COVID-19 RETURN TO SCHOOL PLANS
Dear Nahunta Hall Families,
We know that this past year has brought so many changes and uncertainty for everyone but we hope that you have found ways to adapt to life and are enjoying the summer break.
Our school year begins the Tuesday after Labor Day. In anticipation of the first day of school, we have prepared our fall opening guidelines. Please read through them and let us know if you have any questions. Thank you for being such an important part of Nahunta Hall!
STUDENTS HAVE OPTIONS
We will offer in-person classes this fall for all grades. There will be a few modifications to our program. You can read details about anticipated changes below.
We are also excited to announce the opening of our virtual school this year. Although we offered some distance learning options last year during the emergency lock-down, this fall, we are offering a virtual school program for those who love the Nahunta Hall community but are unable to currently participate in person. Families can choose from one-time virtual classes based on student interest, individual courses for certain subject areas, or a full-time distance program completed online. New course offerings will be added periodically based on student interest.
We believe that flexibility is important (this year, in particular) so families will be allowed to transfer between programs mid-year, if their individual circumstances change.
WHAT ABOUT MASKS?
Governor Herbert has mandated masks for all students, visitors and staff in Utah schools this fall (including private schools), although he has given flexibility to local administrations to tailor this as necessary for individual schools’ circumstances. The mask mandate applies for indoor situations where students cannot maintain physical distancing.
This is great news for Nahunta Hall students! Our students are used to working on projects outside and we will adapt our lessons to outside learning as much as possible. A sun hat and lightweight jacket are already part of each child’s required school uniform and personal bottles of sunscreen have always been suggested. (Parents may need to be more diligent in checking backpacks each day for these three items.)
Weather permitting, we will also enjoy our lunches outside as well. Hooray- it’s a picnic everyday!
But yes, we are asking all students, including preschoolers, to have a clean mask available at school each day. Wearing a mask might feel unfamiliar at first but we ask our students to try all kinds of new things– it’s part of growing and learning. We ask children to try new or unfamiliar foods during snack times. We ask them to practice hard skills like catching a basketball. We ask students to document their work each day, even when they don’t want to.
Health experts agree that mask wearing is an important part of life right now. Teaching children the skills they need in real life is a critical component of a Montessori education. Perhaps some of our older students will even decide to sew their own masks out of fabrics that they pick from our school fabric stash. We will teach students how to wear a mask properly and remove their mask by incorporating additional playful lessons into our Montessori practical life lessons, just as we do with teaching a child to zip up their coat or wash their hands.
Speaking of washing your hands… . Currently, at Nahunta Hall, students are expected to wash their hands any time they cough, sneeze or pick their nose, after they use the toilet, before they eat, after playing outside and anytime the teacher sees that their hands are dirty.
We will continue to be diligent in our reminders this year. Students are welcome to bring hand lotion to offset the effects of frequent hand washing.
Hand sanitizer will be available in the office. Students may bring their own hand sanitizer as well but this does not replace hand washing.
Also, since we will be spending more time outside, parents need to be mindful that school uniforms may need to be laundered more frequently. Please send your child to school in CLEAN clothes every day.
We have been directed to ensure that students complete a wellness check each morning before school including a temperature and symptom screening. Students will NOT be allowed to remain at school with any symptoms of illness that indicate a possible respiratory illness. This includes coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, fever, sore throat or listlessness.
Students who become sick during the day will be isolated from others at school and must be picked up as soon as possible. We will be asking parents to update their contact information as well as potential emergency contact information prior to the beginning of school.
Students who must remain at home will be given the opportunity to complete their classes through our virtual school.
We are not yet in a position to make decisions regarding field trips for our students. We will do our best to provide opportunities for our students to take walking field trips when possible. If venues open up, we may ask parents to help provide additional transportation and supervision for these events so that students can still participate but can maintain social distancing as much as possible. We will keep parents posted on emerging details.
As in previous years, students will be assigned two cubbies. Their lunch box will be stored in the first cubby. However, the items they use each day at school (colored pencils, dry erase markers, water color paints, pocket folder, crayons, reading book, paper assignments) will stay in the second cubby and will not travel back and forth between school and home. Students will also be assigned a table mat and rug for their use at school to mitigate sharing of germs between students.
Our central air fans will run continuously while the building is occupied to increase air circulation.
We will also continue to vigorously clean the building to help prevent the spread of germs.
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO HELP?
- We already ask students to bring their own water bottles each day. Parents should ensure that their child’s water bottle is washed every evening!
- We already ask students to leave their stuffed animals and toys at home. Parents can support this by reminding your child that their toys will get unnecessary germs on them if brought to school.
- Parents can make sure that their student is up to date on all immunizations. This includes traditional boosters for MMR, pneumococcal and Tdap as well as annual flu shots.
- Reduce the number of individuals your children come in contact with outside of school by establishing specific, small groups of friends or family members. These small social circles help with contact tracing should a child become sick and also help prevent the spread of disease while still giving children social interaction.
- As much of our program is hands-on and requires us to frequently clean the materials touched by students, we would welcome additional donations of disposable cleaning wipes or bleach.
- We will be making adjustments to snack time in our primary classroom. Please watch your email for additional information.
- Check your email and the Facebook group to stay up-to-date on any adjustments during the year.
We love our Nahunta Hall families and our first priority is to keep our students learning as safely as possible. Thank you for being an important part of our Nahunta Hall community. If you have specific questions or concerns, remember to contact us. We are here to support your family!
RESOURCES FOR FAMILIES
CDC Schools and Childcare Programs: Plan, Prepare, and Respond
Utah State Board of Education Novel Coronavirus Information and Resources
State of Utah Guidance for Schools
Wash Your Hands! Why Soap Is Still Our Best Weapon Against Coronavirus