August 3, 2021
As NSM began a phased reopening on 6/6/20, we have adopted a set of protocols to best prepare the building, staff, and students in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The practices contained herein provide multiple layers of protection to everyone entering the building, and are informed by the guidance issued to date by governmental and public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accordance with the Johns Hopkins University, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA Department of Education and Department of Human Services, and are consistent with requirements set forth to date by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, PA Department of Health Services and OCDEL.
This document will be updated as needed.
Educate and Communicate
As a school, we are well-positioned to place effective education and clear communication at the heart of our Plan.
Using this modified hierarchy of controls, Covid-19 mitigation at New School Montessori will look like:
Protecting our students...
A challenging aspect of being a community is that community members’ off-campus behavior impacts other community members. Yet, as a community, we also have the opportunity to commit to a set of shared norms to protect our children and all members of the community which will strengthen the foundation of our plan. Additionally, vaccination will play an important role to reduce the spread, please consider getting you and your family vaccinated when it is available to you.
Beginning with this Plan, the School will seek to provide clear and scientifically-valid information to colleagues, students, and families regarding how to understand and manage risks associated with the Coronavirus as it pertains to being a member of NSM. These efforts will include, but are not limited to:
- digital communications
- regular communications (e.g., Weekly Updates, social media)
- campus signage
All parents are required to assess the wellness of your child at home. Upon arrival, you will be met in our “Drop off” area by an identified New School teacher. Your child will be escorted in and will wash hands upon arrival.
Physical barriers, where necessary between students and adults and added visual reminders for students to remember physical distancing. We have reconfigured classroom spaces to accommodate students, limit communal use, allow for physical distancing, and accommodated frequent surface cleaning.
All students (ages two and up) and staff are required to wear a face covering.
In line with our established Montessori pedagogy, we will continue to prioritize outdoor programming to afford the lowest risk of transmission. Tents are available to cover an area to be available during inclement weather. Recess times will be staggered among several outdoor spaces.
- Disinfecting of shared and frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, tabletops, light switches, and faucets.
- Hand washing and hand sanitizer are available at all times.
- Increase the circulation of outdoor air by opening windows with fans, bringing fresh air in.
Wherever possible, we will be staggering staff and administrative hours and work spaces to minimize contact.
Pursue virtual parent/staff events, gatherings, or meetings almost exclusively.
- NSM Covid-19 exclusion from school guidelines
Cleaning and Sanitation Protocol
The following guidelines address the cleaning, sanitization, and disinfection of the facility, and are designed to ensure the health and safety of our staff and patrons. These guidelines are informed by the recommendations issued to date by governmental and public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State and Departments of Health. The Operations staff will receive all applicable training in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, with respect to reducing the risk and spread of COVID-19.
Electrostatic Cleaning System
Electrostatic spray is electrically charged, allowing the disinfectants to wrap around and evenly coat all surfaces for a more complete clean. All EPA-approved disinfectants and cleaning solution stock has been replenished with a supply plan as recommended in Supplies.
New Cleaning Guidelines
The following guidelines indicate the minimum frequency of which these public spaces will be cleaned using EPA-registered disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19.
Cleaning will be conducted by Building Operations Staff unless otherwise indicated.
- Door handles and push bars – 3x/day
- Elevator panel and buttons – 3x/day
- Car interior – 2x/day
- Interior panels and buttons – 2x/day
- External panels and buttons – 2x/day
- Stairwell rails, door handles and push bars – 3x/day
- Check and replenish hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the building – 2x/day
- Clean and disinfect – 3x/day
- Check and replenish sanitizing wipes for users to wipe down surfaces before they leave – 3x/day
- Sanitize all tables, chairs, and door handles
- Sanitize all high-touch areas between users
- Instructors to wipe down program surfaces and equipment as needed
- Classrooms cleaned with Electrostatic System – 2x/week
- Sanitize all high touch areas (e.g. door handles)
- Deep clean/disinfect all gym surfaces – overnight
- Sanitize all high touch areas
Wellness Concierge & Entry Signage
The following outlines the communication process for staff and patrons, including a Wellness Concierge and printed signage. A Wellness Concierge will be stationed in the lobby to provide guidance to students. The Concierge will provide the following information:
- Encourage hand washing upon arrival
- Face covering check
- Reinforce social distancing protocols
Digital and printed signage will be placed throughout the lobby to inform all who enter the building of the new procedures. Signage will include but not be limited to:
- Social Distancing (signage and floor decals
- Encourage frequent hand washing
- Identify locations of sanitation stations
- PPE / mask-wearing signage
- Restroom limits
Changing Workplace Behavior | Remote Working
Maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our staff and patrons will require us to change some of the commonplace behaviors before COVID-19. These protocols take into account the new guidelines with respect to social distancing. Where possible, certain employees who can work remotely and remain equally productive will continue to do so, at least in the short-term.
Limit In-Person Meetings & Movement
Where possible, employees should use telephone and video conferencing tools to conduct meetings. If in-person meetings are required:
- Ensure that there is 6’ distance between all attendees
- Avoid face-to-face seating.
- Ensure face coverings are worn.
- Employees are encouraged to avoid unnecessary movement for further virus spread.
To reduce congestion while commuting and in shared spaces, such as the lobby, schedules may be staggered from start/finish times.
- We will frequently clean high-touch surfaces, such as door handles, to reduce virus spread following the New Cleaning Guidelines.
- We have placed floor demarcation signs to maintain social distance in areas where people will need to queue.
- We have included signs for reminders of practicing good hygiene, such as hand washing and wear a face mask.
- Limit face-to-face interaction where possible.
- We are asking our staff and patrons to use stairwells, when possible, instead of the elevators, in an effort to reduce congestion.
- We have increased the cleaning of stair rails, doorknobs, and push bars as high-touch surfaces as indicated in New Cleaning Guidelines.
- We have installed floor decals to indicate the direction of travel in narrow stairways to reduce face-to-face congestion.*
- We will improve ventilation in stairwells. DOORS in the TOP OF stairwells will be fully opened to provide improved ventilation. We are also investigating an exhaust fan at the top floor to increase ventilation.
- Posted clear signage in the restrooms to encourage cough/sneeze etiquette, including detailed instructions on handwashing and drying. Include signs for non-English speakers, as needed.
- Ensured adequate soap and hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol available in the restrooms. We have provided cleaning supplies that allow guests to wipe down surfaces before they leave.
- We have included signage and demarcations to encourage employees and patrons to form a line outside the restroom and maintain distanced queuing outside of the restroom door.
- We are supplying restrooms with no-touch wastebaskets.
- We will continue to have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting restrooms, including high-touch with EPA registered disinfectants as indicated in New Cleaning Guidelines.
- We have increased ventilation in all restrooms.
- In the event that a student or teacher has a confirmed or suspected case, follow the NSM Exclusion Procedures.
- Classroom seating has been reconfigured to maintain social distancing and reduce face-to-face seating.
- We will reinforce hand washing using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and increase monitoring to ensure adherence among students and staff.
- We will reinforce the use of face masks at all times while in the classroom, face coverings will not be placed on children two years old or younger.
- Building Operations will clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (i.e., doorknobs) throughout the day.
- Faculty will be asked to wipe down their work surface before and after class.
- The use of shared objects will be limited whenever possible. Teachers and staff will be responsible for disinfecting shared objects and tools at the end of each session.
- We have increased ventilation as well as provided HEPA 13 air filtration in each program space.
Any suspected COVID 19 cases will be immediately isolated, and all families will be notified of possible exposure. In such a case, we will seek additional guidance from local health officials to determine the course of action.
Individuals with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may return under the following conditions:
- At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and,
- At least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
- Arrival and dismissal times will be staggered.
- Schedules may be evaluated to identify placement for students. For example, siblings may be assigned to the same class, and students who attend before or after school programming may be assigned to the same class.
Before and After School Programs
We will continue to offer before and after school programs; however, our afterschool daily enrichment program will remain temporarily suspended .