contained in a COVID-19 Daily Health Screening Questionnaire shown below. If a parent, guardian, or caregiver answers “yes” to any of the questions, and/or if the child has a temperature of 100.4o F or above and no specific diagnosis, the child will not be allowed to be on the school campus until they have had no fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. In this case, the school will need to contact the VTDH and the AOE to determine the next steps for the student’s group or HMS.
Shared Responsibility for Returning to School Agreement
It is the responsibility of our entire HMS community to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, families, and greater community. The following are three important areas that our parents must support to promote the health and well-being of the entire school community:
- Please do not send your children to school if they are showing signs of illness. This is more important than ever before, and supports the State requirements. The VTDH requires that children do not come to school when feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms. Do not give a child fever-reducing medicine to reduce a fever and then send them to school. Parents must report if their child is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms to the Front Desk on the day the symptoms first appear. Please read the current list of COVID-19 symptoms here.
- If a child is sick, they will be required to go home and will need to be picked up promptly (as soon as reasonably possible). A child showing symptoms will need to be isolated until picked up by a caregiver. Thus, we ask that parents ensure that a caregiver is readily available to come get a child if necessary on any given day. This means if a parent or guardian is out of town or unavailable for any reason, a secondary caregiver should be notified ahead of time and made aware of their responsibility to be available to pick up an ill child as promptly as possible, as well as notifying the Front Desk. We will be keeping a list of contacts for each child at the Front Desk. The student will be isolated, outside if weather permits, or inside in a well-ventilated room away from other students and with a staff person in appropriate PPE.
- By choosing to send your child to school, you are agreeing to possibly curtail other activities so as to keep our community safe. You are required to comply with the changing Vermont State t ravel restrictions and guidelines in place. At this point, that means d o not go to a county with more than 400 cases/million people in the last two weeks of August. Please also do not excessively socialize with an extended group of people in a way that significantly increases your risk of exposure and/or makes contact tracing more challenging and extensive. We really want to be able to meet in person, and doing so successfully requires a commitment from everyone in the community to follow safety guidelines and exercise good judgement.
- We have developed a for our community — parents and staff — to sign so that we all understand, and commit to, our responsibility in protecting our children, each other, and the community as a whole. We will require that parents and staff sign this agreement prior to the start of school.
We trust that our parents will comply and be forthcoming with information provided as part of the screening process, and will not bring children to school who have been given fever reducing medication. We also are requiring that families follow the guidelines for travel out of State in order to send their children to school.
Learning From Home
Hilltop Montessori School has put together a handbook in an effort to translate both the sense of community that Hilltop provides, along with the academic and “whole child” offerings that are regularly given by our school. We are continuing to apply lessons learned from the spring experience to further improve the experience from home, should we be called upon to do that again.
Aid to Life – A straightforward advice based on Montessori principles that are easy to understand and apply
Talking to your child about COVID-19 – National Assocation of School Psychologists
How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus – NY Times article
A Comic for Kids about COVID-19 – by NPR editor Malakra Gharib teaching early elementary children about coronavirus
HMS is following the guidelines and recommendations of state and federal government agencies, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Vermont Department of Health (VTDH), the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE), and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to the best of our ability and with consideration for children’s ages and developmental stages.
By choosing to send your child to school, you are agreeing to possibly curtail other activities so as to keep our community safe. We ask families to stay informed about travel and comply with the changing Vermont State Travel Guidelines in Vermont
Visit our website here to learn about the current Admissions Process. We look forward to hearing from you.