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COVID: Heart to Heart

By Jessica Graham, M.D., Pediatric Emergency Physician and Thomas Hanff, M.D., Heart Failure Cardiologist; Current MCS Parents

​Our gratitude to Jessica and Thomas for providing the following information to our community: MIS-C myocarditis is seen in children after a COVID-19 infection; vaccine-related myocarditis has been described in children after they receive the mRNA vaccine. Which poses the bigger danger for your child?

What is MIS-C?

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a rare inflammatory condition that occurs in children within 6 weeks after a COVID-19 infection. It can occur even if a child has an asymptomatic infection. This condition can cause inflammation of the skin, eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, brain and gastrointestinal system. The biggest concern is MIS-C myocarditis, which can cause low blood pressure, dilation of blood vessels in the heart, and a decline in heart function leading to heart failure.a

How common is MIS-C and what age group does it affect?​

Out of every 1 million children who get COVID, about 300 will get MIS-C. MIS-C is most common in children aged 6-10. b

Key points:

  • We don’t know why some children get sick with MIS-C after COVID while others have nota
  • All children with MIS-C need to be treated in the hospital, some in the pediatric ICUa
  • Most kids with MIS-C have excellent outcomesa

What are symptoms of MIS-C?

In addition to ongoing fever, children experience:c

  • Stomach pain
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness

What is the treatment for MIS-C?

All children with MIS-C are hospitalized. During hospitalization, they receive serial testing (labs, ECGs, echocardiograms to look at heart). Treatment can include IV fluids, blood pressure support, IVIG (antibodies given through a vein), steroids, and/or biologic medications (powerful drugs that stop inflammation). Most children take daily aspirin and are followed by a cardiologist after hospitalization.a

What is the biggest danger of MIS-C?

In most children, the biggest danger is MIS-C myocarditis. Some children with MIS-C myocarditis have a depressed left ventricular ejection fraction (the heart pumps less blood when it squeezes), some have diastolic dysfunction (the heart does not fill normally between squeezes), and some have coronary artery dilation (the blood vessels that feed heart tissue are dilated/floppy). Almost all children with these findings recover well; however, long-term data is still being collected.

How can I protect my child from MIS-C?

Fortunately, although MIS-C can lead to severe illness, it is still a relatively rare outcome of COVID-19. However, for children of eligible age, vaccination to prevent COVID-19 remains one of the most effective preventive measures. The vaccine also protects against all the other complications of COVID-19, including death and debilitating long-COVID symptoms. In addition, you should continue to take everyday actions to prevent your child and entire household from getting COVID-19.d 

 What is Vaccine Related Myopericarditis?

Myocarditis is inflammation of heart muscle. Pericarditis is inflammation of outer lining of heart. Myopericarditis is when both the heart muscle and the outer lining are inflamed. In the case of vaccine related myopericarditis, the inflammation is thought to be in response to the mRNA COVID vaccine.

How common is vaccine related myopericarditis and what age group does it affect?

Out of 1 million people 16 or older who got the Pfizer vaccine, ~ 20 got COVID-related myopericarditis. e Vaccine related myopericarditis has never been described in a child <12; however, data on mRNA vaccine side effects are still being collected.

Key points:

  • Occurs mostly in male adolescents > 12 years old and young adults
  • Most cases have been described after the second dose of an mRNA vaccine
  • Most cases have occurred within a week of the vaccine
  • Most cases responded well to medicine and rest and felt better quickly
  • Most people return to normal activities after symptoms

What are symptoms of vaccine related myopericarditis?

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • Fever

What happens to kids when they have vaccine related myopericarditis and how are they treated?

When vaccine related myopericarditis was first described, all children were hospitalized and observed very closely. Some were treated with supportive care (fluids). Most children never needed any medical interventions. Now, most patients with this condition do not need to stay in the hospital but can be followed outpatient by their doctor.

How can I protect my child from vaccine related myopericarditis?

Your child will not get vaccine related myopericarditis if they do not get the mRNA vaccine. However, if they do not get the vaccine, they would be at higher risk of getting MIS-C or COVID-19

Table: Comparison of MIS-C Related Myocarditis Vs. Vaccine Related Myopericarditisf
MIS-C (149 patients) Vaccine-Related Myopericarditis (9 patients)
​Age ​​Median 7.5 years ​​Median 15.5 years
Sex ​Predominantly male  ​​Predominantly male 
Change in heart function (depressed LVEF)​ 42% of patients  22% of patients
​Discharged on medication for heart ​3% ​none
​Recovery of heart function Full  ​Full

Take-home points:

  • MIS-C myocarditis affects younger patients compared to vaccine related myopericarditisf
  • MIS-C due to COVID is more likely than vaccine-related myopericarditis in the 5-11 age group
  • Children with COVID-19 vaccine-related myopericarditis generally have a milder illness and lower likelihood of cardiac dysfunctionf
  • Children with COVID-19 vaccine-related myopericarditis generally have a more rapid recovery compared to patients with MIS-C myopericarditisf
  • Children are recovering well from both MIS-C and vaccine related myopericarditis
  • Both of the authors plan to vaccinate our children (currently ages 3 and 8 months) as soon as we have the opportunity



b.  Payne AB, Gilani Z, Godfred-Cato S, et al. Incidence of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Among US Persons Infected With SARS-CoV-2. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(6):e2116420. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.16420



e.  Witberg G et al. Myocarditis after Covid-19 vaccination in a large health care organization. N Engl J Med2021 Oct 6; [e-pub]. ( opens in new tab)

f.  Vaccine-related myocarditis is milder compared to MIS-C (Comparison of MIS-C Related Myocarditis, Classic Viral Myocarditis, and COVID-19 Vaccine related Myocarditis in Children. Trisha Patel, Michael Kelleman, Zachary West, Andrew Peter, Matthew Dove, AreneButto, Matthew E. Oster; medRxiv 2021.10.05.21264581; doi:

2017 Uinta Adventure

Last week our Upper Elementary students, the Uinta class, set adrift for an amazing Adventure to Split Mountain, Vernal. They enjoyed three days of fun, learning, and life experiences. Despite the inclement weather they adventured to the max and had a blast. They are made of stern stuff!   Students, teachers and parent chaperones did a service learning project at Josie’s Cabin, rafted the Green River (in the snow!), enjoyed a beautiful hike in the area and visited the Dinosaur Quarry.

Students spent the year earning funds for their adventure through the Montessori Market and preparing for their rafting trip with their in-depth GO studies of the water shed. This adventure was a culmination of many important Upper Elementary lessons; from planning and executing a trip to in-depth follow up to their outdoor studies and many things in between.

Thank you to everyone who shopped the Market and supported their other business ventures for making this possible.   Below find some fun quotes from parent chaperones and a handful of photos documenting this amazing adventure!

The children were in full on camping mode. The cold rain and snow did not deter, or steer them off course from their planned itinerary. It was obvious that they worked hard to prepare before the trip, as many duties fell into place.
They braved the big, cold waters of the Green River, in winter conditions. They hiked the trails of Dinosaur Nation Park. They explored the quarry and represented The Montessori Community School at its best. Well done children!

Aaron Rashaw

The Ultimate Adventure!

With Jude graduating from the sixth grade, this will be my last opportunity to chaperone at MCS. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience! I’ve never been to Dinosaur National Monument; so to go with nineteen of the most adventurous ten to twelve year olds ever, made the outing that much more enjoyable. Believe me: they braved the elements that only a Utah spring can muster; and they did so with respect of nature and stoic resolve. There was nothing that could have dampened their enthusiasm. I know the students learned a great deal about the hydrologic system of the Green River, but I seemed to be their student as they embraced the desert and embraced life!

Thanks again for the wonderful opportunity!
Gregg Wood

All School Science Assembly – SCIENCE IS COOL!

Wow, what a great morning here at MCS! First thing this morning, our entire staff and student body came together for a wonderful assembly.  We began by singing one of our favorite peace songs, Light A Candle for Peace, and then two MCS parents gave a wonderfully exciting science presentation.  It was so lovely to see all of our students, from our young Toddlers to our big Upper Elementary students, show excitement and interest in the experiments.


Janis Cantwell, research scientist at the University of Utah, and Holly Sebahar, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Utah, both parents of Early Childhood students, showed the following experiments of chemical reactions; the effects of a catalyst; things that changed from liquid to solid and the formation of stronger bonds; liquids changing colors and bubbling and smoking; how fireworks work; what hydrogen looks like when popping from a balloon as opposed to helium; and for the grand finale, Holly made a cloud!


It was so satisfying to see all of our students enjoying the presentation and we are all looking forward to the upcoming Science Fair on April 7th.  After today’s presentation we think our little scientists are quite inspired!

Be sure to visit our Facebook page to see videos from this mornings experiments!

Early Childhood Commences Outdoor Classroom

Early Childhood students receive their first lesson of the 2014 – 2015 school year in the Outdoor Classroom. They had the opportunity to explore our Outdoor Classroom area, located on near the northeast corner of our school building.
Nature plays an important role in the development of the whole child. Works of gardening, raking, weed pulling, and other outdoor tasks assist in this development. The Outdoor Classroom is rich in science lessons, such as bird watching and naming, insect and leaf investigations, and rock classification.
Early Childhood students explore the basic nature of land, air, water, and the creatures that inhabit those spaces.They also learn about the needs of plants and animals and creating homes for these creatures.

MCS Energy Production Report…More Great News This Month!

With the addition of solar panels to the roof of our building we are generating more energy than we are consuming; which means all the excess power gets fed back into the grid as green energy. This is one way Montessori Community School is helping reduce emissions in our valley. If you are interested in joining us to make an immediate difference please visit Rocky Mountain Power’s – Blue Sky Renewable Energy page.
By purchasing Blue Sky Energy from Rocky Mountain Power you will help facilitate other schools, offices, and residents installing their own solar panels.
May 2014 Total: 9.29 MWh
Previous Month Total: 7.76MWh
Year to Date: 30.6MWh
Your Cabon Offset for this month is 6.42 tons
You have offset the equivalent of: 165 Trees

In Celebration of Earth Day

MCS would like to wish our community a Happy Earth Day.  What a lovely opportunity to celebrate the beauty of our miraculous earth. Montessori is known as a method that advocates environmental education and invites children to become stewards of the earth.  Maria Montessori herself said that “children are inspired with a feeling for nature” and believed that nature plays a most important role in the development of the whole child.

Unconstructed play and exploration in nature foster creativity and independence.  Students learn the value in community and their interconnectedness as they begin to recognize and care for living things.  Richard Louv, author of ‘Lost Child in the Woods’ and proponent of the need for nature in education noted, “multisensory experiences in nature help to build the cognitive constructs necessary for sustained intellectual development.“ At present, electronics have an overwhelming presence in society and in the development of the child.  Research indicates that this presence has the ability to hinder children’s overall development. So what do they need to counter all this visual stimulation?  Outdoor experience! Time and effort in nature gives children the opportunity to experiment with cause and effect and avoidance of immediate gratification, which they experience so frequently with electronics.

One of the most unique principles of Montessori programs is the Cosmic Curriculum, an overall Montessori approach to education that involves helping children develop an awareness that everything in the universe is connected and interdependent and forms a harmonious whole and that they themselves are part of and contribute to that whole. The Cosmic Curriculum lends itself to exploration and appreciation of nature. Environmental education is a curriculum that encourages children to explore the wonders of nature; including botany, zoology, preservation of the earth, and other scientific concepts that are present in Montessori such as the study of the earth, water, weather and the universe as a whole. These subjects come alive with hands-on experience.

And so, in honor of this world wide celebration, we offer thanks to Maria Montessori and all those who join us in bettering our children’s future as we share insights to miracles of the universe through education of the child.

“When the child goes out, it is the world itself that offers itself to him. Let us take the child out to show him real things instead of making objects which represent ideas and closing them in cupboards.”  Maria Montessori

Read more about our environmental education here.

Students Learn How Their School is Powered by Renewable Energy

The Montessori Community School has recently completed installation of one of Salt Lake City’s largest private solar energy systems. The 52.2 kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) array will create enough energy to provide most of the school’s electrical needs throughout the year. The system is expected to operate for a maintenance-free life of more than 25 years.

The project has a multiple objectives: To reduce dependence on outside electricity supply for the school, provide renewable energy education for students, lower demands on regional fossil fuel generators thus improving air quality, and raise community awareness about renewable energy options. A monitor screen in the school will track the system’s performance in real time as a learning tool for students and the community.

Current Energy Production at Montessori Community School Solar Panels

Using conventional financing, the project is being funded by lowering electrical energy costs at the school, a grant from Rocky Mountain Power, and State and Federal TAX credits. It is expected to have a payback period of about 8 years.

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