This webpage is intended to help share updates and information with the Starwood Schools community about how the school is preparing and responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) health outbreak, which has been declared a public health emergency of global concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). As educators, our top priority is to provide a healthy and safe educational environment for our students, staff, and families. Knowing that health and safety dynamics continue to change, this plan is fluid and will continue to evolve.
Frequently Asked Questions about Starwood School's Response to the Coronavirus
I. Curriculum and Programming
What are our choices for programming?
Starwood Schools will continue to offer onsite programs for Expanded Learning in the summer months and the 2021-2022 academic school year. The beauty of Montessori happens with the guides and materials in the classroom as students regulate their day.
Will supplemental and extracurricular activities be offered?
Starwood Schools will continue with regular supplemental activities during the school day such as Spanish, movement and athletic development. Extracurricular activities will be determined by the school’s stage of enrollment.
Will classroom cohorts continue and will siblings be placed in the same class?
Class assignments will be made to maximize safety, however specifics will be determined by the current stage of enrollment. As always, decisions will be based on what best meets the needs of our individual school community. Full policies for the 2021-2022 school year will be released one week prior to the first day of school.
How is the school preparing for a future school closure in regards to the students’ academic programming?
In the event that the school is closed by government order and/or by the decision of school administration for the safety, health, and well-being of its students, then the school will provide distance learning as a substitute for onsite classes. Starwood Schools Distance Learning Task Force is prepared for a quick pivot to a distance-learning program in the event of a state or school-mandated closure. This includes a strategic plan for curriculum, supplemental programming and staff training.
If classes are moved to distance learning, will the cost be the same?
Yes. The cost for distance learning will be the same as onsite, minus charges for Extended Care.
How do you envision community building with this new normal if we need to continue social distancing?
Maintaining our vibrant school community will continue to be a priority. Being onsite together promotes relationships amongst the students and staff. The school has learned how to build connections and community while we maintain social distancing. While this is not the ideal mode, we are excited to be able to continue to partner with our parents while we prioritize community health.
II. Health and Safety
Are masks required for staff or students?
Starwood Schools requires Upper Elementary and Middle School students, staff and all adults present on campus to wear a face mask, including when in the car. The CDC recommends that everyone 2 years and older wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth. • A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer but to prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others, especially if someone is infected but does not have any symptoms. • Face coverings should NOT be put on children younger than 2 because of the danger of suffocation. • For our Toddler, Primary and Lower Elementary students, whether they wear a mask is an individual family decision. • Starwood Schools understands that young children may have difficulty wearing masks and we cannot enforce students to keep their masks on all day.
If a student or staff member has already had COVID-19, do they still need to wear a mask?
Yes. While the data shows that reinfection is rare, it is still possible that those who have previously had COVID-19 may become infected again and begin spreading the virus to others. New variants of SARS-CoV-2 may also be resistant to any immunity from prior infection. While masks are still required for students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19, these individuals will not be required to quarantine as the result of close contact with a confirmed positive case if the close contact occurs within the first 90 days after the individual recovered from COVID-19.
Do staff and students who have been vaccinated still have to wear masks?
Yes. While research shows that vaccines are highly effective at preventing individuals from becoming sick with COVID-19, it is unclear how effective they are at preventing individuals from becoming infected with and spreading SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. As a result, individuals who have been vaccinated are still required to follow face-covering requirements until we learn more.
What are current health and safety protocols in place to protect students?
Some key practices that are in place to ensure the health and safety of our community include: • Smaller class sizes • Daily health/wellness prescreening before entering the building • Limited access for adults on campus • Increased sanitization of materials and common spaces throughout the day • Washing hands often • Mandatory training for all staff on coronavirus preventative strategies
How are students maintaining social distancing?
Our Montessori classrooms adapt well during this time, as many of the protocols integrated follow the Montessori philosophy of respect and care of self, respect and care of the environment, and respect and care of others. Montessori classrooms have always been prepared to support individualized learning. Defining your workspace, choice within limits, and individualized or small group instruction has always been a part of our environment and will continue to be. Conventional settings are working towards spacing students for social distancing to continue group learning, while students in a Montessori classroom are familiar with self-directing themselves during work periods to meet their own learning objectives.
Will Starwood Schools require parents to notify the school if their child tests positive for COVID-19?
Yes, students and staff who have a lab-confirmed positive for COVID-19 should call or email their campus immediately. Communication will be provided to the parents of students who came in contact with the COVID-19 positive student or staff member.
Do staff and students who have been vaccinated still have to quarantine due to close contact?
Individuals who have received all recommended doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine will not be required to quarantine as the result of close contact with a confirmed positive case if the close contact occurs more than 14 days after the last dose was administered and less than 90 days after the last dose was administered. Proof of vaccination will be required to avoid the quarantine requirement.
What will the procedure be if someone in my student’s class or campus is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19?
In the event a student becomes ill with a fever greater than or equal to 100.4 Fahrenheit and/or other illness symptoms of possible COVID-19 they will be sent home. Once it is decided the individual needs to be sent home, the student will be put in an isolation room until the parent and/or approved person can pick up the student. Students with illness are required to be picked up by an approved person within 30 minutes of notification. • Materials, toys and furniture touched by the child who is sent home will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. • The school will communicate to the parents of students who came in contact with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 positive student or staff member. • In the case that a student was diagnosed with COVID-19 or had symptoms that could be COVID-19 and does not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, the individual is assumed to have COVID-19, the individual may return to school when all three of the following criteria are met: 1. At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications) 2. The individual has improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) 3. At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared • For students who never develop symptoms, isolation and other precautions can be discontinued 10 days after the date of their first positive viral test. • If the student has any siblings in the home, they must also remain home to minimize the risk of transmission to others. • School closure will be based upon the guidance from the local health department and THHS.
What is the procedure if there is a confirmed COVID-19 Case with a Family Member?
Families have close contact, shared environments, and increased risk of transmission within a home environment as compared to many other settings. When a family member receives a positive COVID-19 test then: • The family member should follow the isolation protocol provided by their medical professional. • All members of the household should quarantine and remain away from the school and other congregate settings until the patient is cleared. • The student or employee will remain away from school or work until the following three criteria are met: 1. The infected family member’s quarantine period has ended. 2. The student is symptom-free and has tested negative for COVID-19 after the family member’s last day of quarantine. 3. The student has received a doctor’s note stating they are safe to return to school
What should we do if the student has had close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
If a parent believes that they or their child has had close contact (as defined below) with someone with COVID-19 but are not currently sick, they should monitor their health for the above symptoms during the 14 days after the last day they were in close contact with the individual with COVID-19. “Close contact” with an individual who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 is defined as: 1. sharing a household with the infected individual; or 2. being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on while not wearing a mask or face shield); or 3. being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes, while not wearing a mask or face shield. (if either b. or c. occurred at any time in the last 14 days at the same time the infected individual was infectious)
What is COVID-19 and what are the symptoms?
The Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: • Fever or chills • Cough • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing • Fatigue • Muscle or body aches • Headache • New loss of taste or smell • Sore throat • Congestion or runny nose • Nausea or vomiting • Diarrhea
What is being done to keep the schools clean?
Full-time custodians are onsite cleaning classrooms and restrooms many times a day. In addition to strict cleaning and disinfection standards, they are also using an e-spray system to provide complete coverage of surfaces that are often missed by conventional cleaning or are difficult to disinfect. Starwood Schools staff follow a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day. Surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, etc. are routinely cleaned throughout the day. Outdoor playgrounds generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. However, the school is routinely cleaning high-touch surfaces made of plastic or metal.
How are you cleaning student items and hands-on Montessori materials?
• If a student takes a nap, their rolled nap mat will be stored in individual cubbies. Nap mats are sent home each Friday for washing. • Every student is required to bring a standard size (27×52”) bath towel in a solid, neutral color to serve as a work mat in the classroom. Towels are sent home each Friday for washing. • Works/materials for activities that cannot be cleaned and sanitized are not being used. • Materials are cleaned and sanitized after each use. • Children’s books, like other paper-based materials such as mail or envelopes, are not considered high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfecting. However, the school will set aside any books that have been placed in a student’s mouth or are otherwise contaminated until they can be sanitized properly. • Students are not permitted to bring in any personal items to school (toys, show and tell items, stuffed animals for naptime, etc.).
What steps are being taken for Community Dining?
At this time, our Community Dining team members are preparing individually packaged meals per the THHS requirement. Morning and afternoon snacks are individually packaged and the school is eliminating food prep in the classrooms. Family-style dining and food prep in the classrooms will be determined by the school’s stage of enrollment level.
When will a full policies for onsite activities and instruction be released?
Starwood Schools will continue to review our COVID-19 mitigation policies. Any updates will be communicated to our enrolled families one week before a new session starts (June/August).
Will parents be able to observe or volunteer in classrooms?
The school anticipates limited parent volunteer opportunities directly in the classroom and on campus this year as we navigate social distancing and prioritize having students on campus. There are many additional ways parents can volunteer, and if you have specific ideas about how you or other parents can engage, please contact our education coordinator Marcy@StarwoodSchools.com.
What will my student experience when returning to school?
Even with these new health and safety protocols, Starwood Schools is the same high-fidelity Montessori program you previously selected as the best environment for your child. Everything in terms of a student’s learning experience is what they are used to. Since reopening in June 2020, students loved getting back into their routines and feeling productive in an environment designed for them. Students are so happy to be with their loving, caring guides at school.
Will any of the current plans change?
One thing we have learned over the past year is that every plan has to be adaptable to the situation as new facts present themselves. The school will make changes as they are needed to address any changes we observe. We will inform you of any significant change in a timely manner.