As we work through the complex questions surrounding potential scenarios for reopening, we are relying on guidance and recommendations from recognized experts and authorities in the field of public health. Our mission, philosophy, and core values also help guide us in our preparations.
After careful consideration of expert guidance, our current* plan is to begin the 2020–2021 school year on time and in person.
In order to accommodate the varying needs of TNCS families, an option for virtual only instruction is also available.
*Current as of July 22, 2020; plans are subject to change.
Health and Safety: The Top Priority
First and foremost, the health and safety of our students and staff is the utmost priority. Guidelines and recommendations from the CDC, Maryland Department of Health, MSDE, and the Office of Child Care (OCC), and our Wellness Committee have been the foundation of our decisions.
Agility for the upcoming school year will be vital. Our best laid plans for opening on time and remaining on campus will depend on the circumstances of the city, state, and world, recommendations of the above mentioned entities, and what is best for the overall health and safety of our community.
Flexibility for Hybrid and Virtual Models
While we are planning to open the campus at the start of the year, we are focusing on a hybrid model of instruction at all times. This will allow students to receive instruction and be a part of their classroom and school community regardless of whether they are on campus.
Students may learn entirely from home. Students who regularly attend on campus but are home due to illness (whether or not COVID related) will be able to join lessons virtually.
In addition, we are optimizing our program so that we can, as smoothly as possible, transition to a virtual environment for all students, if necessary.
The EPCC Program at TNCS
In mid-March, TNCS received approval from the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to operate as an official Essential Personnel Child Care (EPCC) site.
Safety practices from the EPCC Program have been applied to on site summer camps, and will continue to be followed as we re-open the campus for the academic year.
We are fortunate to be positioned to build upon the lessons that we learned while operating the EPCC and to use our hands-on EPCC experience to help us manage reopening for the 2020 – 2021 school year.
Health & Safety Parameters and Protocols
- The buildings are closed to parents and non-essential staff.
- Movement of students and teaching staff will be restricted to pre-defined indoor zones.
- During the school day, outdoor space will be utilized to its fullest potential.
- Classrooms will be well ventilated using our HVAC systems in conjunction with open windows and fans. Students should dress appropriately because classrooms may be warmer or cooler than normally expected.
- Health and safety policies are enhanced and enforced in order to protect the TNCS community.
Drop Off & Pick Up
- Please allow extra time for drop off and pick up.
- Both drivers and walkers must drop off and pick up outside. We will establish zones based on your child’s division and/or cohort.
- Drivers must remain inside their vehicles at all times.
Temperature Checks & Health Screening
- We encourage all parents to take their child’s temperature at home before leaving for school.
- The temperatures of staff and children will be taken upon arrival.
- Temperatures must be below 100.4 F to attend school.
- Face masks must be worn to school every day and are required for all children ages 2 and up. Staff use positivity and creativity to promote mask wearing for all as much as possible.
- Parents and caregivers are required to wear face masks at all times when on TNCS property.
Lunch and Snacks
- The lunch program is currently closed. We will assess demand and look at the feasibility of reopening it in the coming months.
- Students will eat lunch outdoors or in their classroom, 6 ft. or more apart.
- Students in the Preschool program will receive snacks.
- All food brought from home must be nut-free.
- Classes have been planned to accommodate a maximum of 15 total people (students and teachers) per classroom.
- Social distancing will be practiced as much as possible; no interaction between classes takes place including at lunchtime and recess.
- You must stay home and alert the school immediately if anyone in your household tests positive or suspects a case of COVID-19.
- If your child or anyone in your household does not feel well, keep your child home.
- Children will be sent home if they exhibit signs of respiratory infection, fever, acute onset of cough, sore throat, new shortness of breath.
- If a child is sent home for health reasons, parents are expected to pick up within 30 minutes of being notified.
- TNCS will report any cases of COVID-19 to both MSDE/OCC and the local health department. Those entities will give guidance on a case by case basis regarding follow up procedures/mitigations/
- For everyone’s well-being, we will inform families if an individual in our community is under investigation for COVID-19 or has symptoms consistent with a possible COVID-19 case. We will work with local authorities to plan next steps, which may include closing a classroom or the facility for a period of time.
- Students and staff members returning from a destination under CDC Level-3 Travel Health Notice, or under travel restrictions by local or state authorities, or whose household members have returned from such a destination, will be required to stay home and monitor their health for a period of 14 days before returning to campus.
Cleaning practices at TNCS follow the CDC COVID-19 Environmental Cleaning Disinfection protocol.
TNCS Wellness Team
Our current plans for the start of school are informed by the TNCS Wellness Team, which includes an epidemiologist and other doctors and medical professionals, and information available to us at this time from the local health departments and the MSDE Office of Child Care.
It is important to note that our plans are by no means final. We will continue to monitor the constantly evolving pandemic situation in Baltimore City and Maryland. We will also continue to be advised by the TNCS Wellness Team and the local agencies listed above.