Health and Safety at Guidepost

Guidepost is committed to safely serving our families across the US with our high-quality Montessori programs, whether at our campuses, with our new home care options, or via our online virtual classrooms serving age 0-12. Learn more about the extra measures we’ve undertaken at each of our operating campuses to give your family as much peace of mind as possible.

Each of our operating US campuses have adopted a set of procedures designed to rigorously reduce the risks to your child and family, as well as our staff. Here’s some of what we’re doing.

The health and safety procedures outlined below are based on our current understanding of the COVID-19 situation, and we are committed to continuing to meet or surpass all CDC guidelines and state regulations. Our team would be more than happy to connect with new and existing families to discuss our programs and the health and safety measures outlined below in order to help you make an informed decision that fits your family’s needs.

Reduced Group Sizes

Group-size regulations vary by state, so it’s important to understand where your state falls. Some states allow up to ten children per classroom; others require ten people total (including staff) per classroom, and yet others are completely different. No matter the particulars of your state‘s regulations, in order to promote social distancing and minimize the possible spread of disease, Guidepost Montessori will have fewer students and staff than our normal ratios allow in each classroom, and we will not mix students between classrooms.

Limiting Exposure Between Groups

As we reopen our schools and welcome back more children and staff, it’s important that we limit exposure within and throughout our building to keep our community safe and healthy. We do not allow anyone with symptoms to enter the building or classrooms. All staff and students have their temperature taken each morning before being permitted to enter.

Regular Deep Cleanings

It is important for our classrooms to be as self-contained as possible. Keeping children’s items, such as clothing, shoes, and lunchboxes,å within the classroom helps prevent cross contamination among other groups on campus. By minimizing cross contamination, we increase the possibility of closing just one classroom vs. the entire school if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Each morning, staff clean all classroom materials and surfaces (tables, counters, faucets, doorknobs) with EPA-approved disinfectants. Each evening, our janitorial staff will conduct a thorough deep cleaning of all bathrooms, classrooms, and common traffic areas in the school.

Face Coverings

The best way to minimize exposure among small groups and preserve our containment efforts is through consistent, responsible use of face coverings:

Staff: All staff members wear a facemask at all times. Face coverings should be washed daily, or a new one should be worn each day. It may be easiest to have a couple for this purpose. We will only encourage face coverings for children if required by the state or if a parent specifically requests that their child wear a face covering each day.

Students: Children’s face coverings will be provided by the parents. Cloth face coverings for children over age 2 should only be considered if it is determined they can reliably wear, remove, and handle face coverings following CDC guidance. Cloth face coverings will never be put on babies or children under age 2 due to the danger of suffocation. Children will never wear face coverings while napping, eating, or on the playground.

Daily Containment Routines

There are a variety of heightened health and safety procedures throughout the day, that may look different than you’re used to at school. Here’s a general list of what will go on throughout the day:

  • Guides will wipe down high-traffic areas (door handles, light switches, etc.) using an EPA-approved disinfectant at least 3 times a day, and administrators will wipe down any high traffic areas they touch.

  • Children will remain in the classroom during the day and avoid common spaces.

  • Guides will limit touching children by using creative communication (air fives, waving, air kisses) to encourage social distancing. However, we fully understand that it is not possible to keep children 6 feet apart in a classroom and are not discouraging any natural situations that may arise.

  • Children will remain in their group without any mixing of groups at the beginning or end of the day.

  • Place napping cots/floor beds 6 feet apart when possible.

  • Each child should use their own work mat each week. Work mats must be stored separately (but not in sealed containers) and washed once per week.

  • Use the school thermometers to implement midday temperature checks for all children and staff.

  • Be hyper vigilant about classroom materials that go into a child’s mouth. Remove any material that was in a child’s mouth from the classroom environment once the child has finished.

Student Arrivals

Drop-offs occur outside of the building with families staggered at least six feet apart. A staff member will perform a temperature check of all students before escorting them inside to change into their indoor shoes and cleaning their backpacks and lunchboxes. Each day, a staff member will ask each family whether they have observed any symptoms of COVID-19 to determine if it is safe for the child to stay at school. If symptoms exist, the child may not remain at school. Once a child has changed into their slippers/indoor shoes, they are escorted by a staff member to their classroom and then allowed to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.

Food Safety

To avoid the need for any kind of food preparation at school, we will no longer offer any lunch services or facilitate our typical community snacks. All food will be provided by the parents for the foreseeable future. The following procedures will eliminate the risk of contamination:

  • Parents provide a morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack for their child.

  • Parents pack their child’s food in a labeled lunchbox with a cold pack or thermos if necessary.

  • Parents provide all utensils needed for meals and snacks.

  • Guides will wipe down lunchboxes with an EPA-approved disinfectant upon arrival and use gloves or wash hands whenever helping children with food.

  • Administrators will provide disposable cups, plates, and utensils for each classroom.

Outdoor Playground Routines

To further our containment efforts and minimize exposure across classrooms, we are intentionally scheduling outdoor and gross-motor time to eliminate overlap and allow for cleaning between uses. Classrooms will follow an outdoor schedule that allows for one classroom on the playground at a time, with cleanings performed by staff in between classes. High-touch playground surfaces will be sprayed with soap and water and wiped clean after each use. This excludes wood surfaces. Buggy rides are strongly discouraged to avoid a situation where children are in close quarters. Children do not need to wear a face covering when in outdoor spaces so as to not restrict their breathing while exercising.

Student Pick-ups

At the end of each day, guides will follow these guidelines to facilitate a safe departure for the children and get their environment ready for the following day.

  • Facilitate pick-up with parents at the classroom or designated door.

  • Assist the child in gathering items and bring the child to the door for departure.

  • Wipe down all high-traffic areas with an EPA-approved disinfectant before leaving the classroom.

  • Wash and replace sheets and blankets used for napping.

Staff Breaks and Social Distancing

By social distancing and taking elevated sanitation precautions when in common spaces like break rooms and restrooms, we can actively minimize exposure of our staff members at school.

  • Staff should stagger breaks and lunches to encourage social distancing. Wipe down the toilet lever, sink, and door handle upon exiting restrooms.

  • Staff should wipe down lunchboxes using an EPA-approved disinfectant before/after entering a classroom, break room, or any other common space.

  • Staff should choose an isolated location for breaks and lunch.

  • Staff should wipe down touched surfaces including but not limited to the table, chair, and door to the break room or classroom when done.

About Guidepost Montessori and Higher Ground Education

Guidepost Montessori is a school network owned and operated by Higher Ground Education. We are dedicated to mainstreaming and modernizing Montessori education worldwide. We operate nearly 50 schools that directly serve over 3,500 families, along with extended offerings such as Montessori nanny shares and placements. Our world-class educators and nannies are trained in-house through a nationally accredited Montessori teacher-training institute.

For more information about the health and safety procedures at Guidepost, please fill out our contact form, email our teamemail us at info@guidepostmontessori.com or call us at 866-202-8593.

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