- Erin Trondson & the WMS Executive Committee
Dear Woodland Community ~ We continue to closely monitor the CDC and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for updates on the COVID - 19. Our highest priority is the health and well-being of our community. We wanted to take a moment to let you know what we are doing to prevent the spread of COVID - 19 in our school, as well as outline some worst case scenario guidelines should closing Woodland be advised by the public health authorities.
What we have done:
Followed the MMSD temporary out-of-state travel restriction for all school-related student and staff travel, and are therefore our staff will not be traveling to the American Montessori Conference in Dallas TX this week.
Discontinued self-serve snacks and are using non-Montessori contained snack methods for the time being
Regular wiping and sanitizing of classroom materials, faucets, doorknobs, tags, railings, toilet handles, and other frequently touched areas
Reviewed handwashing video with each class
Removed playdough and wet sensory table work
Discontinued baking and cooking classes
Encouraging stuffies and toys to stay home (except one nap item)
Discontinued mouth work
Ordered additional hand sanitizer* to set up hand sanitizing stations throughout the school
Working with the WMS cleaning crew to increase nightly cleaning
Staying current with all CDC, WHO, public health, and DCF communication
Ongoing consultation with local physician advisors
Reviewing our own sick leave policies to support our staff should individuals need to take leave or days off for testing
* back ordered if any family has sanitizer to donate
What if school closes:
We continue to discuss, and put financial plans in place, in order to respond to any recommendations by health authorities instructing us to close the school. If the school closes for one week or less we will treat the closures as a snow emergency and staff will be paid, and tuition will be collected. If school closes for more than a week, we plan to prioritize continuing to pay staff (salaries make up close to 90% of our budget), and are hoping that most families can honor their tuition contract during this time. That said, we recognize that additional childcare and/or unpaid work may make tuition challenging for some of our families, and we will be offering an application to request tuition reduction for families between 10% and 75% of tuition for those whom this school closings result in financial challenges. In order to cover any loss of income Woodland will tap into our limited emergency reserve. Hopefully we won't need to put these plans in place, but they are being outlined in the event we do need to take these steps.
Stay Calm for the Children:
At Woodland we are very skilled at preparing and training our staff for worse case scenarios, while continuing to create an experience of nurturing security and safety for the children. We are talking to the children at age appropriate levels about handwashing and reducing the risk of spreading germs, and those old enough, the Kinders, have had a more advanced conversation. That said, we can't contain the news, and children are bringing their own fears and rumors up in the classrooms. As we do with any sensitive conversation we will correct any misinformation while providing comfort and security for the children (feeling safe is an important developmental need for early childhood).
Watch for Symptoms:
Know the COVID - 19 symptoms linked here and as the CDC says call you doctor if you:
1. develop symptoms and have been in contact with someone known to have COVID - 19
2. have traveled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID - 19.
We will keep you posted if and as things develop. Strong strategic planning can result in not needing to activate the plan, and that is what we are hoping for here.
Please let us know if you have any questions and stay healthy!
Erin & The WMS Executive Committee