Keeping Our Community Safe COVID-19 Plan
Vision and Mission: The Mission guides our forward progress together as we partner with parents to give children opportunities to reach their potential, and develop the skills necessary for success in life. As we embark on this new school year together, it will take the partnership of school and parents to keep our children and NNM community safe and healthy. Every member of the NNM community has the right to expect a heightened level of concern for their health and wellbeing. While it is possible for students, faculty and staff to be exposed to COVID-19 in the course of their days at NNM, everyone is entitled to expect that every reasonable effort and precaution will be taken to prevent this from happening.
Objectives: Living NNM values of respect for others and personal responsibility implies compliance with all Health and Safety standards to keep our community safe. This means thinking of others, appreciating that their risk factor of exposure to the virus may be higher than others and adjusting our behavior with sensitivity and respect, regardless of the inconvenience it may cause us. We are going to extraordinary lengths to meet health and safety guidelines and it is incumbent on every member at NNM to take the necessary precautions to protect each other.
Four Pillars for Health and Safety: The health and safety of students, faculty and staff is our top priority. The following pillars as well as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), State of Illinois and City of Chicago requirements for schools to open safely inform the policies and procedures for in-person learning.
- Physical Distancing and Class Cohorts
- Each class will be considered one cohort; Cohort will not interact with other cohorts
- One way traffic in the building for physical distancing
- Health Screening, Testing & Preventative Hygiene
- Daily temperature check for students, faculty and staff on entry to school
- Adults and children over 3 years old must wear masks while in school
- Sanitizing and Disinfecting
- Montessori materials will be taken out of circulation after each use until sanitized
- High-touch areas will be cleaned regularly
- Deep cleaning to occur each evening
- Communications and Training
- New health and safety standards will be strictly enforced
- Signage on floors and doors will indicate the direction of one-way or two-way traffic
In-Person Learning: We will follow the guidelines of the State/City regarding cohort numbers, which can change. Currently we are working from a plan of 10-15 students. Teachers, classroom assistants and other faculty will rotate among cohorts based on health and safety recommendations. Our Montessori-trained teachers will continue to lead the teaching and learning for their students, based on cohort schedules. The rotation for this schedule will be defined over the coming weeks. Co-curricular and arts classes will be offered by Zoom to a group of students in the classroom, or live and in person by an adult wearing PPE. All students will be given an NNM digital device to use in the classroom as a learning tool and to ease the transition when teaching and learning toggles between in-person and remote learning.
Hybrid Learning: This model assumes students are learning both in school and remotely for extended periods of time. Hybrid learning will occur in the event that local authorities close schools, or due to a single cohort group, level or school being exposed to the virus.
Remote Learning: If local authorities close schools for the academic year, teachers would fully transition the routines, schedules and collaborative activities planned for in person learning to remote learning. Children, with documented immunocompromised systems, may avail of remote learning with teacher support if they cannot attend in-person schooling. Tech training will be provided for teachers, parents and students to ensure success.
As a community, we are monitoring key external metrics as well as many internal metrics. Externally, there are 3 key metrics: (1) Percent positivity; (2) Daily cases; and (3) Reproduction number.
Percent positivity and Daily cases are from Chicago’s COVID dashboard.
Reproduction number is from COVID Act Now.
Additionally, we are measuring several internal metrics, including the following:
- Daily health screener community compliance through Class Pass, including travel questions and COVID exposure
- Daily teacher survey to assess compliance with social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing
- Number of COVID positive cases + number of cohorts isolating
To date, we are fortunate as a community to have managed the number of positive COVID cases.
While there is not a sole metric or threshold that will inform our decision to close, we are prepared to close, if our collective team of medical advisors and administrators and/or other local authority deems that necessary based on the robust data they will be monitoring.
This is our opportunity to live out our values by thinking of others and being helpers by providing encouragement and showing our commitment to a community that transcends physical distance. You can send your Montessori Moments to our communications manager, and make sure to tag Near North Montessori in your own social media posts!