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. 

May 24, 2020

 

Dear Families,

 

As we continue to navigate the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19, we are grateful for the support that we’ve received from families in all corners of the school. Thank you for your words of encouragement, volunteer efforts, and monetary donations—this community is truly one-of-a-kind.  We couldn’t do this without you!

 

Safety Measures

We remain excited to welcome all of our children back when the time is right for you. If/when you are ready to return, please provide 1-2 days notice (via email, ideally) so we can prepare.  As you consider the right decision for your family, we want to provide important context on the steps we are taking to ensure the safety of our children and employees.  In alignment with the CDC recommendations, we currently have the following safety measures in place:

  • Each classroom has fewer children—preschool classrooms are limited to 20 children; infant and toddler classrooms are limited to 10 children.

  • Parents are dropping children off in the front atrium to reduce foot traffic through the school.

  • Temperature and symptom checks are conducted on all staff and children upon entry into the building.  

  • We have eliminated plush toys, since they are hard to effectively clean.

  • We are wiping down high-touch surface areas hourly and continue our daily cleaning routines.

  • With the exception of designated outside time, we are keeping children in their classrooms, including for meals and snacks.

  • We are enhancing our efforts to maintain consistent staff in each classroom.

  • We are working tirelessly to encourage children to practice social distancing.

  • We continue to provide ongoing staff training to keep them as up to date on the current recommendations as possible.

  • Miss Jill is our COVID Captain.  She serves as a resource to educate, enforce, and track.  Reach out to her with any questions about our COVID policies.

 

We have a few new policies that we are putting into effect on June 1.  These are in alignment with the most recent CDC guidelines update.

  • There will be a designated area in each classroom for children to bring used toys/works, to ensure thorough cleaning between use.

  • We will be diligent about changing the clothes of children (and staff!) if the clothes become soiled with bodily fluids (particularly drool and boogers).

  • Your child’s belongings that are kept at school (spare clothes, etc) need to be in an enclosed container like a shoebox sized plastic bin with a lid or a zipped backpack.  If they are not already in something like this, please bring one or reach out to Ms. Jill to see if we have a spare you could use.

  • All adults will be required to wear a mask while in the building.  This includes parents during drop off/pick up as well as staff.  Children over the age of 2 may wear a mask if desired.

  • We will have a new traffic pattern for drop off and pick up, to promote better social distancing.  Please come in the main door and plan to exit through the big room.  Health screenings will occur in the “airlock” or at the front desk (depending on when you drop off).  Only one family will be allowed in the airlock at a time.  Thank you in advance for your patience while you wait outside.  When picking up, you will wait on socially distanced marks in the big room while staff retrieves your child.  Remember, you must wear a mask while in the building.  We realize this may cause pick up and drop off to take longer than usual, but we feel the improved safety measures are worth the inconvenience.  Thank you!

 

As a reminder, if your child or anyone in your household tests positive for COVID, please inform Ms. Jill immediately.

 

Financial Impact

We recognize that families across our school have been impacted financially by COVID-19. While we are currently in a stable financial position, it’s hard to predict the total financial impact of this pandemic, and we want to be sure our community is intact when we’re on the other side of COVID-19.  

 

If your child isn’t currently attending, but you continue to pay your monthly tuition—thank you! It’s acts of generosity like this that make our community so tremendous. If you would like a donation receipt, please contact us.

 

To help ensure the long-term stability of our school, the board has approved the implementation of new fees for holding a spot for a child who is temporarily disenrolled, effective June 1. We have always had a holding fee for temporary disenrollment; we are simply changing the fee amount.  The fees will be as follows: $300 per month for a family’s first child; $150 per month for a family’s second child; $50 per month for a family’s third child. Fees will be due by the first of each month, with the exception of June when the payment deadline is extended to June 30.  These feels will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, but are subject to change. 

 

If you choose not to hold your child’s spot, that child will be placed on the waitlist.  If/when you would like to have your child return, s/he will be given a spot on a first come/first served basis  Re-enrollment is not guaranteed if you are on the waitlist.

 

Please let Ms. Jill know (in writing via email, preferably) by June 5th if you plan to hold your spot or be put on the waitlist.

 

If you have any questions or have concerns with any of the changes mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  Thank you for your support and for being part of our Montessori community!

March 23, 2020:

Dear Montessori Parents and Families,

The health and well-being of our families and staff continue to be one of our highest priorities. In the interest of limiting the opportunity for transmission through our vulnerable community, we are taking the following precautionary measure to limit exposures.

 

Beginning Tuesday, March 24, the center will be implementing lobby drop-off and pick-ups. We are still working through the details of how this will look, but in general, you will go no further into the school than the lobby.  This will help reduce the number of people coming and going, which should help reduce potential exposure.  We know that communication with the teachers is very important and whenever they can, your teacher(s) will meet you at the entryway for pick-up and drop-off.  Teachers are also always available through Kid Reports, email, and by phone. 

 

We appreciate your understanding regarding this new procedure and your patience as we work out the details for making these transitions as smooth as possible.  As always, if you have questions or suggestions, please reach out.  Thank you for partnering with us during this challenging time!

March 20, 2020:

Dear Families, Staff and Teachers:

 

With each passing day, we are learning more about COVID-19, and not surprisingly, we are learning more about each other and how we can support our Northfield Montessori community. We want you to know that we are here for you, and we are doing everything we can to ensure we are meeting the needs of our teachers, our families, and the Northfield community. In this unprecedented time, let’s not forget that we are all in this together, and while social distancing may be keeping us apart physically, our care and love for each other will keep us connected and carry us through this difficult time.

 

The MN Department of Health is recommending that individuals sick with respiratory symptoms or fever stay home for seven (7) days after the onset of illness, or 72 hours after resolution of the fever, whichever is longer. If your child(ren) has any of these symptoms, please keep them at home for the recommended time as outlined above. If your child(ren) becomes ill with these symptoms while under the care of Northfield Montessori, you will be notified and asked to pick your child up from the center within one (1) hour of receiving the notification.

 

In a recent communication from the Board, we notified you that we are in the process of reviewing some of our policies in order to offer more flexibility to families. For those families who have already temporarily disenrolled their child(ren) or are planning to temporarily disenroll, the Board has made the decision to temporarily suspend the Disenrollment Policy stated in the Family Handbook, and has enacted the more lenient policy below in hopes to support our families during this time:  

Families wishing to temporarily disenroll amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be required to submit a two-week written notice to the center’s Executive Director, Jill Dereng. This notice may be in the form of an email but must be sent directly to Ms. Jill. Notifying your child’s classroom teacher does not establish written notice. Families will be charged pro-rated tuition from the date of the two-week notice, regardless if the child is physically present at the center. Please connect with Ms. Jill should you have questions as to whether or not you have submitted written notice.

In lieu of your child(ren)’s monthly tuition, we are asking that each family make a $250 (or more if able) monthly tax-deductible donation to the center until your child(ren) returns to Northfield Montessori for care, at which time full tuition will be reestablished.

 

The Board of Directors has been meeting daily, monitoring the situation and all orders received from Governor Walz. At this time, we are trying our best to keep our center open, as we know there are families that depend on the care, and teachers able and ready to lead their students. With increased disenrollment, and the cost to keep the center open, we may find ourselves in the near future needing to temporarily close our center doors.

 

This is where we need your help! If enrollment reaches a point where it is no longer fiscally responsible for Northfield Montessori to remain open, or Governor Walz signs an order that requests the closure of daycare centers, we will need the support of our families to help ensure our ability to reopen the center following the temporarily closure. It costs approximately $19,000/month to cover our mortgage and utilities, regardless if our center is open or not. If we find ourselves in a position of needing to temporarily close Northfield Montessori, we are asking that all families make a $250 (or more if able) monthly tax-deductible donation to the center to help cover our bottom-line expenses and ensure we will be able to open as soon as possible following the temporary closure. Tuition would be suspended during the center’s closure and reinstated following the center’s reopening.

 

The unknowns with COVID-19 can be scary. Fred Rogers (known to many as Mister Rogers) reminded us to “always look for the helpers” amid times of crisis, “because if you look for the helpers, you will know that there is hope.” Let’s all look for the “helpers” who are diligently serving our community, state, country, and world. Let’s use this as an opportunity to grow our Northfield Montessori community of “helpers” to share the hope in the future.

 

Stay safe and be well,

 

Northfield Montessori Board of Directors

March 15, 2020:

Dear Montessori Parents and Families,

 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve and create questions that seem to change by the hour.  We had a special board meeting today to discuss plans going forward regarding the operations of our school.  We are trying our best to balance the needs of our families for consistent care and the need to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19.  To that end, the board has made the following decisions:

 

  • We WILL remain open at this time, as recommended by Governor Walz in his executive order today.  We will make every effort to stay open as long as we can and re-open after a possible closure as soon as possible

  • In an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we are going to implement more social distancing by significantly limiting mingling of classes.  To this end, we will start serving meals in the classroom and will have students stay with their classroom cohort throughout the entire day.

  • We will continue to promote good hand and respiratory hygiene with our students and staff.  Please help us by modeling good behavior yourself!

  • Please try to limit unnecessary people coming into the school for pick up and drop off.

  • We will disinfect high touch surfaces (door handles, screens, etc) at least hourly.

  • Our current sick policy remains in effect, but we will be monitoring students more closely, including more frequent temperature checks.

  • In order to help cover the cost of the extra staffing needed in implementing these measures, the board has made the decision to reduce our hours of operation to 7am to 5pm.  We understand that this will be an adjustment for families, but we are trying to balance our families need for care with the need for extra staffing to promote social distancing and limiting potential exposure.  This will start on Wednesday, March 18th and continue until further notice.  Tuition will remain unchanged.

  • If you have traveled internationally or will do so going forward, we ask that you self quarantine your child(ren) for 14 days.  Tuition will remain unchanged.  Please inform Miss Jill right away if this applies to you.

  • If your child has a known exposure to a positive COVID-19 case, we ask that you self quarantine your child(ren) for 14 days.  Tuition will remain unchanged.   Please inform Miss Jill right away if this applies to you.

  • If you chose to temporarily disenroll your child(ren), please reach out to Miss Jill to discuss the details of this process.

We have had a lot of questions regarding tuition if we have to close in the future.  This is a complicated decision, as we have to balance the need of our families with the need to pay and retain our staff and have funds to operate our wonderful school going forward.  To this end, the board has decided to charge full tuition for the first month the school is closed.  If school closure goes beyond a month, we will reassess the situation and decide on a plan at that time.

 

All of these decisions may change as time goes by and recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Health and our political leaders change.  We will lean heavily on the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health and are in close communication with them.  We have also formed a COVID-19 taskforce that is meeting and communicating regularly to make timely decisions regarding this rapidly changing pandemic.  We will keep you informed as decisions are made!

 

Lastly, we want to encourage us all to be flexible during this unprecedented time.  I know these decisions may be frustrating and stressful, but we are a community and we WILL come together to support each other and our school.  We will only make it through this pandemic if we take care of each other.  Thank you for your understanding and support in our efforts to promote this!  If you find you are in need of assistance in any way, big or small, please feel free to reach out to Miss Jill to see if someone in our community can help.

 

Thank you for being a part of our wonderful Northfield Montessori community!  If you have questions about this information, or anything else, please contact Miss Jill.

 

Sincerely,

 

Montessori Board of Directors

March 13, 2020:

Dear Montessori Parents and Families,

 

As COVID-19 continues to expand, we have heard a lot of questions regarding what we will do about tuition if we have to close the center.  We hear you!  The administration and board are currently in discussion about this topic.  We are trying to find a way to balance the needs of our families, our staff, AND the financial health of our school.  It is a complicated decision with a lot of view points to consider, so we are deliberating carefully.  We will make a decision soon and communicate this with you as soon as possible.  We are a community and a cooperative and I know we will all come together to support each other in this unprecedented time.  Continue to reach out to the administration or the board with any additional questions.  We are in this together!

 

Sincerely,

 

Montessori Board

March 12, 2020:

Letter to Families

Travel Guidelines from the Center for Disease Control

NORTHFIELD MONTESSORI IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY PROVIDER AND EMPLOYER.

 

Call Us: 507-663-1279   /   www.northfieldmontessori.org   /  340 Montessori Court Northfield, MN 55057