COVID-19 Health & Safety
Chiaravalle Montessori had no cases of community spread in the 2020-2021 school year hosting students back on campus 5 days per week, while meeting and exceeding published health and safety guidelines.
For the 2021-2022 academic year, our objectives remain:
- Deliver a quality modern Montessori education that upholds our authenticity and the core principles that shape our school
- Prioritize the health, safety and well-being of all members of our community
Our key strategies, which represent a layered approach to promote health and well being while mitigating COVID risk, are:
- Encourage vaccination for all who are medically eligible as the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic
- Universal masking
- 3-6 feet of physical distancing
- Increased sanitation and hygiene
- Reduced cohort sizes in unvaccinated populations
- Health screening
- Empowering students and staff with developmentally appropriate COVID education
For the 2021-2022 school year:
- Early Childhood – Middle School pod/classroom enrollments are larger than in 2020-2021, depending on the program level and square footage of each room. We continue to use the additional spaces of 204 and the North Wing to accommodate students within the new guidelines.
- Everyone 2 years and older will to continue to wear masks on-campus.
- For the foreseeable future, visitors in the building remain restricted. Only pre-approved adults will be allowed to enter.
- Students will still need to be six feet apart during lunch when masks are removed. We will continue the practice of quiet lunch.
- Upper Elementary and Middle School will be able to re-introduce “lower risk” athletics (as defined by IDPH/ISBE), which at this time at Chiaravalle means cross country and track and field.
- We expect studios, extended before and aftercare, and other cross-classroom activities will be slower to return to pre-pandemic operations and will evolve as conditions allow.
- Toddler programming continues to be guided by DCFS, which has published updates with minimal changes.
- We will not be offering full remote programming.
The revised guidelines represent a step in our return to normalcy, however, we expect it to be a slow trajectory that will continue to be influenced by state and federal regulation and medical advice. For example, we have been able to re-introduce limited outdoor field trips and expect continued modified opportunities to become available in the fall and throughout next year.
At Chiaravalle we hold a collective responsibility to follow CDC guidelines to keep our community safe. As part of our health and safety procedures, daily health screening will be required for all students, visitors, and employees. Three entrance doors will be equipped with thermal temperature scanners and additional contact-free thermometers will be used as needed. People with fevers over 100 degrees will not be admitted.
If your household has been exposed to COVID-19 or someone is exhibiting symptoms, please seek medical attention and remain off-campus until you have met CDC criteria. Please alert our school nurse at firstname.lastname@example.org. The school nurse will continue our protocols of notifying the constituents of communicable diseases in our school. However, the family is responsible for contact tracing and notifying those they have been in close contact with. Families will receive information regarding individual and group quarantine guidelines when these have been made explicit for schools by ISBE.
As part of summer 2020 renovations, Chiaravalle replaced the HVAC system in the historic Burnham building with an eco-friendly, best-in-class model that replaces fresh air in the building twice an hour. Each classroom space is served separately by the system without mixing fresh air supplied and air returning. The construction, which had been scheduled for the summer of 2020 prior to the coronavirus pandemic, allowed the school to include additional state-of-the-art enhancements that use advanced oxidation technologies and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) in conjunction with the high-efficiency HVAC system to reduce airborne disease transmission. We are fortunate that the timing allowed the school to go above and beyond to improve air quality and reduce the risk of airborne exposure.
The Middle School space features additional air purifiers and filters to improve ventilation inside the classrooms. Additionally, we coordinate cleaning protocols as well as thoughtful indoor and outdoor space usage with the First Congregational staff and Mudlark who share the same large building.
Daily cleaning protocols are increased including more frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces. School custodial staff will wear masks, undergo training on COVID safety, and are trained to use disinfectants in a safe and effective manner and to clean up potentially infectious materials and body fluid spills.
Students at every age level are taught proper techniques for handwashing. Hand sanitizing stations are located at the entrance and throughout the building. Hand washing will be required before entering any of our spaces, and hand sanitizer or hand washing must also be used before and after touching shared equipment.
Chiaravalle's thoughtful Montessori classroom designs include multiple sinks in each classroom to facilitate student hand washing and hygiene practices. For our 0-6 students, dedicated bathrooms are also available within each classroom. Middle School has access to multiple restrooms and sinks.
Our collective, consistent use of masks is one of our best strategies to reduce viral exposure and allow our students and staff to stay healthy. Per ISBE guidelines, faculty and all students age 2 or older are required to wear a mask except while eating and napping. Mask guidelines will be updated as needed and as additional guidance is provided by the state. We ask students to bring 2-3 clean masks per day. The school can provide a back-up if your student’s mask is wet or soiled.
Each grouping of students will have at least one dedicated classroom, one dedicated bathroom, and will be able to access outdoor spaces and the gym regularly. Visible cues for distancing will be marked on the floor as needed.
At arrival and dismissal, we stagger times and assign entrance doors by program. We use outdoor spaces, as needed, to maintain physical distance. For the foreseeable future, visitors in the building remain restricted. Only pre-approved adults will be allowed to enter.
Chiaravalle will start the 2021-2022 school year on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. Students new to the school or their program level will be invited to a New & Transitioning Student Visit on Tuesday, August 24. As was the case this year, for safety reasons, parents will have limited access to the building. We continue to follow* the CDC guidelines for travel and quarantine, so plan your summer travel to allow for quarantine before arrival at school in August. Students are expected to be on-campus for the start of the year.