COVID-19 Related School Updates
Please continue to check back for updates in the coming days and weeks. Due to the evolving nature of the global situation around COVID-19, information is subject to change quickly, both on a local and national basis.
Above all, we encourage our community to continue to live out our Montessori values of kindness, generosity, and peace day to day in all situations. In a time of uncertainty, let us continue to remind our children and ourselves of Maria Montessori’s enduring words: “Of all things love is the most potent.”
UPDATE 7/16/2020: MSCU will offer our quality Montessori learning experience via in-person schooling 5 days a week, for all programs (Toddler, Primary, Elementary, and Secondary) this fall! Please see our Fall Return to School FAQs and our Return to School Protocol Highlights pages for more details.
UPDATE 6/18/2020, 3:00PM: MSCU will offer LIMITED summer school for the Elementary Program (in addition to the Toddler and Primary Programs) from JULY 6-JULY 31, 2020! Please see the 6/11/2020 update below for important summer school details.
UPDATE 6/11/2020, 6:44PM: MSCU WILL OFFER LIMITED SUMMER SCHOOL FOR TODDLER & PRIMARY PROGRAMS FROM JULY 6-JULY 31, 2020!
Dear MSCU Families,
We are delighted to be able to offer limited summer school from July 6-31, 2020 for the Toddler and Primary Programs! With the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know you may have questions about what precautions MSCU is taking for your child’s safety. We’d like to share some details about how summer school will run as we engage in our initial return to school.
MSCU has a longstanding history in the Champaign-Urbana community and it is our goal in re-opening to continue to serve our families by providing excellence in education and the experience of being in a loving care community, while prioritizing the safety and well-being of each and every one of our children. In order to accomplish this, our Return to School Plan follows best practices offered by the CDC, IDPH, C-UPHD, WHO, and other local, national, and international public health organizations. It also rigorously follows the phases in the “Restore Illinois” Plan set forth by the State of Illinois.
MSCU’s #1 priority is and always will be the safety and support of our children, families, staff, and community. This means that while we will strive to offer the most stable, normal, caring learning experience possible in these challenging times, we must do so in ways that will reduce the amount of risk to the health of our children, families, staff, and community as much as humanly possible. We ask for our entire Montessori community’s understanding, support, and help in accomplishing this. In accordance with public health and state guidelines, we will begin our limited return to school with a number of illness prevention measures to protect our families and school community, including, but not limited to, the following measures:
– Classrooms will be at size limits of 10 children maximum for the 4 weeks of summer school.
Each classroom will be its own cohort and will learn, socialize, eat, nap (if necessary), and play outdoors as a cohort.
Cohorts will not interact with other cohorts within the school in any space, including outdoors.
– Dedicated naptime is not currently a guaranteed program option for the summer.
If we have 10 children register who need to nap, they will be placed together as a cohort and will have a dedicated naptime in their classroom for the afternoon. Otherwise, we will set aside a few cots in each room for children to lie down on and rest if needed, but the rooms will not have a dedicated nap time.
– For the summer, programs will run from 8:30am-2:30pm only.
– Mask/face coverings will be required of every individual 2 years of age and older, at all times while on any part of campus (with the exception of children who are eating in the classroom, napping, or playing on the playground).
Your child will need to be able to wear a mask and keep it on properly for the duration of the school day. Please practice at home ahead of time. Staff will encourage and teach proper mask wearing, hand hygiene, etc. throughout the day, but we need families to reinforce this learning at home as well.
– Social distancing measures will be in place; all individuals on campus must maintain 6 feet of distance as much as possible.
As always, staff are committed to encouraging and building social connection between children even while maintaining social distancing in this unique time.
In case of emergency, staff are also committed to comforting and caring for your child as needed, regardless of the distance maintained.
– All students will need a pair of indoor shoes to change into each day, provided by their families. Families must also provide extra child masks (minimum 5 per child), just as extra clothing has always been required.
– Non-essential visitors will not be allowed in the building in accordance with public health recommendations; we request that all families stay outside of the building at all times unless special permission to enter has been given.
Drop-off and pick-up will now be done by car line only in this stage of the pandemic; more details to follow.
– Temperature checks and symptom screenings will be done at the entrance to the building daily upon arrival at school, and results recorded. Staff and students who feel warm/feverish, have fevers of 100F or above, or who show any signs of illness will not be able to enter the building.
– All families must be able to pick up their child within 30 minutes of being notified if their child shows signs of illness at school.
We will be taking a number of internal measures, such as enhanced cleaning and disinfecting regimens, staff training, and other measures as well. An in-depth document detailing new protocols for our families’ safety will be shared with all families closer to the July 6th start date.
If you are interested in attending summer school for July, you may use the link below to register. Also, if you have already registered earlier, we need you to confirm your previous registration by using the same link below. Please follow the form instructions carefully.
Thank you so much, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!
Update 5/27/2020: NO JUNE SUMMER SCHOOL; JULY A POSSIBILITY
Dear MSCU Families,
Since March, MSCU has been working with local health and education agencies to determine if we can open June 1 for summer school. While childcare providers will be allowed to re-open classrooms of 10 or fewer as Phase 3 of the governor’s Restore IL Plan begins on May 29, MSCU will be taking a more conservative approach in order to take all the precautions we can to keep everyone in our school community safe and healthy. Our Board of Directors has determined that we will not open June 1 for in-person summer school; we will use the month of June to monitor how the C-U community’s health responds to the first few weeks of community re-opening, and to adjust our own preparations for returning to school accordingly.
We are deeply disappointed that we will not be able to serve our community with summer school in the month of June as we originally had hoped, but our #1 priority is and must always be the health and safety of our children and families. We hope that in not rushing to re-open, MSCU demonstrates our unwavering commitment to our community’s safety above all else, even the school’s own operations and financial viability. We will continue to monitor local public health conditions and evaluate whether or not opening our summer program starting July 6, 2020 might be feasible. Much of this will depend on how our local conditions unfold in the next month.
We will be sending out a survey soon via email to get family feedback regarding possible options for late summer and the fall, as much has changed for many of our families in the past few months. Please respond to the survey as soon as you receive it so that we can get your feedback, as it will help shape what we might be able to offer. If you would still be interested in starting summer school in the month of July, please indicate so on the survey at that time.
One additional item: we know that many of you may need childcare options while MSCU is still closed. If you are an essential worker in need of childcare while MSCU is closed, please contact Mrs. Kerry Rossow at email@example.com. She has been helping families get connected with some alternative childcare options during our school closure and may be able to help in your situation.
Thank you again for your understanding, loyalty, and support in these challenging times.
Update 4/17/2020: FULL SCHOOL CLOSURE WILL CONTINUE THROUGH END OF 2019-20 SCHOOL YEAR (May 22, 2020)
Dear MSCU Families and Community Members,
The news we were all expecting has just been confirmed. Governor Pritzker announced today that schools in Illinois will be suspended for the remainder of the school year in a statewide effort to continue to flatten the curve due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the remainder of the school year, MSCU will continue to refine and deliver our own unique blend of remote learning for our K and up families while incorporating Montessori principles into our lessons to ensure your children are still connected and engaged with our community. Assuming that Illinois schools are allowed to re-open by June 1, we will be offering summer school from June 1-July 31, 2020. Registration forms will go out next week.
Even though our school building may be closed at the moment — learning still goes on. Every day MSCU staff go above and beyond to ensure your children have the information and resources they need to be successful independent learners within the comforts of their own home. We believe that the Montessori principles along with our MSCU core values of independence, creativity, empathy, and responsible citizenship have prepared our children for such a time as this.
In the past few weeks many families have reached out with words of encouragement and support for our staff. Thank you all for the many ways you have shown your appreciation. As a nonprofit school, MSCU relies upon tuition dollars to pay our staff. In the midst of this crisis we are committed to continuing to pay our teaching faculty for the service they provide for our children and families. However, with tuition dollars drastically reduced because of the mandated school closure, MSCU needs you now more than ever. As one of the few schools that reduced tuition to support our families in this time of financial uncertainty, your core tuition and donations will ensure that we can support our teaching staff financially and professionally during this time.
As we move forward together, we would ask that you consider supporting the school if you are able. There are a number of ways for you to help.
Make a Tax-Deductible Donation to MSCU. Your gift will help us continue to support our staff for the remainder of the school year.
Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4th-May 8th). Celebrate our Montessori teachers and staff by reaching out with a personal note or by making a donation to the school in their honor.
Participate in the MSCU Together Campaign. We will end the year separate, but united, as a Montessori Community. We plan to celebrate the strength of our school community with a modified MSCU Family Fun Run, which families can participate in from the comfort of their own neighborhoods and backyards. Details about date and modified sponsorship information will be coming out next week.
MSCU Together T-Shirt Fundraiser. Watch out for ways to buy your MSCU Together t-shirt online for you, your family and friends very soon. Proceeds from t-shirt sales will go to MSCU.
Make MSCU your designated charity on AmazonSmile. As we are all buying products online now more than ever, please remember to use AmazonSmile and to set the Montessori School of Champaign Urbana as your designated charity. It costs you nothing, but makes a huge difference for our school!
The MSCU community is a strong network dedicated to supporting one another. If you or your family has been impacted by the COVID-19, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the state of Illinois has free resources to help support Illinoians everywhere by clicking HERE.
We wish all of you peace and health. Stay warm and stay safe.
Update 3/31/2020: FULL SCHOOL CLOSURE WILL CONTINUE THROUGH APRIL 30, 2020
For the safety and well-being of our children and community, and in accordance with Gov. Pritzker’s mandate, MSCU will be closed through APRIL 30, 2020. NO SCHOOL OR CHILDCARE. Our building will be closed.
FAQs have been updated with important information regarding tuition.
UPDATE THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2020 at 4:44PM: LETTER FROM HEAD OF SCHOOL and FAQs
Dear MSCU Families,
We hope this information finds each and every one of our families safe and healthy. We know that each day lately has brought national and global news that has sparked uncertainty, sometimes confusion, and many more questions than answers. Now is a time to find ways to support one another as a community as never before, even as we must provide a physical distance from one another to protect our most vulnerable populations. We deeply appreciate all that you are doing to live Montessori values of grace, respect, and courtesy outside of school, from the notes of support people have written to support the school, to community events that can be done by individual families in isolation like the Shamrock Walk in Urbana founded by our own Tracy and Ian Mertes and neighborhood spirit-lifting by our very own Margot and Ruby Crull! We have never before been more in admiration of the creativity and generous spirits of our Montessori community.
As a school, we have not been immune to the complexities of navigating these unprecedented times, and we have been working hard to provide answers to crucial questions related to each child’s education at MSCU. Please see below for a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). If your question is not answered below, please contact the school at one of the email addresses listed below for more specific information.
In the meantime, let’s remember the words of Dr. Montessori: “We shall walk together on this path of life, for all things are part of the universe and are connected with each other to form one whole unity.” Please continue to find creative ways to reach out to support others in the C-U community while practicing and encouraging social distancing:
– Do not go out to public areas except for essentials.
– Do not go out if you have any kind of respiratory symptoms, even if you do not think you could possibly have COVID-19.
If we all work together to do this as much as possible, we may as a community be able to “flatten the curve” of asymptomatic spread and avoid harsher future restrictions from city and government officials.
As we go into our first week of remote learning next week, please think of this as an opportunity to model creativity, flexibility, and adherence to public health guidelines for all of our children. These may be the most important lessons of all to share with our children in these unprecedented times. Our collective effort will be what gets us through all of this, together!
As always, thank you for supporting MSCU and the greater C-U community.
MSCU Staff and Scott Davis, on behalf of MSCU Board of Directors