Aidan Montessori School will be conducting additional COVID-19 testing on all staff and students on Wednesday, January 6 from 11:00 AM-5:00 PM. Please take a moment to review this information and register for your testing spot. There will be no classes on this day.
Aidan Montessori School is actively monitoring the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will be updating this website regularly to share information about the School’s preparations and responses. We are also following the CDC and DC Department of Health guidelines on responding to the virus.
If you have any questions, please direct them to Aidan's Reopening Task Force at reopeningtaskforce@
Take a moment to read through this checklist to make sure that your family is ready to return for in-person learning!
- Inauguration Week & Updates to Hybrid Learning Schedule (Sent 1/13/21)
- Update from the Reopening Task Force (Sent 11/20/2020)
- Important: Holiday Travel, Celebrations, and COVID-19 (Sent 11/18/2020)
- Update: Monitoring Current COVID-19 Metrics (Sent 11/11/2020)
- Important Updates Regarding COVID Testing and Hybrid Prep Days (Sent 10/26/2020)
- Getting Started with Magnus Health & Daily COVID-19 Screenings (Sent 10/26/2020)
- Reopening Announcement, Family Survey, & Upcoming Information Meetings (Sent 10/9/2020)
- Reopening Task Force Update on Facility Improvements (Sent 9/11/2020)
- Aidan's Virtual Start (Sent 8/5/2020)
- Summer Update from Kevin (Sent 7/30/2020)
- Reopening Matrix and Draft DLP 2.0 Schedules (Sent 5/27/2020)
- COVID-19 & Aidan FAQs and Emergency Family Relief Fund (Sent 5/14/2020)
- A Note from Aidan's School Counselor (Sent 3/20/2020)
Dear Aidan Community,
I am writing to inform you of important adjustments in programming. First, in light of the significant potential for civil unrest next week, and out of concern for the safety of our families, teachers, and staff, all learning at Aidan Montessori School will be fully online (DLP 2.0) next week (January 19 to 22). As a reminder, School is closed on Monday, January 18th, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Assuming that we are able to return to the hybrid learning program the following week, Pod B will be in person the week of January 25 to 29.
This course corrects for disparities between the two pods. We made the decision to return to DLP 2.0 based on current intelligence about the potential for domestic terrorism during Inauguration Week. Recent information from the FBI and Mayor Bowser’s office indicates that last week’s attack on the Capitol is unlikely to be the last push of domestic terrorists. Mayor Bowser has asked all Americans to participate in the Inauguration virtually, in an attempt to protect the District from a repeat of the violent attacks on January 6th. The commute for many of our teachers and staff, as well as some of our families, takes them over bridges and through downtown DC, and some commute via public transportation -- and we do not wish to place them in harm’s way.
In addition, learning will be fully online (DLP 2.0) from March 29 to April 2, the week following Spring Break. On the Wednesday of that week, March 31st, we will again conduct COVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff. There will be no classes, either online or in-person, on March 31st, as everyone needs to travel to the School for testing. This is consistent with the model we followed post-Winter Break and in line with recommended reopening practices.
Please know that deciding to be in-person or at home is never an easy decision to make, and there are many competing factors we take into account and try to balance as best we can. But striking this balance is often challenging, and there are no simple answers. Some members of our community want to stay home and others want our children to have an in-person learning experience. Much thinking, debate, and information-gathering goes into the deliberation process, and we appreciate your ongoing support, even if your personal inclination would be to decide differently. We are fortunate that our School and its faculty and staff have done the hard work to put together a robust DLP 2.0 that we can turn to in times of need.
Between the volatile political and public health situations, as well as the usual variables that influence a school, this year has been a tightrope walk. Gathering all of the available data and taking it into consideration to make decisions that are in the best interests of our School and our community is a “big work.” It is a work that we try to approach with diligence and humility. Please know that there are conscientious people working for the good of the School and its community, and that we will continue to do our utmost to make Aidan Montessori School the best place it can be for our children, families, teachers, and staff.
Thank you for continuing to support our School and please stay safe and healthy.
UPDATED (1/13/2021): Distance/Hybrid Learning Schedule
- January 19-22: All Virtual - DLP 2.0
- January 25-29: Pod B In-Person
- February 1-5: Pod A In-Person
- February 8-12: Pod B In-Person
- February 16-19: Pod A In-Person
- February 22-26: Pod B In-Person
- March 1-5: Pod A In-Person
- March 8-12: Pod B In-Person
- March 15-17: Pod A In-Person
- March 22-26: No School - Spring Break
- March 29-April 2: All Virtual - DLP 2.0 (COVID-19 testing date on 3/31)
November 20, 2020
Dear Aidan Community,
We are very pleased the School’s Hybrid Learning Program launched successfully on November 9, with our “Aidan Alligators” safely returning to in-person learning. It is invigorating to have our school filled once again with our wonderful students, who are eager and excited to be back in their beloved classrooms.
Given the additional COVID-19 challenges that the holidays present, we wanted you to be aware of further steps we are taking to keep everyone safe:
- After further deliberation, we are planning to conduct additional COVID-19 testing. All teachers, staff, and students will be tested the week of November 30 (the week immediately following Thanksgiving break). The days and times of this testing will be announced once confirmed. In-person learning for Pod B will continue to take place that week.
- We have also decided to temporarily return to DLP 2.0 from January 4 to 8, 2021 (the week after Winter Break) to allow our community time for post-holiday quarantining and to conduct another round of community baseline testing that week. The days and times of this testing will be announced once confirmed. Conditions permitting, we will resume the hybrid learning schedule the following week, with Pod A returning in-person on January 11.
Please Note: While we plan to continue with the Hybrid Learning Program for the foreseeable future, situations with the public health, the standard of care, and/or the School’s preparedness could change that plan.
Aidan’s Layers of Safety Measures
We did not take lightly the decision to begin our school year virtually and we know the past few months have not been easy for anyone in our community. Our virtual start, however, gave us the opportunity to not only ensure that our building and procedures were COVID-ready, it allowed us to gather data about schools that chose to physically open their doors in early fall, both nationally and the handful of schools in the region.
What we have learned is important: It has become increasingly clear that schools are not sources of significant COVID-19 transmission, so long as proper health and safety protocols are followed. Moreover, we are mindful of the harm to students and their families that come with keeping students out of school in terms of academic progress and social, emotional, and physical health.
We believe that the careful observations and hard work of the past summer and fall have paid off: Aidan has a robust infrastructure and procedures in place to safely maintain hybrid in-person learning during the pandemic. The School’s COVID-19 safety-related measures include multiple layers of precautions, such as: reducing classroom population density via the Hybrid Learning Program to help ensure physical distancing; requiring mask-wearing; daily COVID-19 screenings in the Magnus Health app; temperature checks upon arrival; hiring a full-time nurse and building a dedicated nurse’s office; replacing all windows and utilizing open windows, maximizing fresh air flow in the facility with fans and air purifiers; and extensive cleaning and disinfecting procedures, including nightly cleaning using electrostatic spraying technology.
While there are, inevitably, unanticipated challenges in implementing each measure, the multiple overlapping layers of precautions make Aidan well-positioned to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission—and the School is already learning and improving based on knowledge acquired in the past two weeks.
Reopening Decision-Making Framework
Understandably, with the recent rise in regional and national COVID-19 metrics, we have received questions from members of our community about the potential return to the Distance Learning Program 2.0. We, too, are watching the numbers, reading the headlines, and feeling the same anxiety and asking the same questions you are probably asking.
The Reopening Task Force is made up of school administrators, our school nurse, current Aidan parents, and former Aidan parents. Our priority was, and remains, the safety and well-being of our entire community. We are monitoring the situation closely, we are meeting and discussing frequently as a Task Force, and we continue to be advised by outside public health expertise. As the School previously stated (on October 9 and November 11), the decision to reopen with our Hybrid Learning Program was based on three categories:
1. The Public Health Situation
The Reopening Task Force is tracking multiple metrics from multiple sources and has sought outside expert advice on how to best assess the constantly changing regional public health situation. We understand the desire for certainty and a clear “line drawn in the sand” for closure or staying open. However, the advice we have received from our public health expert is clear: It is neither responsible nor recommended to rely on a single metric or factor to make policy decisions about our School, because these decisions are by necessity nuanced and complex.
We are continuing to closely monitor DC’s COVID-19 metrics, with an eye to whether there is exponential, as opposed to linear, growth of the virus in the region. We are also evaluating the CDC's “core indicators” for COVID-19 risk in schools, with the relevant community for those core indicators defined as the Aidan community.
In addition, after hearing thoughtful feedback from our community, and after consulting further with our outside experts, we decided to conduct a round of community baseline testing on November 2, which provided us with an additional data point: A low positivity rate, with only 1 positive case (a staff member) out of 150 tests, indicates that our Aidan community as a whole was being careful even before the resumption of in-person learning.
2. The Standard of Care
This refers to the “standard of care” that is informally set when other organizations or individuals behave in certain ways. At the beginning of the school year, the majority of our peer schools were not open for in-person learning. The standard of care has in recent weeks shifted, such that now the majority of our peer schools are conducting at least some form of in-person learning.
3. The Readiness of the School
As described above, Aidan has in place an array of overlapping safety measures that help to significantly mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. We also continue to update our Reopening Handbook, which was introduced to the community this past August.
All of the above categories continue to inform the Reopening Task Force’s thought processes. As we have said throughout, this is an incredibly fluid situation. As such, we adopt a holistic view regarding our community safety and preparedness, looking at the totality of data. An aggregate of factors, in combination with the numerous health and safety protocols we have in place, will ultimately help us to determine when we remain open on campus and when, or if, we need to return to DLP 2.0.
Our highest priority was, and remains, the health, safety and well-being of our community, and we will continue to monitor the situation with vigilance. Should we determine that a return to DLP 2.0 is necessary, we will notify the community as soon as possible.
We urge all members of our community to be thoughtful about what it takes to safely hold in-person learning. We are truly all in this together. As we approach Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, please help our community stay safe by adhering to the policies in the Reopening Handbook and the guidance issued by the CDC and the District of Columbia, including guidelines about how to celebrate the holidays safely.
Thank you to all of you for your patience and support as we continue the unprecedented experience of operating a school during a pandemic. Please reach out to us if you have questions or feedback: email@example.com.
The Reopening Task Force
Keeping Our Community Safe: Holiday Celebrations, Travel and COVID-19
November 18, 2020
The Aidan community is indeed a family in its own right and by extension, a part of yours. Our families, faculty, and staff depend on the cooperation of the others to keep our entire community safe. During this time of COVID-19, we all must take a collective approach when it comes to mitigating the risks involved with in-person instruction under our Hybrid Learning Program.
With Thanksgiving and the holidays just around the corner, we respectfully request that you consider the consequences of any family holiday travel plans and gatherings in the coming weeks.
Remember that we are your family, too. We implore everyone to abide by the guidelines in the Aidan Reopening Handbook outlined under the "Family Roles and Responsibilities" section which states that:
Families should follow the guidelines issued by the District of Columbia for travelers returning to DC from COVID-19 high risk states or countries, which is currently defined as a state or country with 10 or more positive cases per 100,000 people. These guidelines should also be followed by families who have visitors from hotspots. Upon their return from areas designated as COVID-19 hot spots, students and faculty/staff should limit daily activities and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their return or until they get tested (approximately 3-5 days after their return) and receive a negative test result. Families should follow self-quarantine timing for travel as outlined by the “Travel by District Residents” section of the DC Mayor’s Order 2020-110 issued on November 6 regarding “Modified Requirements Regarding Self-Quarantine, Testing, and Travel During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.”
The DC Department of Health has not yet posted their new list of High Risk States as of November 16. However, you can follow which states meet the current definition of "high risk" using the CDC's tool for reporting daily case rates by state.
If you are in need of additional information, the CDC recently released new recommendations regarding "Holiday Celebrations & Small Gatherings" and DC Department of Health also issued guidance for "Thanksgiving and Other Holiday Celebrations."
Thank you all for helping us keep our Aidan family safe!
Aidan Montessori School
November 11, 2020
Dear Aidan Community,
It has been three fabulous days so far... days of children excited to be back at school and the wonderful sound of voices in our corridors. We are thrilled to have our Aidan children back and the children seem equally elated. I am thankful to our entire community for its patience and cooperative spirit.
I wanted to let you know that the Reopening Task Force (RTF) continues to monitor the public health situation closely. The new daily positive case count for yesterday, November 10, was 206. This number attracts our attention and we await supplemental data as there are other metrics and guidance that will help us better understand this singular point. This could be a correction of the relatively stable numbers over the past weeks or it could also be a temporary bump up due to Halloween or other recent events. In addition to monitoring the public health situation, the RTF continues to evaluate the other two categories that factor into our decision-making (as set forth in our October 9 communication announcing reopening)--the standard of care and school readiness.
Again, we are monitoring the situation closely. The safety and needs of our community remain our highest priorities. We ask for your continued patience as we work toward a better understanding of this newest information.
Head of School
October 26, 2020
Dear Aidan Community,
I will get straight to the point here with two important updates regarding our reopening planning. Then, I will provide additional information about these two points below.
1. Re-entry COVID-19 Testing: On November 2, between 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM, the school has arranged for an outside organization to be on campus, administering COVID Testing to all employees of Aidan Montessori School and all children that will return to the school in person to participate in the Hybrid Learning Program.
2. On November 2, 5, and 6, we will have Hybrid Learning Prep Days. The lead and assistant teachers will be setting up their classrooms. As a result, students will not have their typical DLP 2.0 school days. Rather, alternative programming will be offered. Primary students may anticipate receiving their usual Specials classes on those days, between 10:30 AM and 11:30 AM. Elementary students may anticipate hearing about their robust alternative program shortly, from Mr. Purse.
ON COVID TESTING
After further consultation with our outside public health experts, evaluating the relevant standard of care, and gathering feedback from our families and staff, we have decided to require that all of our students obtain a COVID test before participating in the hybrid learning program on November 9. Faculty and staff will also be tested before we commence in-person learning on November 9.
While we continue to stand behind the science Nurse Lexi and Dr. Cave articulated in the Community Reopening Update on October 14, we also recognize that our families, faculty, and staff need to feel safe, and that baseline testing helps increase this sense of trust in each other as we proceed with hybrid in-person learning. However, we want to emphasize to our community that our collective compliance with the safety measures outlined in the Reopening Handbook remains of the utmost importance.
Testing is neither a replacement nor a substitute for diligent and correct mask-wearing, hand hygiene, physical distancing, and adherence to the other precautions we have outlined in the Reopening Handbook. We urge our community to not allow a misplaced sense of confidence resulting from a negative test to dilute their rigorous adherence to Handbook procedures. We must all remain vigilant and responsible to each other.
Aidan has contracted with FiveMedicine to conduct COVID-19 testing on Monday, November 2 from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM for all staff members and all students who will be attending in-person beginning November 9. The testing will take place outside on Aidan’s campus. An email with the testing sign-up link will be sent to all families and staff on Wednesday morning at 10:00 AM. Additional information about the check-in and testing process will also be included in that communication.
The test that FiveMedicine will be administering are the PCR mid-nasal tests. They are not as uncomfortable or invasive as the posterior nasal tests. FiveMedicine has assured Aidan that the mid-nasal tests are the "gold standard" of testing and are pediatric-friendly. Nurse Lexi will be onsite for the entirety of the testing time to help facilitate and answer any questions. You should receive your results in 24-48 hours after the testing. The results will also be sent by FiveMedicine to Nurse Lexi, so you will not have to submit your results to anyone.
If you are unable to make it to the testing on November 2, then it is your responsibility to get testing done prior to returning to Aidan in-person. Please contact Nurse Lexi at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
ON CLASSROOM PREPARATION
Please know we were reticent to take time away from online learning in order to set up the Montessori Classrooms. Ordinarily, the teachers spend “set up week” getting their environments into purposeful and beautiful condition the week before school starts. We now face a logistical challenge because our teachers need to be online every day, teaching DLP 2.0, and that alone leads to longer days than during normal times. In addition to setting their classrooms up to the usual standard, the teachers now need to contend with Pandemic-related set up, including what furniture and other items can be removed from their classrooms, how fans, filters, and televisions might be positioned so as not to interfere with the environment, and implementing new customs and procedures in their classrooms such as the ebb and flow of Montessori materials, cleaning, etc.
This is why on November 2, 5 and 6, the lead and assistant teachers will not be able to teach their usual online schedules as they will be preparing their classroom environments in order to safely welcome students on November 9. On these days, Primary students may still anticipate their 10:30-11:30 AM specials blocks, and the Elementary students may anticipate hearing about an alternative schedule from Mr. Purse shortly.
We thank you again for your continued support, understanding, and cooperation as we prepare to reopen in-person safely under our Hybrid Learning Program.
October 26, 2020
Dear Aidan Families,
We will be using the COVID-19 screening in the Magnus Health mobile app in order to track the health of our students and staff when we return to in-person learning on November 9th. In order to help keep our community safe, all parents will be required to complete this daily COVID-19 screening for each student attending in-person classes at Aidan prior to their departure for school.
The Magnus Mobile app will allow parents to complete this easily from a smartphone in just a few clicks. This screening process will help us to create the safest possible environment for your children and our faculty & staff by avoiding screenings at the door where person to person transmissions could take place. At the completion of the screening each morning, you will receive a message for the student’s attendance instruction for that day. If approved, proceed to school and be ready to show the approval message to the staff member checking temperature at your child’s designated entrance.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation in this daily screening as it will be an imperative function of our safety protocols. All parents must submit the screening each morning for no later than 7:15 AM. Please reserve 1 to 2 minutes per child to complete this each morning.
Prior to our return on November 9th, we ask that each family practice filling out the screening each morning the week of November 2-6.
How to Set Up & Access Your Magnus Health Account & Magnus Mobile App:
- Log in to Aidan’s Parent Portal. On the Parent Portal homepage, click the green button, “Magnus Health Login” located on the right side of the page.
- After clicking the green “Magnus Health Login” button, parents will be taken to the Magnus Health web browser where they will be prompted to set up a password.
- Parents will also need to update their login credentials for the mobile app and may do so by hovering over their name in the Magnus web portal and selecting “Change Credentials”.
- After updating your credentials, you will need to download the Magnus mobile app. Download the “Magnus Health” app from the Google Play Store or Download the “Magnus Mobile V2” app from the Apple Store and login using your newly created username/password combination. If your device allows it, you can also set up the biometric login for easier access.
How to Complete Daily COVID-19 Screening:
- Log in to the Magnus mobile app each morning (Note: The only way to access the COVID-19 survey is through the mobile app. It cannot be accessed through a web browser.)
- Click on your child’s name and then select the “Covid-19” icon located at the middle-bottom of the menu.
- Click on “COVID 19 Screening” and please fill out the questionnaire with the most honest and up-to-date information.
- Press “Save” and follow the instructions that come up on the next page. Parents will receive either a “GO” or “STOP” message. If you have any questions on your results, please contact Nurse Lexi.
- If you have multiple children who attend Aidan, please complete the screening process for each child. In addition, if one of your children gets a "STOP" page after their test, please go back and edit your response to question 11 on your other child(ren)’'s questionnaires.
- Be ready to show your child’s “GO” message when you escort your child to their designated entrance point once you arrive at Aidan.
Other Important Things to Note:
- The only way to access the COVID-19 survey is through the mobile app. It cannot be accessed through a web browser.
- When you login to Magnus you will see a number of different icons, you do not need to fill out this information at the present time. There will also be a video tutorial on how to upload form, please disregard this information for the time-being. In addition to COVID-19 monitoring, Magnus is a health management system where forms and emergency information can be stored. We are not currently using this function for the 2020-2021 school year.
- If your child’s pod grouping is scheduled to be at home/virtual during a specific week, you do not need to complete the screening. The screening will only be used for children who will be attending in-person classes at Aidan.
- If your child’s pod grouping is scheduled to be in-person/at school, but your child will be absent due to sickness, you will still need to fill out the COVID screening.
If you have any difficulty accessing Magnus Health through Aidan’s Parent Portal, then please contact Nicole Goodman. If you have any difficulty completing the screening or other Magnus-related questions, please contact Nurse Lexi Pollack.
Thank you for partnering with us to help keep our community safe!
October 9, 2020
Dear Aidan Families,
This week, the Reopening Task Force recommended to the School’s Board of Trustees that Aidan Montessori School open with a Hybrid Learning Program. Under the Hybrid Program, Aidan will utilize alternating pod groupings of Primary and Elementary students to reduce the number of people on campus each week. The Board last night unanimously approved this recommendation and the school will move forward with its preparations to reopen its doors for in-person learning on November 9th.
The Decision-Making Process
The decision-making process focused on three things:
1. The Public Health Situation
The Reopening Task Force is tracking multiple metrics from multiple sources. The rolling 7-day average of new cases is a metric that we have weighed the most heavily. As this number goes down, most of the other metrics respond. As new cases decrease, the availability of testing increases, testing turnaround time decreases, available hospital beds increase and more. Over the past few weeks, the rolling 7-day average has been on a relatively steady downward trend, and we believe this trend will continue into November although we will continue to monitor the situation closely.
2. The Standard of Care
This refers to the “standard of care” that is informally set when other organizations or individuals behave in certain ways. In our case, government officials and, more importantly, public schools had declared the public health situation to be unsafe for children to return to schools. This was also true of the majority of our independent school peers. The standard of care has changed over the past couple of weeks with both public and independent schools announcing plans to bring students back to campus at an appropriate time.
3. The Readiness of the School
As you are likely aware, the School has had a Reopening Plan in place for quite a while now. We have new windows, HEPA filters, and box fans that have been calculated to refresh the air in the building at high rates. We also now have a full-time School Nurse. We have plans in place for physical distancing, personal protective equipment, hand washing, and the disinfecting and cleaning of materials and the building.
Our operational readiness, coupled with considerations around current health metrics and recent changes in the standard of care, gives us confidence to announce our intention right now. We will continue to track public health in the lead up to November 9th, and will inform you immediately if this plan should change.
Once we begin to welcome students back to the campus, our operations may still be impacted by any changes in public health and community metrics. For example, we may need to quarantine a pod or close down for a deep cleaning should COVID-19 affect our community in one way or another. Our dedicated team has spent many hours creating an action plan to address the issues above. We have worked very hard to learn more than we ever could have imagined about this virus and how schools have succeeded and fallen short in their responses to it. We feel that these lessons put us in good stead as we take these steps forward together.
Family Attendance Survey
To help us prepare for our Hybrid Program opening in November, we ask that each family click the button below to complete a quick survey. Please complete one survey per child by no later than Friday, October 16. This will allow the School to make any adjustments to pod groupings prior to their announcement on October 21.
Reopening Information Meetings & Dates
In order for your family to feel comfortable to return to in-person classes at Aidan under the Hybrid Learning Program, we will be providing you with several opportunities to learn more about the school’s plans and how best to prepare. Please be on the lookout for invitations and mark your calendars for virtual meetings that will cover the logistics of opening the building as well as the academic program that you may anticipate. These meetings will be recorded and available following each session.
Wednesday, October 14
- 7:00 PM: Community Zoom with the Reopening Task Force to review our recently released Reopening Handbook and to discuss the logistics of opening the building. (RTF Community Zoom Meeting Link)
Wednesday, October 21
- 8:00 AM: Pod groupings and schedules will be sent to families via email.
- 7:00 PM: Lower School Teach-In for families with Ms. Merkel. This session will focus on the Academic program, schedules, pods, modifications, etc. (Lower School Zoom Meeting Link)
- 8:00 PM: Upper School Teach-in for families with Mr. Purse. This session will focus on the Academic program, schedules, pods, modifications, etc. (Upper School Zoom Meeting Link)
Friday, November 6
- Non-teaching day for teachers and staff to finish setting up their rooms and prepare the building for students' return. There will be no virtual classes on this day.
Monday, November 9
- Aidan Montessori School re-opens using its Hybrid Program.
In addition to the above, we have a series of videos planned, especially for children, so that we may all start to envision the differences that we will all encounter in this new iteration of our beloved school. Leading up to reopening, there will also be discussions and instruction for children during their online classes. Once in-person learning begins, classes will start with daily lessons and reminders about safe practices.
This year has been one for the books. The rollercoaster of stress, sorrow, challenge, exasperation, and – sometimes – successes is like one I’ve never experienced. Our community is a strong one, and I cannot wait for us to begin reconvening again, on any level. Together with your help and participation, we look forward to a successful and safe opening of Aidan’s school doors.
We look forward to sharing more of our plans with you in the coming weeks.
Head of School
September 11, 2020
Dear Aidan Community,
We hope that the first week of the new school year has gone well for you and your families, and that everyone remains safe and healthy. While DLP 2.0 is taking its maiden voyage, the Reopening Task Force continues to ready our building for the return to in-person instruction, in line with our safety standards and protocols designed over the summer.
Ongoing improvements include the following:
- We are transforming the front office into the office for our new school nurse Lexi Pollack. Some construction will be undertaken, and furniture and equipment are being delivered and installed so that Lexi will be ready to serve the needs of our students, faculty, and staff when we return to the building.
- We have purchased and taken delivery of thousands of masks and gloves, gallons of hand sanitizer and soap, and dozens of hand sanitizer dispensers. It is essential that Aidan have this PPE, and we encourage our community to continue to practice good hand hygiene, wear face coverings and observe responsible social distancing protocol.
- We are taking the following steps to keep fresh outdoor air circulating through our building, one of the most important strategies to maintain a healthy facility during the pandemic:
- To better regulate temperature and allow for continuous fresh air flow in every classroom throughout the school day, we are taking advantage of building downtime this fall to upgrade our windows. The new windows are insulated, double-paned windows that offer improved operability and ease of use. Coupled with new box fans we will be able to exchange all the air in a classroom continuously throughout the day.
- Exterior doors in the Sassafras, Mountain Silverbell and Sweet Gum classrooms are being fitted with screens so that we can keep those doors open to maximize air flow.
- Multiple free-standing air purifier units are also being deployed in each classroom to provide coverage for any spots (corners, alcoves) that may receive less airflow.
As part of our ongoing work assessing the timetable for our reopening scenarios, the Reopening Task Force is monitoring COVID metrics in the region, including the rolling 7-day average of novel cases, sustained low transmission rates, and sustained decrease in community spread, as well as the relevant standard of care.
The Task Force and the School continue to be heartened by the statements of support, helpful feedback and offers of assistance that flow in from our families. We are grateful for the patience, resilience and good humor of our Aidan community. Please send any questions or thoughts to our dedicated email address, reopeningtaskforce@
Chair, Reopening Task Force
President, Board of Trustees
Dear Aidan Community,
As promised last week, we are writing to you today with an update on Aidan Montessori School’s plans for the start of the school year. Our current plan is for all students to begin school on September 8 using our Distance Learning Program 2.0 and continue this program until November 6. During this time, we will not be teaching students on campus. The School will continue to closely monitor the evolving public health situation, with the goal of returning to the School building earlier should conditions enable us to mitigate the health risks posed by the virus.
Please know that the School and its Board of Trustees did not take this decision lightly. We are anxious to have our beloved students and Montessori guides back in our beautifully prepared classroom environments, and our goal is to make that happen as soon as possible. As with every decision, we are balancing the social and educational benefits of in-person learning with the need to protect our students and their families, our staff, and the communities in which we all reside.
At this time, the daily number of new COVID-19 cases and the level of community spread are elevated from prior periods in DC, Virginia and Maryland. Testing is not consistently available and the turnaround time for test results is unpredictable.This means thorough contact tracing is not possible for all local cases at the present time. The long-term effects of contracting COVID-19 also remain unclear, with the potential for lingering respiratory and cardio-vascular complications. In such circumstances, we concluded that it is not safe to begin the 2020-2021 school year with in-person instruction.
As mentioned in last week’s letter, the School, together with the Reopening Task Force and outside public health and medical experts, has been laboring all summer to prepare our facility and organize our classrooms and schedules to mitigate risks. We continue to plan for a safe reopening of our doors to our children, and we are exploring ways in which we can support the social and emotional health of our children and their families. We will actively monitor regional coronavirus statistics and reevaluate the situation.
Our DLP 2.0 Committee has also been engaged all summer in hard work and dialogue with stakeholders at all levels, preparing a robust redesign of our Distance Learning Program. Next Wednesday, August 12, we will unveil our DLP 2.0 in a Zoom presentations to our parents. The DLP 2.0 Committee’s work has incorporated feedback from faculty, parent surveys, and parent focus groups at each level, as well as collaborative reviews of online learning platforms, classroom schedules, and Specials’ schedules. Our DLP 2.0 includes increased synchronous learning, a more user-friendly online platform, greater individualization, smaller learner groups, sensible schedules, and more child/teacher contact time. Please join us on August 12 for more information about this new online learning experience.
On behalf of everyone at the School, we want to thank all of our families for their continued support, trust, and patience. Part of our mission or shared work at Aidan Montessori involves a recognition that personal growth involves responsibility toward others. We believe in this now, more than ever: We all have strong ties that bind us together at our School and in our communities, so we are confident that we can get through this together. Please know that we have been working as creatively and thoughtfully as we can to do our best this school year by your children and for each other--and that our work is ongoing.
Wishing you continued good health, love, and resilience,
Kevin Clark, Head of School
Rachel Li, President, Board of Trustees
July 30, 2020
Dear Aidan Community,
I truly hope that this message finds you all well. I wanted to give you an update: As you may already know, Mayor Muriel Bowser today announced that DCPS will be entirely online for the first term of the year, until November 9. This announcement reflects similar declarations coming out of several counties such as Loudon, Fairfax, and Montgomery. This has implications for Aidan’s reopening plans, and we expect to be able to report out to our community what our plan will be over the coming week, August 3-8.
As previously reported, we do not necessarily follow the District in lock step, but we make our decisions informed by what the District does as well as information that we receive from various other sources such as independent school organizations, the Office of the State Superintendent for Education and our Legal Counsel. Please, be on the lookout for further communications in the coming week.
Please rest assured that, as a parent myself, I am mindful of the need to give families clarity and time to plan ahead; however, it is a balancing act, as reporting out too early will lead to inevitable changes.
I also wanted to let our community know that I have been working all summer with fantastic teams of people, both staff and volunteers, preparing to deliver the best Montessori education we can this fall, while prioritizing the health and safety of our families and faculty. While our work is ongoing, here is an update on what we at the school have been doing recently:
- The school has hired a school nurse, and we are now working on “on-boarding” her. We will be creating a nurse’s office, working with her on our reopening plans, talking through what Aidan was like pre-COVID, and what it might look like so that it may be as safe as possible.
- The Reopening Task Force continues to meet regularly and keeps abreast of the latest guidance relating to school reopening. As outlined in the matrix we issued in the spring, the Task Force is planning for multiple scenarios, including in-person instruction, full-time virtual learning, and “hybrid” scenarios. The Task Force is also in the process of drafting a reopening handbook containing detailed written guidance for parents. Our plan is to release the reopening handbook during the week of August 10, with subsequent updates as necessary. This goal of this handbook is to explain to families how the school and its operations might be different if/when the school is able to re-engage in in-person learning. If you have any questions, please email us at email@example.com.
- The Reopening Task Force also continues to work closely with the Board’s indefatigable Buildings & Grounds Committee, which has conducted an exhaustive survey of our facility, including classroom, office, and common areas, air management systems, bathrooms and plumbing, and points of entry and egress. The Buildings & Grounds Committee has also made recommendations for equipment purchases to keep our families and staff safe.
- The DLP 2.0 Committee—comprising admin staff and lead Montessori guides from Toddler, Primary, and Elementary—has been meeting weekly and working hard to ensure a successful redesign of our distance learning program. To date the Committee has digested the results of family and staff surveys, conducted extensive interviews of parents spanning all levels of our community, and held focus groups at both the Lower and Upper School levels to gain family insight into this iteration of DLP 2.0. The Committee is currently refining the distance learning program in response to focus group feedback, and will provide details about DLP 2.0, staff training, and family orientation information before the school year begins.
- The school is also in the process of organizing opportunities for new and transitioning families to meet their teachers. Information about meeting the newest additions to our community, Hamed Isaza (Red Oak Lead) and Katia Kozhakova (Dogwood Lead) will follow shortly as will plans for students who will be new to their communities and information for new parents about our “Family Buddy Program.”
I am very thankful for our school staff and Board of Trustees who have spent countless hours this summer working on reopening and the DLP. I also extend a big “thank you” to our Aidan community at large and to the many parents who have contributed their helpful feedback and expertise. During this time of pandemic, when so much of the daily news is disheartening, I remain uplifted by the kindness of our community—our staff, volunteers, parents, and students.
Community is truly the most important resource we have these days. I know that, working with each other, we can get through this together.
Wishing you continued good health, love, and resilience,
Dear Aidan Families,
Please note the two sets of information below: Aidan Montessori School’s Reopening Matrix and the School’s Draft Schedules for its Distance Learning Program (DLP). The goal of these documents is to provide a better understanding of the circumstances for which the School is preparing, as varied as they may be, and how we are thinking and strategizing around them in order to best meet the needs of our students and families.
AIDAN MONTESSORI SCHOOL REOPENING MATRIX
- This document is self-explanatory, and it may lead you to have questions. Please send all questions to reopeningtaskforce@
- This document will continue to be referenced and refined as more information becomes available and as decisions are made over the coming weeks and months.
AIDAN MONTESSORI SCHOOL DLP 2.0 SCHEDULES
- These are the schedules that will be followed if/when the School needs to implement its distance learning program in the coming year.
- At this point in time, it is unknown whether stay-at-home orders may be announced at the beginning of the year or at any point during the year.
- These schedules and the DLP 2.0 will be implemented according to the Reopening Matrix, as necessary.
- The Elementary schedules are very close to the regular daily schedules of the Elementary programs.
- The Primary schedules include teaching blocks with Specials teachers who are supplemental within the DLP, but not ordinarily a component of the classroom-based Montessori program.
- The Toddler schedule will mirror the morning work block and include individualized support for parents.
Thank you for continued patience and support, and we encourage you to direct any questions to our Reopening Task Force.
Aidan Montessori School
May 14, 2020
Dear Aidan Community,
Below please find the links to two important documents: a list of Frequently Asked Questions, about which many of you may be wondering, and information about Aidan's COVID-19 Emergency Family Relief Fund. Please note that the COVID-19 Emergency Family Relief Fund is time sensitive and responses should be submitted by Wednesday, May 20th at the latest.
In addition to the list of FAQs above, you may anticipate a follow up document which will explain the school's (fluid) thinking and contingency planning about the school year ahead of us.
You will also be invited to a virtual level meeting at which the Head of School will be able to follow up on these two communications as well as other issues that are important to your family and the year ahead. Please be on the lookout for these communication, which will be coming soon.
Aidan Montessori School
Dear Aidan Families,
It's hard to believe it's only been a few days of this "new normal" that we are all currently experiencing. Just when so many of you were starting to get the hang of your own family routines, it feels as though everything has been turned upside down and we don't know which way is up.
As we are all trying so hard to not only make sense of what is happening and keep our sanity intact, it's absolutely crucial to utilize our support systems. We are all in this together and as a school community we can help keep each other to feel connected and supported.
As your school counselor, my main role is to provide social and emotional support to both students and families. Please know that I am available to you via cell phone, email, and video chat through google hangouts. Let your (Elementary) child know that if they would like to talk to me, that I am here!
After Spring Break, I will be available between 9 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Thursday. Send me an email to set up an appointment and I look forward to helping you and your families in any way that I can.
Here are also a few resources that may be helpful:
- Stop a Worry Becoming Catastrophic: How to Talk to Your Kids about the Coronavirus
- Four Ways to Help Prevent Loneliness While You're Social Distancing
- Free Guided Meditation
- For a little zen, a live stream of the National Aquarium in Baltimore
Here's to good health, both physically and mentally.
- Contact Information
- How to Wash Your Hands (Video)
- How to Wear Your Face Covering (Video)
- A Holistic Approach to Keeping Your Family Healthy
Aidan is thrilled to welcome our brand new School Nurse, Lexi Pollack, for the 2020-2021 school year. Nurse Lexi's office will be located in the former front office as you walk in to Aidan's main entrance lobby.
Lexi Pollack: firstname.lastname@example.org / (202) 387-2700
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet – avoid processed foods, increase your fiber intake, and add a variety of colors to your plate in the forms of fruits, vegetables and herbs!
- Exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes a day
- Get plenty of sleep – creating a sleep schedule can be extremely beneficial
TAKE CARE OF YOUR MIND
- Practice deep breathing, stretching, and meditation
- Make time to unwind – participate in activities that you enjoy when you can
- Connect with others – in a safe environment with the proper precautions in place, or online/phone/text
IMMUNE SUPPORT SUPPLEMENTS
There are a number of great vitamins and minerals that can strengthen your immune system and keep it functioning at its best through food and supplementation. Here are some recommendations from Dr. Chris D’Amato, Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
- Vitamin C – citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes
- May help prevent bacterial, viral, or other infections.
- Vitamin D – sunlight, fatty fish
- One of the most important immune system-strengthening nutrients. It can reduce the risk of colds and flu and should be taken on a regular basis, and is another reason why getting outside and exercising is important!
- Vitamin A – leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomatoes, fruits
- Supports the body’s ability to fight infections (especially respiratory).
- Zinc – oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains
- Helps reduce the number of infections and the duration of the common cold if taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.
- Selenium – brazil nuts, seafood, cereals and other grains, dairy products, organ meats
- An antioxidant essential to immune function and helps strengthens the body’s defenses against bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells.
- Probiotics – yogurt, natural yeast, fermented foods (not overly processed)
- “Good bacteria” that both support gut health and influence the function and regulation of the immune system. They can also decrease the number of respiratory infections.
- Raw Honey
- An antioxidant that’s also good at relieving minor pain and inflammation of the nose and throat, which can be combined with tea or hot water and lemon to soothe coughs or sore throats.
- May reduce the severity of upper viral respiratory infections.
- Tips & General Explanations
- Resources for Children
- Talking With Your Child About Difficult Topics
- Addressing Racism & Stigma Around Coronavirus
How we can help kids increase their sense of control as the coronavirus approaches (The Washington Post)
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus (Child Mind Institute)
Talking to Teens and Tweens About Coronavirus (The New York Times)
How to talk to children about difficult news (American Psychological Association)
Explaining the News to Our Kids (Common Sense Media)
Head of Lower School and Director of Education, Denise Merkel outlines the three guiding principles that serve as the foundation for any Montessori community.
Everyone's favorite PE Teacher, Phillip Katinas, shares some hard won tips for creating workouts at home and the evolution of Aidan's virtual PE classes.
Aidan's Literacy Specialist, Ms. Navarro, highlights opportunities for authentic writing experiences that you can do with your child at home.
Lead Toddler Teacher, Ms. Barba, offers some recommendations for how you can introduce and explore a variety of art with your little one.
Aidan's Librarian Nell Stewart highlights some of the American Library Association's most recent book award winners.
Head of Upper School Mr. Purse tackles technology at Aidan and shares some the latest findings from a recent survey presented by The Social Institute.
Complaints and whining got you down? Aidan's favorite advice columnist is here to help you and your child muddle through the malaise.
Lead Primary Teacher Ms. Hernandez discusses the First Plane child's Sensitive Periods and the skills that accompany these phases.
Persimmon Teacher, Ms. Aker, shares some examples of positive phrasing and why it is key to unlocking effective communication with your little one.
Librarian Nell Stewart highlights some of the newest additions to Aidan's Library and shares recommendations for all ages.
Director of Education Denise Merkel highlights the importance and role of repetition in the Montessori classroom.
Lead teacher in the Magnolia class, Ms. Pasco, shares tips on how you can help your child become a vocabulary enthusiast.
Grace & Courtesy lessons are an integral part of Montessori education. Lead Primary Teacher, Teri Eckel shares some suggestions for how to model Grace & Courtesy for your child.
Literacy Specialist Emily Navarro discusses the beauty and power of the spoken word, and the importance of building our children's vocabularies.
Head of Lower School and Director of Education Denise Merkel discusses the importance of exploration in lighting the flame of curiosity within each child.
The Reopening Handbook is now available for viewing. Please continue to check back as this document will be updated as new information becomes available.
Updated: January 14, 2021
Aidan will be using the COVID-19 screening in the Magnus Health mobile app in order to track the health of our students and staff when we return to in-person learning. Here's what you need to know to get started!
DC COVID-19 Metrics Data (Updated Daily)
DC DOH High Risk States (Updated 11/2)
COVID-19 Testing Info
Aidan's School Counselor Jessica Kwerel is here to support your family. Contact her to set up an appointment.