Montessori Children’s Elementary has been serving Ramona’s Families for over 30 years. We are a small, family school nestled in a little community in the hills of San Diego County. We have 35 students with 4 teachers (a total of 27 families). We keep a consistent group of families with little to no change throughout the year (including our summer program).
Our small country town of Ramona has a population of approximately 37,000 people and has had 152 COVID-19 Cases (as of 7/27/2020). We are asking for a waiver that will allow our Montessori School to have in-person, classroom instruction for the 2020-2021 school year.
Since June, Montessori Children’s Elementary has run a summer camp providing childcare to our regular school community of essential workers. We have had great success in implementing all of the COVID-19 safety regulations recommended by the CDC and the County Health Dept.
We have instituted the health screenings and temperature monitoring of all teachers and children upon arrival. We installed sinks in front our schoolhouse and require all to wash hands before entering the school. Only students and teachers are allowed access to the school. All teachers and students wear masks during classroom instruction when safe social distancing is not possible. Handwashing is done at several scheduled intervals throughout the day, in addition to the children’s own personal hygiene, and before the handling of any shared materials.
We have a strict sick policy which we have reinforced. We have asked and our families agreed, that they error on the side of caution if their child shows any signs of illness. In addition, our families have agreed to be socially responsible when outside of school to ensure our children and teachers remain healthy. The families also fill out a COVID-19 Health Questionnaire each month about their family health, exposure and travels. Requiring them to report ANY changes as soon as they happen.
Our schoolhouse is 1,600 sqft and has been set up to accommodate social distancing. We have desks spaced 6ft apart with shelving and plants between them. At tables where social distancing isn’t possible we have Plexiglas dividers, giving each student their own safe space. We have installed a split AC system increasing healthy air flow within the schoolhouse. We have added a 300 sqft outdoor, covered patio which gives us the ability to give lessons and allow the children to work outside in the fresh air while social distancing. In addition, we are able to set up additional, individual work stations safely spaced in our private yard where children can work in fresh air.
We have incorporated the use of microfiber (Norwex) cleaning cloths to wipe down surfaces throughout the day, tables and chairs before use and after chemical disinfecting (microfiber is effective at picking up 98.9% of bacteria). Classroom materials are disinfected after each use. The student has their own personal school supplies which are not shared. We have increased, our already very efficient cleaning and disinfecting routine of the entire schoolhouse environment. Our schoolhouse and materials are industrially disinfected each night.
Based on the low number of COVID-19 cases in our community of Ramona, our small and consistent student population, the needs of our families, and the safety measures we have taken, we are requesting a waiver for our school to remain open and to provide in-class instruction for the 2020-2021 school year. Our working families and more important our children need the support of our small school.
We have followed the CDC safety recommendation, and we have incorporated safety measures in addition to their requirements. We are confident that we are doing everything we can to keep our students, teachers and families as safe as possible. Here is a link to our Safe Reopening Plan as required by the CDC.