Dear GMS Families,

With the ongoing reports surrounding coronavirus, and the first diagnosed case in our state, we wanted to reach out with resources, information, and an update of our School’s planning. As you know, the safety, security, and wellbeing of our students and staff are always our top priority. We have established a task force of administrators who continue to closely monitor news, updates, and guidelines about coronavirus, so we are ready to put into place any needed responses.

While we are not medical experts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remind us that "Schools, working together with local health departments, have an important role in slowing the spread of diseases to help ensure students have safe and healthy learning environments." As we prepare and plan at school, we also need your help at home. Below in this email is information about three specific topics:

  • Our School's Response to infectious diseases like the flu and COVID-19.
  • Ways We Can Partner to support the health and safety of our community.
  • Travel Considerations for members of our community.
 
As you review this information, know that we are here to support your family and our community. Don't hesitate to contact us with questions or concerns. If we are unable to answer your questions, we will do out best to connect you to resources or people who have the information you seek.

Thank you for your partnership and commitment to keeping our community healthy.
Dr. Kevin Navarro
Head of School
Our Response to Infectious Diseases
We have established a task force of administrators who communicate daily and meet regularly to review and assess this developing situation. As with any infectious respiratory disease like the flu or COVID-19, we are taking precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of germs throughout campus. This includes lessons with students in grace and courtesy as they relate to caring for oneself and the community (e.g., encouraging good hand-washing; practicing good cough etiquette; avoiding touching your face; no sharing of food, cups, or water bottles; staying home when you're sick, etc.).

In addition to our routine actions, we are monitoring global, national, and local health organizations, as well as consulting with local health care professionals, our governing school organizations, and local officials. This includes following guidelines and recommendations from the Guilford County and North Carolina Departments of Health and Human Services, the CDC, U.S. the Department of State, and the World Health Organization (WHO). We are also implementing an elevated level of facilities disinfecting and cleaning.

We have also begun conversations about how COVID-19 may impact teaching and learning, student travel, and community gatherings at our School. We will be monitoring the health risks of travel as part of our routine decision-making process for all of our spring field trips. The possibility of schools closing temporarily as a result of the spread of COVID-19 has also been a point of discussion both here and around the world, and we are developing plans for this possibility, in the hopes we never have to enact them.
Ways We Can Partner
Practice Good Hygiene
Precautions we take at school are only as strong as what we do at home, and we ask all families to follow our rules from the Health Policy beginning on page 57 in our  Family Handbook. Furthermore, let's follow these best practices:

  • The most important action we must all take is to stay home when sick. Please do not send your child to school if they aren't feeling well, as respiratory diseases easily spread from person to person through the air by coughing or sneezing, close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands, or touching an object or surface with the virus on it. 
  • Symptoms that preclude your child attending school and which would prompt us to send them home, include, but are not limited to:
  • A fever of 100 or more.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea or abdominal cramps.
  • Wheezing, croupy cough, or cough producing green mucous.
  • Any contagious illness, such as influenza, strep throat, and conjunctivitis.
  • If a student is sent home with a fever, they may not return to our School until they are fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of any fever-reducing medicine. 
  • Reinforce regular hand washing with soap and water (or hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available) and good cough etiquette at home.
Avoid Misinformation and Bias
The CDC tells us "COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) virus, and we are learning more about it every day. There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. At this point, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes it. Stopping transmission (spread) of the virus through everyday practices is the best way to keep people healthy." Should you and your family want more information on COVID-19, please consult these reputable state, national, and international health organizations.


Our School is following the current guidance provided by these health care experts. Help us separate fact from rumor by also relying on these sources for information, and remember our community's commitment to diversity and inclusion. Let people know that being from a certain country or descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19, and that no one should be unfairly targeted based on their race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, or for any other reason.
Manage Anxiety
As you work with your children at home, we recognize that a situation like this can cause undue anxiety among students. This article from TIME is an excellent resource for learning how to talk to your children about the coronavirus: "'Parents should tailor their approach depending on their child’s age, information processing style, and exposure to news about the virus,' says Ellen Braaten, co-director of the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital. 'You have to know your child,' she says. 'Does more information help them cope, or does more information make them anxious?'” We also recommend that conversation about coronavirus is limited with any age student. Here are some other resources for talking with your children about COVID-19, but as always, do what is best for your family, which may include limiting discussion about this topic.

Travel Considerations
If you are traveling in the coming months, please carefully check the CDC's Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel and the U.S. Department of State's website to ensure a safe experience for your family.

Action May Be Required: If you are traveling internationally in a country where either the CDC or U.S. Department of State have issued an Alert Level 2, or Warning Level 3 or 4, or if you have been in contact with a traveler who has recently returned from these areas, please notify our associate head of school, Nancy Hofer, via email at nancy.hofer@gms.org

Families returning from travel to areas with community spread of COVID-19 should follow guidance they have received from health or government officials. Greensboro Montessori School may require a family member, student, or employee to remain away from school for up to 14 days from your date of contact. As with any infectious disease, a physician’s release may be required before returning to school.
Greensboro Montessori School
2856 Horse Pen Creek Road, Greensboro, NC 27410
336-668-0119 | gms.org