Center Communications

At Northfield Montessori, the safety and well-being of students and staff is our top priority. We are continuing to monitor the rapidly evolving public health situation around COVID-19 by checking the Minnesota Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control websites daily for their recommendations. 

 

June 18, 2022

Dear Montessori Families,

We met as a board met this week and discussed the current status of COVID-19 and masking. Given low local and center cases, as well as increased ability to spend time outside, we are changing our masking policy to mask optional starting Monday, June 20th. This decision has come with thorough discussion of risks and benefits, and was voted on by the board as a whole.

If you would like your child to continue to mask in school, please let their teacher know your wishes and continue to send masks. Parents and staff may also choose to continue to wear masks in the building.

Of note, we will continue to enforce no parents in classrooms at this time to reduce people in/out and possible exposures.

We will continue to closely follow local levels of cases as well as recommendations from MDH and CDC. We reserve the right to re-implement our masking policy should cases again rise to a high level locally or guidance from governing bodies changes.

As a reminder, the center does have many of the at-home kits which families can ask for to follow our test-to-stay exposure policy. Please ask Ms. Jill or Ms. Kristen if you need kits for testing at home.

Please reach out with any questions/concerns. 
Northfield Montessori Board

May 17, 2022

Dear Montessori Families,

 

Our COVID-19 Task Force has decided to further update our prior quarantine guidelines for COVID exposures. After careful consideration of the current situation and transmission rates, we are offering the following options which keep our friends and families safe while helping families avoid more time in quarantines.

 

Given the current high rates of transmission, we are asking that in lieu of quarantine, after an exposure all students and staff test daily for 7 days to ensure that we promptly detect any spread of virus without needing to disrupt attendance of those who are well. The antigen (home) tests will be provided by the center, please ask Ms Jill if you need these. 

 

After exposure through the center:

All exposed students and staff can test-to-stay for 7 days— each morning students should do an at home test and send result to Ms Jill before coming to the center. In addition, we will offer a CUE test for students on day 5 or later by appointment.

OR

If parents prefer not to test their students, students will need to quarantine for 10 days and may return on day 11. 

 

After a home exposure:

If there is a close contact at home who is unable to completely isolate from the family, students must stay home for the entire duration of the family member’s 10 day isolation. They should do a PCR/CUE test on day 10 which must be negative prior to return to the Montessori. The student will then need to test-to-stay with home tests for 7 days following return. 

OR 

If parents prefer not to test, the student will need to remain home for 10 days after family member’s day 10. 

 

Ms. Jill has many of the at-home kits which families can ask for to follow this new policy. Please ask her or Ms. Kristen if you need test kits for testing to stay. 

 

NM COVID-19 Task Force 

March 29, 2022

Dear Northfield Montessori Families,

During this month’s board meeting changes were voted on regarding our current masking policy. This involved thorough discussions of current guidelines, research, and viewpoints from all sides. After discussion and majority vote, our masking policy will be as follows:


- Fully vaccinated and boosted staff will be mask optional starting today.
- Fully vaccinated and boosted students will be mask optional starting today. If you would like your vaccinated students to remain masked, staff will support this and help remind children to mask.
- All other students and staff will still be required to wear masks following our prior guidelines.
- Parents will continue to be required to mask in and out of the building. We will continue to ask parents not to enter their students' classrooms.

Please note that if cases increase in our area or we have a center outbreak we reserve the right to reinstate masking regardless of vaccination status.

We understand that changes can cause many emotions from parents on all sides. Our ultimate goal continues to be the health and well being of our students, staff, and families.

The NM COVID-19 Task Force is continuing to monitor recommendations and guidelines and the Board will continue to assess and adjust guidelines if indicated.

Please reach out with any questions/concerns.

Northfield Montessori Board of Directors

 

March 6, 2022

Dear Northfield Montessori Families,

Many of you may have seen the communication from Northfield Public Schools this week about removing mask requirements and quarantine from the Early Childhood Center. As a response, the COVID-19 task force met on Thursday night to discuss the current recommendations from the CDC and how they might translate to Northfield Montessori.

At this time, the CDC has not yet updated its guidance for childcare centers, however updates are in the works that will apply the newest masking guidance to educational environments. We do not know when these will be released, however the task force has decided to continue to require masks in the building until at least after spring break, so that we can see the impact spring break activities have on the Northfield community and Rice County case rates prior to making a decision about changing our masking policy. We have plans to meet as a task force the week of March 20, and present recommendations to the Northfield Montessori Board at the March 24th meeting. We are hopeful the updated CDC guidance will be released before then.

Our ultimate goal is to keep the children of Northfield Montessori safe and healthy. As a reminder, in the absence of vaccines, masks are the only defense the majority of our children have to protect them against COVID-19. Additionally, masking is doing a lot to protect our children from other more common respiratory viruses, and as a result, keeping them in school. 

Please reach out with any questions/concerns.

Northfield Montessori COVID-19 Task Force

 

February 3, 2022

Dear Montessori Families,

The COVID-19 taskforce continues to monitor guidelines closely.  As a reminder, close contact quarantines in household exposure are viewed differently than close contacts with a beginning and end such as school settings.  Household contacts have higher exposure rate and much higher rate of transmission.  

The most recent guidelines shorten close contact quarantine for household contacts.  

Quarantine length for close contacts related to household exposures:
Close contacts in households have historically been quarantined for 14 days beyond the10 days of isolation of Covid-19 + persons for a total of 24 days.  
A new recommendation for those unable to mask full time (including those unmasked at home) is to shorten this to 10 days from the last day of covid exposure.  (Shortening to 20 days).  All are asked to test on day 5 and/or with onset of symptoms.  (See figure below)

Fully vaccinated staff and students do not need to quarantine if they do not have symptoms.  We do request a home test on day 5.  



Our policy regarding close contacts at the Montessori remains the same.  For your reference:  

Quarantine Lengths for Classmates Exposed at Northfield Montessori:  
Shortened 7-day quarantine can apply if the person exposed:
- does not have symptoms and does not develop symptoms
- had an exposure that has beginning and end (such as our school setting)
-gets tested at least 5 full days after exposure and has a negative test.

With this updated recommendation, please see below for our policy update.  

For Infants, Toddlers, Discovery and unvaccinated Montessori classroom students:
close contact (from school contact) quarantines without symptoms may shorten quarantine time to 7 days with 2 negative tests.  
- 1 test on or after day 5 (recommended day 5-7) done at a clinic or testing facility with verified results. (PCR or NAAT). Result made available to Ms. Jill.  
- 1 rapid home antigen covid test done morning of return with photo of negative test sent by email to Ms. Jill.  
** If you only test 1 time with PCR your child must stay home until day 10.  

If you do not test your child you must stay out for a full 14 days.  

For Fully Vaccinated Montessori Classroom Students (2 weeks after 2nd vaccine):  
- Please test on home antigen test on day 5 prior to coming to school.  Please provide result to Ms. Jill (photo of negative result)
- Do not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms/test positive.  


Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Northfield Montessori Covid-19 Task Force.

 

Janaury 26, 2022

Montessori Families,

We are excited to be able to offer a new type of COVID test that can be done at the center free of charge. It is the Cue Rapid Molecular Assay, which is currently being used by Northfield Public Schools to perform tests on symptomatic students or close contacts. It has been supplied to us by the State of Minnesota and requires that we report all tests and results to the state. What reporting means for you is that, at the time of your child's test, you will need to provide some basic demographic information which we will then submit to the state with our report of tests completed. These tests can be used for all ages since testing is done at a facility versus at home.

A rapid molecular assay (also called nucleic acid amplification or NAAT) is a diagnostic test for COVID which is more sensitive than over-the-counter antigen testing, and is more similar to the technology used to perform PCR tests in healthcare facilities. It is not quite as sensitive as PCR tests which are done in the laboratory, however it is a form of testing that we have accepted as your day 5 post-exposure test when done through a clinic like CompCare. Unlike antigen testing which requires two tests to be done for a more conclusive result, Cue tests require only one test to be performed. These tests, like others you may have encountered, require a nasal swab to be done in both nostrils, and they use a cartridge and mobile app to provide results in 20-25 minutes. On occasion, the test cartridge will fail, and you may need to return to the center for a second test. A test failure does not indicate anything about the result, it just means that it was a faulty cartridge.

As before, if you are concerned about symptoms your child is having, or if you would prefer, you may bring your child into their primary care provider or another clinic for your COVID testing needs. Additionally, with detection of Omicron being somewhat delayed following symptom onset as compared to previous variants, if you are concerned your child does have COVID, please do not hesitate to repeat testing even if you get an initial negative result.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and reach out to the center to schedule a test as the need arises. Tests need to be done by certain staff, so scheduling is required.

 

 

Jill 

Janaury 17, 2022

Dear Northfield Montessori Families,

 

As it is clear to many of you, we have had several COVID+ cases in our community.  We wanted to send an update with this so that families are aware of these case numbers.  We would also like to update current close-contact quarantine recommendations.  Please inform Ms. Jill of any COVID-19 positive tests in your family as soon as possible as we are required to report these to the MDH, including test dates and symptoms information.  

 

COVID CASES:  

Unfortunately, we have had several children become ill with COVID-19 during the recent outbreak.  Our current numbers are:

20 students (involving Montessori, Discovery and Toddler classrooms)

3 staff members

 

Quarantine Lengths for Classmates Exposed at Northfield Montessori:  

As we have discussed, in prior communications, these guidelines change quickly and the Covid-19 task force works diligently to keep up to date on these recommendations.  The MDH has clarified their recommendations and now support the use of a 7-day quarantine for close contacts with testing for unvaccinated staff and children, even those that cannot mask.  

 

This 7-day quarantine can apply if the person exposed:

- does not have symptoms and does not develop symptoms

- had an exposure that has beginning and end (such as our school setting)

-gets tested at least 5 full days after exposure and has a negative test.

 

With this updated recommendation, please see below for our policy update.  

 

For Infants, Toddlers, Discovery and unvaccinated Montessori classroom students: 

close contact (from school contact) quarantines without symptoms may shorten quarantine time to 7 days with 2 negative tests.  

- 1 test on or after day 5 (recommended day 5-7) done at a clinic or testing facility with verified results. (PCR or NAAT). Result made available to Ms. Jill.  

- 1 rapid home antigen covid test done morning of return with photo of negative test sent by email to Ms. Jill.  

** If you only test 1 time with PCR your child must stay home until day 10.  

 

If you choose to not test your child, your child must stay out for 14 days.  

 

For Fully Vaccinated Montessori Classroom Students (2 weeks after 2nd vaccine):  

- Please test on home antigen test on day 5 prior to coming to school.  Please provide result to Ms. Jill (photo of negative result)

- Do not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms/test positive.  

 

Children with Symptoms: 

Children with symptoms will continue to need a negative PCR or NAAT test from a clinic or testing facility prior to returning to school.  

 

We will not allow home tests for symptomatic students.  

 

Must stay home or go home with 1 more common or 2 less common symptoms

• More common symptoms: fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; new cough or a cough that gets worse; difficulty/hard breathing; new loss of taste or smell.

• Less common symptoms: sore throat; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; chills; muscle pain; extreme fatigue/feeling very tired; new severe/very bad headache; new nasal congestion/stuffy or runny nose.

 

Students with COVID-19:

Must isolate for 10 day at home from the first symptom or from a positive test.  

We are unable to shorten to 5 days as they are unable to strictly mask and most of our students are unvaccinated.  

 

COVID Exposures outside of Montessori exposures:

Due to the increased exposure in a household, if a household member is positive for COVID-19, siblings or children must stay home for 14 days from last exposure to positive person.  (For example, 14 days beyond sibling 10 days of isolation).  If you have questions about when your child can return, please reach out to Ms. Jill.  

Please let Ms Jill know as soon as a member of your family tests positive for Covid-19

 

 

Staffing shortages:

Ms. Jill and the Montessori staff are working hard to provide ongoing safe staffing for our children.  However, we want to be transparent with our families that this is an ongoing challenge.  With these positive cases, there is a direct effect on our staffing as many of our staff have children at the Montessori or some must quarantine if they have not been boostered or are unvaccinated.  In the coming days/weeks, this may require more combining rooms and keeping larger groups of children together to have safe staffing per licensing rules.  If our staffing becomes too scarce to safely keep the center open, we may need to have a brief, temporary closure.  You would not be charged for days that we need to close and we would try to provide as much notice as possible.  Please know we are doing everything we can to avoid this.  

 

Please reach out with any questions/concerns.

 

Northfield Montessori Covid-19 Task Force

Janaury 11, 2022

Dear Montessori Families,

 

We know this week has been especially hard on families with a number of children out on close-contact quarantines.  Unfortunately, the reality of how quickly this new variant (omicron) can spread is hitting much of our community.  The Covid-19 Task Force met again in an effort to review our guidelines once again.  This email contains a lot of details about new policies that are effective immediately, please read carefully and reach out if you need clarification or have any questions/concerns.  

 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board and the Covid-19 Task force have worked toward the following goals set in early 2020.  

1) Keep the center open;

2) Limit and avoid quarantines of classrooms and keep students in person; and 

3) Keep our staff and families safe.

 

Quarantine Lengths for Classmates Exposed at Montessori:  

We know many families have become aware of the new CDC guidelines of 5-day quarantine or 5 day isolations.  These guidelines require strict mask use to complete the 10 days, and is not an option for our children.  However, we understand the 14 day close-contact quarantine in place, while the safest option, is cumbersome to families.  At this time, we will continue a 14 day quarantine for close contacts with an option to shorten quarantines with appropriate testing as a way to mitigate as much risk as possible.  

 

For Infants, Toddlers and Discovery students: close-contact quarantines without symptoms may shorten quarantine time to 10 days with 2 negative tests.  

- 1 test on or after day 5 (recommended day 5-7) done at a clinic or testing facility with verified results. (PCR or NAAT). Result made available to Ms. Jill.  

- 1 rapid home antigen covid test done morning of return with photo of negative test sent by email to Ms. Jill.  

** If you only test 1 time your child must stay home until day 14.  

 

For unvaccinated Montessori students:  close contact quarantines without symptoms may shorten quarantine time to 7 days with 2 negative tests.  

- 1 test on or after day 5 (recommended day 5-7) done at a clinic or testing facility with verified results. (PCR or NAAT). Result made available to Ms. Jill.  

- 1 rapid home antigen covid test done morning of return with photo of negative test sent by email to Ms. Jill.  

** If you only test 1 time with PCR your child must stay home until day 10.  

 

If you choose to not test your child, your child must stay out for 14 days.  

 

For Fully Vaccinated Montessori Students (2 weeks after 2nd vaccine):  

- Please test on home antigen test on day 5 prior to coming to school.  Please provide result to Ms. Jill (photo of negative result)

- Do not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms/test positive.  

 

Children with Symptoms: 

Children with symptoms  will continue to need a negative PCR or NAAT test from a clinic or testing facility prior to returning to school.  

We will not allow home tests for symptomatic students.  

Must stay home or go home with 1 more common or 2 less common symptoms

• More common symptoms: fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; new cough or a cough that gets worse; difficulty/hard breathing; new loss of taste or smell.

• Less common symptoms: sore throat; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; chills; muscle pain; extreme fatigue/feeling very tired; new severe/very bad headache; new nasal congestion/stuffy or runny nose.

 

Students with COVID-19:

Must isolate for 10 day at home from the first symptom or from a positive test.  

We are unable to shorten to 5 days as they are unable to strictly mask and most of our students are unvaccinated.  

 

A note about household members with Covid-19:

Due to the increased exposure in a household, if a household member is positive for COVID-19, siblings or children must stay home for 14 days from last exposure to positive person.  (For example, 14 days beyond sibling 10 days of isolation).  If you have questions about when your child can return, please reach out to Ms. Jill.  

Please let Ms Jill know as soon as a member of your family tests positive for Covid-19.

 

Testing: 

-Please see attached document for facilities offering testing in our community.  Again, these tests are still required for any symptomatic student and required 1 time during quarantine for close exposures.  

- Home tests are still available (1/child) at the Montessori.  If you have not picked up a test and would like to have one on hand, please contact Ms. Jill.  

- We are working to purchase rapid tests to have available to families that we would have available (at cost) to families to increase accessibility and decrease barriers for the 2nd test.  More details to come on this.  If you would like home tests and are unable to afford this, please let Ms. Jill know and we will work to make accommodations.  

 

Masking:

It is becoming clear that the cloth masks many of our children and staff are using are not offering the best protections (please see table below).  We would like to encourage families to consider upgrading masks to cloth filtered masks or kN95 for better protection for our children who mask.  

We have purchased N95 masks for our staff members

We are working to purchase Kn95 masks to be available for children to use if you are unable to purchase these.  

Staff Mitigation Strategies:

- We will be honoring the CDC new guidelines that you must be boostered to be considered fully vaccinated to be able to not quarantine after close contact. 

- Staff are encouraged to be boostered (if not already done)

- All Staff will continue to be offered testing once weekly.

- Any unvaccinated staff members will be rapid-tested 2 times weekly

- Please know staffing is tight and due to this we must combine classrooms at this time at beginning and end of day.  Some families have asked what times classrooms are combined.  In general, classrooms are combined before 8:30am and after 3pm each day.  

 

We hope the above changes will continue to keep our students/staff safe while also offering some help for families who continue to struggle with classroom closures and missing work/responsibilities.  Please continue to be mindful that your actions outside the doors of the Montessori impact our community and many other families.  With the current Covid-19 numbers, we expected quarantines.  However, please make safe choices for you and your children.  Please let Ms. Jill know as soon as your child has symptoms or a positive Covid-19 test so we can communicate to other families/staff and allow as much time for families to prepare as possible.  

 

Please reach out with questions/concerns.  

 

Northfield Montessori Covid-19 Task Force.  

December 1, 2021

Montessori families,


A quick update on a couple COVID related topics.  

 

Quarantine policy for immunized children:

We are excited that some of our older children are receiving their COVID-19 Vaccines.  

CDC recommends that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine if a close exposure, but does recommend testing.  

If your child has received both COVID-19 Vaccines, please bring in an updated immunization record or your COVID-19 immunization card for our records.  Once fully vaccinated (2 weeks after 2nd shot) they will not need to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic.  We do recommend testing on days 3-5 after exposure.  

 

Masking:

Our Discovery and Montessori classrooms will continue to mask full time, taking off masks only for eating, nap, and outdoor play.  

Our toddler children 2 years and older are required to wear masks from entrance to classroom.  Our toddler teachers are working to practice mask wearing in this group to better prepare them for masking full time in Discovery and Montessori classrooms.  We encourage families to also start working with children in this age group on masking to help with this transition.  

Parents, teachers and guests in the building will continue to mask full time.  

 

 

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.  

 

COVID-19 Taskforce

November 23, 2021

Dear Northfield Montessori Families,

 

Last week the board voted 6-4 to discontinue our travel policy requiring unvaccinated children or staff to quarantine and test before returning to the center after traveling out of state. Several valid arguments were made on both sides, and the pros and cons of this decision were weighed by each member prior to voting.

 

The board still recommends avoiding travel if possible, using caution while traveling, and diligent monitoring for any ill contacts or development of symptoms before, during, and after travel. If you feel you have engaged in activities that put you or your family at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, we ask that you consider a quarantine. We will still follow the decision tree in regards to sending ill children home or classroom quarantines and testing. The safety and health of our children and staff will continue to be our number one priority.

 

We recognize that this decision may cause anxiety and/or frustration among some families—please complete our grievance form if you would like to provide feedback. (See page 24-25 of our family handbook for more information about filing a grievance.)

 

Please review the following resources to help keep our community safe while traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

BEFORE TRAVELING:

- All members of your family should be vaccinated if eligible (age 5 or older). You are considered fully vaccinated if you are 2 weeks or longer out from your second vaccine dose. You should also strongly consider getting a booster vaccine if it has been greater than 6 months since your second dose of Pfizer/Moderna or greater than 2 months since you received Johnson & Johnson. All adults are now eligible.

- Check the status of the COVID-19 outbreak in the area you are traveling to (here is the CDC tracker: https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_community)

- Check state health department guidelines for travel for the area you will be going to. Rules and restrictions may be different area to area, make sure you are prepared to follow these.

- Consider traveling by private vehicle rather than public transportation to reduce risk of ill contacts

- Consider staying at a private location (ie family home, Airbnb, etc) rather than a hotel or resort

- The CDC recommends that you test any unvaccinated individuals traveling for COVID 1-3 days prior to leaving to ensure you will not be spreading this to another area

- Ensure those you are traveling to see are fully vaccinated if they are able.

- Lay low before you go. Minimize activities that present a high risk of exposure (ie attending crowded indoor public events) a few weeks before holiday gatherings or travel so you don't get COVID-19 and spread it during your holiday gathering. 

 

DURING TRAVEL:

- Everyone over age 2 should wear a mask over their nose and mouth when indoors, on public transport, or in crowded outdoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

- Stay 6 feet apart from others if traveling on public transportation or flights whenever possible.

- If driving, plan to make as few stops as possible. Bring food and drinks on the road with you so you won't have to stop at gas stations or restaurants.

- Wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.

- Avoid crowded and/or poorly ventilated areas.

- If you do gather with people you don't live with, outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor gatherings.

- When indoors, look for opportunities to increase ventilation (e.g. open a window).

- Limit contact with "high touch" areas (ie handrails, elevator buttons, or kiosks).

- Refrain from eating or drinking while on public transportation so that you can keep your mask on the whole time. 

- In the place you are staying, disinfect high touch areas when you first arrive.

 

AFTER TRAVEL: 

- Monitor closely for any symptoms. Should symptoms develop in anyone you have traveled with/been with, isolate and test in accordance with current CDC recommendations.

- It is recommended you stay home for 7 days after traveling and test for COVID 3-5 days after return from travel. The 7 day recommendation is for everyone, even if you test negative on day 3-5.

- If you choose not to get tested for COVID upon return, it is recommended to stay home and quarantine for 10 days following travel.

- If you learn that someone you have been with developed COVID-19, anyone unvaccinated needs to be quarantined and be tested immediately and again 5-7 days after their last known exposure. If negative, quarantine will be 14 days from exposure. Vaccinated contacts should test 3-5 days after exposure, but need not quarantine. If positive, isolation is 10 days from positive test or 10 days from development of symptoms, whichever is longer.

 

Sources and sites for further information:

CDC: 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#cases_community

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-safe-travel-advice/art-20486965

 

Mayo Clinic: 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-safe-travel-advice/art-20486965

 

MN Dept of Health:

https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/prevention.html

 

Thank you,

The Northfield Montessori COVID-19 Task Force

September 30, 2021

Dear Montessori Families,

 

We are writing with our most up to date information regarding the cases of COVID-19 at our center. 

 

Unfortunately, we are now up to 9 individuals with confirmed COVID-19. This includes staff members (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) as well as students from our infant and toddler programs. All infant and toddler programs have been quarantined for 14 days, and Ms. Jill is closely tracking results and return dates for students in these classrooms. 

 

Please remember that if tested for COVID-19 Ms. Jill needs a copy of those results, positive or negative, to help us track exposures and cases. We continue to work closely with the MN Department of Health on our cases and guidance for the center. 

 

Friendly reminders:

1- When your child is tested for COVID-19 Ms. Jill will need a copy of their results, positive or negative. This applies for every child attending. If you have multiple children being tested we will need copies of each child’s test results. 

 

2- Any signs of cold-like symptoms should be reported and taken seriously. Several of our friends who tested positive only had mild symptoms. Please reference the MDH decision tree for what to do with symptomatic children.   https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/exguide.pdf 

 

3- Staff continue to work hard to monitor students and will notify you if your student needs to be sent home based on symptoms. Please be kind to staff when they call. They care for our children and do not take sending a child home lightly, but need to protect all our students. 

We continue to prioritize the health and safety of your children through many measures including offering staff testing, mask enforcement, sending home those who are ill, and frequent cleaning. 

 

Please reach out with any questions or concerns.  We are working diligently to keep our community as informed and safe as we can.  

 

Northfield Montessori COVID-19 Task Force

September 24, 2021

Dear Montessori families,

 

We write to give you updated information on the COVID-19 cases at the Northfield Montessori.  

 

Unfortunately, we have 5 COVID-19 positive cases at this time.  This includes both staff members and students; immunized and unimmunized persons.  All infant and toddler rooms have been quarantined for 14 days.  Symptoms reported were mild in many cases (runny nose, slight cough, etc). 

 

Because of the rapid increase in cases, we are in frequent communication with the Minnesota Department of Health.  We will continue to follow their guidance as we have since the start of this pandemic.  We have asked those who are quarantined to be tested on day 3-5 after exposure and report those results to Ms. Jill.  We will work to keep our community up to date on any additional cases.  

 

For those families who are not currently affected by the quarantine, we wanted to express the importance of reporting symptoms, testing, and staying home with any concerns.  It is very important we take all symptoms seriously and suspect even mild symptoms could be COVID-19 so we can control this from spreading.  We continue to work on effective masking in our preschool (Discovery and Montessori) classrooms which we hope will help reduce spread in these rooms.  Students will continue to be sent home with symptoms.  Please reference the MDH decision tree for what to do with symptomatic children.   https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/exguide.pdf 

 

For those families with some children in quarantine and others still attending in preschool rooms, please monitor your children closely and consider testing all your children to help us control this spread.  This weekend would be a great opportunity to test those other family members not in quarantined rooms to make sure we are not having spread from siblings.  If your child in quarantine tests positive you will need to keep your other children home and have them tested as well.  

 

We have tested all staff today to try to catch early cases in our staff members and help mitigate spread of this virus.  We have been regularly offering testing to both our immunized and unimmunized staff members throughout the past several months.  

 

Please know that this next week may bring further closures if there are more positive cases within our school.  We hope this will not occur, but want our families to be as prepared as possible.  We understand with this amount of cases in our school some families may choose to keep their children home who are not quarantined for their family member's safety.  If you choose to do so, please let Ms. Jill know so that she can staff appropriately.  

 

We ask that our families consider the activities you participate in outside of the Montessori and continue to take caution, mask up, and help us protect this community.  We have now had break-thru cases of our immunized staff members and want to remind families that even immunized adults should be tested if symptomatic or exposed.  These children are not able to be immunized at this time so we must work diligently to protect them and decrease the spread from our community.  We rely on this school for excellent education and childcare for our children.  We want to avoid further quarantines if at all possible.  

 

For testing options, please consider:

-- Contacting your primary care provider, (Northfield Hospitals and Clinics or Allina Northfield Clinic, etc).  This is the best option for our youngest children.  

-- There are self (parent) swab testing options through drive-thru pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, Hy-Vee, etc)  available for children >3 years of age.  You must make an appointment online often 1-2 days before the appointment, so plan ahead.  

-- Express Care Clinic (By sterling pharmacy) or Compcare (Faribault) 

-- There are over the counter tests available, but these are only approved for ages 2+.  This also does not provide you with documentation.  Positive tests are more helpful in rapid tests than negative tests.  Negative rapid tests should be repeated in >36 hours or confirmed with PCR testing. 

-- MDH testing sites for children who can submit saliva testing.  https://mn.gov/covid19/get-tested/testing-locations/community-testing.jsp

 

Please reach out with any questions or concerns.  We are working diligently to keep our community as informed and safe as we can.  

 

Northfield Montessori COVID-19 Task force.  

September 22 and 23, 2021

Dear Infant and Toddler families,

 

We are sure this has been a difficult day to hear your child has been exposed to Covid-19 at the Montessori.  We are sorry this has happened and understand this creates significant stress on your families.   As a Northfield Montessori community we are always disappointed to have to close a classroom because of a positive Covid-19 exposure.  We do this with guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health to try to keep everyone safe and as healthy as possible.  

 

Ms. Jill has received several questions today after announcing the classroom closure, so we send this email to address those concerns.  We understand this is the first quarantine for many of you.  

 

What is the quarantine period?

-Your children have been asked to quarantine for 14 days from their last day of exposure to this COVID-19 + person.  

- Even if your child receives a negative COVID test, they must stay home for the entirety of the 14 day quarantine.  

-The MDH decision tree discusses that 14 days is safest but 7-10 days may be considered in certain circumstances.  We did discuss with MDH, who recommend our center continue the 14 day quarantine period.  We are not able to do the stricter mitigation since we cannot mask our children under 2 years and our children are not able to socially distance themselves from each other.  Because of this, we will continue the 14 day quarantine.  

 

What does quarantine mean?

- Quarantine means your child must stay home for 14 days after last contact.  This means your child must stay home from school at the Montessori but also must stay home and not go out in the community.  It is recommended your child stays in your home or on your property.  

- If possible, stay away from others who are very high risk for getting sick (especially those who are unimmunized).

 

What symptoms do I need to monitor for?

- During quarantine monitor your child and other family members daily for fever (Temp >100.4), cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, headaches, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion/runny nose, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea.  

 

Does my child need to be tested?

- YES!  The MDH recommends all children exposed to be tested between days 3-5 after last exposure.  (This is notably different from the 5-7 days at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, due to the Delta Variant's more rapid spread.)  

-  If your student develops symptoms after that initial test, they should also be retested.  If your child is symptomatic now, they can test now rather than waiting.  

- Please send test results to Ms. Jill as you receive them.  

-  We recommend you reach out to your child's Primary care Provider to explore the best options to obtain testing.  Most at home tests and rapid tests are helpful if positive, but not as helpful if negative.  MDH states a negative rapid home test should be confirmed with a PCR test or at minimum repeated in 36 hours to confirm negative status.   Also, many at-home tests are not recommended for children under 2 years of age.  PCR testing is the most accurate test for covid and is available at both the Northfield Allina Clinic and Northfield Hospital Clinic in town.    

 

Does my family have to quarantine?

- No, your entire family does not need to be quarantined UNLESS your child exhibits any symptoms or has a positive test.  If your child has symptoms, please have them tested/retested ASAP.  (While awaiting testing results from a symptomatic child any unimmunized family members should quarantine until a Negative test is obtained).

-If your asymptomatic child has a positive screening test, all unimmunized contacts would quarantine for 14 days after the positive person's 10 day quarantine period is complete (again, this may be shortened if contacts can mask, socially distance).

 

My other child comes to Montessori.  Can they still attend?

- As long as your child in quarantine is asymptomatic, their siblings may attend school.

- If your child in quarantine develops symptoms or has a positive screening COVID test, their siblings must start a 14 day quarantine from the end of their 10 day quarantine period.  

 

Can my child in quarantine come to drop off?

- No, the students from this room will not be allowed in the building even to drop off or pick-up their siblings.

- If you are picking up your other child when having the quarantined child with you, call the center and the front will go get them and bring them out the front door to you or bring them in. 

 

What am I to do about child care when I have to work?

- Talk to your employer, you may qualify for FMLA benefits or other leave available for COVID times.

- If you need a letter from us for your employer talk to Ms. Jill.

 

Do I still need to pay tuition?

- Yes. We do not have any reduced tuition for quarantines at this time.  We continue to pay our teachers, etc. during the quarantine times and appreciate your ongoing tuition.

- Almost all child care centers in the area have this same policy.    

 

My child tests positive, now what?

- Students who test positive must stay home/quarantine for 10 days from the start of symptoms OR 10 days from the positive test if asymptomatic.  If symptomatic, students must also be fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication, and symptoms must be improving. 

- All unimmunized family members must quarantine (parents and siblings included) for 14 days from the student's last day of the 10 day quarantine period (this 14 days may be decreased in adults and older children when masking/social distancing are employed-- please discuss with your place of work or school if this scenario occurs).

-  Immunized family members do not need to quarantine if they are asymptomatic, but are encouraged to get tested on day 3-5.  

 

If another family member develops COVID, can my children come to school?

- No, if there is a positive COVID in the household, the students must stay home for 14 days after the person's 10 day quarantine period.

 

 

We cannot prevent all exposures.  However, we hope we can continue to work together as a community to keep the Montessori open as much as possible this year.  To do this we need to work together to diligently report symptoms, test when appropriate (including the testing of family members when ill or exposed), and stay home when symptomatic or exposed to someone awaiting or who has received a positive covid test.  

 

Please reach out with any additional questions or concerns.

 

Northfield Montessori Covid-19 Taskforce.  

August 6, 2021

Dear Montessori families,  

 

We are writing with updates on COVID-19 related policies and review policies in place for our new families.  We are expecting a hectic fall and winter as COVID cases are on the rise.  We share in the disappointment many of you are feeling that we are not moving forward toward normalcy.  Our priority is keeping our community (children, staff, families) healthy and keeping our facility open so that our children can learn and parents can go to work.  We cannot prevent all quarantines or illnesses, but would like to limit the spread as much as possible in our community.  

 

COVID- 19 Delta Variant:  COVID cases are spreading rapidly in children, in part because children are not eligible for vaccines.  Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Delta variant is also significantly more contagious than the original COVID-19 variants.  For every 1 person who is infected with COVID-19, the original COVID-19 variant would transmit infection to 1-2.5 contacts.  For the delta variant, a person with COVID-19 will likely infect 4-8 contacts.  Rice county numbers have significantly increased recently, as have numbers throughout MN.   We must work diligently to keep our children/staff safe and the Montessori open.  We are also seeing more "breakthrough" cases of COVID-19 in immunized persons.  While the immunization does protect the infected person in most cases from serious illness, it does not always stop the spread of the virus.  We expect there will be cases and quarantines in our school this fall/winter.  While we can not avoid all situations, we would like to limit the spread as much as possible.  

 

Masking update:

In following the CDC, MDH and American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, we are going to transition to full time masking for Discovery and Montessori rooms while indoors.  Masks will be removed for meals/snacks, nap times and time outdoors.  We understand this will not be perfect, however, this is the best protection we have for our children given they are not eligible for vaccines.  

Students 2 + years in Toddler rooms will continue to mask in the hallway to and from the classroom.  

Children under 2 will not mask.  

Our staff will continue to mask regardless of immunization status

Our visitors, including parents, will continue to mask at all times while in the building.  

AAP guidelines:  https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/cloth-face-coverings/

MDH guidelines for childcare:  https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/masks.html

 

Class Combining:

Due to our current staffing challenges and our desire to not shorten our current hours, we will need to continue to combine our classrooms during the extended care hours.  Children will be in their assigned classroom from 8am-330pm.  However, if your child attends before or after that time for extended care they will be combined with children from another classroom.  We will use the "Kid Reports" application to track what children are present during the mixed classroom times so that we track contacts in case of positive Covid exposure.  

 

Sick policy: 

COVID-19 Sick policy remains unchanged. We will continue to use the MDH flowsheet (see below for link). 

 All students/staff with symptoms must have a negative COVID-19 test or alternate diagnosis AND be improving prior to returning to school.  Please provide documentation of covid test or documentation of alternate diagnosis to Ms. Jill upon return.  

Siblings must also leave school while awaiting COVID results.  

Please see link below for flowsheet:

https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/exguide.pdf

 

Travel Policy: 

COVID-19 Travel policy remains unchanged:  

If children or other unimmunized people travel outside of MN (including our neighboring states WI, SD, IA)  we request you:

1) Get tested for COVID-19 on days 3-5, obtain negative results, AND quarantine for 7 full days after travel. Please provide a copy of the negative results to Ms. Jill.

or

2) Quarantine for 10 days after travel if you choose not to be tested.  

With either choice you will need to monitor for symptoms and isolate/test with the onset of any symptoms.

Fully immunized persons (parents and staff) do not need to quarantine upon return but will need to monitor closely for symptoms.  The current recommendation also suggests you be tested for covid 3-5 days after returning given new breakthrough infections.  

 

 

 Please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.  We hope you are all enjoying the end of your summers!  

June 15, 2021

Dear Montessori Community,

 

We hope you and your families are enjoying this warm weather as we start summer.  The COVID Taskforce met this week and are sending this email to update you on our conversation. 

 

COVID Travel Guidelines:

We understand that these travel guidelines are making it especially difficult to see loved ones and vacation after a long year of isolation with COVID-19 pandemic.  Please know we share in your frustration.  Our priorities are keeping our children/staff healthy, limiting quarantine/classroom closings, and providing reliable childcare to limit time out of work for our parents.  We hope these guidelines will change as we near herd immunity.  However, at this time we continue to follow the CDC guidelines.  We will continue to monitor this regularly and will make adjustments as CDC policies change.  

To review, Our current travel policy is:

 

If children or other unimmunized people travel outside of MN (including our neighboring states WI, SD, IA)  we request you:

1) Get tested for COVID-19 on day 3-5, obtain negative results, AND quarantine for 7 full days after travel. Please provide a copy of the negative results to Ms. Jill.

or

2) Quarantine for 10 days after travel if you choose not to be tested.  

 

With either choice you will need to monitor for symptoms and isolate/test with the onset of any symptoms.

 

Fully immunized persons (parents and staff) do not need to quarantine upon return but will need to monitor closely for symptoms.

May 20, 2021

Dear Montessori Families,

 

We are writing to send updates from our COVID-19 taskforce.  We are continually monitoring policy and recommendations and will continue to adjust accordingly.  Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.  

 

COVID- 19 Vaccination update

Northfield Montessori has 80% of our staff members immunized against COVID-19!  

 

COVID- 19 Travel Update:  

We are updating our travel policy to align with the newest recommendations from the CDC/MDH.  (Please see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html)

 

If children or other unimmunized people travel outside of MN, we request you:

1) Get tested for COVID-19 on day 3-5, obtain negative results, AND quarantine for 7 full days after travel. Please provide a copy of the negative results to Ms. Jill.

or

2) Quarantine for 10 days after travel if you choose not to be tested.  

 

With either choice you will need to monitor for symptoms and isolate/test with the onset of any symptoms.

 

Fully immunized persons (parents and staff) do not need to quarantine upon return but will need to monitor closely for symptoms.  

 

COVID-19 Masking Policy

At this time our masking policy will remain unchanged.  

The State of MN is continuing to require masking in licensed child care settings at this time.  The state also encourages us to continue face coverings for parents or visitors to the facility, regardless of immunization status.  They recommend this given that children under age 12 are not yet eligible for vaccinations.  These children are still at risk for getting sick and potentially transmitting COVID-19.  

 

COVID-19 Sick Policy 

We wanted to remind our community that we continue to follow the MDH decision tree regarding illness.  We ask that your child stays home if they have 1 "more common" symptom (such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing) or 2 or more "less common symptoms".  We encourage you to seek evaluation by a healthcare provider to obtain an alternate diagnosis or a COVID-19 test.  Children may return:

1.  24 hours after symptoms improve if they have an alternate diagnosis by health care professional or a negative COVID-19 test. Please provide a copy of the negative results to Ms. Jill.

or

2.  They have completed 10 days of quarantine if COVID testing is not completed. 

 

Please see this decision tree for further details:  

https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/exguide.pdf

 

 

Covid-19 Resources for Families


COVID-19 Decision Tree for People in Schools, Youth, and Child Care Programs
Home Screening Tool for Covid-19 Symptoms

Covid-19 Resources for Families

MDH Testing Sites for children who can submit saliva testing