Coronavirus Resources and Information for our School Community
Health and Safety Task Force Update
July 2, 2020
In accordance with the release of the Massachusetts Department of Early and Secondary Education Reopen Plan, CMS has created a task force comprised of administrators, educators, and parents with a variety of expertise to inform the work of the task force. The overarching mission is to design a clear guide that provides detailed policy and procedures to ensure each member of our community can safely return to campus in the fall, while also preserving our commitment to the Montessori method of teaching in the classroom environment.
The task force aim is to not only support the school in meeting state requirements, but to keep the community as safe as possible while ensuring equitable access to in-person and online education. We are following the state requirements while also looking to additional resources and recommendations from other trusted sources, including Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), educational leaders, and more.
Bria Dunham (parent volunteer), PhD MPH, Clinical Assistant Professor and the Director of the Health Science Program at Sargent College of Boston University.
Mia Gore (parent volunteer), MD, Staff Psychiatrist, MIT Medical
Yugon Kim, (parent volunteer), architect, partner at IKD architecture firm, director TSKP Studio Boston which specializes in K-12 facilities design
Allison Lynch, Task Force Chair, Director of Passport
Maitreyi Mazumdar (parent volunteer), MD, MPH, Professor of Neurology, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Professor of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Karen Mellor, Lead Toddler Teacher
Sue Sullivan, Upper Elementary Lead Teacher
Gillian SteelFisher (parent volunteer), PhD MAs, Senior Research Scientist, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Katie Tremblay, Director of Toddler & Primary Programs
Mary Zizzo, Task Force Chair, CMS School Nurse
Phillip Tucker, Task Force Chair, Director of Facilities
There are three subcommittees on the task force to address the various challenges and considerations for health and safety when our campus reopens. They are:
Facilities: This subcommittee is focused on the physical infrastructure of the school. They are working on things like door access (touchless opening), air vents and flow to minimize shared air, and seating to facilitate social distancing inside the classroom.
Logistics: This subcommittee focuses on the actions or processes needed in and around the building. They are working on things like how kids move in and out of the classroom, how the lessons are taught while observing social distancing, as well as how materials are stored to ensure they can be cleaned adequately between use by different children.
Health: This subcommittee focuses on specific protocols that need to be followed to mitigate infection in the fall. They are working on procedures like mask-wearing and hand-washing during the school day, health monitoring, and other before or after school-day procedures for families and staff.
There's lots to be done before school is ready to open in fall, and yet we also know that even state requirements may change before then. So, we are working to remain flexible and adaptive while pushing forward with meaningful progress.
We will be updating the community weekly on our task force work, and are working on a channel to receive questions and feedback. Next week we will be sharing the efforts and work from our Digital Classroom Task Force.
Have a happy and safe July 4th, everyone!
June 23, 2020
To our CMS community,
Both the Health and Safety and Digital Classroom task forces are meeting routinely and have been hard at work planning for various scenarios for the fall. We are simultaneously planning to open our doors in September under a "new normal", as well as preparing to implement a re-imagined and improved online learning experience should that be required in some form (or at some point) in the fall. We are anticipating important state guidance coming next week which will inform much of these plans -- and the critical logistics behind them -- for the months ahead. Thank you for your patience, we look forward to providing you with more information next week. Please note that beginning next week, we will be updating our community weekly on the task forces and their work as we prepare for the fall. It is our goal to keep the community informed and up-to-date on our progress throughout the summer.
We thank the task force members (teachers, parents, and staff, alike) for their time and commitment to these important efforts.
IMPORTANT UPDATE: CMS Remains Closed with Online Learning for Remainder of school year
Dear CMS Community,
Governor Charlie Baker announced a short time ago that the state will be mandating the closure of all schools, both public and private, through Monday, May 4th in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). As such, Cambridge Montessori School will be adhering to that mandate and will continue to provide online and distant learning to its students through that time.
This is a difficult time for all of us and we empathize with our CMS community and the community at large. We sincerely appreciate your partnership and patience as we continue to navigate unfamiliar territory. We are doing our best to ensure that all decisions that we make and support are done so with care and compassion while keeping the best interest of the community at the center.
Please take care of yourselves and your families. We will continue to think about ways that we can best serve our students and the community during this time. We will send regular communication from the school every Tuesday afternoon and throughout the week from teachers and administrators.
Cambridge Montessori School will be closed from Monday, March 16th through Monday, April 6th.
We understand that in order for a community and regional effort of social distancing to be effective, we all have to take part in order to stem the spread of the virus, and better protect against it.
Our community's safety, as well as the health and safety of our broader community and network, are paramount as we navigate this situation together.
Please check back for updates.
Thursday Topic: Talking to your Children about Coronavirus
Today's post is a round-up of tips, resources, and guidelines taken from other schools, parent resources, and our friends at the CDC. We hope it's informative!
TIPS from the CDC:
Remain calm and reassuring.
- Remember that children will react to both what you say and how you say it. They will pick up cues from the conversations you have with them and with others.
Make yourself available to listen and to talk.
- Make time to talk. Be sure children know they can come to you when they have questions.
Avoid language that might blame others and lead to stigma.
- Remember that viruses can make anyone sick, regardless of a person’s race or ethnicity. Avoid making assumptions about who might have COVID-19.
Pay attention to what children see or hear on television, radio, or online.
- Consider reducing the amount of screen time focused on COVID-19. Too much information on one topic can lead to anxiety.
Provide information that is honest and accurate.
- Give children information that is truthful and appropriate for the age and developmental level of the child.
- Talk to children about how some stories on COVID-19 on the Internet and social media may be based on rumors and inaccurate information.
Teach children everyday actions to reduce the spread of germs.
- Remind children to stay away from people who are coughing or sneezing or sick.
- Remind them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or their elbow, then throw the tissue into the trash.
- Discuss any new actions that may be taken at school to help protect children and school staff.
(e.g., increased handwashing, cancellation of events or activities)
- Get children into a handwashing habit
See all the resources to start this conversation below. Not sure what to start? Consider using this comic to help explain COVID-19!
Thanks for reading, and stay healthy everyone.
CMS Community update from the Head of School:
Dear CMS Families/Community,
The CMS leadership team has been working diligently to monitor and assess best practices and guidelines related to COVID-19. We have developed a contingency plan unique to our school community based on the information that we have gathered to date from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Massachusetts State Department of Public Health (DPH) and various neighboring public school systems. We have also referred to international agencies that have experience in situations like this, some of which CMS Director of Technology, Ken Paynter, has worked with in Crisis Management. The leadership team met this afternoon (and will have daily briefings to assess the current plan and make any adjustments including updating information), and have taken the following steps to ensure the safety of all CMS members:
We are limiting social contact to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus. Effective immediately, CMS has postponed ALL school-sponsored events through April 20th, the beginning of Spring Break. These include: Upper El Q&A Session, Becket Parent Meeting with Upper El, Middle School/6 Grade field trip, March Admission Information Session, New Parent Group, Diversity Book Club, Elementary Spring Concert, Admissions Reception for New Families, Primary Spring Assembly, and Senior Projects. While we recognize that we cannot control the activity of the external community, we will do our best to put systems into place that will help us reduce the spread of the virus. We understand that postponing dates is not ideal, however, the safety of our community is paramount. Currently, we have no confirmed cases of the virus. However, if there are any confirmed cases, we will inform our community that a case has occurred and close the school for the appropriate amount of time to clean and disinfect (prepare the environment) so that we are in compliance with medical and health agencies in order to negate transmission. That time frame varies from 1-2 days for a school of our size. Further, we have an obligation to adhere to HIPPA laws and maintain the privacy of our families to not release personal case details. Finally, Program Directors are on alert for making any curriculum recommendations in the event of a long-term closing.
Parent Conferences on Monday, March 16th and Friday, March 27th will continue as scheduled. If for any reason you are unable to attend your meeting, please reach out to your child's teacher and either Sarah Kotwicki or Katie Tremblay to arrange for an alternative format.
Passport Fun Days will be held on campus until further notice (trips planned for off-campus excursions on Fun Days for ELMS have been eliminated).
We are closely monitoring absenteeism and are in contact with each family if a child is kept home from school. We ask that the community self-reports to Mary Zizzo -- in addition to their doctor -- and children and staff stay home if:
They are exhibiting symptoms including fever (100.4 and above) or cough;
- They are exhibiting cold symptoms; or
Someone in your home is exhibiting symptoms; or
Someone in your home has been in close contact with a person who is showing signs of being sick.
Once again, thank you for your support.
Dr. Ingrid Tucker, Head of School
This webpage is dedicated to sharing useful and valuable information about the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) with our school community.
Some families have expressed questions, concerns, and fears regarding this virus and its proximity to ourselves and our children. This page will aggregate resources from state and federal agencies, share best practices for keeping you and your family healthy, as well as disseminate any school-related information as it occurs. CMS Response
In an effort to maintain the health of our community, CMS is restricting visitors to campus (those not currently associated with our CMS community). This includes prospective family visits, which will be done by Skype for the foreseeable future, as well as putting a temporary hold on classroom observations for outside parties (students, non-CMS educators, etc.) for the present time.
Our school is engaging in a nightly deep disinfection in each room in our school, including all surfaces in classrooms and beyond, to prevent or minimize any infection or transmission of virus. Our trained custodial staff will be continuing this practice until further notice. We have established procedures to ensure that any child who presents with illness be sent home as soon as possible, and be kept in a separate, comfortable area away from other children until they are picked up. Finally, teachers are working with students in the classrooms to provide better awareness and practice of handwashing, maintaining social distance, replacing hand shaking with gestures, etc. We strongly encourage any student or staff member who is sick to stay home.
This is critical to keeping our community healthy, and we need your help. Please remain at home if you experience any
of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
Moreover, please contact your doctor if you or your child exhibits any of the symptoms above, and/or you think you or your child could have been exposed to COVID-19. We also ask that you also inform our school nurse, Mary Zizzo
, if you or your child have experienced the symptoms above, or may have been exposed to COVID-19.
We will be updating this page regularly -- please check back for important information.
Thank you for helping us keep our community healthy during this time. Your safety and health remain our highest priority.
-Cambridge Montessori School