Dear MCS Families, As we approach the last day of the academic year, we wanted to provide you with an update on our planning for 2020-2021 and to share some context for how we are assimilating information and making decisions. While it is premature to state exactly what the school experience will be like in August, please rest assured that we are striving for flexibility and transparency in our process. When formulating our plans, MCS continues to take into consideration the guidelines and regulations provided by the state of Utah and the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We are in regular communication with school leaders, both locally and nationwide, so as to review best practises and standards of care in regards to this pandemic. Our very own Utah Montessori Council (UMC) has proven to be a source of practical advice as well as much needed moral...
MCS has developed a particular set of protocols for operating during the re-entry phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. These decisions have been made in anticipation of reopening for Summer 2020. The protocols take into consideration current public health guidance, local regulations, our school’s mission and culture, and the community’s safety. We shall revisit these protocols in preparation for the 2020-21 academic year as information and appropriate safety measures continue to evolve and change. Click here to view our RE-ENTRY-RUBRIC.
Dear MCS Parents, I would like to start by thanking you for your ongoing support of our teachers, our administration and of your children. It seems that no one has been dealt an easy hand in all of this and we are continually amazed at the love and support of our community. As we move into the last leg of the academic year, we wanted to give you some updates as to what our administration has been focusing on in preparation for summer and for the upcoming school year. We appreciate your patience as we work to be as transparent as possible and appreciate your understanding that the circumstances around COVID-19 and our financial situation are changing on an almost daily basis, hence making updates a difficult thing to communicate. Like many other businesses and individuals, we are at the mercy of a long line of unknowns and changing circumstances. ...
At this time we would like to update you as to what loan our school is in the process of applying for to assist us financially during this challenging financial crisis. Below you will find the details of the loan. We are working with our banker at Chase bank to file the appropriate application. On the first day it was possible to apply for the PPP loan under the CARES ACT our book-keeper attempted to make our application. Unfortunately the Chase site was overloaded and crashed. Later we were advised to submit contact information and based on the time and date we made our attempt to apply a Chase representative would be in touch to help us walk through the process. Our banker had kept us in the loop and advised that we were in the top third of the Chase customers (with a position of around 130,000 out of a...
Talking about feelings can be a challenge for a wide range of reasons. Sometimes we don’t like the discomfort of vulnerability, sometimes we haven’t quite acquired a complete vocabulary for emotional language and sometimes we simply can not quite identify what we are feeling. This is a scary time to be human and there are a lot of feelings, some of which might be new for us all. When the adults are scared, the kids know it. This is a great time to model appropriate ways to manage these big feelings by showing ourselves love and compassion and practicing self care. There are a lot of new and unfamiliar expectations on us and our children right now. Our routines are different, our jobs and school work are more complex, and fear of the unknown surrounds us. While your child’s education is important and their school work should continue, the most important...
Dear MCS community, As we navigate this new territory of distance learning, we are very grateful for the words of gratitude that have been sent our way. We have been especially touched by the members of our community who have offered to help support our talented and passionate teaching staff in this extraordinary time. This kind of support is wonderful to see and provides us with some much needed encouragement as we work through all the financial solutions available to us to keep MCS alive and well for many years to come. We are exploring various means of supplemental income to welcome our students back with as much normalcy as possible. I am overseeing researching state and federal funding options that are available to us. I am working with our bank and our HR firm to determine which is the best avenue for MCS to use. I want to ensure that we...
Dear MCS Parents and Guardians,To this point, in the rapidly escalating pandemic, our priority has been on making plans for our community's safety and wellbeing. We take our responsibilities very seriously and, as this situation continues to rapidly shift and evolve, we feel it prudent to extend our suspension of physical school through at least April 17. This decision was not made lightly. Our focus now shifts to supporting our community in the transition to Distance Learning. This week our staff have directed their energy and efforts to establishing alternative means of delivery of our services and curriculum. It is our intention to keep many facets of MCS up and running throughout this emergency. The administration is identifying the specific parts of our operation that are essential to maintain and investigating how they can be done remotely or how an equivalent substitute can be implemented. Our teaching staff has been hard...
Although social distancing is being highly encouraged to help contain the spread and impact of COVID-19 within our community, we remind everyone to consider the effect that this may be having on those most affected by social isolation. It’s in times like these that we need to step up and help one another. Here are a few items to consider: Many of you may have seen the impromptu balcony concerts from Italy or the national round of applause for health care workers in Spain; could we not do something similar in our own neighborhoods to help bring cheer and distraction from worry? Create WhatsApp groups with neighbours, family or friends. Share how you’re getting on and ask other people how they are.You may have neighbours, such as the elderly, that rely heavily on community services to meet their daily needs. Reach out to see how you can help.We encourage people to call...
Waking up Wednesday morning to loud noises and shaking was a reminder that earthquakes do still happen here in Salt Lake City. As a California native living in Salt Lake City, I will tell you now; yes, earthquakes still scare me. Growing up, I remember my mom retelling a story about a 5.9M earthquake that rolled my crib from side to side as she tried to pick me up and move us to safety. At 7 years old I remember the 6.7M Northridge earthquake that rattled communities, caused fatalities, and created severe road damage. Discussing Earthquakes and drills is something that should be kept age-appropriate and factual. Like anything that can be scary or cause anxiety, knowledge can be the power to help combat that fear. Personally, knowing I was prepared on how to react during and after an earthquake is what helps make earthquakes a less scary event. Preparing your home...
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Dear MCS Community, We are continuing to closely monitor COVID-19 on a state and national level. Utilizing the recommendations of the UDOH and the CDC, we created a Tiered Emergency Operations Response Plan to be implemented at the varying stages of how this outbreak could impact our community. That plan was shared with you via email on 3/7. We are currently implementing a Level 2 response. We encourage you to stay informed to this rapidly developing situation. We ask that you be mindful of the following advice from the UDOH and the CDC: If you develop symptoms that match novel coronavirus (fever, cough, shortness of breath), you should contact your healthcare provider via phone call or telehealth, and you should stay home from work, school, and all public spaces until you are symptom free. Older adults & people with a severe chronic medical condition should be mindful to take extra measures and...
I believe wholeheartedly that our children require a great deal of practice at becoming empathetic, compassionate, contributing members of society and that they deserve a great deal of support along the way. Feelings can be SO BIG for kids and, in a world that thrives on immediate gratification, it can be hard to work through the “stuff” that comes with those big feelings. This wonderful article from Montessori Nature discusses the elements a child needs to learn to regulate their emotions at a young age.
We are continuing to closely monitor the outbreak of COVID-19. We are utilizing the guidelines of the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to guide and inform us through this process. We typically rely heavily on the expertise of these agencies on issues related to public health. We follow their recommendations closely and are grateful for their support in informing us about these important issues.
Margaret Mc Donald has taken point to coordinate our Emergency Operation Plan. Our plan takes into account the CDC and local governmental recommendations, the scope of the population infected within our state and city, and the current impact of the illness upon the school population. It includes prevention efforts, measures of action for social distancing, and a quarantine scenario. An overview of its tiered response measures is being drafted and will be shared with our community as soon as it is completed. We thank the members of the Health and Safety Committee who have been instrumental in its development and review.
The following are key points from our plan that we ask all members of our community to be attentive to:
You may be able to reduce the risk of spread of coronaviruses by taking the same steps as you would to prevent infection from the flu and the common cold:
- Wash hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if water is not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others. Please note that we shall err on the side of caution and send all students and staff home should they fall ill at school.
Our teachers, custodians and cleaning service sanitize school surfaces regularly using health department-approved, environmentally responsible, and user-friendly chemicals to sanitize. The sanitizing of “high touch” areas is done daily throughout the flu/cold season. To date the UDOH has said, “Special sanitizing processes beyond routine cleaning, including closing schools to clean every surface in the building are not necessary or recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. Follow standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting.” However, we have increased the frequency of the sanitizing of our high touch areas and additional areas can be targeted if the need arises.
Social Distancing Measures
Currently there are no restrictions on public gatherings and therefore school life is being conducted as normal. However, this situation is developing rapidly and MCS staff is formulating plans and measures should the situation worsen. This includes “distance learning” should school closure become necessary.
We shall use our emergency notification system for Alerts if circumstances require your immediate action or attention. Otherwise our MCS newsletter and email shall be our main method for weekly Updates; please note that while these updates will provide important information they are unlikely to require immediate action. So as to allow our teaching staff time to develop “distance learning” plans and put extra attention into the sanitizing of their classrooms we are limiting the Compass Weekly Reports to a general comment. Please note, this shall mean teachers will not be providing individual comments nor will they be uploading photos. We appreciate your understanding.
Stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, with a particular population or nationality. Fear and anxiety regarding coronavirus may lead to social stigma towards Chinese or other Asian Americans. We appreciate your help in ensuring that you are providing support and facts:
- Viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds.
- Wearing a face mask does not mean that a person is ill.
- Show compassion and support for those who have been most closely impacted.
This is a rapidly developing situation and we recognize that our families are likely concerned and that you and your children may have many questions. State leaders have launched a website, coronavirus.utah.gov, to share accurate information about the virus and how the state is responding. We recommend that you utilize this resource to avail of the latest information. It has many helpful resources such as: how we can take proactive steps to stop the spread of germs, travel recommendations, frequently asked questions along with many other other community resources.
If your Spring Break plans include overseas travel we highly recommend that you check to see how your travel may be impacted and what extra precautions you should take to protect yourself.
We appreciate everyone's continued attention and diligence in helping safeguard our students, their families and our whole MCS community.
Flyers for the UDOH and CDC have been posted outside of each classroom and at the main entrances to the school. Additional copies are available in the front office for families to take, alternatively they are available below for your convenience
- Symptoms (https://health.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/COVID-19.pdf)
- Reduce your risk (https://health.utah.gov/wp-content/uploads/Reduce-Your-Risk-COVID-19.pdf)
As a general Montessori rule, we avoid use of the word “no” when disciplining children. We save the word “no” for very serious situations, when children are in danger. Otherwise, language is based on the replacement behavior (that which we want to see in place of the one that is undesirable). For example, “our mouths are used for eating food” if a child bites, “why don’t you tell your peers the rules of the game so everyone understands how to play” when there is a conflict on the playground, etc. We believe that knowledge is power and when we give clear examples and explanations, children are empowered to make recurring good choices.
Teaching our kids the proper response to an emergency is a skill best reviewed such as we would a Montessori lesson. Talking through the process may be appropriate for older children, but practice makes perfect. Going through the motions, sharing and talking in casual conversation, and giving kids scenarios to practice will really seal the deal! Today recently did an article about this very thing...read it here!