Covid-19 Updates

5-22-20

Dear GBMS Community,

After several weeks of research and thoughtful deliberation, Great Beginnings has decided to open a modified Summer Camp starting June 15th.

Our teachers, our Board of Directors, our Covid-19 Task Force, and our professional advisors have been very active in working with our school to help develop guidelines and programming recommendations in this ever-changing climate. We have collectively decided to offer our modified camps based on the guidelines provided by the Gallatin County Health Department, which has advised us locally on best-practices and camp enrollment. We encourage you to put your child on the waitlist, in case we are able to increase our camp numbers throughout the summer.

How was this decision made?

This situation is evolving by the hour. Every school is struggling with what decisions are the “right” ones to make and, in many instances, we may not know what is “right” until we have the benefit of hindsight. Even then, we may not know. With that in mind, the “right” decision is one that considers public health guidance, the law, our school’s mission and culture, and our community’s safety. What is “right” for one school may not be right for another. Please keep this in mind as we review feedback about what other schools are doing.

During his remarks, Governor Bullock stressed, "Social distancing, wearing a cloth mask, washing your hands, and sanitizing are all part of our new normal. If not for you, do it for others, especially for the most vulnerable among us. Not following these guidelines could put us in a position where we have to go backward, instead of being able to continue to move forward.”

What will camp look like?

We have developed an extensive Covid-19 Summer Camp Operations Handbook, and we have developed protocol for various phases. Our Summer Camp procedures are based around a Red Light/ Yellow Light/ Modified Yellow Light/ Green Light framework. We do not expect this is going to be a linear progression. Instead, we anticipate that we will need to be fluid in hopping forwards and backwards as the situation in our community evolves.

Our Summer Camp will be in small “pods.” 10 campers will be with 2 counselors in closed “loops.” These groups will have separate bathrooms, classrooms, outdoor space, and activities. We are hoping to normalize “camp” for the kids, and do our best to support the children and balance the health/ safety requirements of our “new normal.”  Because of the closed “loops,” there will be no before or aftercare (when we usually combine groups of children and instructors). To help families with this change, we have altered the hours of camp to be from 8am – 4pm, and the same two instructors will be with the same children during the entire day.

Behind the scenes, we have extensive procedures for: cleaning and disinfecting procedures; Drop-Off and Pick-Up; Health Screening at Entry; Temperature Checks; Social Distancing; Outside Play; Meals and Snack Time; Toddler Considerations; Hygiene Practices; Cloth Face Coverings, and more. These will be shared upon request, and upon enrollment.

Schedule:

Our preliminary schedule is below (please note – this may be subject to change):

Bumblebee Camp (ages 2-3)/ Huckleberry Camp (ages 3-6):

  • Soft Opening/ Limited Enrollment Week 1: Weird Science! June 15 - 18, 2020

  • Small classroom “pods” June 22 – August 20, 2020

Yurt Camp (ages 6-11) Rising 1st - 5th grades

  • Soft Opening/ Limited Enrollment: Artful Adventures. Week 5:  July 13 - 16, 2020

  • Single “pod” July 20 - August 20, 2020

 

We are making every attempt to keep schedules as close to the originally planned events as possible, however, please understand that there may be schedule changes (which will be communicated to you in advance). We will not be pro-rating camps or programs based on schedule variations, as we will fill campers’ time with equally enriching activities.

SUMMER 2020 Projected Size

GBMS - Summer Camp/ Yellow Light – 60% enrollment – 30 children

Summer Camp 2020 – Yellow Light

  • Shooting Star = 10 children + 2 teachers (early childhood)

  • Buttercup = 10 children + 2 teachers (early childhood)

  • Lupine = 10 children + 2 teachers (toddler)

  • No Yurt Camp (elementary)

  • Total = 30 campers + 6 teachers

GBMS - Summer Camp/ Modified Yellow Light – 70% enrollment – 36 children (6 Yurt)

Summer Camp 2020 – Modified Yellow Light

  • Shooting Star = 10 children + 2 teachers (early childhood)

  • Buttercup = 10 children + 2 teachers (early childhood)

  • Lupine = 10 children + 2 teachers (toddler)

  • Reduced Yurt Camp = 6 children + 2 teachers (elementary)

  • Total = 36 campers + 8 teachers

GBMS - Summer Camp/ Green Light – 80% of enrollment – 40 children (10 Yurt)

Summer Camp 2020 – Green Light

  • Shooting Star = 10 children + 2 teachers (early childhood)

  • Buttercup = 10 children + 2 teachers (early childhood)

  • Lupine = 10 children + 2 teachers (toddler)

  • Yurt Camp = 10 children + 2 teachers (elementary)

  • Total = 40 campers + 8 teachers

Enrollment:

Great Beginnings Montessori School has been a local non-profit for 34 years and has offered Summer Nature Camps since 2007! Our Summer Camp provides quality, nature-based fun in an outdoor, hands-on setting. Campers spend most of their time outside, having a great time observing nature up-close using tools like binoculars, magnifying lenses and microscopes. Ecology concepts are introduced in a fun environment, with crafts, games and hands-on activities, and activities are specific to age groupings. If you would like to enroll, please visit our website: https://www.gbmsbozeman.org/

Cancellations:

Despite our best efforts for the summer, the public health situation may change throughout the summer. If GBMS is unable to adequately provide for health and safety during the summer, we will cancel/ alter camps/programs and communicate closures with as much notice as possible. We ask for your understanding if Covid-19 health concerns require us to cancel camps/programs.

If GBMS must cancel a program or camp due to Covid-19 circumstances, you will be notified and provided a full refund for unused camp days/weeks. Our Board of Directors has shortened the cancellation window for full-refund from 30-days to 14-days, taking into consideration the unpredictable environment of this summer. After 14-days, and unrelated to Covid-19, our regular summer camp/program cancellation policies will remain in effect throughout the summer.

If you need to cancel a camp, we will credit your account for the amount of the camp minus your non-refundable deposit. Written or email notification must be submitted 14-days prior to camp start date to receive credit. Please understand, we determine staffing based on camp enrollment and we want to ensure our teachers have the assurance of work 14-days prior to the camp start-date.

  • If you cancel within 14-days prior to your camp or program starting, you will not receive credit for the camp/program. You can send an email to cancel camps/programs to: mikel@gbmschool.org.

 

Please note – if your child is unwell/ if you have a family member who is unwell, your child will be excluded from camp. There will be a FULL refund regardless of the timeframe.

 

Communication:

If a child or family member(s) living in the same household are diagnosed with Covid-19, information will be shared with all our camp/program families. We will not cancel camps/programs due to third party exposures. However, please be advised that camps/ programs will be cancelled if there is a first-party exposure.

2020/21 Academic Year:

We appreciate the positive feedback we have received and your flexibility in using the next months to prepare for the launch of the 2020/21 academic year.

Our fall semester will likely be different from this year. We are planning to use physical distancing in classrooms and other COVID-19 adaptations to reduce the risk to students, faculty, staff, and guests. We will keep you up to date as we get closer to the start of the semester.

Thank you:

Please know that we are adjusting daily to new information and guidelines provided by state and local officials. We will do our best to keep you as informed as possible and ask for your patience as we navigate through changing circumstances.

Sincerely,

Gennifre Hartman, on behalf of Great Beginnings Montessori School

Resources

Phases for Re-Opening Montana:

 https://covid19.mt.gov/Portals/223/Documents/Reopening%20Montana%20Phased%20Approach.pdf?ver=2020-04-22-115707-770

The Governor's Phased Covid-19 Re-Opening Task Force: 

https://covid19.mt.gov/joint-information-center

American Camp Association – Covid -19 Resource Center:

https://www.acacamps.org/resource-library/coronavirus-information-camps

This Governor's Directive on Childcare from 4-3- 20: 

https://covid19.mt.gov/Portals/223/Documents/Childcare%20Directive.pdf?ver=2020-04-06-081113-263

© 2020 by Great Beginnings Montessori School

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