COVID Update

PLEASE READ THE INFORMATION BELOW:

September 7, 2020

Dear Parents,

We are so happy to welcome your children back to All Day Montessori. Thanks to ADM parents’ generosity, fundraising funds were used to install a new floor in the Main Building and remodel the Annex to accommodate two CH classrooms. Our teachers have worked hard to prepare their classrooms, and the school looks beautiful!

We will continue to keep you apprised of new protocols to keep our children and staff safe. Here are some essential things that have changed from the last school year:

Drive up-Drop off:

Main building – The line will form in our loading zone in front of the building heading east on 99th Street.
Annex- the line will form on Walden and turn west onto 99th Street.

Our teachers will put out cones to hold the spaces. Your dashboard card will be given to you tomorrow. Each classroom has a color, and each child is assigned a number. One side of the card has the drop off time, and the pick-up time is on the other side. Please display your family’s card on the passenger side dashboard.

Drive Up-Pick up:

When you pull up in front of the school at your assigned time, please place the card on the passenger side dashboard with the pick-up time displayed. Your child will need to gather belongings, change shoes, and be brought out to your car. We will do our best to have your child ready on time. If you are running late, please send us a message through Transparent Classroom.

Nap:

We have purchased enough washable nap bags for all children who nap at school. We would prefer it if all the children who nap had one. The nap bag is $4 and can be charged to your FACTS account if you request one. Your child’s nap items will be stored in the bag each day. We are offering to wash all the nap items, including the bag, at school on Friday. If you would prefer to bring it home to wash, please let us know.

Communication:

With teachers:

With our new arrival and departure procedures, you won’t be able to have in-person conversations with teachers each day. Because this is such an essential part of your child’s school experience, we have created new communication systems with your child’s teacher. Please use the Transparent Classroom app to communicate with your child’s teacher at any time. Teachers will respond as soon as they can do so. In addition, your child’s teacher will establish weekly office hours through Zoom. You can log on during the office hours to ask any questions or share pertinent information with your child’s teacher. Teachers will share what is going on in the classroom and how you can develop the home- school connection for your child.

Our fall conferences, scheduled for November 11th, will include a written progress report and a zoom meeting with your child’s teacher. Also, our teachers are available to schedule a personal meeting at any time. We are always ready to answer questions about Montessori Philosophy and our program.

With Head of School:

I am available to answer questions and discuss concerns at any time. Feel free to call me 773-239-8248 or write to me at rbellonci@alldaymontessori.org.

Our highest priority is to provide a safe and nurturing place for your children to spend their days. We have missed your children, the staff, and our ADM home. We appreciate your partnership and honor the trust you have placed in us. We know we will get through this together!

All the best,

Rebecca


September 1st, 2020

All Day Montessori is re-opening under DCFS, CDC, Chicago Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Health guidelines on Tuesday, September 8th, 2020.  DCFS has restricted class size to ensure social distancing.  The staff is looking forward to welcoming our little ones back to ADM.


July 7, 2020
Dear ADM Parents,

We are writing with an update on plans to reopen our school safely. The ADM Board of Directors has charged us with the task of preparing a Reopening Plan for ADM for our Academic Term beginning September 8th, 2020. ADM will not be hosting Summer Camp this year.

The City of Chicago has moved to Phase 4. New safety protocols and reduced class sizes are adjusted to meet health guidelines.

We will be sending you a copy of the Reopening Plan in our next communication. During this period, we are focused on cleaning, organizing, and preparing safety protocols, which will limit the risk of exposure to Covid-19 and which will maintain our safe, enriching educational environment for our children.

We look forward to the return of our little ones

Sincerely,

Rebecca Bellonci
Head of School

Cyndi Williams
Business Manager


June 5, 2020
Dear Parents,

Thank you for submitting your contracts and paperwork for our 2020 summer program and/or 2020-21 school year. We are working to gradually reopen our buildings. Our highest priority continues to be the safety of our students, staff, and families.

We have received the guidelines for reopening from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Using these guidelines, we are developing the policies and procedures necessary to return to school and minimize the risk of illness to our community.

We are collaborating with the global network of Montessori schools, sharing best practices about how to maintain the Montessori philosophy while working within the prescribed guidelines. We will monitor the schools that open before we do to learn from their experience and find the ways we can best ensure your child’s safety.

We plan to reopen on Monday, July 27, for the last four weeks of our scheduled summer camp, as long as Chicago maintains a Level-3 status, and the ADM board approves this plan. In keeping with the guidelines, we must have smaller numbers of children and a modified schedule. Because of the limited number of students allowed per classroom, we will offer spaces to the ten students per class, who are returning for the Academic year whose signed contracts we have received.

DCFS requires this four-week session. It will enable us to teach our children, faculty, and families the new procedures at ADM. The procedures will be unfamiliar, but we will try to make it as fun and upbeat as possible. Once we have completed our soft opening, we may expand our class size with the approval of DCFS, which is closely monitoring schools.

The reopening plan will include limited hours, which are still to be determined. Our school day will be 8 to 9 hours long for the children. Our new procedures will include:

  • Staggered arrivals and departures for minimal exposure.
  • Daily health screening and temperature monitoring
  • Keeping the groups as small and self-contained as possible.
  • Limiting the number of adults who interact with children.
  • Daily sanitizing of everything in each room.
  • Playground sanitized between each class.

Before ADM reopens, you will receive a copy of our Covid-19 mitigation plan. Each family must also sign a waiver because, despite all precautions, we cannot guarantee that Covid-19 won’t appear at our school. We will also provide a pandemic policy that outlines the steps we will take if anyone in our community tests positive for Covid-19.

Thank you for your commitment and patience while we navigate our way through this challenging time. We are committed to the health and safety of everyone in our community and our care, and we look forward to continuing to provide a safe, Montessori-rich environment where your child can thrive.

The All Day Montessori Administrative Team


June 2, 2020
Dear All Day Montessori Parents-

It is with great sadness that I write to you today. At All Day Montessori, we cannot ignore what is currently happening in our society, and we know that many of our families are affected. I feel the absolute heartache, anger, and unrest after the killing of George Floyd, and I lament at the many lives of African Americans killed who preceded him.

The ADM Board, administration, and faculty stand in solidarity with African American families as we urge our nation to treat everyone equally. Compassion, clarity, love, justice, and hope must apply to all people. At ADM, we value and remain committed to creating a diverse, peaceful, and loving environment in which all children can feel safe and thrive. Our Montessori philosophy is rooted in the fundamental ideal of respect for self and others.

Your children may be asking some big questions right now. For our African American families and other families of color, we know that you may already be having these hard conversations with your kids about racism and injustice. For our other families, we encourage you to start conversations about race in your home. Children see color and race, and therefore it is at this precious age that we must begin to teach them that everyone is beautifully different and that this diversity is to be valued and appreciated. I have included several resources to help support you. I hope that whatever age your child is, you will find a way to begin and further these often difficult but invaluable conversations. Let us all work together and raise children who will ensure all members of our community feel valued, respected, and safe.

Please reach out if you need additional support, and let us all stand up for what is just and right.

In peace,

Rebecca Bellonci
Head of School

31 Books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance

Your kids aren’t too young to talk about race

Raising Race Conscious Children

75 Things You Can Do

https://www.embracerace.org/resources/26-childrens-books-to-support-conversations-on-race-racism-resistance

https://www.prettygooddesign.org/blog/Blog%20Post%20Title%20One-5new4

Children’s Book Lists
These lists of children’s books, compiled by a variety of sources, have themes that aim to accurately reflect the many people, cultures, and traditions of our world; help dispel myths and biases; and promote peace and understanding.
“Books for Peace: An Annotated Bibliography,” from AMS’s Montessori Life magazine, Spring 2016.
“Power Picture Books: Tools for Teaching Peace,” from Montessori Life, Winter 2008 – 2009.
Children’s Books That Tackle Race and Ethnicity,” by Maria Russo, from the New York Times, September 23, 2016.
LGBT Books for Children, by the Bank Street School of Education, is sorted by category: picture books, juvenile fiction, juvenile nonfiction, children’s poetry, young adult fiction, and juvenile biography.
See What We See, a coalition of writers, scholars, educators, librarians, and activists who believe that what we read can help shape our attitudes and actions, has created this guide for selecting anti-bias books for children.
We Need Diverse Books, a grassroots foundation that invites us to “imagine a world in which all children can see themselves in the pages of a book,” offers suggestions of books for children of all ages.
This Social Justice Book List is an initiative of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year.

April 27, 2020

Dear Parents,

We are writing to update you with the latest ADM news. As you know, Governor Pritzker ordered the closure of all Illinois schools for the remainder of the school year, so ADM will not reopen this school term.

We realize many of you now have other childcare costs, and some families’ income has been affected. Therefore, the ADM board of directors has made the following decisions regarding the remainder of. our school year:

ADM will continue to offer distance learning opportunities for our families through June 19, attempting to tailor the learning experience to each family’s needs.
All before and after care charges for May and June will be canceled and removed from FACTS accounts.

All families will receive 50% tuition relief for May and June. This will be reflected in your FACTS account. Please reach out to Rebecca or Cyndi if you need to discuss alternative payment plans.
If it is not safe to open summer camp scheduled to begin June 29, contractual obligations will be nullified, and all 11- or 12-month contracts will become academic term (10-month) contracts only. Summer-only contracts will be nullified with no financial obligation.

Please reach out to Rebecca if you have questions or need additional information.

We are pleased to share that ADM has been able to secure funding from the Federal Government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). With this assistance and your continued support, we will be able to maintain our staff on the payroll through the end of June.

A key value of Montessori philosophy is the connection made between the children and their teachers. We feel it is a priority to maintain that connection during this time of stay-at-home and social distancing.

We humbly ask those who can to contribute the remainder of your usual monthly tuition payment as a tax-deductible donation by clicking the “Donate” button at the top of our webpage. You may also send a check. If your employer matches your donation, we are happy to provide the necessary documentation. Please feel free to share the donation link with others who are interested in supporting ADM..

We will open our doors as soon as it is deemed safe to do so by the public health officials. We thank you for your support of our families, staff and Montessori mission.

We wish you all health and strength.

Sincerely,

The All Day Montessori Board of Directors and Administration


April 26th, 2020

Dear ADM Families,

You should have received the Rainbow for Essential Workers for your little ones to decorate & display in your windows.  There is also a link on the website under Parent Resources for you to print a copy.

Our foyer will continue to be open from 8:00 to 3:00 from Monday through Friday for applications, enrollment paperwork, and mail.

Thank you.

Be Safe.


April 6th, 2020

Dear ADM Families,

Thank you for returning contracts and deposits for the 2020-2021 Term of ADM. Our term runs from 6/29/2020 until 6/18/2021. This includes a Summer Camp and an Academic Term. In the midst of the current crisis it is hard to imagine our world returning to normal, and we question when? ADM is striving to be there for you and your little ones when our Shelter in Place and health crisis is over. We look towards the future with hope and thank you for staying home to help contain this virus.

We have a Wait List for some of our rooms & inquiries coming in. We thank you to all who have submitted their paperwork for the new term.
We’d like to extend another opportunity this week before we open our seats up to new families on our Wait List and new inquiries.

We have several options.
1. You could mail it (We are picking up our mail at the Post office once a week).
2. You could drop your packet off at school. (We will continue to unlock our foyer door this week in the morning at 8:00 a.m. and re-lock it at 3:00 p.m. from Monday 4/6/2020 to Saturday 4/11/2020. There will be a box for you to deposit your enrollment packet.)
3.You could scan it or take a picture of it and email it back.

One of the questions we anticipate is “What will be our obligation if for some reason it is not deemed safe for the children to return to school by the beginning of our Summer program on 6/29/2020?”

ADM will be continually monitoring Covid-19 and the daily changes which would lead to a review of contractual obligations. In the event that the Covid-19 pandemic is not resolved by June 15th, 2020 and it is not deemed safe for children to return to ADM, then all of ADM‘s and PARENT‘s obligations under this agreement shall be suspended and waived as they pertain to the Summer Program. All obligations in this agreement shall then commence at the start of the academic school year in September 2020 instead of July 2020, and all FACTS accounts shall be changed accordingly for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Under this agreement, it shall be deemed unsafe for children to return to ADM if any of the following occur: (1) any shelter-in-place, social distancing, or similar orders by any governing municipal, county, state, or federal authorities which mandate that ADM shall be closed as of June 15th, 2020 or (2) the Head of School determines in her sole discretion by June 15th, 2020 that it is unsafe for children to return to ADM.

We thank you for your support and devotion to the staff and mission of ADM. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with questions or concerns.
Thank you for your commitment to All Day Montessori.

Rebecca Bellonci, Head of School
rbellonci@allmontessori.org
Cyndi Williams, Business Manager
cwilliams@allmontessori.org


April 9th, 2020
Dear Parents,

We hope your family is healthy and doing well. We want to express our sincere thanks for your overwhelming generosity in submitting April’s tuition to the greatest extent possible for your family. We thank you for helping to sustain our program and staff. We are humbled by the generosity of families who continue to pay full tuition to help support ADM. You are helping families in our community who are experiencing hardship during these uncertain times as. We will make April’s payroll through your generosity and supplementing from our reserve. Your commitment will enable ADM to endure this crisis and be there when it’s time to return. Our hearts go out to everyone whose health or finances have been affected by this crisis.

I want to share some very good health news with you. All the test results came back negative for the 3 staff members who were tested for Covid-19. Additional wonderful news is that we got negative test results for two students in our school who both came down with flu- like symptoms the week after the building closed. I hope you will join me in commending our entire staff for consistently following the strictest protocol for the cleanliness of the school and safety of your children. With regard to our dear staff member who tested positive for Covid-19, I ask that you keep this person in your thoughts; the struggle is ongoing at home.

I want to provide you an update of our financial efforts at ADM. Cyndi and Rebecca are working diligently and attending webinars daily to establish our connection to the Federal Payroll Protection Plan (PPP). We are prepared to apply for the PPP to the small local bank that holds the ADM accounts. As many of you have experienced, or heard about in the news, the banks were not equipped to accept applications, as they have insufficient guidelines from the government about the documentation required and how to process the loans. We have just received notice that our bank is prepared to accept our application. It is our goal to lessen the burden on our families for May and June as soon as we secure this loan.

Rebecca and Cyndi are also working very hard with the teaching teams to develop and refine our remote learning program. They have been in webinars since this all began! Prior to three weeks ago, nothing like remote learning for Montessori preschools ever existed. It is inspiring to see how the teaching community is united to find ways to maintain remote connections with the children and families. We are striving to provide developmentally appropriate activities within the framework of Montessori Curriculum. We know that whatever we provide must be accessed by each family according to its unique circumstances. We want you to know that all our Zoom meetings are password protected. We are so pleased to see each teacher rise to this challenge with a passionate heart. We ask for your patience as we are working out the kinks. Know that every member of the staff is stepping up and doing their utmost best to continue to connect with your child and help your family get through this challenging time.

In closing, I humbly ask for your continued support for our amazing staff. We understand everyone’s varied financial position. We are feverishly working to get this PPP money for our staff. We will keep you apprised. We wish you all the best in health and happiness!

Sincerely,

The Board and Administration
All Day Montessori


March 21, 2020
Dear ADM Parents –

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

We appreciate your patience as we work through this unprecedented time in our school’s history. Several of you have sent our board and staff very good questions, so we’re sharing the answers with all of our parents.

What are you doing to keep children safe?
We have closed the school until at least April 20 to prevent the spread of the virus. Three other staff members have been tested for COVID-19. Two tests have come back negative, and we are waiting for results from the third. The school will be cleaned and disinfected by a professional company before reopening.

How long will the school be closed?
The school in closed until at least April 20, in line with the Chicago Public Schools closure. We will reopen when it Is deemed safe to do so by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH).

Are we expected to pay tuition while the school is closed?
We do not plan to reimburse tuition, as our school is closed in line with guidance from public health authorities. This is in keeping with the practice of other private schools in the area.

We understand the school closure presents a great inconvenience and financial burden. We are working to live up to our mission and support our families. The board is discussing how to compensate families for the loss of childcare, meals and other services. We will share more information as soon as we can.

Will staff continue to be paid?
Yes. Our board voted to pay staff for the two-week mandated close. We have adequate funds to pay them for the next pay period as well. We want to make sure they can also stay home and take care of themselves and their families. The board is discussing how we can take care of our staff for the duration of this situation.

The staff is working to develop optional age-appropriate activities for the children to do at home. Those will be shared on our Facebook page and directly with parents.

What day was the first person tested for COVID-19? What was the last day the person had contact with children?
The last day the staff member was at school—and the first day she was symptomatic—was March 11. She felt unwell and left early that day. She was tested on March 12 and received a positive result from the hospital on Monday. We received an official positive confirmation from the CDC for that staff member on March 20. She is still recovering at home and doing better.

We have received a negative test result for two other staff members. We are still waiting for the third’s results.

How did the staff member contract the virus?
We do not know and will not speculate, just as we wouldn’t with any other illness our employees may have. It is crucial to maintain employee confidentiality, as we would in all other situations. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) limits the amount of information that can be shared about individuals’ health.

What building/classroom did the teacher work in?
Again, it is crucial to maintain employee confidentiality, so we are not sharing that information.

Because our school space is open and children move between buildings, we decided to inform the entire school community as soon as we learned of the test results. We recommend they stay home and monitor their health.

This is an unprecedented situation, and we are working hard to provide accurate information quickly to our families, while respecting our employees’ privacy (which is also mandated by HIPAA).

Please contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

The All Day Montessori Board of Directors


March 16, 2020

Dear Parents,

We are writing with an update on developments regarding COVID-19.

Today we learned that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. We are following the guidance of government agencies and health care professionals and will remain closed for at least two weeks. All Day Montessori will not open until March 30 at the earliest.

Other staff members will be tested, and we expect those results in three days. We continue to monitor the situation and will update you as soon as we have more information.

We have contacted the Chicago Department of Public Health, and we encourage families to stay home unless seeking medical care.

The school will be cleaned and disinfected by a professional company before anyone is able to return to the buildings.

We understand that this news is distressing for our entire community.
By following the guidelines of the CDC, and state and local officials, we can all help limit the spread of the virus.

We will be in touch with more information as it becomes available. As always, please reach out to us with questions and concerns.

Sincerely,

Jean Doyle, President
ADM Board of Directors


March 16, 2020 (3:40 p.m.)

Dear Parents,

We continue to monitor and receive updates from several governmental agencies who are providing insightful information regarding COVID-19.

We’re sharing these links to help answer your questions.

City of Chicago
https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home.html

Illinois Department of Health
http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/coronavirus

The key is to stay well and limit contact. It is recommended that one self-quarantines for 14 days. If the identified symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty breathing develop, then contact your health provider to discuss and determine whether a COVID-19 test is needed since you have had possible exposure to an identified case.
Without the approval of the Department of Public Health at this time, we cannot disclose in which classroom the case was identified.

Sincerely,
Jean Doyle, President
ADM Board of Directors


March 13 2020

Dear Parents,

In the best interest of the health and safety of our children and our staff, after much deliberation, the board has made the difficult decision to proactively close All Day Montessori for at least the upcoming week, March 16-20, 2020, in keeping with the CDC’s recommendation of limiting social contact as the world struggles to get control of the Covid-19 virus.

There have been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 at our school.

As of yesterday. we have had four staff members begin to exhibit flu-like symptoms. Of the four, one has obtained a Covid-19 test today, but the results won’t be back for 3 days. We will apprise you of the results of those tests as soon as we have them. If any of the tests come back positive, the school will be closed the following week as well, in keeping with the CDC’s guidelines.

We will ask staff with flu-like symptoms to seek medical treatment, self-quarantine for 14 days, and be cleared by a doctor before returning to work. Again, we will keep you apprised.

We recognize the impact this has on our families, but this is the most responsible course of action, given the current situation. With 4-5 key staff members out, coverage will be stretched to the utmost capacity.

Closing the school relieves this stress and allows our staff to take care of themselves and their families as well.

During the closure, a professional company will perform a deep cleaning of the entire school.

We ask for your patience and support at this very difficult time. We will provide you with updates as we have more information. We wish all the best for you and your family as we navigate through these difficult times.

Sincerely,

Jean Doyle

Board President


March 12, 2020

Dear Parents-

The health and safety of students and staff in our school community are of the utmost importance. The coronavirus (COVID-19) is on everyone’s mind, and we are writing you to update you. We are closely monitoring updates from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the American Montessori Society. We met with our Board of Directors last night.

What we are doing:
Children currently wash hands upon arrival to school, before snack, before lunch, when coming inside after being outside, before snack, after blowing nose, and after using the restroom or receiving a diaper change. This is our normal protocol and our children are very familiar with this process.

We are taking care to supervise and guide this hand washing for more effectiveness. We have them use soap, warm water & vigorous rubbing between fingers, on palms, backs of hands & fingernails for twenty seconds (signing ABCs twice).

Our staff is cleaning and sanitizing classroom materials and frequently touched surfaces like door knobs, tables, chairs light switches and faucets more frequently.
We are bolstering our regular cleaning with the added use of Clorox wipes on shared materials and surfaces.

We are implementing a four stage protocol based on our community’s exposure to this virus and are coordinating efforts with other area schools and state & local agencies.

What you can do:

1. Keep your child home when they are sick. For your reference, here is our health and safety policies from our handbook:

If a child has any one of the following conditions, the parent will be notified to pick up the child immediately:

  • Contagious disease
  • Fever over 100 degrees
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

We have a 24-hour fever-free policy to prevent epidemics in the classroom. Your child can return to school 24-hours after a fever has passed. If you visit the doctor, please let us know if your child received a diagnosis so that we make other families aware and send a copy upon returning to school.

2. Coach and support proper hand washing at home. Again, this is 20 seconds of vigorous rubbing with soap and water.

3. Let us know if you have interacted with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or have traveled outside of the U.S. to one of the high risk areas.

4. All faculty, staff and students who are feeling ill should stay home until they fully recover. As in our current illness policy, which is aligned with the recommendations of the Chicago Department of Public Health, students and faculty should stay home for 24 hours after all major symptoms have disappeared. Sometimes even longer if symptoms persist.

5. Our community should initiate self-imposed quarantine of two weeks for anyone who has traveled to high-risk areas or has been in contact with someone who recently traveled to a high-risk area (level 1,2 or 3.) See CDC travel information – CDC Travel information – coronavirus. If you are obligated to quarantine at home for 14 days because of your possible exposure, your child must quarantine with you.

6. Practice Social distancing as suggested by the CDC and other agencies.

Please contact your health care provider immediately if anyone in your home experiences any of the following symptoms which may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Additionally, our community is prepared to alter our procedures and planning should the situation change, including school closures. We will follow the Chicago Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Illinois State Board of Education’s recommendations regarding closure. We will communicate any changes as quickly as we can.

It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily the task for public health agencies. Any directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations should be followed.

During this stressful time, we appreciate the sense of community that we have at ADM. While the news is concerning, please keep in mind that the best thing we can do is greatly increase our hand washing, bathing, and personal hygiene. In the case of any illness, whether it be coronavirus or seasonal flu, we cannot emphasize enough the benefit of following the suggestions above regarding hygiene and staying home. Following these protocols will absolutely help minimize the spread of these viruses.

We appreciate your partnership and diligent effort to keep everyone healthy and safe.

All the best,

Rebecca Bellonci
Head of School