Quest is Open
Our goal for the 2020-21 school year was to bring all of our students and staff back to school in-person, 5-days a week. We knew that to do this, adults and children alike would need to know that the school had made all the changes possible to create a safe and healthy environment where the community could work together to keep our doors open.
We accomplished this goal by making significant changes and adjustments to our physical plant as well as our policies and procedures to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Quest is Prepared by Design
We are fortunate that Quest school building and program will naturally facilitate our adherence to the guidelines set forth by the Rhode Island Departments of Education and Health.
- Every classroom has an exterior door,
- Our class sizes are small; every child can be in school every day
- Our classrooms provide space for social distancing
- There is plenty of outdoor space for work and lessons
- There are enough bathrooms in the building to assign one to each classroom,
- Our students are already in the habit of cleaning and frequent handwashing (although it will have to happen far more often).
RIDE has outlined three possible scenarios for in-person learning. Each requires the use of stable groups (pods) in which students and adults remain the same all day, every day. The RI Department of Health will determine which of the following scenarios schools should use:
- Full-in Person
- 30 person pods including teachers
- Partial In-Person
- 30 person pods including teachers
- Limited In-Person
- 15 person pods including teachers.
Due to our small class sizes, Quest can meet the pod size of each scenario while still allowing all students to attend school 5-days per week. Protocols for the pods include the following :
- Each classroom will be its own “pod”
- Children and faculty will enter and exit through their classroom’s outside doors
- The pods will not mix
- Separate recesses
- Separate bathrooms (Each classroom will be assigned a bathroom)
- No students will be allowed in the hallways unless to use the restroom
- Limit shared materials
- No shared pencils, scissors, etc.
- New protocol for Montessori material usage to include washing hands and cleaning materials
- There will be no shared snack at any level
- There will be increased use of the outdoor environment during good weather
- Specialist will likely not be in the classrooms
- There will be no field trips to places where they are other groups.
There are many options for face masks, we suggest each family experiment with and find what works best for each child. The best face covering is the one your child can take on and off independently and can wear comfortably. Please note that neck gaiters and face shields are not appropriate face coverings.
Frequent handwashing is one of the things we know for sure that helps contain the spread of the virus.
- Children will be given demonstrations on what proper handwashing looks like both in terms of technique and length of time.
- This is also something that can be practiced at home this summer
- Handwashing at set intervals, throughout the day, will be required of students and adults. Younger students will be observed by an adult to ensure proper technique.
- Signs with diagrams will be placed by all sink areas to remind adults and students of proper technique.
Air Quality in the Building
To help mitigate the potential for transmission of the COVID-19 virus, as well as other virus and bacteria pathogens, we have decided to upgrade all three HVAC systems at Quest with commercial-grade UV-C (Ultraviolet-C) treatment appliances. Located in the HVAC ductwork above the ceiling these appliances are capable of treating all of the air in the building, multiple times daily, as it passes through our HVAC systems. This equipment promises to substantially reduce the transmission of pathogens in the building by supplying a constant flow of treated air to our environment. Also note that the equipment chosen produces no ozone.
- High touch areas will be cleaned multiple times throughout the day using EPA registered cleaners with short contact times (the amount of time the surface must be wet to kill viruses).
- Professional cleaning will now occur daily.
- Montessori materials will be cleaned between students.
- Whenever feasible, only Quest students, staff and faculty will be allowed in the building
- Any student drop-off or pickup will be through the classroom’s exterior door
- There will be no inside package deliveries
- Lunch deliveries from outside vendors will not be permitted
Some procedures will be modified between classrooms to account for the ages of the children. For example, early childhood children may have the back of their hand stamped with the goal of removing the stamp by hand washing throughout the morning and afternoon. Classroom teachers will give more specific information at the back to school nights to be held prior to the start of school.
As with all things related to the success and well-being of our community, partnership with parents is vitally important. Your support is necessary to maintain the safety and wellness of our children.
- On a daily basis, parents will need to complete the state required self-attestation form prior to leaving for school and answer specific questions regarding any COVID-19 symptoms. This information is required by RIDOH for any child or adult entering the building.
- Provide your child with a face covering for school each day. As noted above, we suggest each family experiment with options this summer and find what works best for each child. The best face covering is the one your child can take on and off independently and can wear comfortably.
- Demonstrate to your child how to properly wash their hands and practice frequent hand washing at home.
- Most importantly, please do not bring a sick child to school no matter what the illness is. Even a cold that is spread from one child to other children or adults weakens each person’s immune system and makes them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
We follow the guidelines outlined by the Rhode Island Departments of Education and Health and update our procedures/policies as needed.