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COVID-19 Resource Center

Health and Safety


The safety, health, and well-being of our students, families, and faculty are always our top priority. As a school, we will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) to safely open and operate both our main campus on Horse Pen Creek Road in Greensboro and our 37-acre satellite campus in Oak Ridge.

Our current plans are based on published pre-decisional guidance from the NCDHHS and center around four concrete approaches: increasing social distancing, implementing hygiene controls, monitoring student and staff health, and providing education.

Approach #1 | Increase Social Distancing

The School will take vigorous density-limiting actions, focused primarily on creating independent student groups called pods. Each pod will be led by one or two teachers and operate independently from each other. The number of adults that will come into contact with any one pod will also be minimized. For instance, our cultural educators may focus on certain pods for intensive periods of work over several weeks rather than visiting all pods each week. Cultural education lessons may also be delivered virtually through live or recorded video lessons.

Pod schedules will include plenty of outdoor play and lessons ensuring our students continue to receive the physical, social, and academic benefits of being outdoors, while also taking advantage of the lower risk of transmission from being outdoors. Pod schedules will also be strategically designed to limit the number of physical spaces shared by any one pod on campus.

In creating pods that are effective, both as learning communities and independently operating units, the following criteria are taken into consideration and vary by division:

  1. A pod size we can safely and logistically manage, especially with updated social distancing and hygiene procedures.
  2. Grouping students who participate in our Extended Care program (CASA) together, as CASA counselors will now be coming individually to a pod, rather than having all the children congregate as one large group after school.
  3. Striving to place students in a pod with at least one of their teachers from the 2019-20 school year.
  4. Montessori curriculum featuring multiage learning communities.

Pod structures will look different based on division, and we will announce our pod groups later this summer. Here’s what families can expect for their pod:

Our Half-Day, Academic-Day, and All-Day classrooms will operate in three separate pods of 10-13 children and a minimum of two teachers throughout the day. Each pod will have a dedicated outdoor play space, ensuring classes remain isolated from each other.

We will have up to six Primary Pods, each with 11 to 15 students and two teachers. (Three of the six pods will include students who participate in CASA, our extended day program.) While exposure to other adults will be limited, students will receive cultural education lessons from other teachers, both via virtual lessons (live and recorded videos) and limited, physically distant, in-person lessons. Primary pods will rotate their outdoor play spaces between the athletic field, Downhill, North Beach, the Primary permaculture garden, Uphill, and The Woods.

Rosters for each of the Primary pods, including their respective teaching teams, will be finalized over the summer. The following criteria are considered in building the rosters:

  • Health and safety of students, families, and faculty.
  • Size of the pod, with a maximum of 15 students in any one pod.
  • Students participating in CASA.
  • Students' teachers from the prior school year.
  • Maintaining our Montessori values, including multiage classrooms.

We will have four Lower Elementary pods, each with 12 to 15 students and one lead teacher. (Two of the four pods will include students who participate in CASA, our extended day program.) While exposure to other adults will be limited, students will receive academic and cultural education lessons from other teachers, both via virtual lessons (live and recorded videos) and limited, physically distant in-person lessons. Lower Elementary pods will rotate their outdoor play spaces between the athletic field, the Lower Elementary permaculture garden, North Beach, Uphill, and The Woods.

Rosters for each of the Lower Elementary pods, including their respective teacher, will be finalized over the summer. The following criteria are considered in building the rosters:

  • Health and safety of students, families, and faculty.
  • Size of the pod, with a maximum of 15 students in any one pod.
  • Students participating in CASA.
  • Students' teachers from the prior school year.
  • Maintaining our Montessori values, including multiage classrooms.

We will have three Upper Elementary pods with 12 to 15 students. (One or two of the three pods will include students who participate in CASA, our extended day program.) Each pod is primarily led by one Upper Elementary teacher. While exposure to other adults will be limited, students will receive academic and cultural education lessons from other teachers, both via virtual lessons (live and recorded videos) and limited, physically distant in-person lessons. Upper Elementary pods will rotate their outdoor play spaces between the athletic field, North Beach, Uphill, the Upper School permaculture garden, and The Woods.

Rosters for each of the Upper Elementary pods, including their respective teacher, will be finalized over the summer. The following criteria are considered in building the rosters:

  • Health and safety of students, families, and faculty.
  • Size of the pod, with a maximum of 15 students in any one pod.
  • Students participating in CASA.
  • Students' advisor from the prior school year.
  • Maintaining our Montessori values, including multiage classrooms.

We will have two Junior High pods with 12 to 15 students. (One of the two pods will include students who participate in CASA, our extended day program.) Each pod is primarily led by one Junior High teacher. While exposure to other adults will be limited, students will receive academic and cultural education lessons from other teachers, both via virtual lessons (live and recorded videos) and limited, physically distant in-person lessons. Junior High pods will rotate their outdoor play spaces between the athletic field, North Beach, Uphill, the Upper School permaculture garden, and The Woods. Junior High pods will also take regular trips to The Land.

Rosters for each of the Junior High pods, including their respective teacher, will be finalized over the summer. The following criteria are considered in building the rosters:

  • Health and safety of students, families, and faculty.
  • Size of the pod, with a maximum of 15 students in any one pod.
  • Students participating in CASA.
  • Students' advisor from the prior school year.
  • Maintaining our Montessori values, including multiage classrooms.
To increase social distancing, we will invest in multiple structural and physical space modifications throughout campus. Examples include:

  • Installing sneeze guards in the Office.
  • Building semi-private work spaces for students in Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and Junior High.
  • Reducing the amount of furniture and materials in each classroom to create more space for students to remain physically distant.
  • Creating additional, isolated waiting rooms for students who become symptomatic at school.
  • Installing air scrubbers on shared ventilations systems as well as changing air filters on independent HVAC units more frequently.

The School will also minimize opportunities for sustained exposure to any potential illness. Operationally, this means we will:

  • Limit opportunities for groups of students and pods to come together. We will not host schoolwide assemblies, group lunches in the Gym, Primary singalongs, or other events that would bring people together in close physical space for sustained periods of time.
  • We will update our drop off and pick up procedures to limit direct contact with parents as much as possible, in addition to limiting adults’ ability to congregate during these times. We will also work to get students dropped off and picked up at a location that has direct entry to their pod’s classroom.
  • We will limit access to the building. Only students and adults who need to be on campus will be allowed in the buildings.

Approach #2 | Implement Hygiene Protocols

In addition to Greensboro Montessori School’s routine cleaning procedures, we will also disinfect surfaces and common spaces with increased frequency. The School has already added an additional person to our nightly cleaning team and increased the amount of focused disinfectant cleaning throughout campus. As we open Summer Camp and prepare for the school year, we will implement at least two daily cleaning routines:

  • Midday disinfection of high-touch areas.
  • Nightly disinfection of classrooms and high-touch areas.

The School will implement a systematic hygiene routine, which builds upon its already strong culture of grace and courtesy, caring for oneself, caring for each other, and caring for the environment.

  • Using proper technique, students will wash their hands upon arrival in the morning, before and after playing outside, before and after eating meals and snacks, after group lessons, after blowing noses, coughing, sneezing or when in contact with body fluids, after toileting, and after any close physical contact as needed for the health and well-being of a student.
  • We will provide hand sanitizing stations for use when hand washing with soap and water is not available. Hand sanitizing products will have at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Faculty will provide age-appropriate lessons on limiting the spread of germs by caring for oneself and each other. These grace and courtesy lessons will include proper hand washing; coughing and sneezing etiquette; reminders to avoid touching one’s eyes, nose, and mouth; and using cloth face coverings
  • We will minimize handshaking and hugging. When a student’s well-being demands close physical contact from a faculty member (e.g., administering first aid, providing a hug to a crying child, etc.), health and safety precautions will be taken, and both the student and faculty member will wash their hands after coming into contact with each other.
  • We will reduce the quantity of materials in each classroom. Materials will be regularly cleaned and rotated.

Greensboro Montessori School will follow cloth face covering recommendations for staff and students, as appropriate and knowing expectations will vary by division and age and needs of the child. Per the CDC:

“Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. Face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students) to wear in all-day settings such as school. Face coverings should be worn by staff and students (particularly older students) as feasible, and are most essential in times when physical distancing is difficult … Information should be provided to staff, students, and students’ families on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.

Also, per the CDC, cloth face coverings should not be placed on:

  • Children younger than 2 years old.
  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious.
  • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cloth face covering without assistance.

Approach #3 | Monitor Student and Staff Health

As a supplement to our current Health Policy in our Family Handbook, we will establish and enforce a sick policy to support disease suppression. For Summer Camp, the School will follow the Interim Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guidance for Day Camp or Program Settings Serving Children and Teens. Protocols for students and staff who are symptomatic are on page 4 of the Guidance and include:

  • If a child or faculty member develops any symptoms of COVID-19, they are required to go home as soon as possible.
  • We will instruct and enforce that campers and faculty members who are sick (any fever, respiratory, or gastrointestinal symptoms) or believe they might have COVID-19 are required to stay home and should separate themselves from other people in the home as much as possible. They will be excluded from Summer Camp until they can answer YES to all the following questions:

✓ Has it been at least 10 days since you first had symptoms?

✓ Have you been without fever for three days (72 hours) without any medicine for fever?

✓ Has it been three days (72 hours) since your symptoms have improved?

  • Household members and people who have been in close contact with someone who has had symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home as much as possible for 14 days, monitor themselves for symptoms, and consult with their local health department. Close contact means within six feet for at least 15 minutes. If they start having symptoms of COVID-19, they should take the same steps as above to prevent spreading it.

We understand this supplemental sick policy will be difficult for students, families, and faculty to manage, and we will only succeed in suppressing the spread of COVID-19 in our community through partnership and accountabiltiy. As a community, we must understand and faithfully adhere to the policy. Before attending Summer Camp in July, we will provide copies of our full procedures for both school employees and enrolled families to review and sign.

As we prepare for the 2020-21 school year, we will follow any updated guidance from the CDC and NCDHHS and provide new copies of the procedures for school employees and enrolled families to sign before the first day of school on Wednesday, August 19.

We will also implement systematic symptom screening of anyone, student or adult, who enters the building. For Summer Camp, the School will follow the Interim Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guidance for Day Camp or Program Settings Serving Children and Teens. Protocols for the daily health screening of staff and children for COVID-19 begin on page 6 of the Guidance and include:

  • Ask each staff person and person dropping off children health screening questions before they enter the facility. Anyone who answers “yes” to any of the questions will not be permitted to enter the building.
  • The School may choose to conduct a temperature screening using the protocol defined on page 7 of the Guidance

As we prepare for the 2020-21 school year, we are researching digital applications that would allow families to self-screen before drop-off. All screening procedures for 2020-21 will be provided before the first day of school on Wednesday, August 19.

Greensboro Montessori School will also provide resilience and support services before and during the school year. We have already begun preparing for students’ transition back to in-person learning and will focus heavily on reintegration back to the classroom in ways that support their cognitive, social, physical, and emotional well-being. Whether your child will return to their same classroom or enter a new division this fall, rest assured that we will be able to meet them where they are and go from there. Highly personal, individualized learning is what we do best. We will also provide training and support services for faculty and staff throughout the summer and school year.

We are also working closely with families and faculty to protect high-risk populations. We are providing a concurrent remote learning program for families who remain fully enrolled but would prefer their children continue to learn from home. We are also assessing our teammates’ personal comfort with in-person learning and providing accommodations, as feasible and appropriate. For all of our students, families, and faculty, we will reinforce the importance of staying home when they do not feel well.

Approach #4 | Provide Education

The CDC reminds us that “Schools, working together with local health departments, have an important role in slowing the spread of diseases to help ensure students have safe and healthy learning environments.” As such, we have prioritized proactive information dissemination and combating misinformation throughout the pandemic, and we will continue this best practice in preparation for Summer Camp and the upcoming school year. Greensboro Montessori School will:

  • Communicate to families about COVID-19 in preparation for reopening.
  • Post signs in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms, etc.) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs.
  • Provide information to students, families, and faculty on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.
  • Include messages about behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID-19 when communicating with staff and families, such as information provided on this website, in our emails, and on our social media accounts.
  • Host monthly virtual Head of School Huddles throughout the summer and during the school year.
  • Provide education and training on COVID-19 strategies for faculty and staff.