In the face of COVID-19, we continue to serve our families who send their children to Guidepost Schools. We are proud to state that every one of our schools continues to address the health and safety risks posed by the pandemic in a comprehensive, evidence-based way that does not undermine the Montessori learning process.
Evidence suggests that the threat of transmission of COVID-19 is manageable if proper precautions, protocols, and policies are put in place. The practices outlined below in our Daily Procedures allow for self-containment, social distancing, and are designed to reduce the spread of disease. You can also visit our Frequently Asked Questions and COVID-19 Information Hub for more guidance.
- Preparing the environment—Whenever possible, we set up the classroom in order to encourage social distancing, for example, by reducing the number of chairs at each table, providing extra space between belongings, and placing distanced stickers on the floor for circle time
- Modifying the use of Montessori materials—We want to offer as authentic a Montessori experience as possible, while maximizing health and safety. We have therefore removed all tasting and group cleaning activities. In some cases, individual food preparation by the child may be permitted, but not shared
- Arrival—To limit exposure, drop-off occurs outside of the building and includes a temperature check and wellness check
Entering the classroom—Upon entry, everyone is required to change into indoor shoes and wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Teachers will then use an EPA-approved disinfectant to wipe down children's lunchboxes and other belongings
Daily containment—Wherever possible, classes of children will remain separate from one another, leading to staggered arrival times and playground times. Communal areas, such as corridors and bathrooms, are frequently disinfected
Lunch and snack—Children may not assist with classroom food preparation, and if teachers do serve food, it will be prepared in-house in a hygienic environment and served to each individual child
Staff breaks—All staff socially distance wherever possible, and take further safety measures wherever possible, such as choosing an isolated location for breaks and wiping down all communal areas after visits
Face coverings—Staff members wear face coverings at all times, and we strongly encourage children to wear one. Please note, children under the age of 2 must not wear a mask due to the risk of suffocation
End-of-day—Teachers facilitate pick-up with parents at the classroom or designated door, and assist the child in gathering the items he needs to take home. They also wipe down materials with an EPA-approved disinfectant before leaving the classroom
- Events and tours—At this time, we are only holding virtual events. If a school tour is organized, it will happen outside of school hours and with all safety precautions in place (temperature check, symptoms screening,and so on)
- Cleaning fabrics and materials— We wash all our linens frequently, and have taken additional measures, such as keeping every child's bedding separate and in sealed bags
- Safe spaces for anyone feeling unwell—Every school has a designated space on campus where a child can wait if he is feeling unwell. It includes a disinfected cot with a clean sheet, which is cleaned after every use.
By implementing best practices such as checking temperatures upon drop-off, frequently sanitizing commonly touched surfaces, practicing hand-washing, and preventing people from unnecessarily entering the classrooms, we elevate the health and safety for everyone.
Our procedures do not deny the reality of COVID-19, nor are they an argument against any necessary, acute, short-term measures at containment. We understand the need for measures to be put in place, and we understand that many of our families find themselves at particular risk to COVID-19 and so can not send their children to school even if they want to. These families are opting to enroll their children in our virtual schools, and many are using Guidepost at Home as a framework for homeschooling. We are honored to give them valuable learning options during this challenging time, and these alternatives will remain viable options after the pandemic is over.
Guidepost Montessori is a a global network of schools serving 3,500+ families with early education programs, including Emergency Care for Essential Workers (ECEW) during the COVID-19 crisis. Looking for more free content? Download Guidepost Parent from the App Store for personalized Montessori inspiration and activities.