Dear MCH Families,
Thank you for your patience and your ongoing support throughout these last six months as we’ve navigated our way back to re-entering campus for the start of the 2020/2021 school year. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received over the past six months and are grateful that we have a strong and connected community that share our same values.
Staging Decision for the Start of the School YearAs we have previously communicated, we plan to reopen the school year in Stage 1 or Stage 2. Last week, Governor Inslee provided guidance to schools for decision making this fall; this guidance emphasizes following specific, county-level data metrics related to the average number of positive Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents over a 14-day time period, to which we have been paying close attention in recent weeks.
Additionally, MCH’s Campus Re-Entry Task Force has been actively engaging with industry experts to develop the most comprehensive risk mitigation strategies possible prior to making our re-entry decision. We have also received thorough guidance on what metrics we need to use to determine acceptable level of community transmission rates when considering re-entering our campus. While we understand that the Governor has encouraged school districts and private schools to look at the metrics for the County they are in, the guidance we’ve received from industry experts has been to look more specifically at where your community of students, staff and faculty reside. Therefore, our decision making considers the transmission data in the twelve different Eastside cities our staff and families live as the primary focus of our decision making, rather than the entirety of King County. We have been closely tracking the transmission rates by monitoring the King County COVID-19 Data Dashboard in these cities over the last 14 days. The data is as follows:
▪An average of 12.798 Positive Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the previous 14-day period (Goal is less than 25 per 100,000 to re-enter campus, per the experts).
▪A continuous downward trajectory of positive transmission rate from the prior 14-day look back period.
▪An average of 3.78% Positive Infection Rate (Goal is lower than 5% to re-enter campus).
▪The Re Number is currently at 1.0 for all of King County (Goal 1.0)Additional factors used in consideration of our decision are:
▪A large portion of our community are privileged in their ability to work for companies that are providing work from home options, which further reduces the risk of transmission for our entire community.
▪We have successfully been able to answer and check off the criteria issued in OSPI 2020 School Reopening Plan.
▪We are able to follow through and confirm all requirements to begin in person learning model and continue to monitor per Governor Inslee’s Decision Tree for Re-Entry.
▪We can offer both a School/Care on Campus option and a School at Home option for our families in Early Childhood through Middle School.With all of this data in mind, we have therefore made the decision to start the 2020/2021 School Year in Stage 2! We feel confident that this decision is supported by both government guidance and industry expertise. We also feel that this will be a great way for our students to return and get grounded in the cultures of the school year, by either re-connecting or establishing connections with their teachers, should we end up needing to move back into Stage 1 at some point.
We do want to remind everyone that many experts expect to see a spike in transmission rates following Labor Day weekend, much like we saw following Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations. We also know we are heading into the typical Flu and Cold Season in the Fall and that COVID-19 may also see a resurgence at that point. Our community needs to be prepared that, should the transmission rates begin rising again, we may have to make the decision to Shift to Stage 1 at any point in time during the school year. Our Staging Model is intended to be fluid and allows us to be nimble and shift from one stage to another in order to protect the health and safety of our community. I think it’s important for our community to be aware that there are times during the year that can propel transmission rates higher than other; Thanksgiving and the Winter Holidays will likely be amongst those times and all of us are at more risk during these times.
Commitment to Program DeliverySeveral weeks ago, we asked families to fill out a survey of your intentions for School at Home or Care on Campus. We appreciate the response as it has helped us solidify plans for next school year.
Now we are asking that you lock in your commitment to which Program Delivery option you are choosing, School at Home or School/Care on Campus, for the months of September and October. This means that unless there are very specific reasons to grant an exception and we can honor it, that you are committing to this modality of Montessori instruction for the first two months of school. We will allow families to reassess for November and December around mid-October.
A commitment form will be sent today through Transparent Classroom, and we ask that that you complete the commitment form no later than Friday, August 21st.
Changes in our Operational HoursWe have also decided to move our operational hours from 7:30 am-5:00 pm (as they have been during summer) to School Year Operational Hours of 8:00 am to 5:30 pm. This is a more equitable reduction of hours in terms of its impact to our Extended Day and Before/Aftercare families and will better serve our community as a whole.
Enrollment PaperworkThe last 90 days have seen a concentrated effort and focus of our Educational and Administrative Leadership teams in developing, preparing and implementing all of the necessary risk mitigation policies, procedures and environment changes that will allow us safely re-enter the campus as well as deliver an improved version of School at Home 3.0.
As a result, this has impacted our ability to send our digital Enrollment Paperwork and Welcome letters, which include your child’s classroom placement and corresponding teaching staff, in our usual time frame. We anticipate getting these finalized and out to families no later than Monday, August 17th. Unfortunately, we must ask that you turn that digital enrollment paperwork around to us by Monday, August 24th. We apologize profusely for the delay and the ask for your grace and cooperation in this quick turnaround, as it will ensure we are best prepared to receive your children for the start of the 2020/2021 School Year on September 1st.
We Walk TogetherThis last year has been quite unique and has stretched all of us in ways we never thought we would have to stretch, and yet we did! This next year will continue to challenge us but I am astounded at and grateful for the unity and connection that exists in this community, and confident that these qualities will see us through these difficult times. As Maria Montessori once said, “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” I feel blessed to be surrounded by the people in this community and hope that you all feel the same way. Thank you.
Be Well and Stay Safe,
Head of School
Re-cap of Important Details▪We will be opening up the school year in Stage 2
▪School Year Operational Hours are 8:00 am to 5:30 pmPlease complete:
▪Commitment Form no later than Friday, August 21st
▪Enrollment paperwork by Monday, August 24th
In our last communication, we mentioned that we would be releasing more information with regards to our plans for the upcoming school year. Alas, we are ready to share our first draft of our Re-entry Playbook. While everything continues to evolve and we have yet to decide if we will open in Stage 1 or 2, our hope is that this playbook will summarize the work we have been doing to support safely re-entering our campus in either stage in September.
As always, please reach out with questions or concerns.
The Campus Re-Entry Task Force