7/15/2020 Weekly Update
by Ann Clark, Head of School
Student success and safety continue to be at the forefront of all of our planning for starting school on campus at VMS in August. We understand that the uncertainty of the current public health crisis is a concern for families. As we all follow the news about area school districts deciding to implement fully remote learning programs, it can seem discouraging. However, these p
ublic school districts face a very different scope of challenges compared to VMS and other small independent schools
(limited classroom space and bathroom facilities, larger student population, budget constraints, etc.)
. This makes it difficult for them to resume onsite learning.
Fortunately, VMS has the following safety advantages, that we have successfully implemented during our summer program, that allow us to return to campus safely in August
- classroom space to create safe cohorts of students with configurations that allow for the proper spacing of individual tables for social distancing
- Individual bathrooms in most classrooms to ensure no co-mingling of cohorts.
- proper personal protective equipment (masks, face shields, aprons, etc.)
- hand washing and hand sanitizing stations for outdoor use
- sinks and sanitizer in every classroom
- interior and exterior cleaning schedules that provide consistent and frequent cleaning and sanitizing
- drop off/pickup procedures to minimize contact by ensuring only staff and students are allowed in the building
- multiple outdoor playgrounds and outdoor learning areas
This summer, we have adjusted to all of these and the students are truly enjoying camp time and staying healthy!
Remote Learning Option
Although we are confident with our onsite program, we recognize that families have varying degrees of comfort with returning to school, whether due to compromised immune systems or general safety concerns. At VMS, we believe it is our duty and responsibility to continue providing high quality education to all of our students given the current restrictions.
Therefore, in addition to the full-time on-campus program, we will be offering robust Remote Learning Option for students in Lower Elementary through Middle School. If you select Remote Learning, there will be an addendum to your original enrollment agreement for the 2020-2021 school year. In order for a remote learning student to return to the on-campus classroom program, the request must be submitted in writing and approval will be based on current space availability. If this is an option you would like to select for your family, please email
with your request by next Thursday 7/23.
What happens if someone at VMS tests positive for Covid?
The purpose of having students grouped in stable cohorts is to limit their exposure to a very small group of people. This minimizes the risk of virus spread, allows for easier contact tracing to determine if someone needs to be tested, and reduces the chance of a full school closure. Therefore, an instance of Covid would likely only impact an individual cohort.
If there is positive test identified at VMS, either staff or student, we have specific, step-by-step protocols from the Alameda County Health Department to guide us through that process. This important information will be part of our Final Return to School Protocols. Part of their guidance is to ensure all staff and students are screened each morning for health and wellness with the expectation that all families will be diligent and adhere to the school protocol for the safety of the students and staff.
Virtual Events to help you with the transition to school
As mentioned last week, we have many optional virtual events coming up to provide current school opening information and answer your questions or address concerns. Please scroll down for important dates and opportunities.
Again, I want to assure you that we, the entire VMS staff, are committed to helping all of our students continue their Montessori educational journey this year safely and successfully.