Because of the still developing nature of the COVID-19 virus and its impact on education, plans for reopening in the fall are still uncertain. We will update our information as soon as decisions are made. The following letter was sent out to all incoming preschool families on June 22 with the current information:
I know many of you are wondering what preschool at MMCC will look like when we return, and we are wondering too!! I want to reassure you that Montgomery Methodist is staying updated with current guidelines from the Governor’s office, Montgomery County Health Department and the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) concerning the requirements for reopening, as well as the recommended guidelines from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). These guidelines are continuing to change on a regular basis and will do so over the summer months as circumstances of the COVID-19 virus dictate.
We are currently waiting on the area public school systems to announce how they will operate in the fall before we can determine what our program will look like. But we do know that when our program re-opens to in-school learning it will look very different because of many new regulations, and we wanted to make you aware of some of these probable changes. They include:*
• Drop off and pick-up will be at the main church door under the portico or the normal preschool entrance. (TBD) A staff member (in mask) will greet them and take their temperature with a touchless thermometer. No child with a temperature of 100.4 or above any visible symptoms of illness will be admitted. A series of questions will be asked to the parent, who must also be wearing a mask, including whether the child or any member of the family has a variety of symptoms. (A detailed list of questions can be provided to parents before school starts.)
• A staff member will then escort the child into the building, where they will assist them in washing their hands before walking them to their classroom. Parents may not enter the building with them. Pick up will be at the same location and staff will escort students to their car. Arrival and pick-up times will be staggered per class to keep drop-off and pick-ups from backing up.
• All staff will wear face-coverings and all students are encouraged to wear masks as well. Parents must provide masks for their children.
• All parents must report symptoms of the COVID-19 virus in their child or any family member to the school, and report any positive results for COVID-19 to both the school and the local health department. The required procedures for re-entry must be followed before a child can return to MMCC.
• Any child showing symptoms of COVID-19 while at school will be immediately isolated with a staff member and the parent will be required to pick up the child immediately. It will be essential that all contact information is kept current.
• All efforts will be made for staff and students to practice social distancing guidelines within the preschool setting.
• A variety of items normally seen in our classrooms will be removed, including all dress-up items, stuffed animals, cloth covered chairs and classroom sized sensory tables (water table, bean table, rice table, etc.) as these items cannot be disinfected easily after each use.
• Only one class will be allowed on the playground at a time and the playground will be disinfected after each class’ use. Playground equipment that cannot be sanitized will not be available for use.
• Parents and visitors will not be allowed in the school during the school day.
(*Please note all of these are subject to revision but is what are currently mandated!)
In addition, there are currently classroom size restrictions in place that allow no more than 13 students in a classroom with one teacher and one assistant. This is a reduction from the previous allowance of 16 students (or 17 in Rooms 7/9 and 8/10) with two staff that was in place when we registered in January. This was modified several weeks ago from the first reduction down to 10 total in a room to 15 total currently. At this time we are waiting and hoping for a return to “pre COVID-19” ratios before making any changes. In a MSDE Listening Session last week directors were reassured that MSDE felt these numbers would be returned to normal by September.
We realize that your family’s situation may have changed or will change based on what format the public schools and the preschool open with in the fall. Because of this, we will allow refunds of the pre-paid May 2021 tuition for any families that withdraw their student(s) by July 20, 2020. After this date no refunds of this pre-payment, other than for reasons currently listed in the Parent Handbook, will be granted.
As you know, this is a very fluid situation and additional revisions could be made throughout the school year. An addendum to the parent handbook will be given out to all parents noting changes in procedures due to COVID-19 guidelines as soon as possible. What will not change is our promise to do anything possible to make sure your children are both safe and happy while entrusted to our care and that they receive a top quality preschool experience.
We continue to pray for the health of all our families and for the continuation of the improving situation here in Maryland in regards to the virus. Our hope and prayer is to return to school safely in the near future!
We would like your feedback on what you are thinking about for your child in the fall. Please watch your email for a survey that we ask that you complete and return ASAP.
And please feel free to contact me with any questions. The best way to reach me in the summer is by email at: email@example.com
Margaret Olsen, Director
Montgomery Methodist Children’s Center
***The preschool office is open during June, July and August on Tuesday – Thursday, 9:00 – 2:00. You may also contact the office at 301 253-4884 or email the director at firstname.lastname@example.org.