Health and Safety.

August 2022

Grace Montessori School COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan

The administrators, teachers, and board members of Grace Montessori School have joined together to develop a plan for best practices to ensure the health and safety of all our students and staff. As a team, we are planning and preparing based on the newest guidelines provided by the CDC and the Department of Health for schools and daycare centers and by the guidelines published by the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, which governs the school, for keeping communities safe.
Since knowledge and understandings are changing every day, these guidelines might change with time. We will keep you updated with any changes that may be required in the future. Please read our plan carefully as some information has been updated.

Topics addressed in this plan include:


Opening for school year:

  • All our staff is fully vaccinated.
  • CDC
    is recommending anyone above the age of 6 months to be vaccinated and children above the age of 5 years to be boosted. We cannot mandate vaccination for household members but would like to request our families get the vaccine, to keep our community safe and to continue with in-person learning.
  • GMS will stock all necessary and recommended supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), paper towels, tissues, and face masks.
  • Hand sanitizing stations are already installed in different areas of the building.
  • Structured routines around washing and sanitizing hands, both, for the staff and most importantly, the children have been implemented.
  • We will be working with the PA Department of Health and the Department of Human Services to make sure we are ahead of the curve and always ensuring our children have a safe and healthy learning environment.

Transmission and symptoms of COVID-19:

We now know that COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-7 days after exposure to the virus. The new variants of Covid-19 are extremely contagious.

Persons who have a fever of 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit or above, or other signs of illness will not be admitted to the facility. We advise parents to be on the alert for signs of illness in their children and to keep them home when they or a family member in direct contact with child are sick. Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and should test themselves for Covid-19 infection. 

Screening tools for symptoms:

  • Fever (99.9 or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose/congestion
  • Chills
  • New lack of smell or taste
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea

Please keep your child home if you or your child:

  • Has 2 or more symptoms.
  • Is taking fever reducing medication.


Dismissal/Arrival Procedures

  • When our county is in high risk category, all parents/care will be instructed to wear a mask when dropping off or picking up.
  • Children and staff will be checked for signs and symptoms every day upon arrival. A temperature check will be done at arrival using a touch-free thermometer.
  • Hand hygiene stations will be set up at the entrance of the school, so that children can clean their hands before they enter with at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizer use will be supervised. Children will also be asked to wash hands with soap and water after entering their respective classrooms.
  • For dismissal classrooms will have assigned spots or stay in their classroom to avoid contact between classrooms.

Screening Procedures

  • The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to prevent it from getting inside the facility.
  • We will conduct a daily health screening of children, staff and family members to identify symptoms, diagnosis, or exposure to COVID-19.
  • We will not allow staff and children to enter the facility if they have tested positive for or are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • We will mandate that any children and staff who are sick will have to stay home.
  • Anyone with symptoms like fever, cough, or feeling/looking unwell will not be allowed in the building.
  • We will continue to monitor staff and children’s health throughout the day.
  • We will make sure that, in the event of a child getting sick during normal hours, we will notify the parents for an urgent and immediate pickup.
  • While waiting for a sick child to be picked up, the staff member will wear a face mask.  If the child is over the age of 2 and can tolerate a face covering, the child will be given a face mask to wear.

Cleaning and disinfection efforts

  • Cleaning, sanitization, disinfection, and ventilation on a daily basis.
  • Promote healthy hygiene practices.
  • Hand washing as soon as the children walk inside the classroom.
  • GMS staff will clean and disinfect the classrooms daily.
  • Each child’s bedding (sheets, blankets that can be washed) will be kept separate and stored in individually labeled bins or bags.  Mats ill be  labeled for each child.  The napping materials will be sent home every Friday to be washed.


  • When our county is in high-risk category, all staff and children above the age of 2 years (2-year-olds who can tolerate) will be instructed to wear CDC approved masks.
  • Parents will provide masks for children above the age of 2 years (2-year-old who can tolerate).


Strategies to deal with a COVID-19 positive case

  • If the child is in care when the test results are confirmed positive, the child will be isolated until the parents/guardian arrives to pick them up.
  • The administration will inform parents of enrolled children when there is a suspected outbreak of a communicable disease or an outbreak of an unusual illness that represents a public health emergency. *An outbreak is defined as more than one positive COVID-19 case in the same classroom.
  • The school will not be closed unless there is an outbreak in more than one classroom.
  • GMS will report positive COVID-19 cases to the Department of Health (DOH). The facility will also report positive COVID-19 cases to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).
Exposure to a person who tests positive for COVID-19

Exposure is defined as being within 3 feet of the individual who tests positive for COVID-19 for a period of 15 minutes or more. It also means coming into direct contact with droplets from a COVID-19 positive individual. Persons who test positive are considered infectious 48 hours before the onset of symptoms. Persons testing positive but do not have symptoms are considered infectious 2 days after exposure (if known) or starting 2 days before test date (if exposure is unknown).

If a staff person, household member, or a child is exposed to an individual who tests positive for COVID -19:

  • It is strongly recommended and highly encouraged that they self-quarantine until they are symptom free based on the CDC guidelines. Staff without symptoms may return to work if tested negative with an at home Covid-19 test.  The staff must test for the next 5 days before returning to work.
  • If a child becomes ill at the facility, the administration shall notify the child’s parent as soon as possible for an immediate pick up.
  • The administration will also inform parents of enrolled children when there is a suspected outbreak of a communicable disease or an outbreak of an unusual illness that represents a public health emergency in the opinion of the Department of Health.
  • GMS will report when a staff person, child, or household member is exposed to a positive COVID-19 case to the DHS and DOH.
Discontinuing at home isolation
GMS will follow Test-based strategy for discontinuing home isolation to maintain the health and safety of children and staff.

Test-Based Strategy
Individuals who have Covid-19who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under all of the following conditions:
  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and
  • Negative COVID-19 test results from respiratory specimens.

Any individual who becomes ill should contact their medical provider for advice or testing. For any individual who has been exposed to COVID-19 as described above, or who tests positive for COVID-19, follow the information outlined above.

GMS is mandated to report all positive cases to DOH and DHS
In all instances when reporting GMS will provide:

  • The name of the facility
  • The address of the facility including the county
  • The number of cases
  • Identify if the positive case is a staff person, household member, child, or family member

All policies procedures are based on recommendations from the CDC and PA Department of Human Services as well as the PA Department of Health and may be subject to change.