This page was last updated on 9/28/2020
The Arbor Update: 9/28
Last week, the COVID-19 Task Force revised the COVID-19 Decision Tree to introduce a new Gold Alert Level. This revision was based on the committee’s recognition of the need for an intermediate step between the Orange and Yellow levels originally outlined, and the assignment of certain activities to this new level. The committee acknowledges Arbor’s early track record of opening the school year safely and believes the appropriate mitigation strategies are in place for the activities included in the Gold level. Therefore, the committee agrees that the school is currently operating at a Gold Alert Level and supports the implementation of the additional in-person opportunities identified at this level.
The Arbor community relies upon each family to do their part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our school community. This includes activities and behaviors outside of school. We rely on a mutual commitment to the wellbeing of each other as a primary strategy of keeping our school community safe.
We ask all Arbor Families to commit to:
- Practice physical distancing and wear a mask while both on and off campus.
- Make significant consideration to limiting risks outside of Arbor (such as limiting social contact with those in the community or keeping contact only with those within the family’s COVID-19 “bubble”)
- Keep students at home if they have been exposed to anyone who has COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
- Keep students at home if someone in your household is ill or has been closely exposed to COVID-19.
- Honor requests for families to limit access to campuses to students, faculty, and staff.
- Make efforts to arrive and pick up children on time, particularly when addressing any student who becomes ill while on campus.
- Report family exposure, illness, or any other information to the school that will assist us in maintaining a safe environment.
- Follow CDC recommendations regarding travel & self-quarantine when returning from travel.
COVID-19 Decision Making Process
Arbor Montessori School has convened a COVID task force to monitor the global outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This committee will review information from the medical community and government authorities in order to make careful, intentional decisions that are in the best interest of our community’s health and safety. In addition, the committee will continue to review and update the safety protocols and procedures outlined for returning to campus.
The COVID-19 Task Force includes our current Board President, the Interim Head of School, the chair of the Health & Safety Committee, our Business Manager, the Board Treasurer (and Head of the Finance Committee), a faculty representative from each level of the school, and key members of our Arbor community with expertise in this area. Our sources of information include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Health care professionals in our Arbor community
- Dekalb County Health Department
- Georgia Department of Health
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- Local, state, national, and international government officials
- Bright from the Start (Childcare Licensing)
Guidance and data from these sources will be used to inform our path towards the safest return possible for our employees and students. While we remain aware of the latest news and information available from these sources, our decisions are made independently. As an independent school, we do not operate under the same authorities as public schools and will make the best choices for the health and safety of our community, and we will hold ourselves to a high standard.
The COVID-19 Decision Tree offers insight into how information will be interpreted and inform our plan for learning for the first portion of the school year, and at regular intervals thereafter.
This is our typical model for education. Additional health and safety protocols are in place to ensure the safety of students and staff. This method most closely reflects our traditional Montessori learning environment and is the preferred method for educating our students. Arbor will conduct in-person learning when COVID-19 levels in the community permit.
This learning plan offers a combination of in-person and distance learning. The specific combination of in-person and distance learning will vary by level, based on the reason for the transition between learning models (e.g., if one cohort has a COVID-19-positive case), and based on additional community factors.
If circumstances require a full school closure, we will implement our distance learning program. Teachers will offer a curriculum through our learning management platform, Schoology. Faculty and staff will supplement lessons with printable materials, defined learning schedules, clear expectations for assignments, and opportunities for accountability and feedback.
Fall Learning Plan: Hybrid Model
Arbor Montessori School began the school year on Monday, August 24th, following a Hybrid Learning Model at most levels. This decision was made with guidance and data provided by the Board’s COVID-19 task force and input from Arbor faculty and staff. We remain committed to offering the highest quality Montessori learning experience while also providing the safest possible return for our students and our staff. While we anticipate starting the year following this model, we will continue to monitor the latest information available and acknowledge that plans may change at any point in the year.
The Hybrid Model for learning is new for the Arbor community. This blend of in-person learning and distance learning will offer students an opportunity for both Montessori-style learning and opportunities for social interaction while taking safety and exposure into consideration. Further details have been sent directly to the parent community via The Arbor Update, our weekly email newsletter.