COVID-19 Information

Last updated: July 2, 2020

This webpage is intended to help share updates and information with Starwood Schools community about how the school is preparing and responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) health outbreak, which has been declared a public health emergency of global concern by the World Health Organization (WHO). As educators, our top priority is to provide a healthy and safe educational environment for our students, staff, and families. This is a quickly evolving situation so please check this page regularly for updates.

Frequently Asked Questions about Starwood School’s Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Curriculum and Programming

Starwood Schools will offer onsite learning with additional safety measures put in place. Our goal has always been to return onsite. The beauty of Montessori happens with the guides and materials in the classroom as students regulate their day. The schools are following the same academic calendar as previously released.

In the event that the school is closed by government order and/or by the decision of school administration for the safety, health, and well-being of its students, then the school will provide online learning as a substitute for onsite classes.

Starwood Schools has created an At-Home Learning Task Force that is meeting regularly to be prepared for a quick pivot to a virtual learning program in the event of a state of school mandated closure. This includes a strategic plan for curriculum, supplemental programming and staff training moving into the 2020-2021 school year.

Yes.

The cost for distance learning will be the same as onsite, minus charges for Extended Care.

Starwood Schools are known for our strong teacher tenure. The Montessori philosophy stresses the importance of a three-year cycle, believing that the full potential of the child is reached after three years in the same environment with the same guide. However, due to lower classroom ratios this school year, staffing decisions are based on enrollment response. We cannot guarantee any classroom placements with specific guides.

Starwood Schools is planning for regular supplemental activities during the school day such as Spanish, movement and athletic development. The school will continue to monitor the recommendations from local public health officials to help inform the school’s decision making on extracurricular activities. Families will be given updates on extracurricular activity offerings for the 2020-2021 school year as decisions are made.

Maintaining our vibrant school community will continue to be a priority. Being onsite together promotes relationships amongst the students and staff. Over the past few months, the school has learned how to build connections and community while we are safely apart. While this is not the ideal mode, we are excited to be able to continue to partner with our parents while we prioritize community health.

Health and Safety

Some key practices that are in place to ensure the health and safety of our community include:

  • Smaller class sizes
  • Daily health/wellness prescreening before entering the building
  • Limited access for adults on campus
  • Increased sanitization of materials and common spaces throughout the day
  • Washing hands often
  • Mandatory training for all staff on coronavirus preventative strategies

The CDC recommends that everyone 2 years and older wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth.

  • A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer but to prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others, especially if someone is infected but does not have any symptoms.
  • Face coverings should NOT be put on children younger than 2 because of the danger of suffocation.
  • Starwood Schools understands that young children may have difficulty wearing masks and we cannot enforce students to keep their masks on all day.
  • For our students, whether they wear a mask is an individual family decision.
  • It is required for adults to wear face-covering or masks in indoor public areas, even if a person is alone (includes all non-private offices, common areas such as lobbies, hallways, restrooms, and classrooms); and outdoor spaces where 6 feet of physical distancing is difficult to reliably maintain.

Our Montessori classrooms adapt well during this time, as many of the protocols integrated follow the Montessori philosophy of respect and care of self, respect and care of the environment, and respect and care of others.

Montessori classrooms have always been prepared to support individualized learning. Defining your workspace, choice within limits, and individualized or small group instruction has always been a part of our environment and will continue to be. Conventional settings are working towards spacing students for social distancing to continue group learning, while students in a Montessori classroom are familiar with self-directing themselves during work periods to meet their own learning objectives.

Starwood Schools has made the following changes to help further with distancing:

  • Even without a state mandate, we will continue reduced teacher to child ratios.
  • Class schedules are staggered in regards to recess, gym time, etc. to restrict areas to one class at a time.
  • The distance between classroom tables have been increased for children during table work.

Yes, students and staff who have a lab-confirmed positive for COVID-19 should call or email their campus immediately. Communication will be provided to the parents of students who came in contact with the COVID-19 positive student or staff member.

  • In the event, a student or staff member becomes ill with a fever greater than or equal to 100.0 Fahrenheit and/or other illness symptoms of possible COVID-19 they will be sent home. Once it is decided the individual needs to be sent home, the student will be put in an isolation room until the parent and/or approved person can pick up the student. Students with illness are required to be picked up by an approved person within 30 minutes of notification.  
  • Other students will be removed from the classroom and taken to an alternate location on campus (e.g. outside, move to a different classroom, etc.) so that the classroom can be disinfected.
  • The school will communicate to the parents of students who came in contact with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 positive student or staff member.
  • In the case that a student or staff member was diagnosed with COVID-19 or had symptoms that could be COVID-19 and does not get evaluated by a medical professional or tested for COVID-19, the individual is assumed to have COVID-19, the individual may return to school when all three of the following criteria are met:
    1. At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications)
    2. The individual has improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath)
    3. At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
  • School closure will be based upon the guidance from the local health department and childcare licensing.
  • If a student or staff member has had close contact (as defined below) with someone with COVID-19 but is not currently sick, they should call their health care provider immediately and call or email their campus immediately.
  • Students or staff who have had close contact with someone who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 (as defined below) should stay at home through the 14-day incubation period, and will not be allowed on campus.
  • “Close contact” with an individual who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19 is defined as:
    1. sharing a household with the infected individual; or
    2. being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on while not wearing a mask or face shield); or
    3. being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes, while not wearing a mask or face shield.
      (if either b. or c. occurred at any time in the last 14 days at the same time the infected individual was infectious)

The Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Additional information about symptoms can be found here.

Operations

Full-time custodians are onsite cleaning classrooms and restrooms many times a day. In addition to strict cleaning and disinfection standards, they are also using an e-spray system to provide complete coverage of surfaces that are often missed by conventional cleaning or are difficult to disinfect.

Starwood Schools staff follow a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day. Surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, etc. are routinely cleaned throughout the day.

Outdoor playgrounds generally require normal routine cleaning and do not require disinfection. Spraying disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. However, the school is routinely cleaning high-touch surfaces made of plastic or metal.

  • If a student takes a nap, their rolled nap mat will be stored in individual cubbies. Nap mats are sent home each Friday for washing.
  • Every student is required to bring a standard size (27×52”) bath towel in a solid, neutral color to serve as a work mat in the classroom. Towels are sent home each Friday for washing.
  • Works/materials for activities that cannot be cleaned and sanitized are not being used.
  • Materials are cleaned and sanitized after each use.
  • Children’s books, like other paper-based materials such as mail or envelopes, are not considered high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfecting. However, the school will set aside any books that have been placed in a student’s mouth or are otherwise contaminated until they can be sanitized properly.
  • Students are not permitted to bring in any personal items to school (toys, show and tell items, stuffed animals for naptime, etc.).

We are working closely with our Community Dining team members to prepare for food service with more students onsite in August. Food preparations will continue onsite at the Starwood Academy of Frisco campus and deliver to the Starwood Montessori School campus as normal. Morning and afternoon snacks will be individually packaged and the school is eliminating food prep in the classrooms at this time. There will be adjustments made in the dining program for staff to serve students in order to minimize shared serving utensils.

General

Starwood Schools will provide enrolled families with our Parent Handbook one week prior to the first day of the 2020-2021 academic school year. As our schools are currently operating onsite, we are following all guidance provided by Texas HHSC Child Care Licensing Department on May 18, 2020 outlined here. Please review our current Onsite Summer Program Policies and Procedures here.

The school anticipates limited parent volunteer opportunities directly in the classroom and on campus this year as we navigate social distancing and prioritize having students on campus. There are many additional ways parents can volunteer, and if you have specific ideas about how you or other parents can engage, please contact our education coordinator Marcy@StarwoodSchools.com.

Even with these new health and safety protocols, Starwood Schools is the same high-fidelity Montessori program you previously selected as the best environment for your child. Everything in terms of a student’s learning experience is what they are used to. Since reopening on June 1, we can already see students getting back into routines and feeling productive in an environment designed for them. Students are so happy to be with their loving, caring guides at school.

Possibly.

One thing we have learned over the past several months is that every plan has to be adaptable to the situation as new facts present themselves. Just a few weeks ago, the COVID-19 case numbers in Texas were stable – today they are surging. We will be watching the situation both in the state and in our region of the state closely as the summer progresses and will make whatever changes are needed to address the changes we observe. We will always try to inform you of any significant change as soon as possible.