One School’s Pandemic Response:  Back to School at All Day Montessori 

 

In September, All Day Montessori students returned to school after longest break in the school’s 25-year history.  Staff planned and discussed pandemic response policies, but it was all theory until it was put into action.   

Everything was sparkling clean, the tables spread apart, and the drive up/drop off signs ready for the parents.  There were new contactless thermometers, contactless sign in with the new app Transparent Classroom, and lots of PPE.  No one knew what to expect. The children were so happy to return to school. The parents were a little nervous, but thankful to bring their children back. The faculty was a little overwhelmed, but excited to do the work they love, caring for and teaching young children. 

All teachers and students age three and up wear masks except when they are eating, drinking or sleeping.  Each classroom is considered a contained unit. In their classroomsstudents work at designated tables and each has a little basket for when they remove their masks to eat or drink. The children adapting to these different expectations has been effortless. They just seem happy to be back with their teachers and friends. 

ADM parents have read and agreed to the Pandemic Policies which include daily screening; a 72-hour fever, symptom and medicine-free policy; and expectations of clear and honest communication about COVID exposure and travel.  We held town hall meetings to discuss our policies and answered questions regarding a variety of scenarios.  The goal is to keep students, family and faculty as protected from exposure to COVID-19 as possible.  Everyone has a shared responsibility to one other. 

Faculty memberdecided whether they felt comfortable coming back to work.  Discussions covered Pandemic policies and changes to school systems to support social distancing.  Parents have a scheduled arrival time. They drive up, show their child’s card, and a teacher meets them at the car wearing PPE to ask the screening questions, take the child’s temperature, and check them in.  

The children enter the building, change their shoes, wash hands for the first of many times, and begin their school day.  All the preparation and planning has paid off. The pure joy on the children’s faces has reinforced that it was all worth it.  When the parents come to pick up their children, their relief from accomplishing some of their work is evident.  The children are tired and happy from a fulfilling day at school.  The faculty has shared their full heart and peaceful contentment to return to the work they love.   

All Day Montessori, founded for working parents, provides a nurturing, educationally rich and developmentally appropriate environment, 7:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. each school day.  There are a few spots available. Parents interested in learning more can contact Rebecca Bellonci, rbellonci@alldaymontessori.org or 773-239-8330.