Reopening FAQs

welcome Mavericks!

Montrose opened the 2020-2021 academic year in person and on campus in Medfield in September, following guidelines from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and state and local public health officials. The health and safety of our community is paramount. We are prepared for multiple scenarios in case we need to transition from in-person instruction to hybrid learning or remote learning at any moment.

While the school day looks and feels a little different, our school community remains vibrant. As we navigate this transition we remain guided by our mission. For forty years, we have been committed to helping young women leaders aim for greatness and develop the habits of mind, heart and character they need to thrive.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the 2020-2021 school year. We will be updating these FAQs regularly.

Start of School

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  • Are all students on campus every day?

    School opened with orientation on Tuesday, September 1, and classes began on Tuesday, September 8. The return to campus was phased through the first two weeks of school. This gradual opening allowed us to work intentionally with smaller groups of students to form new habits, using our new protocols which were designed to build empathy, charity, respect and citizenship. We took time to build community, get to know everyone and help them feel comfortable in the new environment. 

    Beginning on Monday, September 14, we welcomed all students on campus four days a week, with deep work from home on Wednesday.
     

Health & Safety

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  • Overview

    Our top priority is to deliver our mission as safely as possible and provide the “three Cs” referred to in our Town Hall Meeting: highest caliber teaching and learning, connection and community. To keep everyone in our community safe, we meet or exceed safety practices recommended by local, state and federal authorities including the CDC, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Medfield Board of Health.

    Some changes we have made include:
    • We stagger arrival and departure times for middle school and upper school students to avoid crowding in entry areas. See more information below.
    • No visitors are allowed in the building during school hours. This includes parents and other volunteers.
    • Public spaces are clearly marked to minimize congestion and unnecessary person to person interactions.
    • Stairwells and hallways are one-directional with clear signage.
    Additional safety updates are listed in the subsequent FAQs.
  • Are students expected to wear masks?

    Everyone on campus is required to wear a mask over the nose and mouth at all times while inside campus buildings. When outside, masks must be worn except when students are seated to eat lunch or when at a six-foot distance from one another.  

    Face mask lanyards are required for all students. Lanyards provide a mechanism for students to take mask breaks while keeping their mask safely with them at all times. Lanyards can be purchased online (see an example here).

    We have provided two cloth Montrose face masks to each student. Girls may wear other masks as long as they meet CDC guidelines and Montrose Professional Dress. More specifically:
    Cloth face masks:
    1. Must completely cover the nose and mouth
    2. Should fit comfortably, but snugly to face (avoid gaps around edges)
    3. A nose wire is preferable to form a better seal
    4. 3 or 4 ply (layers of fabric) is ideal, but 2 ply is acceptable (additional filters okay)
    5. Must be washed at home daily 
    6. No gaiters/buffs or bandanas
    7. No open masks or one-way valves
    Medical masks:
    1. Must completely cover the nose and mouth
    2. Should fit comfortably, but snugly to face (avoid gaps around edges)
    3. 3 or 4 ply (layers of material) is ideal, but 2 ply is acceptable
    4. One-day use only (cannot be reused) 

    In keeping with the spirit of our dress code, we ask that masks do not contain logos or other branding and do not distract from the learning environment.

    The school nurse will have a supply of extra masks available.
  • Will there be mask breaks?

    We have built periodic mask breaks into the day for students when they are spaced at least six feet apart.
  • What changes have been made to classrooms to ensure safety?

    • Every classroom and gathering space on campus has been redesigned to accommodate members of our community comfortably and with an appropriate six feet of physical spacing in place.
    • Desks in classrooms are in rows facing the same direction and will be spaced so that girls are 6 feet apart.
    • In the chemistry lab, which contains fixed student workstations connected to gas and water lines, there are Plexiglass barriers between student workstations. We have added an additional section of chemistry to reduce class sizes and promote spacing. 
    • We are enhancing outdoor spaces and underutilized spaces to increase classroom space and facilitate social distancing.
  • What changes have been made to the restrooms to ensure safety?

    • There will be a limit on the number of occupants allowed in the bathroom at one time. Every other stall will be available for use. 
    • The men’s bathroom by the cafeteria will be converted to a women’s room for one additional stall and two additional sinks.
    • Plexiglass will be placed between sinks in all bathrooms.
    • Electric hand dryers have been turned off and replaced with disposable towels.
    • Bathroom faucets have been fitted with aerators to minimize splashing.
  • What changes have been made to the HVAC system to ensure safety?

    • We have optimized the school’s HVAC systems for maximum efficiency in managing air flow and ventilation.
    • The HVAC settings have been recalibrated to double the quantity of fresh air admitted into the building from 15% to 30% for both cooling and heating modes and to run fresh air through the school 24 hours a day.
    • We are using the highest rated air filters compatible with the equipment. 
    • We are fortunate that the majority of our classrooms have doors or windows that open directly to the outdoors, which we keep open to increase ventilation throughout the building.
  • What cleaning procedures are being followed?

    • We have employed an additional day attendant who is tasked with sanitizing high touch surfaces throughout the school day, checking and spot sanitizing restrooms, cafeteria desks, handrails, door hardware and other frequently handled surfaces. All frequently handled surfaces are sanitized at least once daily. 
    • Sanitizing materials in use are all EPA registered and have been selected for their efficacy.
    • Students and faculty sanitize surfaces whenever they transition to a new space or use commonly shared equipment. Wipes and hand sanitizer are available for their use.
    • We have purchased a handheld rechargeable electrostatic sprayer that allows for rapid sanitization of large areas.
  • What hygiene protocols are being followed?

    Hand hygiene takes place upon arrival to school, entering and exiting classrooms, before eating, after taking off and before putting on masks, before dismissal, and after using the restroom. This will consist of handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol will be used.

    Handwashing or hand sanitizing stations have been set up in the following common areas:
    • All entries and exits
    • In bathrooms
    • In classrooms
    • In shared activity spaces
    • Next to meal consumption areas
  • How are students screened for illness?

    Each morning, parents must complete a mandatory symptom screening about their daughters through the Magnus mobile app. Every faculty and staff member must do the same before coming to campus each morning. For those who can’t access the app, a paper version will be available. Students will not be permitted to enter campus unless they have completed the daily health screening. Montrose faculty and staff members are on hand each day to supervise this process.
  • When should a student stay home from school?

    A student should not come to school if she experiences any of the following symptoms: 
    Fever (> 100.0 °F) or chills
    Cough
    Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    New loss of taste or smell
    Unexplained fatigue or muscle aches
    Headache
    Sore throat
    Congestion or runny nose
    Nausea or vomiting
    Diarrhea
    Parents should contact School Nurse Jackie Rose to report any symptoms and discuss protocols for when the student may return to school.
  • What if a student falls ill while at school?

    • We have moved our nurse’s office space to include areas in which we may isolate any students who develop symptoms of illness during the school day. 
    • The isolation space is specially constructed with negative pressure ventilation that ensures that the air in the space is constantly being changed and exhausted to the exterior of the building. 
    • No air from the isolation space is able to re-enter the building. 
    • Parents will be expected to have a plan in place to pick up their daughter as soon as possible if she falls ill with any symptoms of Covid-19.
  • What if a student is diagnosed with Covid-19?

    All students, faculty and staff must notify the school nurse, if they or a family member living at home test positive for Covid-19 or are deemed to be a close contact by their local health department.

    If a community member is diagnosed with Covid-19, we will follow all protocols put forth by the state and work with the local Department of Health. The state has issued a very clear step-by-step process for all schools to follow in every scenario. 

    We will follow a policy of full transparency for every Covid-19 exposure or case to the extent possible without violating HIPAA privacy rules.
  • Are there travel restrictions?

    Per state law, anyone who travels outside the state must follow the Massachusetts Travel Order upon their return to Massachusetts.

Teaching & Learning

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  • What does the daily schedule look like?

    We have developed a schedule that will provide time for high caliber learning, connection between teachers and students, and community. The schedule will support us in all three possible learning scenarios this year: fully in person, a hybrid learning model, or a distance learning model.

    Classes meet in person and on campus on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The daily schedule includes time for academic classes, dedicated Student Life time and Enrichment, and reduces transitions and allows additional passing time. Wednesdays will focus on deep work.
  • What time does school start and end?

    The school day features staggered start and end times:
    Middle school: 7:45 AM-3:05 PM
    Upper school: 8:30 AM-3:45 PM 

    If students in the same family have different start times, they may enter school at the earlier start time.

    The school building opens at 7:00 AM. Students who arrive at school early will report to a quiet study upon entering the building.

    The school building closes at 5:30 PM.  Students who remain on campus after school and who are not involved in a supervised cocurricular activity will report to an after school study.

    As always, Montrose students can also take advantage of the school's convenient location in historic downtown Medfield and spend free time before or after school at areas around town, while following state and local guidelines of wearing a mask and keeping an appropriate six foot distance. 
  • Can I see a sample schedule?

    Here are two sample schedules. 

    Sample 6th Grade Schedule
    Sample 9th Grade Schedule
    7:45 World History I (split block)
    8:30 Language Arts 6 (inside or outside)
    8:30 Genres of Literature (inside or outside)
    9:55 Enrichment, break
    9:55 Enrichment, break
    10:40 Art (could begin outside with mask break, then return to building or stay outside)
    10:40 Honors Biology (could begin inside with a quiz, and then head outside to catalog wetland plants)
    12:05 Lunch
    12:05 Theology 9 (split block)
    12:35 Math 6 (break midway through)
    12:50 Break: US Lunch 1
    1:20 Return to Theology 9
    2:00 Student Life Block: meet with mentor
    2:00 Student Life block: Club meeting
    2:25 Return to World History I 
    2:25 AP Computer Science (break midway through)
    3:05 dismissal: change and head to sports practice
    4:00 change after practice, head to after school study
    3:45 dismissal; change and be out on the field for 4:00 PM sports practice
  • What if my daughter needs to learn remotely rather than in person?

    Students who cannot attend school in person can learn remotely and are able to access all course materials on Canvas, our new Learning Management System, as well as to synchronously tune into portions of classes with their in-person peers for key learning experiences. These experiences will also be recorded and available in Canvas for asynchronous viewing. In addition, we will provide asynchronous support and intentional work for students who are learning remotely. 

    If your daughter needs remote learning, please contact Mary Jo White, Associate Head of School for Faculty & Academics.
  • What platforms will be used for student remote learning, when remote learning is necessary?

    We will continue to use Zoom and Google Products in conjunction with Canvas, our new Learning Management System, which is well organized to support and deepen the remote learning experience.

Student Life

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  • What are the school hours?

    The school building opens at 7:00 AM and closes at 5:30 PM. 

    Students who arrive at school early will report to a quiet study upon entering the building. Those who remain on campus after school and who are not involved in a supervised cocurricular activity will report to an after school study.

    As always, Montrose students can also take advantage of the school's convenient location in historic downtown Medfield and spend free time before or after school at areas around town, while following state and local guidelines of wearing a mask and keeping an appropriate six foot distance. 
  • How does mentoring work?

    As part of our individualized approach to mentoring and education, this will look different for each girl. As in the past, girls can meet with their mentors while taking a walk outside, or during student life blocks or study. Alternatively, your daughter may prefer to meet with her mentor via Zoom.
  • Are cocurricular activities running?

    Yes. Student clubs and activities like Model UN, the school newspaper, the Treblemakers a cappella group, the Montrose Players, and more are operating and meet both virtually and in-person. 
  • Are sports offered?

    We are excited to be able to deliver a great athletic program, although it looks very different than it has in the past. For now, we are in a model that develops athletics exclusively with our own students and coaches. All programs include skill development, conditioning, and potential intrasquad scrimmages. 

    There is not a traditional IGC and NEPSAC schedule, but we will continue to explore the possibility of safely competing with other schools on a smaller scale if feasible.

    In addition to our traditional sports programs, we also provide two new offerings for both the middle school and upper school, Mindful Strength Training and Beginner Fitness.
  • Do we have music and drama?

    We will offer tone chimes and handbells with six foot physical distancing. Our a cappella group, the Treblemakers, will operate via Zoom. Due to restrictions, Chorus and Instrumental Ensemble will not be running this year.

    Our drama director has a vision for a full year of performances, featuring an all school revue in the fall, a student-created all school play in the winter, and Matilda: The Musical as the spring all school production. More details will follow about how students will rehearse and perform in these productions.
  • How does Enrichment work? Is Mass offered?

    Enrichment is scheduled daily. As always, students have the freedom to choose each day whether they will attend Mass or read an enriching book.

    Physically distanced seating spaces are marked in the chapel and Founders’ Hall. In addition, there is overflow seating available for girls to watch Mass via closed circuit TV from other locations in the school.

    Physically distanced seating is available in the Enrichment reading rooms. 
  • How does lunchtime work?

    • Students are divided into three different lunch periods, rather than two, which are staggered throughout the day.  
    • Students sit outside for lunch when feasible. When indoors, they eat lunch seated at desks spaced so that girls are six feet apart. The desks are sanitized between lunch periods.
    • At the current time, students must bring their own pre-packed lunches. There is no access to microwaves.
    • Students may not share food.
    • Trash cans allow for touchless disposing.
  • Are students able to use their lockers?

    In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines, students do not have access to lockers. The students are asked to use their backpacks to transport materials to class. Students have no more than four classes a day and should bring books and materials for those four classes only.
  • Do I need to purchase a planner for my daughter?

    Yes. We are not providing a Montrose planner this year.  We will update the calendar in myMontrose with the latest information on event dates and times. Students will be provided with information at the beginning of school and any time there is a significant schedule change.
  • Are there changes to the professional dress code?

    Other than the requirement to wear a face mask with lanyard, there are no other changes to the dress code.
  • Are buses running?

    Our two bus routes will be operating. The number of students on them will allow for social distancing. The timing of the routes has been adjusted so buses arrive at school before 7:45 AM, in time for the earlier middle school start. The buses are deep cleaned regularly.

Conclusion

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  • As a parent, how can I help?

    We are so excited to have your daughters back on campus. You can expect regular virtual events aimed at parents, such as Town Halls, Parent Guild meetings and "Coffee & Conversation" with school leaders on topics of interest. 

    We hope you continue to subscribe to our LifeCompass blog and Montrose Podcast, and share posts and episodes with your friends, neighbors, colleagues and family members.

    Do you know a family with a daughter who might be an asset to Montrose? Please share some of the great news stories about our students from our website, or encourage them to "meet a maverick"! You are our best ambassadors, and we are grateful for your support.
  • What should I do if I have more questions?

    Please contact Maureen Howard, Front Desk Manager via email or by phone at 508-359-2423, ext. 310.