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Tag: Safety Procedures Montessori Community School

On-site Testing Has Begun

The first day of on-site COVID testing went smoothly. 25 students were selected for this first round of randomized testing; 3 of the 25 were unable to attend; 2 were a no-show. With advance knowledge of the absent students, Margaret selected 2 individuals to take the available slots. In total, 21 tests were conducted on students ranging from toddlers to sixth grade. One staff member was selected for testing. As previously reported, all tests had negative results. Phew!

The students were awesome. They lined up patiently to await their turn, listened very carefully to the directions and cooperated fully with all involved. Several of the upper elementary students were amongst the first tested and remarked they had lost count of the number of COVID tests they had already completed. Their confidence/nonchalance helped set the tone for the session. A life-sized, plush rainbow trout accompanied a 1st year lower elementary student and was a great diversion to those awaiting their turn. Kudos to the students who gently helped and supported those who were a little nervous. One lower elementary student was overheard explaining to an early childhood student that it [nasal swab] was comparable to the sensation experienced when picking your nose!

This success of the event was due in no small part to the parents who volunteered their time to make this possible.

  • Words cannot do justice to the gratitude we feel for those on the Test Team who helped research and implement the program. Simply said, thank you Elena, Tera, Matthew and Sophie.
  • In addition, we are grateful to Eyal for reaching out and offering to conduct the selection of students for each week’s randomized testing.
  • And lastly but by no means least, our heartfelt appreciation to the parents who showed up to conduct the first test session. Set up, swabbing, timing and reading of tests, and clean up was conducted with very careful attention to detail.

The Test Team met on 1/6/22 to discuss the possibility of expanding our testing capabilities to include a Test-to-Stay option. This was recently proposed by the CDC as an alternative to quarantine in an effort to keep students attending in-person school. Several members of our community have also enquired about the possibility of MCS providing Day 5 testing (the recommended testing date for those exposed to COVID-19). Both options require more research and consideration. The community will be updated on developments in either of these areas.

We currently have 64.28% of those eligible to participate registered in the program. Registration for testing remains open.

Upgrading our Masks

Erin Lipovich is the parent of a Wasatch student, and an avid researcher. She has kindly compiled the following information to help the community source quality masks. Thanks Erin!

The cloth masks recommended earlier in the pandemic helped prevent those infected from spreading covid-19. Today, with more highly contagious variants spreading, medical personnel are urging everyone to upgrade from cloth to more protective masks that also keep the wearer safe.

Masks certified as N95 (USA), KN95 (China), KF94 (Korea), or FPP2 (Europe) have been tested and proven to filter out >94% of all aerosols, including airborne viruses such as covid-19. Unfortunately, sources like Amazon are overrun with fakes, making it best to buy your masks from reliable sources.

  • The N95 Project – a non-profit dedicated to providing access to trustworthy personal protective equipment – only sells masks guaranteed to be genuine.
  • Bona Fide Masks, as the name suggests, only sells masks that have been certified as genuine and is the sole US distributor of Powecom Brand KN95 masks.
  • Armbrust is a manufacturing company in Texas that sells masks “designed, developed and made in the USA.” Wanting to help people find trustworthy masks wherever they can, the company has made their extensive testing database public and searchable.
  • Aaron Collins, an aerosol expert known to the internet as Mask Nerd, has been testing masks since the start of the pandemic. His results, found HERE, have a special section on masks for children. He also has a YouTube channel.

As we enter year three of the pandemic, working together and following best practices will help keep our community as safe as possible.

Sun Safety – A Year ‘Round Safety Suggestion : Parenting Connection

As a staff we are always trying to maintain a comfortable balance between sun safety and the immense need to get our children outside for play and movement.  As you well know, our children are not always easily convinced of the critical need to cover adequately. It is essential that we continue this important practice even during the cold months, when the UV rays are equally impactful.  We go to great effort to teach our children the importance of full coverage and how to apply sunscreen thoroughly (while offering assistance to children as needed).  We encourage our families to advise their children of the importance of sun safety and appreciate the following tips provided by one of our MCS parents.



Utah has the highest melanoma (the most deadly skin cancer) rates in the United States (read detailed article here). Given our altitude, a large number of sunny days, great outdoor activities, and a population with lots of fair-skinned people, we have the perfect storm of skin cancer risk factors.

It is important that our kids spend time outside but careful preparation is a must. Below are some measures that have proven effectiveness at reducing UV exposure and helping to prevent skin cancers:

1. Sunscreen reapplication: Unfortunately, sunscreen only lasts ~80 min before the protective effects diminish significantly, so be sure to reapply frequently.

2. Hats: Because the head and neck region is not covered with clothes it receives much more sun exposure than other parts of the body, leading to a higher proportional rate of skin cancers in this region. Hats are an easy method to reduce sun exposure. Be sure to send a hat to school with your child each day as well as taking one along on all your outings that include outside play.

3. Encourage sun-safe clothing, sunglasses when appropriate.

4.  Go the extra mile by being an example; wear a hat when you are outside, apply sunscreen to yourself in your child’s presence, wear sun-appropriate clothing and sunglasses, and talk to your child about sun safety on a regular basis.  Children, like the rest of us, are empowered by knowledge.


Lock-Down Drills at MCS

Schools should plan for the rare possibility of an intruder as part of a comprehensive crisis/emergency preparedness effort; however, the nature and extent of those preparedness activities should be based upon a risk assessment of the crisis events a given school is most likely to confront.

A Lock Down Drill is scheduled for February 12, 2019.  This emergency procedure at MCS involves staff –

  • Sweeping and clearing hallways
  • Turning off classroom lights
  • Locking doors
  • Sheltering with children in our agreed upon secure areas
  • Taking roll
  • Waiting for the all clear

We recognize that this drill in particular can sometimes cause anxiety and concern for parents and guardians, students, and educators too. For the adults, being familiar the procedure and ones responsibilities within that process can bring assurance and comfort. Practicing can prepare and be of comfort to the children with the fact that their teachers, parents and guardians, and the school have a plan, and therefore help them feel more in control.


While we make every effort to give clear and careful explanations so as to minimize worries, we know that opportunity to talk with parents about the circumstances that necessitate these drills can help children immensely too. Please take some time to read this and reach out to your student’s teachers should you have questions about this particular drill.


  • Emphasize listening to authority figures for safety.
  • Practicing means being prepared. Just like we practice fire drills to know what to do in case there’s a fire, we are now going to practice being safe when there is trouble around.
  • This is a “just-in-case” plan. Like wearing a helmet when riding bikes or knee pads when we skateboard. We don’t plan to fall, but if we do, we’ll be protected.


  • Children model their reactions on adult behavior, so staff should be mindful to breathe and maintain their composure as that will inspire calm and confidence in students.
  • It is critical that participation in drills be appropriate to individual development levels, and take into consideration prior traumatic experiences, special needs, and personalities.
  • Adults should monitor participants during the drill and use their best judgement to determine whether the group can handle waiting for the all clear or halt the drill early if necessary.

Age appropriate ways to explain this drill to the students – adapted from Judith Simon Prager, “Talking to Kids about a ‘Lockdown’”

“Every day, we do things to keep ourselves safe. Let’s think of some examples. What do you put on before you start biking? What do you do before walking across the street? Another way we stay safe is by practicing for things that probably won’t happen but it is good to be prepared for just in case. One way we do this at school, for instance, is by practicing fire drills and earthquake drills. Practice helps us know what to do just in case of an emergency.

Another kind of situation we can prepare for is when we need to keep you safe from a stranger while you are at school. This would probably never happen but just like a fire drill, we can practice our response so we are prepared.

We are all here to keep you safe. Practice means we are prepared and can feel confident that we all know what to do just in case. Having a plan like this and practicing what to do in a shelter drill means that we don’t have to worry about these concerns and instead we can focus on having fun and learning at school.”

Toddler and EC Directions

  • Stop what you are doing
  • Go to our classroom’s Shelter Spot (or join a trusted adult that is calling you)
  • Make Silence

Elementary Level Directions

“The acronym PAL can help

  • P is for PAUSE: First, pause and take a deep breath. Breathing helps your mind work.
  • A is for ADULT: Wherever you are on campus, find a trusted adult. If you are in the classroom, stay there and gather in the classroom Shelter spot. If you are outside, look for the teacher or other adult closest to you to tell you what to do and where to go.
  • L is for LISTEN: Listen to the adult’s instructions. The adult will know what to do and will tell you. This is trickier than a fire drill because depending on where you are, you won’t always go to the same place each time. You will know what to do if you listen. Also during this time, the teachers will lock the doors to their classrooms. When everything is safe, the adult will tell you that everything is all clear and we can go back to our regular school day.”


NASP (National Association of School Psychologist) article notes on armed assailant drills… Story