Updated August 18 2021 for the 2021-2022 School Year
At The Glen, the health and safety of our students remain our primary concern as we approach the 2021-2022 school year. At the same time, we recognize parents are facing increased demands to return to pre-pandemic professional expectations and obligations.
The Glen COVID-19 Committee continues to make recommendations for the school based on its expertise in medicine, public health, and children’s education/developmental needs. Additionally, the committee regularly reviews community spread data and guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Commonwealth of PA, and Allegheny County. They will continue to influence policy decisions regarding the impact of this pandemic on The Glen’s operations.
Much like the 2020-2021 school year, we expect the following mitigation measures and procedures to evolve. We will update this page frequently and notify parents via the Montessori Minute and/or Head of School COVID-19 Message.
Prioritization of In-school Instruction
The CDC has updated its public health guidance to prioritize layered COVID-19 prevention strategies to maintain in-person instruction over previously recommended alternative instructional models.
Following that lead and knowing the value of a Montessori education under trained guidance, The Glen will begin the school year with all students in person. Last school year The Glen was able to make virtual accommodations for a variety of reasons. This year, virtual instruction will be limited to specific instances:
— If there is an in-school exposure and is necessary for a classroom to quarantine, the affected individuals will shift to virtual instruction.
— If there is a medically documented health concern on the part of the child that the pediatrician deems serious enough to avoid all potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus or if in-person education would cause unacceptable risk due to a health concern of a family member within the student’s household.
Educational support (packets of materials and check-in between the teacher and parents/student) will be provided if:
— A child has had a known exposure to COVID-19 and is required to quarantine.
— A child tests positive, must quarantine, and is asymptomatic.
If your child is ill, with COVID-19 or other illness, virtual instruction will not be provided while the child recovers and heals.
Virtual instruction will not be an option for 2021-2022 due to a family’s travel choices. However, The Glen’s Travel Policy will continue to be updated based on the evolution of the pandemic. We know that many families plan to travel in the weeks before school begins on August 30. Please keep in mind that in many cases, a 10-day quarantine is required for unvaccinated individuals. Please plan your travel activities, knowing that a virtual start to the school year is not an option.
Mitigation efforts that will continue for 2021-2022
Masks are children’s first line of defense against the coronavirus, and we will continue to mandate that all unvaccinated children must wear masks at all times. This policy remains the CDC’s recommendation, and The Glen will continue to follow this advice. Additionally, staff and faculty will be expected to model this behavior for students, until students are able to be vaccinated. Read more about Masks at The Glen here.
Handwashing and Hand Sanitizing
Handwashing and hand-sanitizing are good hygiene practices and truly pre-date the pandemic. However, we will continue with our current protocols as well as our commitment to increased sanitation of our environment.
Health Policy Attestation Forms, Daily Health Screenings
The Glen’s strict Health Policy will remain in place for 2021-2022, and we will continue to conduct daily health screenings and the daily completion of Attestation Forms. In addition to the need for increased monitoring of student and faculty health, we have found the daily routine for attestation forms and daily health screenings to have increased communication between parents and teachers regarding student health.
Carline, Drop-off, and Pick-up
Limiting visitors to the school facility remains strongly recommended by the CDC. Therefore, all students will continue to be assigned a carline time for drop off and pick up surrounding the normal school day (8:30 am – 3:15 pm). If you miss your scheduled drop-off or pick-up time, or if your child is enrolled in before- or after-school care, you may come to the front door and a staff member will escort your child to their classroom/to the front door.
Lunches will continue to take place in each student’s classroom within their immediate cohort.
Similar to lunches, children will be permitted to remove their masks during naptime. Children will continue to nap in their classroom until community spread reduces further and/or children are able to be vaccinated.
Until children are able to be vaccinated, we do not anticipate eliminating podding altogether within our building. Unfortunately, after-school clubs mix students from the entire Children’s House and Elementary classrooms, and therefore, will not be an option for the fall. We are hopeful, with vaccine availability for children ages 4-12, after-school clubs may be able to return in January 2022.
Changes/ Return to Normal for 2021-2022
In the final months of the 2020-2021 school year, the CDC and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania updated the classroom physical distancing recommendations to three feet. With this in mind, The Glen is returning our classrooms to the prepared physical make-up and environment that is the basis of Montessori education.
In-Person Spanish, Art, Music and Physical Education
Due to vaccinated teachers and a reduction of concern over the surface transmission of COVID-19, we will once again be offering in-person experiences for Spanish, Art, Music, and Physical Education in the fall. One pod (usually one classroom, occasionally two or three classrooms) will use the space with their specials teacher at a given time, and The Glen will implement Increased cleaning and sanitation of surfaces between classes.
As we shared earlier this summer, vaccinated teachers have already begun to move between classrooms to ensure appropriate staffing – coverage for vacations, lunches, etc.
Pods will be expanded in the fall to include up to three classrooms (maximum of approx 60 children). This allows children from different classrooms to have recess together outside, participate in field trips, etc. Additionally, it allows for the re-introduction of before- and after-school programs.
Before- and After-School Programs
With the expansion of pod sizes, The Glen has made the decision to reintroduce before- and after-school programs in fall 2021. These programs will follow the same classroom pod assignment as the normal school day, with students from the same classrooms together for before- (7:15-8:15 am) and after-school (3:15-5:55 pm).
If the level of community spread rises to a substantial or high level, temporary suspension of before- and after-school programs, will be considered.
Will our school require vaccinations when they become available for Glen students?
The Glen will follow whatever vaccination mandate is set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and/ the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Until that time, families are welcome to share their child’s vaccination status with the school. We do not know what quarantine requirements will look like as this pandemic evolves into fall and beyond. Currently, any vaccinated individual who does not demonstrate symptoms is not required to quarantine. Thus, a vaccine has the potential to provide your family with greater certainty and flexibility concerning in-person instruction, travel, and childcare. But the school will not decide your child’s vaccination status for you.