Because so many of our parents interact with our website through mobile devices with small screens, Aidan has moved toward offering our Reopening Handbook in an online format. Depending on your preference, you can download a printable PDF of this document or read it directly on this page.
Please note that as the recommendations and information around COVID-19 continue to evolve, the policies and procedures outlined in this handbook may be subject to change.
Updated: May 21, 2021.
- Healthy Community
- Healthy Schedules
- Healthy Classrooms
- Healthy Activities
- Healthy Buildings
- Frequently Asked Questions
- On the Handbook
- A Note About the Reopening Handbook
- Message from the Head of School
- Message from the Reopening Task Force
- Message from the School Nurse
- Goals & Results
This handbook lays out the policies and procedures that Aidan Montessori School (the “School”) will use to reduce risks related to COVID-19 as we reopen School. We believe these new protocols represent an important step in living responsibly with this virus. While the information in this document describes the protocols that we have established to minimize exposure to our community, the School cannot guarantee that COVID-19 or other communicable diseases will not occur during participation in our programs. In addition, while our strategy employs policies and procedures that support current scientific and medical information, this Reopening Handbook and the School’s protocols are subject to change as the public health situation is fluid and our understanding of it may change. The handbook will reside online and will be updated as the situation warrants.
The policies in this Handbook are applicable to families who are enrolled at the School during the 2020-21 school year. These policies either supplement or supersede the School’s existing policies as listed in the Parent Handbook. If a policy in the Parent Handbook conflicts with a policy in this Reopening Handbook, the policies in this Reopening Handbook will control and supersede the policies in the Parent Handbook.
Dear Community Families,
I hope that this message finds you all safe and well. The Reopening Task Force has put together this Handbook outlining the policies and procedures in effect should we be able to physically reopen the school building to some measure of in-person instruction. Please review the Handbook and let us know if you have any questions or feedback. Please also note that we will revise and update the Handbook as we continue to stay on top of guidance and recommendations.
At heart, the Montessori ethos is about taking care of each other. Even our youngest students are taught by our trained teachers that we are all part of a caring community. For example, when a student finishes a piece of work, they are encouraged to carefully put the work away back on its tray in the assigned place because another student may wish to use those materials next. The Montessori values we try to instill in our students through our curriculum reach up to the rest of our school. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 whirlwind, many parents have reached out to me with messages of support, constructive feedback, and offers to help. Many staff and volunteers have devoted countless hours this summer--working cooperatively, creatively, and thoughtfully--all in service of doing the best we can for our strong Montessori community. I continue to be thankful for the Grace and Courtesy exhibited by our community--our staff, students, and parents--as we live through this incredibly unique and challenging time in history.
Wishing you good health, love, and resilience,
Head of School
Dear Aidan Families,
As you may already know from our prior communications, in mid-May 2020 the Aidan Board of Trustees, in collaboration with the School’s administration, convened a special Reopening Task Force to address the quickly evolving situation relating to COVID-19. The Task Force includes the past and current Board Presidents, members of the Buildings & Grounds Committee of the Board, a representative of the Finance Committee, the Head of School, the Chief of Operations, and the Director of Education. The Task Force immediately began meeting weekly to shepherd the School through the end of the 2019-20 school year and to prepare for the current 2020-21 school year.
Over the summer, the Task Force has performed the following work:
- We maintained our weekly meeting schedule and have been communicating with each other on a near-daily basis.
- We established a dedicated email address for the Reopening Task Force to which parents have been sending questions and feedback.
- We created a summer communications calendar in order to foster open communication with our families and maintain a sense of connection. These outreaches have included Q&As and presentations involving the Head of School, the Board Treasurer and the school’s Chief Financial Officer, and the Reopening Task Force, emotional support sessions with our school counselors, and a fun freeze dance and scavenger hunt event.
- We have conducted a thorough inspection of our facility and weighed multiple options to mitigate risks to our community’s health. Our truly relentless Buildings & Grounds Committee representatives have been up on ladders, down in the lower levels, on the roof, and in every nook and cranny of the school seeking ways to make best use of our spaces, and to keep those spaces as healthy as we can.
- We have involved outside legal consultants and current and former parents with medical and public health expertise. We extend a heartfelt “thank you” to: Constance H. Baker (CH Baker Law); Dr. Tunay Kuru (MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Magnolia and Sweet Gum Parent); Dr. Melissa Perry (George Washington University, Milken Institute of Public Health, Professor and Chair, Red Oak Parent), Dr. Josh Rising (Rising Health Strategies, Aidan alumni parent); and Dr. Isabelle Von Kohorn (Holy Cross Health and George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Aidan alumni parent). We also thank all our parents who reached out to the Task Force offering their helpful ideas and feedback throughout this process.
- We have closely monitored reopening guidance from the CDC and our DC regulatory agencies, as well as practices adopted by other schools both domestically and internationally. As we have seen over the past several months, COVID-19 presents a rapidly changing landscape. We will continue to keep abreast of all guidance and will remain vigilant about changing circumstances that may necessitate a pivot from existing protocols. We will update the handbook as events warrant, so please continue to consult the handbook on an ongoing basis. Updated information can also be found on the school’s dedicated COVID-19 site: https://www.aidanschool.org/families/coronavirus.
This handbook is a result of the above work and more. We hope you find it helpful--and we also hope you will reach out to us with feedback.
|Joshua Ackil||Erika Braddock||Daniel Cave|
|Board of Trustees||Board of Trustees||Board of Trustees|
|Mountain Silverbell Parent||Aidan Alumni Parent||Mulberry/Magnolia/Red Oak Parent|
|Kevin Clark||Brenda Haendler||Rachel Li|
|Head of School||Board of Trustees, Secretary||Board of Trustees, President|
|Persimmon Parent||Sweet Gum Parent|
|Denise Merkel||Jimi Purse||Kennedy Wright|
|Director of Education||Chief of Operations||Board of Trustees|
|Head of Lower School||Head of Upper School||Aidan Alumni Parent|
|Sweet Gum Parent|
Dear Aidan Families,
I am thrilled to be a part of the Aidan Montessori School community and I have enjoyed connecting with most of our families through testing events and emails. I look forward to continuing our work to keep Aidan healthy and safe, and I strive to build positive and long-lasting relationships with the members of our community, both in person and online.
As the School Nurse, my central focus is the health and well-being of all the members of the Aidan community. My responsibilities include working with parents, teachers and staff, the administration, and our regulatory agencies to ensure that our children receive appropriate medical care while on campus. Under the circumstances presented by COVID-19, I am actively assisting with screening, managing, tracing, and reporting information that is vital to maintaining the good health of everyone in our school.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. While my full name is Alexandra, I go by Lexi, and I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to working with you all in our partnership to keep our Aidan community safe.
Alexandra (Lexi) Pollack, BSN, RN, CPN
Aidan Montessori School is working toward these results:
- Establishing and reinforcing a culture of health, safety, and shared responsibility;
- Prioritizing staying home when sick;
- Being supportive of testing;
- Establishing plans for when there is a case;
- Enhancing protection for high-risk members of our community.
- Managing transition times and locations;
- Modifying attendance as necessary;
- Supporting remote learning options.
- Wearing face coverings;
- Washing hands frequently;
- Making lunchtime safer;
- Maximizing physical distancing to protect individuals;
- Maximizing distancing between groups of students.
- Providing recess;
- Modifying physical education;
- Reimagining music and theater classes;
- Providing safe exercise routines for children;
- Adding structure to outdoor activities.
- Increasing fresh air ventilation;
- Filtering indoor air and verifying ventilation and filtration performance;
- Supplementing with portable air cleaners;
- Using plexiglass as physical barriers;
- Reducing infrastructure contact;
- Keeping surfaces clean and enhancing cleaning protocols;
- Focusing on bathroom hygiene;
- Reducing density in the school building.
- Family Roles & Responsibilities
- Student Expectations
- Family Resources
- Greeting Each Other: COVID-19 Edition
- Health & Safety Protocols (School Nurse, Facility Access & Cleanliness)
- Health & Safety Protocols (Hand Washing & Hand Sanitizer)
- Health & Safety Protocols (Face Coverings)
- Health & Safety Protocols (COVID-19 Symptoms. Magnus App, & Suspected Diagnosis)
- Health & Safety Protocols (Community Testing, Notifications, Re-Entry Guidelines)
- Health & Safety Protocols (Parent Education, Vulnerable/High Risk Community Members)
We must take a collective approach when it comes to mitigating the risks involved with reopening during COVID-19. Each family depends on the cooperation of the others to keep the entire community safe. Therefore, we ask our families to abide by the following practices:
- Please be on the alert for any signs of illness in your child. Symptoms of COVID-19 are described in the health screening Magnus App. It is imperative that you keep your child at home if they are sick, even if you think it is unlikely they have COVID-19. We ask parents to err on the side of keeping their children home when considering whether to send their child to school should they show any signs of illness or discomfort.
- Parents are required to conduct a pre-screening each day at home by subjectively monitoring for health and signs of sickness and taking their children’s temperature every morning. Parents will be responsible for entering this information via the Magnus App on their phone or tablet prior to arriving at Aidan.
- Consistent with our Parent Handbook, it is even more critical that all students are up to date with their vaccinations. Parents are also strongly encouraged to get influenza (flu) shots for every member of their family. We will only permit medical exemptions to vaccinations, confirmed in writing by the child’s health care provider.
- Develop a plan to pick up your child from School within thirty (30) minutes should you be notified by the School that your child is being sent home due to any illness.
- Keep your contact information up to date with the School.
- As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), please keep your child at home when not at School. Families are encouraged to refrain from children gathering or socializing in groups, for example, an indoor playdate, a meal inside a restaurant, or a trip to an indoor shopping center.
- Please help your child become accustomed to hand hygiene, wearing face coverings, disinfecting surfaces, safe protocol for sneezing/coughing (into one’s elbow), using alternative greeting methods to shaking hands (see "Greeting Each Other: COVID-19 Edition" under Healthy Community), and resisting the urge to touch or hug others not in their family unit. These protocols will also be reviewed often at school; the best chance for compliance is lots of practice.
- We understand that some of these procedures may be upsetting to your children, especially in the beginning when it is all new. We will do our best to make the arrival process as smooth and non-disruptive as possible. We ask that parents please go over the new arrival procedures with their children, including the symptoms check, so that it is not a surprise for them on day one (see "Arrivals & Departures" under Healthy Schedules).
- Please send the following items in your child’s backpack: two (2) well-fitted and comfortable face coverings; two (2) snacks; water bottle; lunch with placemat and necessary utensils; change of clothes; an individually-sized container of hand sanitizer; and outdoor gear appropriate for the weather (e.g. raincoat, rain pants, boots, hat, mittens, snow gear). Please label everything with your child’s name. Please make sure your child can open and close all lunch containers.
- 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.”
- If you have any exposure to someone with active COVID-19, or suspect that you or someone in your family may have COVID-19, you should get tested immediately. You must notify the School of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in your family and of any exposure to COVID-19, erring on the side of notifying the School of any possible exposure so we can help you protect our community.
- If your child or a member of your family or household is high risk or particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 as defined by the Centers for Disease Control, you must notify the School immediately.
- Please read communications from the School.
- Please follow re-entry guidelines as explained in this handbook (see "Health & Safety Protocols - Re-Entry Guidelines" under Healthy Community).
As best as they are able, based on their developmental stage and level of skill, our children will be asked to do the following in-class:
- Students will be required to wear face coverings at all times except when eating, drinking or otherwise permitted by the supervising adult(s). We will provide designated locations for “mask breaks” should an individual student require temporary respite. Based on current guidance, students in our Toddler program under the age of 2 will not be required to wear face coverings. For additional information about face coverings see "Health & Safety Protocols - Face Coverings" under Healthy Community.
- Parents of children with breathing problems such as asthma or other complications should discuss these with the School Nurse to determine if accommodations are appropriate.
- Students should try to maintain a physical distance of six (6) feet from each other while inside and preferably also while outdoors. We understand that the CDC guidelines state student-to-student interactions can be performed at three (3) feet of distance. We are still using the six (6) foot rule, but understand that during the course of the day, students may be closer to each other. School staff will be present to remind students of physical distancing requirements and to encourage play that naturally utilizes physical distancing.
- Students will be expected to wash hands often and to follow hygienic hand washing techniques, which will be taught and reinforced by our teachers and staff. (See "Health & Safety Protocols - Hand Washing & Hand Sanitizer" under Healthy Community).
- Students will be asked to follow recommended protocols for safe sneezing and coughing -- e.g. sneeze or cough into one’s elbow, also sometimes called the “batwing” technique.
- Students will be encouraged to tell adults as soon as possible whenever they experience any symptoms of COVID-19 or otherwise feel unwell or uncomfortable. (See "Health & Safety Protocols - COVID-19 Symptoms" under Healthy Community).
- Students will be asked to adopt the methods described in "Greeting Each Other: COVID-19 Edition" under the Healthy Community section for formally greeting each other.
For an up-to-date listing of coronavirus resources, school communication, and information on the School’s policies and procedures to ensure a safe reopening, visit the “Coronavirus Information” page found on Aidan’s website.
It has been our tradition in America to shake hands when we greet each other. As is traditional in a Montessori classroom, each child is personally welcomed to their community in a similar fashion every morning. In order to comply with physical distancing protocols, we are embracing different forms of greetings and farewells from around the world.
Here are a few suggestions for our community on how to greet each other:
- Placing one hand over the heart and saying hello
- A friendly nod or wave
- A respectful salute
- Bowing with hands clasped chest high (Namaste)
- A cheerful thumbs-up--or a DOUBLE thumbs-up
- Hugging oneself
Parents should encourage their children to try some of these methods and pick a few that work for them. We suggest you practice these with your child before they return to campus.
We have established and will adhere to best practices as have been outlined by the CDC and our DC regulatory agencies, in consultation with our School Nurse, cleaning company, and Chief of Operations. The School will continue to monitor CDC and other guidance regarding safe practices relating to COVID-19 and will update or revise the handbook, including health and safety protocols, as the School deems necessary.
Our School Nurse is also available to address questions and concerns.
First office to the right immediately upon entering the school lobby (former front office).
Lexi Pollack - email@example.com
Who will be permitted in the building?
- The presence of visitors on campus will be minimized. As a general rule, visitors, including parents, will not be permitted in the building. “Essential” visitors will be permitted, but only in the rarest of cases, as determined by the administrative team (Nurse, Head, Chief of Operations, Director of Education).
- Parents will be asked not to enter the building unless approved by the School. They must contact the School in advance and wait outside until granted entry. Any parent/visitor will be health screened, including temperature-taking and entry questions, and they must wear a face covering and practice physical distancing in accordance with School policy. Due to COVID-19, regular parent observations are suspended until further notice.
- Visitors must confirm personal contact information to facilitate infection contact tracing, if needed. In addition to COVID-19 precautions, any visitors permitted in the building must also follow pre-COVID-19 School procedures for security by signing-in and wearing a visitor pass.
- Everyone--faculty, staff, students (except children under the age of 2), and anyone else on campus or in the building, fully-vaccinated or not--is required to wear a face covering. Everyone who enters the School building will be required to sanitize their hands before entering.
- Most assemblies, meetings, support groups, school events, etc. will be conducted online via Zoom until further notice. If an event is held in person, we will be following the DC DOH K-12 and Adult Education Commencement Guidance.
- All attendees should fill out a form, provided by the school, either online or in-person before the event. In this form, there will be questions about the attendee’s name, phone number, and email address that we will keep for 30 days in order to aid the DOH contact tracing team if there were to be an outbreak of COVID-19.
- Every party at the event will be separated from others by at least 6 feet.
- Any eating or drinking should be done in one’s seat and not while walking around or interacting with other attendees that do not live in your household.
- All attendees must wear a mask at all times during the event. Aidan will provide disposable masks to anyone who comes to the event without one.
- Please verbally greet others and do not shake hands or make physical contact with those who do not live with you.
- Perform frequent hygiene. There will be multiple hand sanitizer stations around the premises. Key times to perform hand hygiene include:
- When arriving at the venue;
- Before and after eating or drinking;
- Before and after putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings;
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
How will we keep items clean and disinfected?
- Hand washing is one of the best defenses against spread of the virus and it will be required often during the day. Protocol for proper hand washing is described below.
- All persons in the building and on campus should sanitize their hands before entering a classroom. Additional sanitizing stations have been installed at key positions throughout the building. Protocol for proper hand sanitizer use is described below.
- All students will be directed to disinfect the tops of their tables before leaving class. The classrooms will also be cleaned by our professional cleaning crew as described below.
- While current evidence suggests that COVID-19 is not transmitted by touching everyday objects, we are exercising an abundance of caution in keeping Montessori materials sanitized. Objects touched by a student, such as Montessori materials, will not be used by another student until the material has been appropriately sanitized and disinfected by staff.
- Further details about cleaning/disinfecting protocols appear in "Health & Safety Protocols (Hand Washing & Hand Sanitizer)".
How will we keep our hands clean at School?
Healthy Hand Hygiene
Washing hands helps to prevent the spread of infections from one person to the next. All children and staff will engage in healthy hand hygiene at the following times:
- Arrival to the classroom and after breaks;
- Before and after each work choice;
- Before and after eating or handling food;
- After using the toilet or helping a child use the bathroom;
- After coming in contact with body fluids;
- After playing outdoors;
- After handling garbage;
- Before and after touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
Six Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
- Wet your hands with clean, warm running water and apply liquid soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, palms, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. Continuing to rub them together.
- Dry your hands using a clean paper towel or air dry them.
- Turn the water off by using the paper towel.
After assisting children with handwashing, staff will wash their own hands. Please practice this protocol at home with your child(ren) often.
Use hand sanitizer when you cannot use soap and water. Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. There will be hand sanitizer stations conveniently located throughout the building.
Three Steps to Properly Use Hand Sanitizer
- Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand. Please read the label to learn the correct amount.
- Rub your hands together vigorously.
- Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
Will students be required to wear face coverings?
Face coverings for school use are not surgical masks, respirators, or other medical personal protective equipment. They are simple, 2-3 layer cotton/cloth apparel that closely fit and cover the mouth and nose. The use of face coverings is intended to protect everybody in the classroom; face coverings reduce the risk of both transmitting and contracting a viral infection.
Accordingly, we have adopted the following procedures this year relating to face coverings:
- Everyone must wear face coverings while in public spaces (hallways, lobby, multiple-occupied offices) when arriving or leaving campus. Face coverings are not required while individuals are alone in non-shared office spaces. Reminder: Bathrooms are shared spaces, and face coverings need to be used in bathrooms. Teachers and other personnel may also use face shields in addition to face coverings.
- Primary and Elementary students must wear face coverings while at school. Per current recommendations, our Toddler students under the age of 2 will not be required to wear face coverings. Use of face coverings by students in classrooms will be carefully evaluated, particularly for our youngest students. All children will be reminded to keep them on.
- A clearly delineated “mask break” space will be provided in each classroom for children (one at a time) to take temporary respite from masks when necessary. Teachers and staff will be responsible for the safe use and cleaning of that space.
- Every member of the Aidan community will supply their own face coverings. The School will have disposable face coverings available only as back-up should a community member forget theirs, run out, or face other complications. Students will be expected to bring at least two (2) new/clean/laundered face coverings to school every day and take them both home every day.
- Parents should have their children practice putting on, wearing, and removing a face covering before they return to school. We recommend that parents experiment and find a style of face covering for their child that is well-fitted (minimal gaps and slippage) and comfortable so that their child does not frequently touch their face to adjust their face covering. See CDC guidance such as this video that you can view with your child.
How will we monitor students for symptoms of COVID-19?
Please see details for checks upon arrival below. Children’s temperatures will be checked daily and potentially more than once throughout the day. Families are also asked to monitor their children’s temperature and keep them home if they show signs of illness. See “Family Roles and Responsibilities” section above.
Members of our community will be denied entry to the school building if any of the following symptoms are present:
- Temperature over 100.0°F
- Replying “yes” when asked if medications were used to lower an individual’s temperature.
- Any of the following symptoms is of greater intensity or frequency than what is normally experienced:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
- Chills - repeated shaking with chills;
- Muscle pain;
- Sore throat;
- Congestion or runny nose;
- Loss of taste or smell;
- Nausea or vomiting;
- Has had close contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days and is, therefore, a person-under-investigation (PUI) for COVID-19.
- Has returned from a “hot spot” and must quarantine per DC guidelines.
- We have adopted the policy presented by the DC DOH in the May 6, 2021 release of the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19): Guidance for Schools that students and staff should get COVID tested at the same time if anyone in their household is symptomatic, even if they themselves do not have symptoms. (Persons who are fully vaccinated should only get tested if they develop symptoms)
- If testing is not done, it is recommended that the staff/student not attend school while the symptomatic household member’s test result is pending.
- If the result is negative, the student can return to school.
- If the result is positive, the student should quarantine at home and expect outreach from the DC Health Contract Tracing team
- If testing is not done, it is recommended that the staff/student not attend school while the symptomatic household member’s test result is pending.
Monitoring with the Magnus App
We use the COVID-19 Screening within the Magnus Health App to monitor the symptoms of all students and staff members. Families will be responsible for completing a health survey for their child each morning prior to arriving at the school, preferably by 7:45 AM. If the app is filled out after 7:45 AM, then please expect to show your Magnus "Go" message to the staff member at your child's designated drop-off entrance.
Please review these instructions for information on how to login to Magnus, to download the Magnus Health App, and to access the COVID-19 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.
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 (Video Tutorial):
- 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 12 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.
Important Things to Note About Magnus:
- 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.
What if there is a suspected COVID-19 case in our community?
The measures we adopt around COVID-19 are designed to help keep our entire community safe and to minimize spread. To that end:
- If a student has COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival at School, the School reserves the right to deny entry to the student.
- Community members who are experiencing symptoms of any communicable illness, such as strep throat, hand/foot/mouth disease, or the flu, also will be expected to stay at home, per existing policies in the Parent Handbook.
- The School requests that all families and staff notify the School immediately of any exposure to COVID-19, so that the School may be aware of potential exposure and make appropriate assessments. After exposure or in the event of a suspected case, a mandatory quarantine of 14 days is required prior to returning to school.
- While the CDC, DC DOH, and OSSE express that there are ways to shorten an exposed person’s quarantine, we have decided to maintain what they express is the safest practice and continue to enforce the 14 day quarantine.
- In an effort to stop the transmission of COVID-19 in its tracks, and keep as many classrooms open as possible, we will require that all siblings of exposed students maintain a 14-day quarantine as well.
- The decision to exclude any community member from entry or to send someone home will be at the discretion of the School administration, which includes the School Nurse.
If a child becomes ill at school, they will be sent home as soon as possible. Classroom staff will follow the following isolation procedures for children:
- The classroom staff will inform the School Nurse immediately of observed symptoms, and the child will be moved to isolation in the nurse’s office.
- The child will be offered a disposable face covering if the child is not wearing one (Toddler).
- The child will be kept separate from well children in the nurse’s office and staff contact will be limited as much as reasonably possible, while ensuring the safety and supervision of the child until they leave.
- The child will rest in the isolation area in the nurse’s office.
- The nurse or a staff member will contact parents to come to School to pick up the child in a timely manner, within 30 minutes.
- If the sick child has a sibling at school, the sibling will also be sent home at the same time.
- Once a parent has left with the symptomatic child, the isolation area will be cleaned and disinfected. Materials, surfaces, and furniture touched by the child who is sent home will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized by staff and/or our contracted cleaners according to CDC guidelines.
- Notification of the community will be in accordance with our policies listed below.
A School community member who tests positive for COVID-19 or who lives in the same household as an individual who tests positive must share this information with the School Nurse. The School Nurse will report this information to public health authorities as required by applicable law if this has not already been done.
In the event of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in our community, the School, by use of a pod grouping system, will be able to assist the DC Department of Health in contact tracing by providing lists of people with whom each student or staff member has had close contact in the previous 48 hours before symptoms appeared or positive test results, whichever comes first. Contact tracing is a strategy used to determine who has been exposed to a disease to help stop spread. Finding people who are close contacts of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 can help prevent further spread of the virus.
The School is depending on families to continue transparent communication about students’ health in order to ensure a trusting and supportive environment. In addition to relying on families to self-monitor and report using the Magnus App, the School will monitor absenteeism among children using our standard procedures. Absenteeism will not be penalized. Absences and the reason therefore will be recorded by classroom personnel daily and reported as required. Any unusual patterns of illness in any pod will be considered when evaluating the need for temporary or long-term classroom or building closures. Decisions about temporary or extended closures will be made in consultation with the District of Columbia’s Department of Health.
The School will follow recommendations from local health authorities in regard to contact tracing, suspension of on-campus operations, and/or notifications to the community. The building or areas thereof may be temporarily closed for deep cleaning if a COVID-19 diagnosed individual has been present at School. The School may also need to close a classroom, a floor, or the entire building in the case of COVID-19 presenting in the community.
Community COVID-19 Testing
The School may decide to periodically require community COVID testing, baseline or otherwise, or testing of subsets of our community. We will notify our community as soon as possible should we require testing.
How will the School communicate news of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in our community?
The School is required to report cases of COVID-19 to the District of Columbia’s Department of Health and to our licensing agency, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). We will inform all community members via email if a child or employee has tested positive for COVID-19 similarly to the way families are informed of other potentially contagious conditions at School. Families will be made aware of possible exposures to infection, but the identity of infected persons will be kept confidential.
We will communicate via phone call, email or Remind:
- with families, if their child has been in close contact with someone at School who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- with staff, if they have been in close contact with someone at School who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- with the entire School community if a classroom community/cohort has been closed temporarily due to COVID-19 exposure.
All parents should make sure that they are signed up to receive notifications from the School through our text-based system, Remind. Click here to join the Aidan Community on Remind. This system was procured by the School for use in emergency situations and has been used for emergency communications only, such as mid-day snow day releases. Given that some situations related to COVID-19 may be time-sensitive, it is possible that the School will expand the use of the Remind app in the coming year should circumstances warrant it. Additionally, the School usually replicates communications of this sort by email and as a banner on its website.
When can a child return to School following their illness?
- A child who develops symptoms of COVID-19 should be evaluated by a medical professional before returning to school. The medical professional should determine whether a test for COVID-19 is needed. A note from the medical professional that includes the alternate diagnosis or negative COVID test results is required and must be presented to the School Nurse before the child can return to school.
- If a child is diagnosed with COVID-19, they can return to school once they meet the CDC criteria for returning to school after a COVID-19 infection. As of the writing of this handbook the criteria are: 1) The person is fever-free without antipyretic medication for 24 hours, and 2) at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms, and 3) the symptoms have improved. If the child did not have symptoms, then they are cleared to return to school 10 days after the positive test.
- A release form from the Department of Health should be sent to the School Nurse before the child who tested positive for COVID-19 can return to school. This release form should state that the child has fulfilled their required quarantine period and is free to return to school.
- Individuals who are higher-risk or immunocompromised may require longer isolation at home after a COVID-19 illness and should consult with their medical professional prior to returning to school.
- If a child has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and is not evaluated by a medical professional, they can return to school when they meet the return-to-school criteria for a person who has recovered from COVID-19.
- If a child had significant exposure to an individual infected with COVID-19 they should quarantine and be monitored for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following the exposure prior to returning to school.
- Our School Nurse will help monitor all symptoms associated with COVID-19 in children. For children who have recovered from COVID-19, the School Nurse will help monitor for symptoms of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
How will the School train and educate our community?
- Faculty and staff will have several training sessions pre-start up and throughout the year on the proper procedures for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting their classrooms and the materials in them. They will also be instructed by the School Nurse regarding the prevention, symptoms of, and policies regarding COVID-19.
- The school nurse will provide the community with vaccination information as it comes out. There will be a push to have as many employees vaccinated as possible. Vaccination of staff, parents, and students (when eligible) will be strongly encouraged from the school’s administration team.
- Our students will begin each day reviewing the protocols around hand washing and hand sanitizer use, wearing face coverings and physically distancing. They will also be reminded - as often as necessary - how to wipe the surfaces they’ve used (Elementary) and to report to the adults which surfaces need attention (Primary). The Toddler staff will be as vigilant as they usually are. Children will be given lessons on where to place their materials for cleaning after use and will be instructed to not reuse them until they have been sanitized by staff.
- Parents will have opportunities to learn more about the School’s policies and procedures during regularly scheduled meetings with the Administration, the School Nurse, and the Montessori teachers. Look for dates, times and topics in upcoming School Notes & This Week at Aidan.
- The School will also continue to provide emotional support to our families throughout this difficult time. Please contact our counseling office.
What if my family member is in a vulnerable or high-risk group?
High-risk individuals should communicate their risk and preferred accommodations to the School as identified and recommended by a physician. The School will accommodate them to the extent that it is able. Families are encouraged to coordinate decision-making around the child’s care with the family health care provider if there are specific health concerns, chronic disease, or complex social or emotional dynamics in the home. The School will support at-risk community members to the extent that it is reasonably possible in the judgment of the School. Our School Nurse is also available for consultation and guidance.
The School has been planning for several potential learning programs that are dependent upon the public health situation at any given point during the school year. Families should be aware that the course of the pandemic may cause the School to move from one learning program to another. The School will notify families of such transitions as soon as possible.
This requires all learning to take place at home. The School has worked hard over the summer to shore up its ability to deliver a strong learning experience to every level of learning. The School’s Distance Learning Program 2.0 includes a more streamlined learning platform, increased scheduling of teacher/student interaction, and increased participation of Specials for all learners.
Should the public health situation allow students to be at School in reduced numbers, the School will implement modified schedules along with the policies and procedures described here to keep our community healthy. While this is subject to change as we continue to plan in the midst of the evolving public health situation, we anticipate that the hybrid learning scenario would include the following:
- With current enrollment numbers, Toddler students will attend in-person instruction every day on a normal schedule.
- Each Primary and Elementary class will be divided into two stable and separate “pods” for learning. These pods would not intermingle. The same teaching staff will remain with a single pod each day and will not mix with each other. Specials instructors will deliver lessons virtually, with the assistance of the classroom teaching staff. In the event of teacher illness or absence, a designated substitute for the pod will be assigned.
- Primary and Elementary pods would attend in-person instruction on alternating schedules, utilizing alternating weeks, with online instruction during the times they are not physically in the building. Should the School shift to the hybrid learning scenario, it will notify the community as soon as possible and will inform parents which pods and schedule their children will follow.
Should the situation enable us to do so, we will return to normal programming and schedules, although the School will evaluate requests for accommodations as may be appropriate.
Physical Distancing Strategies
The School will follow the recommendations of the CDC, the licensing agency (OSSE), and the DC government requirements for physical distancing. These strategies will be enforced as much as possible in our spaces and in consideration of the developmental stages of the students. We expect that young children will not be experts at distancing themselves from other children or adults while at School because they learn by engaging with their environment, which includes the other people in it. We expect the older children to be cognizant of their proximity to others and help each other keep a proper distance and maintain best practices. The physical distance between children will be increased in daily work locations, group gatherings, and during meals and snack times.
After School Program and Discovery Classes
The School anticipates that the ASP and Discovery program will not resume until the School returns to fully normal operations as any configuration of these programs would likely compromise the School’s ability to keep children safely in pods.
We plan, however, to provide our usual gap care for our Primary and Toddler students with current personnel. Please contact the School for further details should you require gap care.
Bringing your children to school and picking them up from School will be very different. Please be aware that we adopt these procedures in order to mitigate health risks in our community and please bear with us--especially in the beginning--as we all adjust to the new routines.
Arrival and class start times have been amended for best flow, given safe practices. Arrival window will be 8:00-8:30 AM for all classrooms.
- Before you arrive at school (preferably by 7:45 AM), the COVID-19 Screening in the Magnus App must be completed for each child. If the screening is completed after 7:45 AM, be prepared to show the app to your child's teacher at drop-off.
- Parents will see School personnel outside the building, directing traffic, helping with a myriad of logistics, taking temperatures, etc., but the Arrival Team will no longer receive children from cars.
- Parents must legally park (they may do so in the drop off lane in front of the building) and escort their child(ren) to the newly-designated door(s). See below for new entry points. If parents have more than one child, they will have to go to each separate entrance. Please maintain an acceptable physical distance when maneuvering around others.
- Adults must wear face coverings when dropping off and picking up children and while on the sidewalk around the campus, regardless of vaccination status.
- At each entrance, children’s temperatures will be taken with touchless thermometers, parents may be asked a series of questions pertaining to COVID-19 symptoms, and asked to show the results screen from the morning’s COVID-19 Screening in Magnus.
- Parents are asked to wait for those results and the “all clear” signal before leaving the premises. If there is any uncertainty, the School Nurse will make the final decision about whether or not a child may attend.
- No parents will be allowed into the building.
- Siblings will need to be walked to their respective doorways/entry points as stated in the section below.
New Entry Points
Mulberry, Dogwood (Purple #1)
Please come up the main front steps, enter through the lobby and turn left down the hallway to their respective classrooms.
Sweet Gum (Green #2)
Please enter through the main gate and use the corner door at the southeast end of their room.
Sassafras, Mountain Silverbell (Red #3)
Please enter through the small gate on the black top and enter Toddler rooms through the outside doors in the overhang.
Redbud, Persimmon (Yellow #4)
Please enter through the side gate on Woodley Road, and into the south blue door, up the yellow stairway to their classrooms.
Magnolia, Red Oak (Blue #5)
Please escort your child to the staff member located at the top of the back stairs in alley behind the school building. Students will go directly to their classrooms on the third floor up the blue stairwell.
If you arrive after 8:30 AM, please ring the doorbell and wait with your child until a staff person comes to the door. You must stay with your child until they have been screened and permitted to enter. If your child is in the Sweet Gum, Sassafras, or Mountain Silverbell class, go to the classroom door, knock gently and wait for a staff member to screen your child before leaving. No parents will be allowed in the building.
New Dismissal Times
Please take note of the new dismissal times below:
- Toddler & Primary: 2:45 - 3:00 PM
- Elementary: 3:30 - 3:45 PM
Students will stay in their classrooms and be dismissed by two-way radios. Parents or guardians will arrive in a predetermined window of time and present their name placard in the driver’s side window or let an administrative official know which child to call. Parents should retrieve their child from their designated entrance point and should plan to park their car if driving. Physical distancing must be maintained on the sidewalk. Students will use the same applicable hallway, stairwell, door, and gate as they used in the morning during arrival in reverse order. Students will then walk to their parents at their designated entry and either walk to their car, load, and drive away, or depart on foot/bike/scooter.
If for any reason you must pick your child up early, please let your child’s teacher know in advance AND you must also let the office (202-387-2700) know that day. Then, call the office when you arrive at the front of the School. Remain outside the building and School personnel will bring your child and dismiss them to you at the front door.
Preparation in class of lunch, snacks, and water:
- Unfortunately, for safety reasons, the School will not be able to serve food and snacks “family” style. Each child will bring their own lunch and snacks from home. Parents should send a cloth placemat with children to put under their food and eating items. Usual food allergy plans will remain in place, and families will be made aware of their classroom’s guidelines from information found on the classroom portal page.
- Children must also bring their own water bottles to school. Students will no longer be able to drink directly from a water fountain, but the quick-fill (touchless) component of our two (2) water fountains will be available to students to refill their bottles. They are located in the lobby and on the ground floor outside the rear of the Toddler rooms.
- To minimize contact, children should be able to open and close all containers and bottles independently, to the greatest extent possible.
- Staff will assist children as they wash their hands prior to and immediately after eating. Staff will wash their hands before assisting children and/or after helping them eat.
- Children will clean the areas where they ate to the best of their abilities, with staff following up as needed.
- Food serving and preparation equipment, including those items used in individual practical life lessons for children, will not be used until it is safe to do so. The School will use disposable dining/drinking utensils in emergencies when items are forgotten at home. Please see your class portal page for specific guidance.
- As noted previously, all students with the exception of Toddlers under the age of 2 will wear face coverings while at school. Parents should send at least two (2) freshly laundered, well-fitted, and comfortable face coverings every day.
- Every student should have both freshly laundered clothing and face coverings for each new school day. We have adopted this measure in order to mitigate the risks of virus transmission for our entire community.
- We intend to make use of outdoor spaces as frequently as we can and as is allowed by the weather. We ask parents to send their children appropriately dressed for the weather, as they should assume that the day will include an outdoor learning component. Appropriate gear may include raincoats, boots, warm coats, hats, and gloves or mittens. Per existing school policy, umbrellas are not permitted.
- The use of face coverings outdoors will be determined by the current status of recommendations and guidance from DC and other public health authorities. At this time, all staff, students, and parents should maintain a face covering on campus at all times.
- The building has been modified in many ways to maximize fresh air, including the installation of equipment and monitoring of air flow and brand new windows. We also anticipate leaving windows open throughout the year to maximize fresh air and keep classrooms properly ventilated. Parents should send their children in clothing appropriate for the weather. We recommend that children come to School dressed in layers of clothing so that they may remove or add layers to keep cool or warm throughout the day.
- All students will disinfect the tops of their tables before leaving class. Objects touched by a student, such as Montessori materials, will not be used by another student until the material has been appropriately sanitized and disinfected by staff.
- Staff will routinely clean and disinfect surfaces and Montessori materials between use. Materials that cannot be cleaned and sanitized will not be available for use. Cloth materials will be laundered before the next usage.
Each Elementary student should have their own case that contains the supplies they might need throughout the day. The School will provide most of these and you will be informed when replacements are needed. These include 4-5 pencils, a pair of scissors, a glue stick, a roll of tape, crayons, and a set of colored pencils. Extras will be available in each room for emergency use only. See your class portal for specific information.
Field trips and Elementary going-outs will be postponed until appropriate. This includes the Elementary camping trips. Children may be brought off campus in staff-supervised outings to approved locations, such as the Marriott lawn and Tregaron Conservancy, for a walk around the block, or for walks to local parks or areas where physical distancing can be safely practiced.
Being outdoors is an acceptable and preferred option for learning. Access to various recess spaces operate on a rotating schedule to ensure that groups of students can be kept separated from each other as much as possible. Students will bring their water bottles to recess since the outside fountain will be turned off for safety purposes. They will be able to refill their water bottles at the existing filling stations. Teachers will encourage students to engage in physically distanced activities and remind students to refrain from sharing water bottles.
It is our intention to make use of outdoor spaces as frequently as we can and as is allowed by the weather. It is imperative that children come dressed properly to participate. These items may include raincoats, boots, warm coats, hats, and mittens or gloves. Umbrellas are not permitted.
Most Specials teachers will deliver lessons virtually so as to avoid mixing between pods. Specials will be more active overall, with more contact hours, and including some age groups not previously provided with Specials. The school reserves the right to reconvene in-person specials when it is deemed safe to do so, in a fashion that follows the most current guidelines.
- Ventilation & Air Quality
- Cleaning, Sanitizing, & Disinfecting
- Personal Hygiene
- Plexiglass Barriers
The Buildings & Grounds Committee representatives on the Reopening Task Force have conducted a thorough inspection of the building’s air management systems and has made several updates to the school’s facilities, including the following:
- Classroom windows will be kept open to maximize ventilation. Outdoor air is the healthiest air.
- Box fans are placed in open windows to draw air out at maximum efficiency. Fans are at the doors of the Sweet Gum class and both Toddler classrooms. Fan placement has been planned so that classroom air can be evacuated within the range of 28 to 64 seconds. Fans are stabilized and protected from small fingers in Toddler classrooms.
- The school uses HEPA air purifiers in every classroom to cleanse the air in corners with lower air flow, in the mask break area, and bathrooms.
- The school uses HEPA air purifiers in multiple places around the school as needed to supplement the ventilation efforts. Air filter placement has been planned to provide CADR (clean air delivery rate) that filters the air in every given airspace 4-6 times an hour.
- Hallway and stairwell windows are also open to allow for maximum air flow and ventilation.
- In addition to the increased air flow, classrooms are being heated by as many as three different sources: wall units that heat the air, existing wall/floor supplied radiant heat, and newly-installed radiant heaters. Since air-exchange is required to keep our community healthy, the school has installed new, wall-mounted radiant heaters, which supply heat to bodies, rather than heating the evacuating air. The ground floor classrooms have been provided with extra radiant heaters in order to keep those coldest classrooms well-conditioned. The third floor classrooms rarely require additional heating, but have the same heaters installed, just in case.
The School follows the national standards provided by the CDC for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting of educational facilities for children. These efforts include the following:
- Staff will routinely clean surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, including Montessori materials. They will be cleaned at least once a day. Safe, approved products will be available in classrooms for use by an adult.
- Materials that cannot be cleaned and sanitized will not be available for use.
- Materials that children have placed in their mouths or that are otherwise contaminated by body fluids will be set aside until they may be appropriately sanitized prior to being used by the next person.
- Machine washable, cloth materials will be used by one individual at a time and will be laundered before being used by another child. There is an adequate supply of many of these items, like towels, dusting and polishing mitts, such that these activities will not be compromised.
- Each class will establish and post easy-to-follow guides to indicate the ebb and flow of materials as they are used, sanitized and can be reintroduced to a shelf.
- All high touch areas, listed below, within the classrooms will be cleaned, and disinfected if necessary, at least once per day.
- High touch areas, listed below, throughout the shared space of the school will be cleaned and disinfected midway through the day
- Electrostatic Spraying Technology will be used to disinfect our environments at the end of each day. The charge extends to even the hard to reach places and coats them evenly and effectively.
The entire building will be cleaned daily and disinfected by our contracted cleaners according to CDC standards. They will also be implementing a midday cleaning of shared spaces. These processes and products have been enhanced to help counter possible transmission of the virus, per public health guidelines. High touch areas will receive more frequent cleaning and/or disinfecting. Such areas include tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, toilets, faucets, sinks, water bottle filling stations, elevator buttons, railings, etc.
Students will not retrieve library books themselves to avoid too many hands touching all the books. A set of books will be brought to classrooms by the librarian who will take back books after they are used. Children may bring books home. When they are returned, books will be disinfected by the librarian before being made available again. An online library system is being acquired so that students may access online reading resources.
Signage will be posted throughout buildings as a reminder of proper hygiene procedures. Hand sanitizer will be available at classroom doors and at the entrances and exits of buildings and individuals entering and exiting will be expected to use the sanitizer. We will remind all members of our community about the proper procedures for wiping noses, mouths and eyes, when coughing or sneezing, and after using the toilet. Frequent hand washing will be encouraged, with direct oversight and supervision of our youngest students.
The school has installed plexiglass barriers at certain points throughout the building where school personnel interact with others, such as at the reception desk. Students who are required to share work tables will also have plexiglass barriers in the middle of the table to further separate their spaces. Other areas may also receive extra protection in the form of plexi-glass barriers.
Various types of signage are in use such as identification of new entrance procedures and water fountain usage. We use a variety of posters with words and/or pictures for the convenience of all our students, those who can read and those who are pre-readers. These signs will include reminders emphasizing safe practices such as hand washing, wearing face coverings, and physical distancing. Signs also indicate which areas have been cleaned, sanitized, disinfected or need to be cleaned.
Q: Who will be responsible for overseeing all of the enhanced health and safety practices at school?
A: All Faculty, Staff, and Administrators will be responsible for overseeing and guiding the observance of these procedures.
Q: What will arrival and dismissal look like?
A: The School has altered the arrival and departure protocols to address the COVID-19 era. Arrival will no longer include administrators receiving children from cars. Parents will now need to park in the neighborhood (including the school zone) and walk children to their designated entry door. Each entry door is now exclusively used by only two classroom communities. Please check the "Arrival & Departures" section under Healthy Schedules for information about your classroom’s entry door. At the entry door upon arrival, children will be received/screened by an Aidan staff person before proceeding into the building and to their classrooms.
Dismissal will take place as follows: Students will stay in their classrooms and be dismissed by two-way radios. Parents or guardians will arrive in a predetermined window of time and present their name placard in the driver’s side window or let an administrative official know which child to call. Parents should retrieve their child from their designated entrance point and should plan to park their car if driving. Physical distancing must be maintained on the sidewalk. Students will use the same applicable hallway, stairwell, door, and gate as they used in the morning during arrival in reverse order. Students will then walk to their parents at their designated entry and either walk to their car, load, and drive away, or depart on foot/bike/scooter.
Q: Will my child have to wear a face covering at school?
A: Yes, children in Primary and Elementary will be required to wear face coverings as possible. Toddler children under the age of 2 will not be required to wear a face covering per current guidance. While standing protocols will call for all students, except those under the age of 2, to wear face coverings, there may be accommodations made for certain health conditions as per CDC guidelines and documented by a doctor’s note, and at the approval of the School and/or designated safe spaces created for children to have temporary relief from wearing a mask.
Q: How often will hands be washed?
A: At a minimum, all children will wash their hands according to best practices:
- upon arrival in the morning;
- whenever they use the bathroom;
- before and after eating lunch or snack;
- any time they’ve handled anything dirty such as trash, food waste, etc.
- as part of the dismissal routine.
The School has also installed additional hand sanitizing stations throughout the building.
Q: How will you keep the building and Montessori materials safe?
A: The entire building will be routinely cleaned and disinfected by our contracted cleaning staff, following CDC guidelines. All bathrooms will be disinfected at least once per day. Electrostatic Spraying Technology will be used to disinfect our environments at the end of each day. The charge extends to even the hard to reach places and coats them evenly and effectively. Our staff will also clean and disinfect Montessori materials between use. Materials that cannot be easily cleaned and sanitized will not be available for use.
In order to ensure proper ventilation and air flow throughout our building, windows in each classroom will be kept open throughout the year and air purifiers/cleaners and fans have been installed. The school has also installed signage providing hygiene and safety reminders, additional hand sanitizer stations, updated soap and paper towel dispensers in the bathrooms, turned off the water fountains (leaving only the water bottle-filling stations), and installed plexiglass barriers at strategic points throughout the building.
Q: What should I send in my child’s backpack every day?
A: Your child’s backpack should include the following items:
- 2 face coverings--well-fitted, comfortable, freshly laundered;
- Two snacks;
- Water bottle;
- Change of clothes;
- An individual size container of hand sanitizer;
- Lunch with placemat and necessary utensils (please make sure your child can open and close all containers);
- Clothing and outdoor gear appropriate for the weather (please label everything with your child’s name).
- The specialists will make sure the supplies needed for the kids in school have been put in the classrooms before the students arrive, and then will be available for the students to take home at the end of the week that they are in school for use at home the following week. Teachers may also send things home in backpacks.
Q: On what is the Hybrid Learning Program’s pod system based?
A: The Administration has created a system following the requirements of OSSE’s cap on the number of humans who can safely inhabit a classroom space at the Lower School level. Adhering to their guidance allows each group to have enough space to physically distance. In order to eliminate cross-contamination between Pods they must be kept intact for the duration. If those numbers change, the School will make the appropriate adjustments based on what we’ve established as best practices.
Q: What is the plan for keeping things safely physically distanced during lunch, when the children won’t be wearing masks?
A: Any time a student needs to get up and move about the room they will be required to wear a mask. Whenever possible, we will try to provide an individual space for children to work at both tables and on the floor.
Q: Is there a time when the school will review the Hybrid Learning Program and consider going back full time?
A: Yes. We review the numbers weekly. In order for the school to return to full-time learning, we need to receive guidance from our licensor that we are allowed to increase the number of students in our classrooms. This will be based on the COVID status of DC and is subject to change at any time. We will continue to evaluate as we head into the 2021-2022 school year.
Q: Who on staff will be interacting with both pods groups in each classroom?
A: The teacher, teacher assistant, pod sub (as necessary), Nurse Lexi (as necessary).
Q: How much will be done outside in terms of lessons, lunches, specials, etc.?
A: Working outside in the fresh air is ideal, weather permitting. That said, this involves tight coordination between all classrooms in order to arrange and reserve adequate space and ample time. For the at-school pod, opportunities to work outside will certainly be considered as much as possible during the times they are not in lessons.
Q: What methods are used to heat the classrooms on cold days while ensuring adequate airflow?
A: We have made several facilities adjustments to keep the classrooms warm enough in order to meet the standards set by OSSE and with the comfort of our community in mind.The classrooms are being heated by as many as three different sources: wall units that heat the air, existing wall/floor supplied radiant heat, and newly-installed radiant heaters. Since air-exchange is required to keep our community healthy, the school has installed new, wall-mounted radiant heaters, which supply heat to bodies, rather than heating the evacuating air. The ground floor classrooms have been provided with extra radiant heaters in order to keep those coldest classrooms well-conditioned. The third floor classrooms rarely require additional heating, but have the same heaters installed, just in case.
Q: How will the teachers support the children’s needs for socialization and yet keep them physically safe?
A: We are bound by the requirements of our regulatory agencies to take measures to keep the members of each classroom community physically distant and have put protocols in place to comply. We are fully committed to our responsibility to provide children with appropriate manners in which to interact with others, stretch their social muscles, and to feel welcome, safe and respected while at Aidan. This dual task demands a flexible balance.
First, we must acknowledge that each individual child has their own unique capacity for social interaction and that varies in different situations around different people. Observation is the key for us to determine what each child needs and we plan to be even more diligent in our interpretations: who needs reassurance, who needs encouragement, who needs more touch points. In a Montessori community, there are frequent opportunities to engage in Grace & Courtesy lessons and this will be even more important while we follow our Hybrid Learning Program.
We are going to teach new ways to greet each other, how to wait patiently in line at a distance, to listen even more closely and carefully to each other, and to read body language and signals, especially eyes. Each child will be encouraged to do their work at their own place and will be able to politely watch a peer’s work, too. They will be free to roam around, choose their own work, complete that cycle, take breaks, read quietly, laugh together, daydream, and ponder the beauty of their world.
Aidan Montessori children will continue to joyfully engage with each other and the adults will do their best to facilitate safe boundaries for that exuberance to be realized each day.
Q: What can parents do to support the teachers and staff throughout Hybrid Learning?
A: Hybrid Learning will be a crucial time for grace and courtesy, patience and flexibility between school and home. Our teachers will do their best to accommodate specific requests, however it may be difficult to meet some demands while overseeing the current program. We appreciate your patience and flexibility as we undertake our new Hybrid Learning system especially as teachers may need to adjust their operations in the event that the initial plans do not work.
Q: Are there breaks built in for the teachers?
A: Yes, with a two person team in each classroom the teachers and teacher assistants will be able to get breaks and give each other breaks. In order to reduce their exposure, additional staff will not be used for this purpose. However, due to numbers being so low with half the class being at home - there only needs to be one adult present at a time, which frees up the teaching teams to create sustainable plans for each other to take breaks throughout the day.
During recess with the fully in-person classes, some of the Specials teachers have taken over recess duties to allow time for the teachers and assistant teachers to have a break.
Q: How will Aidan deal with other groups using the Marriott Lawn during time outside?
A: We recognize that there may be high demand for shared public spaces and we will try to stake out some space on the Marriott Lawn mid-morning to use for PE and Recess as appropriate. If the Marriott lawn is deemed unsafe due to congestion and overuse, we will plan for a nature walk around the neighborhood, visit Tregaron Park, or follow an alternate plan for use of the playground in collaboration with other classes.
Q: How will the exclusively virtual Primary students (and those who are home for their alternating weeks or who might be quarantined) be incorporated into the hybrid schedule?
A: In addition to having access to Specials’ classes (PE, foreign language, art, music & library), we have created an online learning program directed by an AMI Primary-trained teacher who is dedicated to presenting lessons. She will work in concert with your child’s teacher to prepare appropriate lessons, engage your child in stimulating work, cultivate a sense of purpose, make recommendations for follow up activities, and brighten their day with fun opportunities to improve their skills.
We have prepared a schedule that combines two communities (Dogwood with Mulberry; Persimmon with Redbud) allowing for the possibility of interclass social opportunities; and separates the children by their assigned groups (1, 2 or 3) to align skill levels for successful learning.
Q: How will the exclusively virtual Elementary students be incorporated into the hybrid schedule?
A: The at-home Elementary students will still receive lessons every week and will have small group check-ins with the online learning support instructor. They will also still have specials, foreign language, and P.E.
In Magnolia, at-home children will have Morning Meetings and Wrap-up Meetings with members of the Magnolia class teaching team possibly including support staff and specialists. They will also have a 2:00 PM Read Aloud time together. Students will have access to at least three lessons a week, led by the online learning support teacher or pre-recorded by the Magnolia lead teacher as available. Children will attend specials (Music, Art, Foreign Language, PE) throughout the week. In addition, the school counselor will offer a 30-minute weekly check-in time for social and emotional support.
In Red Oak, at-home children will have Morning Meetings and Wrap-up Meetings with members of the Red Oak class teaching team possibly including support staff and specialists. They will also have 2:00 PM Read Aloud every day. Students will have daily work time or planning meetings with the online learning support teacher. Students will also have access to at least three lessons a week led by the Online Learning Support teacher. Children will attend specials (Music, Art, Foreign Language, PE) throughout the week. In addition, the school counselor will offer a 30-minute weekly check-in time for social and emotional support.
In Sweet Gum, at-home students are responsible for attending a daily morning meeting and closing meeting with members of the Sweet Gum teaching team including support staff and specialists. They will have daily check-in sessions with the online learning support specialist. Children will attend specials (Music, Art, Foreign Language, PE) throughout the week. The school counselor will offer a 30-minute weekly check-in time for social and emotional support. Children will submit daily work through the Google Classroom platform. A daily math, writing, and reading work will be posted each morning. Children at school will be permitted to bring a laptop/iPad and use it to collaborate with peers in the at-home group during afternoon work cycles, as permitted by the teachers.
Q: What if my child is feeling unwell?
A: Please err on the safe side and keep your child home from school. Please also contact your child’s pediatrician for advice. We require a note from your child’s pediatrician explaining that their symptoms are related to something other than COVID, or if they are unable to differentiate, negative COVID results are required to return to school. Our School Nurse is also available to answer questions.
Q: What if my child starts feeling unwell during the school day?
A: This year the School is taking a conservative approach to signs of illness and is asking everyone--staff and students--to stay home if they do not feel well. Should a student begin to feel unwell during the school day, the student will be isolated in the nurse’s office and their parents will be called. Parents will be asked to pick up their child within 30 minutes. If your child goes home for symptoms that are synonymous with COVID-19, we require a note from your child’s pediatrician explaining that their symptoms are related to something other than COVID, or if they are unable to differentiate, negative COVID results are required to return to school. Parents should plan for this before the School year begins.
Q: If my child is sent home, will my other children be able to remain at school?
A: Out of an abundance of caution, if a child is sent home from school due to symptoms that could be synonymous with COVID-19, then siblings of the sick child will be sent home as well. Sick children should be picked up from the School within 30-minutes of receiving notification that their child is ill.
If a child is picked up from the School early due to injury, an appointment, in response to a disciplinary matter or because they are unable to fully participate in the life of the classroom, then the siblings of the child may remain at School.
Q: What will happen if someone in our community tests positive?
A: The School will act in consultation with the DC Department of Health and communicate any actions being taken by the School such as additional cleaning/disinfection measures and/or closing of classrooms, halls or the building. A child who tests positive for COVID-19 will be permitted to return to school when they are cleared to return by their doctor in accordance with CDC clearance criteria:
- They are fever-free without antipyretic medication for 24 hours, and;
- at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms, and;
- the symptoms have improved.
If they did not have symptoms, then they are cleared 10 days after the positive test. Please note that the CDC clinical clearance criteria may change over time. A note from the child’s doctor will be required for return to campus.
Q: How will I be notified of a positive COVID-19 case in our community?
A: A positive test of any community member (student, parent, employee or parent) will be announced similarly to the way other infectious disease announcements are made, while preserving the anonymity of the infected individual: the School will send an email describing the community/classroom involved.
In addition to the usual communications, you may receive information about a positive COVID-19 case by way of our Remind system.
Q: What is needed in order to return to school after quarantining due to COVID-19?
A: We require that any member of the Aidan community returning to campus after quarantine due to COVID-19 provide the School Nurse with the quarantine release notification emailed from the DC Department of Health Contract Trace Task Force (it may be different if you live in MD or VA, but still required from your states DOH). This notification indicates that the returning community member has “completed the recommended isolation period after testing positive for Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19.”
Ask your DC Department of Health contact to email a copy of this release, which should be subsequently forwarded to Nurse Lexi before the community member may return to campus. For children returning to classroom communities following quarantine, we recommend that parents print a copy of the release form to share with your child’s teacher.