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Mackintosh Academy’s highest priority is the health and safety of its students. One of the most important ways we can do this is by providing accurate and timely information about the COVID-19 outbreak. See below for related school announcements, links to previous HOS emails to parents, and links to a collection of important resources and up-to-date advisories and information.

School Reopening plan as of August 10, 2020

Back to School Tips for COVID-19

Messages from the Head of School

October 9, 2020

Dear Mack Parents:

It has been a few weeks since my last Friday Connections, not because I didn’t want to connect but because I kept waiting for one piece of very important but elusive good news that I wanted to share, one that connects us all. We are now cleared to occupy our beautiful new arts expansion!!! This represents the combined power of our vision, generosity, persistence, and patience. What a fabulous step forward for Mackintosh. We will cut a ceremonial ribbon with your children on Monday and will be inviting all of you to celebrate with us virtually in a few weeks. Stay tuned for details.

Fall Break is almost upon us. This mid-October respite is always a welcome time to slow down, sleep in, maybe enjoy the colors of our beautiful mountains before winter descends upon us. As I mentioned in an earlier communication, what this break is not is a break from the need for vigilance and safety. With colder weather coming, we absolutely must double down on our efforts to keep this virus away from our school community, as much as possible, by wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds and unnecessary travel. In addition to what you are already doing (which includes being so cooperative in letting us know of health concerns) we ask the following for the foreseeable future:

  • If you and your family travel by plane, please notify Sarah Schultz in the front office, so we can be more vigilant in our observations for any possible symptoms.
  • If during those travels, you end up visiting a hot spot for virus transmissions, please quarantine for two weeks upon your return. Your children will be able to remote into classes through MackFLEX.
  • If you and your family travel out of the country, please quarantine for two weeks upon your return. Your children will be able to remote into classes through MackFLEX.
  • And, take the time, now, to get flu shots for you and your children.

All of us must maintain our focus and stamina for meeting the challenges we face together this year. We are truly responsible for each other’s safety.

At an ACIS (Association of Colorado Independent Schools) Heads of School meeting earlier this week, we were discussing how thriving during this time required a strong and ongoing interdependent effort—children, parents, faculty and staff. And your Mack teachers echoed this sentiment when they chose Survive and Thrive as their theme for this year. Together, we will do both.

Warm regards and have a wonderful weekend,

Diane

August 19, 2020

 

Dear Parents,

We are just one short week away from the beginning of school.  As we move from an unusual summer into an exciting but still unusual fall, we are looking forward to reconnecting with our Mack students on a daily basis, whether in person or online.  Every year at this time I send home a few procedural details and reminders about the return to school.  This year the list is much longer to include many necessary new procedures.  Please be sure to read through this entire communication; we have a lot to share!

Community Health
Now more than ever, we are all in this together.  Please help us have a healthy on-campus start to the school year by carefully following Safer at Home guidelines and communicating any health issues with the school.  We ask parents to please share known exposures immediately with staff and to abide by quarantine guidelines (see below.)

Got Questions?
While we have made every effort to clearly communicate plans, we know that the landscape has continued to shift over the summer.  We will be providing a link to the new 2020-2021 Student-Parent Handbook this Friday.  It includes our regular school policies and procedures, plus many new procedures specifically related to the Pandemic.  These have been written in blue for easy reference.  If after reading the Handbook and reviewing the Back to Mack Plan you still have burning questions, we are happy to answer them during our upcoming Town Hall meetings scheduled Monday, August 24th at 6:00 pm Zoom and Tuesday, August 25th at 9:00 am Zoom.  You are also invited to email us directly with any questions.  Please allow us 24 hours to respond to written requests – it is a rather busy time!

Mark Your Calendar:  Please be sure to note the following important Back-to School Events
August 24 & 25: Back to School Conferences (Sign up via ParentSquare)
August 24 (6:00pm) Zoom & 25 (9:00am) Zoom: Town Hall Meetings
August 25:  Mandatory New Parent Orientation 7:008:30 pm Zoom
August 26: First Day of School 5th through 8th Grades
August 27: First Day of School 2nd through 4th Grades
August 28: First Day of School PreK – 2nd Grades
August 31: First Day of School for Hybrid Learners (5th8th grade students may be invited to select classes earlier; please watch for separate communications.)
September 2: Mandatory Back to School Night 6:00 – 8:00 pm (Zoom link will be forwarded separately)
September 7: Labor Day NO SCHOOL

Conferences:
If you have not already signed up for conferences Monday, August 24th or Tuesday, August 25th, please do so by signing up through ParentSquare.  This is an important time to meet with your child’s teacher. Students in third grade and higher should attend with their parents.  All conferences will be held virtually.

School start and end times:
All 1st through 8th grade classes begin promptly at 8:30. We ask that students arrive between 8:00 and 8:20. Early drop-off is not permitted.  PreK and Kindergarten classes will start at 8:45.  PreK and Kindergarten drop-off starts at 8:15. Classes dismiss according to the schedule on your school calendar.  The calendar can be found on our website and on ParentSquare.

Before and After Care:
Before and After Care will be available starting Monday August 31st.  No drop-in child care is available.  Families needing child care are required to pre-enroll and pay a fixed fee.  If you have not yet enrolled and anticipate needing child care, please contact the Front Office frontoffice@mackintoshacademy.com.  Spaces are limited.

Hybrid Learning:
Students must formally be enrolled if they are to participate in hybrid learning.  A commitment of three weeks is required for the beginning of the school year (unless a child is in a quarantine period.) If you have not registered, but are planning on having your child participate in MackFLEX Hybrid, please notify me  immediately. beth@mackintoshacademy.com

Quarantine:
Students who have been outside the US are required to quarantine for 14 days prior to attending school.  Students with a known exposure to someone diagnosed with or reasonably assumed to have had COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days.  Students who have spent time in another state with high COVID-19 transmission are requested to self-quarantine for 14 days.  Quarantined students may participate in Hybrid learning until the end of the quarantine period.  This applies both to the beginning of school and any possible travel during the school year.

Screening:
Families are required to complete and submit a daily health screen prior to bringing their child on campus.  The health screen is available on ParentSquare and is shown in red on the upper right corner of the ParentSquare home screen.  Screening must be completed between 8:00 pm the night before and 8:00 am on the school day. If a health screen form has not been completed, the parent will be asked to park their vehicle and wait for a staff member to complete the screening.  Late submissions (after 8:00 am) will not be accepted, as screening requires a temperature check.  A member of the Mackintosh staff will screen the child as soon as they are able. Until that time, both parent and child must remain in their vehicle.  Mackintosh staff will also complete random health screens upon arrival and at other times during the school day.

When to Stay Home:
A known COVID-19 exposure or new symptoms of COVID-19 (listed on the screening form and also available in the Handbook) either observed by a parent or staff member will necessitate a 10 day isolation period (at home) plus a minimum of 24 hours fever free prior to returning to school unless:
• Symptoms resolve in 24 hours (without medication) OR
• A medical professional has ruled out COVID-19 (e.g. positive strep test)
In these cases the child may return to school when healthy.  A doctor’s note will be required for B.

Please note that guidelines and procedures may change based on Health Department updates.  We have specific procedures related to individual, cohort and whole-school quarantine.  The school will contact parents if any of these need to be enacted.

We are attaching for your reference a wonderful tool provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment entitled “Can I go to school today?”  It provides clear and helpful guidelines for parents.

Masks:
All students are required to wear masks during the school day.  Students must arrive wearing their mask and must bring a second clean mask every day.  We will be helping the students create proper storage containers for masks to be used during mask breaks such as lunchtime. Mackintosh will have masks available should a child’s masks break or become unwearable during the school day.

Campus Access:
Parents will not be allowed to enter any buildings on campus until further notice.  Parents of children in PreK must walk their child to the PreK playground upon arrival at school, where they will be greeted by a teacher.  Parents of students entering Kindergarten may walk their child to the door of the Kindergarten classroom.  Parents of children in grades one through eight are asked to remain in their vehicle at all times unless they need to assist a student in exiting a vehicle safely.

Should a parent need to drop off an item or drop off or pick up a child early, they are required to phone or email the Front office for assistance.

Parking:
Parking on campus is only permitted for parents of PreK and Kindergarten students during morning drop-off.  If a parent intends to park their vehicle, we ask that they arrive between 8:30 and 8:45am.  These parents may use the spots on the east side of the lot only (east side of the island, or spots adjacent to the playing field.) These spots may not be used by any parent after 8:45am as they will be used for outdoor classroom activities. West parking spots and spots by the PreK/K building are reserved for teaching staff.

Car line Procedures:
It is critical that parents abide by drop off and pick-up times.  We cannot offer drop-in childcare at this time, and the need to minimize contact between cohorts severely limits staff availability.  We ask that you pay careful attention to your child’s time slot.

Drop-off Times
1st-8th grades 8:00 – 8:25 am (We recommend older children be dropped off in the earlier part of this time frame.)
PreK – K 8:15 – 8:45am.  If you will be parking, please do not arrive prior to 8:30.

Pick-up Times
PreK/K 2:50
1st/2nd 3:10
3rd/4th 3:20
5th/6th 3:30
7th/8th 3:40

Parents with more than one child, may come at the oldest child’s pick-up time.  If your children have significantly different pick-up times, you are welcome to pick up one sibling and return to campus later to pick up the other(s).

Carline drop-off and pick-up will be contactless to protect our staff.  Staff will not be available to assist with backpacks, seatbelts or other items.  Staff will also not open or shut car doors and trunks.  Please work at home with your child on safe procedures for entering and exiting a vehicle. We ask that parents remain in the vehicle at all times.  If a child must have parent assistance, please turn off the engine, quickly exit the vehicle to assist the child, and return immediately.  Parents exiting a vehicle are required to wear a mask.

Parents of children in PreK and Kindergarten may park their vehicle and escort the child.  Parking for PreK and Kindergarten parents is restricted to the period between 8:30 and 8:45 am.

Drop-off and Pick-up Locations:
Drop-off for all students (unless being walked by a parent) is at the main sidewalk entrance in front of the north building.

Pick-up for PreK and Kindergarten students will be at the lower entranceway to the kindergarten classroom.

Pick-up for all other students is in front of the north building.  To maintain social distancing and minimize contact between cohorts, students may be staged in different waiting areas for pick-up, including a section of the parking lot.  Please do not stop to pick up a child in a waiting area, rather pull your vehicle to the approved loading area and we will bring the child to the car.

We ask for extra patience as we fine tune pick-up procedures – these may change!

Please also take careful note of our regular carline procedures from our Parent Handbook.

  1. Drivers will enter and exit the parking lot slowly and with caution. Note that there is a one-way flow of traffic counter-clockwise around the entry loop.
  2. Parents/Guardians will not leave children unattended in their car.
  3. Car engines will not be kept running if a driver is not in the vehicle and in the driver’s seat.
  4. The sidewalk/walkway leading to the Administration Building will be kept open and free of cars at all times (with the exception of carline when parents are dropping students off or picking them up at this location).
  5. Parents/visitors that park behind another car are required to leave their keys in the car or with the main office.  Alternately they may place a note on their window with their name and location on campus in case the vehicle needs to be moved.
  6. The carline procedure at drop-off in the morning and pick-up in the afternoon involves:
    • Entering the parking lot and circling until the driver reaches the entrance to the North Building where a staff member will be standing to assist with helping the student from or into the vehicle.
    • The driver will come to a complete stop and stay within the vehicle while the staff member assists the student(s) in entering or leaving the vehicle.
    • The driver will make sure that the student is ready to leave the car (in the morning) with his/her lunch, backpack, etc. in easily accessible locations so that the line may move forward as effectively and efficiently as possible.
    • If a student is not ready to unload from or load into his/her car, the driver will be kindly asked by the staff to circle the lot again to keep the carline moving.
    • Parents/guardians will not use the carline time to discuss issues with their student’s teachers.  A telephone message or e-mail may be sent to the teacher to determine an appropriate time for discussion.
  7. If a parent/guardian/driver needs to park during carline, he/she will be expected to leave the vehicle parked until a break in the carline traffic or the end of carline to allow the process to move forward without interruption.  Vehicles backing into the carline create hazardous situations for other drivers and students; therefore, staff will strictly maintain this policy.

Snacks/Lunches and Trash:
Snacks and lunches will be consumed outdoors.  We will be using a broad variety of spaces for lunch, which may include eating on the grass or a patio area.  Students may bring a small cloth napkin for food items.  There will be absolutely no sharing of food.  Students will be asked to place all uneaten items and food trash back into their lunchbox for disposal at home.  You may wish to include a container or bag for messy items like half-eaten yogurts.  We will not be providing outdoor trash containers; this avoids having children exposed to food waste from other students.

Prince Street: 
The posted speed limit on Prince Street is 30 mph.  Spots near the school are closely monitored by the Littleton police.

You made it to the end. Thank you for reading through carefully and following these procedures diligently. Please review the attached CDPHE document Can I go to school today?  And stay tuned for the updated Student/Parent Handbook coming your way on Friday.

Sincerely,

Beth Steklac
Assistant Head of School

 

August 10, 2020

Dear Parents,

We are now just a few short weeks from the start of the 20/21school year and the re-opening of our campus. Below you will find information on two specific programs, MackFLEX Hybrid Learning and Before and After Care, requiring enrollment decisions this week.

We thank you for your recent survey responses. As expected, our community has a wide variety of needs and preferences. The majority of our families (72%) continue to prefer on-campus learning. Just over one-third of this group currently consider remote learning to be challenging at this time. The remaining 28% of families prefer remote learning with just over half of those families finding on-campus learning to be challenging at this time.

Our teachers and administration are committed and working hard to best meet the needs of all Mackintosh students this fall. Our unique set-up – 110 students, not 1100 students; small class sizes; windows that open; exterior doors; large outdoor spaces; and, most importantly, a motivated and responsible parent community – positions us well for on-campus learning. We continue to move forward with our re-opening plan and look forward to seeing many of our children once again in-person. It is essential that parents support our re-opening plans by taking extra precautions during this time of travel and family vacations. Please, please follow CDC, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Governor Polis’ safety guidelines—wear masks in public, avoid large gatherings, socially distance. Your well-being is intricately connected to everyone else’s. We are all responsible for each other and want to come back together as a school community in late August, strong, healthy and ready to learn.

As part of our fall planning we require some important decisions and commitments from our families this week. Below, you will see details regarding enrollment in the MackFLEX Hybrid learning program and enrollment in before and aftercare. Enrollment in any of these programs is required by August 14th.

Hybrid Enrollment

As part of our MackFLEX learning, Mackintosh is providing a hybrid learning option for families needing to keep their child home due to COVID-19 health concerns. The goal of MackFLEX Hybrid is to give students access to the planned on-campus learning. MackFLEX Hybrid will look different in each grade level. In general, children may expect periods of the day where they have direct video access to regular in-class teaching and group work. Students participating in MackFLEX Hybrid will also have some independent work times and assignments. MackFLEX Hybrid is not the same as the independent, stand-alone MackFLEX Learning Program (fully remote) we offered last spring. That program was based on a defined schedule of Zoom classes and all students working from home. Teaching and learning in the Hybrid option will be based on the planned on-campus programming with the majority of students physically in the classroom. As much as possible, students at home will be provided access to the classroom through video and other electronic means. There will be necessary screen breaks and independent work times throughout the day for students learning from home. We are working on ways to assist with the social aspects of school through virtual buddies and some group activities with both virtual and on-campus students.

To assist our teachers in planning, families must formally register for hybrid learning. Consistency and predictability, while scarce in this unusual time, are key for success of both our teachers and children. We ask that students who enroll for hybrid learning commit initially to a minimum of three weeks at home. Please note that our hybrid learning option begins on Monday, August 31, allowing teachers the necessary time to initiate in-class teaching and learning that will also support our hybrid students. This means the initial commitment for the Hybrid option is Monday, August 31 through Friday, September 18. Prior to September 18, we will contact families to determine if they wish to continue with hybrid learning through the remainder of the Unit of Inquiry period, approximately three more weeks, or choose to switch to on campus learning. Subsequently, all enrollment periods for Hybrid (or any change from on-campus to Hybrid or from Hybrid to on-campus) will be based on the Unit of Inquiry cycles, requiring an approximately six-week commitment.

Exceptions:

  • Isolated or quarantined children may join the MackFLEX Hybrid program at any time
  • In the case of an entire cohort in quarantine, the cohort will move to the MackFLEX Learning Program (fully remote); this will include students already in the Hybrid program.

To enroll your children in MackFLEX Hybrid, please send an email
to beth@mackintoshacademy.com no later that Friday August 14th.

Childcare Enrollment

This fall Mackintosh will be offering both Before and After Care. We are restricting enrollment to 20 students in each of these programs. We ask that spaces be reserved for families needing childcare to support employment. Families wishing to enroll in Before or After Care must reserve and pay for a spot in advance. These children may then use as little or as much time as needed in the regularly scheduled hours. No drop-in childcare will be available. Families must register for the entire term. Should we have openings after the initial enrollment period, partial registrations may be considered. Children in Before and After Care will be considered to be in defined cohorts for COVID-19 possible tracing needs. Please note that all safety protocols in place during the regular school day will also be enforced during Before and After Care. In addition, our plan is for students to be outside as much as possible during these times.

Before Care Hours: 7:00 – 8:15 am. Childcare provided by Mrs. Mindy Lambert
After Care Hours: 3:00 – 6:00 pm. Childcare provided by Mrs. Clara Butler

Childcare costs are outlined below. Fees cover the period from August 31st** to December 17. Childcare will be billed through FACTS on September 1st. Prorated refunds will be available to parents for any periods of MackFLEX fully remote learning.

After Care: 1st child $600, each additional sibling $540
Before Care:1st child $240, each additional sibling $225

To enroll your child(ren) in Before or After Care (or both) please send an email to frontoffice@mackintoshacademy.com with your child’s full name and your chosen program(s) no later than Friday August 14th.

**Due to construction delays, it is possible that childcare may not be available the first or even second week of school. We need to be sure the gym and art room (the new home of childcare) are safe and ready for occupancy before we can commence childcare programming. Should the start of care be delayed, fees will be prorated.

Sincerely,

Beth Steklac

July 31, 2020

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

Approaching the beginning of August, our thoughts always turn more and more to the start of school. This year, those thoughts are fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. We all want to embrace the exciting promise of the new school year but, at the same time, we all want to remain safe. The teaching and administrative staff at Mack are totally aligned with you, our parents, in working diligently to make the best decisions for the benefit of your children. Hopefully, you have had a chance to review our Back-to-Mack Reopening Plan. If you haven’t, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. https://mackintoshacademy.com/covid-19/

As I sat down to write this message to you, I saw the email from our School Health Policy and Prevention Coordinator at Tri-County Health Department announcing new reopening guidance from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), developed in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Initial review indicates that our plan adheres to and quite often exceeds the major requirements. Our Admin team will be working next week to drill down into the details of this document. We will update our reopening plan accordingly, incorporate protocols into our Student and Parent Handbook, and communicate with you.

In the meantime, we want to hear from you to gain a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings right now. Please take the time to respond to this short survey by Wednesday, so we can include your input into the next stage of our planning.

 

 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdgrsq_EIKRWESCqomKlEUOZqPPTYd_t_fEKxcJhVowidRE7Q/viewform

 

One final note – we urge our entire community to take extra precautions during this time of travel and family vacations. Please, please follow CDC and Governor Polis’ safety guidelines—wear masks in public, avoid large gatherings, socially distance. Your well-being is intricately connected to everyone else’s. We are all responsible for each other and want to come back together as a school community in late August, strong, healthy and ready to learn.

 

Warm regards,

Diane

July 17, 2020

 

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

I hope you and your family are staying healthy and are able to enjoy summer amid all the anxiety and fatigue surrounding this pandemic. What a time we are living through!

As promised, we are sending out our Back-to-Mack Reopening Plan, attached below. Please know that we will continue to update as additional health guidelines are established. This plan and all updates will be posted on our website along with a wealth of other COVID-19-related information and communications. https://mackintoshacademy.com/covid-19/

You are invited to attend one of our two office-hour Zoom meetings scheduled for next week during which Beth Steklac, Sharon Muench and I will address your questions about this Back-to-Mack Reopening Plan.

  • Monday, July 20 at 6:30pm
  • Tuesday, July 21 at 8:00am.
  • Join Zoom Meeting (Please check your email inboxes for the meeting information)

If those times do not work for you, you may email me directly.

We are at a particularly difficult stage in this pandemic, with an upsurge across the nation and increasing cases in Colorado. Schools’ ability to reopen campuses and remain open are dependent on the prudent choices we all make over the next few weeks and months. Here are some links for you to review: Governor Polis’ new mask mandate and information about travel concerns.

https://covid19.colorado.gov/mask-guidance
https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html#cases
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-in-the-us.html
https://covid19.colorado.gov/frequently-asked-questions-faq#Travel

We have asked our faculty and staff, and we ask you, our Mack families, to join together in adhering to these guidelines and making those sometimes tough personal choices to benefit our entire community. These times require tremendous flexibility, resilience, and generosity on all our parts.

Warm regards,

Diane

 

July 3, 2020

 

Dear Mack Parents:

Celebrating a national holiday, during this troubled and uncertain time, demands that we rededicate ourselves to our shared positive values, nurture our deep respect for each other, and find direction from the lessons of our communal history. At the same time we must dig deep to find the will and strength to address the problems that beset us. Those imperatives are equally valid for our small gem of a school. We take joy in knowing that we give the best to and bring out the best in our children, but, at the same time, we cannot be impervious to the struggles we must face in order to stay true to our mission during this coming school year.

Over this Fourth of July weekend, I wanted to update you on where we are and will be with our plans for reopening in August, and with the latest news of ongoing work and progress in many other areas.

Status of Progress on Reopening Plans

Intentional and determined work continues unabated in this area. Our achievable goal is to mitigate, not eliminate, risk, and we recognize we must be flexible and prepared to adjust, as needed, on short notice.

  • We are still planning on a five-day, on-campus program with incorporation of virtual aspects to meet needs of students whose health profile temporarily precludes their attendance.
  • Work on improving our Mack Flex Learning plan continues in order for us to transition into off-campus, temporary virtual teaching and learning should circumstances and government mandates require.
  • The expanded 2020/2021 School Year Calendar and Supply List, sent to you earlier this week, incorporate strategies (staggered start to beginning of school year, virtual conferences and gatherings, tech/supply fees) to accommodate this evolving situation.
  • The Back to Mack Task Force is developing recommendations in specific areas and will convene next Thursday.
  • More details on the reopening plan will be announced to parents on July 17 with the caveat that this is not the final word—things are changing rapidly, and we must be responsive to realities.
  • Administration is currently updating and revising the Student/Parent Handbook to delineate specific COVID protocols and procedures. This will be forwarded to families in August.

Physical Improvements on Campus

Much work has already been achieved and continues on our arts expansion and existing classrooms.

  • Expansion: drywalling is completed, temporary wall between gym and stage has been removed, floor finishes will be installed within the next two weeks, stage curtains and sound system have been ordered. The plan remains for us to be able to occupy this new space at the start of school.
  • Existing classrooms: carpet has been removed and new easy-to-clean floor surfaces have been installed in our two-section 3/4 classrooms, connected not combined first and second grades classrooms, and kindergarten classroom.

Teachers, Teachers, Teachers

  • We are fully staffed for the start of the 20/21 school year with two new-to-Mackintosh teachers: Sarah Fishman (second section of 3/4) and Delaney Monroe (first grade.)
  • With guidance from Curriculum Coordinator, Sharon Muench, faculty are engaging in professional development around IB, virtual and hybrid teaching strategies, as well as specific tech skills.
  • The upgrades and changes in location of classrooms mean teachers have been busy cleaning out materials, moving supplies and furniture, painting walls, rethinking and redesigning their teaching spaces to accommodate social distancing.
  • Teachers are busily putting together individual student caddies with classroom and art supplies to reduce significantly use of communal materials.
  • Teachers will have their classrooms ready for the first day of school before the start of our August 12 meetings. We know that this year, we will need all those days of faculty meetings and trainings to provide the safe and smooth transition back to campus your children deserve.

Keeping ourselves and others safe

The following is adapted from a long message I sent to teachers earlier this week and wanted to share with you, urging you to follow. This is more important now than ever in light of the recent upsurge in Coronavirus cases.

It is essential that we all follow CDC, health department and state-recommended and -required safety guidelines this summer and into the school year, whether we are on or off campus. Social distancing and appropriate mask wearing are essential for our health and the health of others. Be extremely mindful of your travel plans and generally limiting the cohort of folks you interact with. Be aware of state regulations about quarantining when you return from travel to other states. I will be urging our parent community to do the same. The data show that transmission is much more likely to come through adults and not children. We, as educators, are responsible for providing a safe school environment by restricting and monitoring our own behavior. This becomes increasingly important as we move closer to the start of the school year. We are a dedicated and professional group of educators, and I know you take your responsibilities seriously and will act accordingly.

Enjoy this holiday weekend with your family.

With affection and great regard for you and your children,

Diane

May 29, 2020

 

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

This last week of school contained a wealth of celebrations:

  • Class Closure Meetings
  • 6th grade Exhibition Group Presentations
  • Field Day
  • Fun Day
  • Closing Ceremonies
  • World Premier of Middle School Zoom Romeo and Juliet
  • Graduation (On demand version available soon)
  • Tomorrow’s Final Car Line Parade!

These were all opportunities for us to acknowledge what we have accomplished together this school year and, especially, these last two-and-a-half months. As I told the eighth graders and their parents at graduation this morning, this was not the closing we would have wished for our students, but this virtual and distanced reality is our truth right now, rooted in our caring for each other, our consideration for our community, as well as our determination to persist and make the best of a difficult situation. There is no doubt that we succeeded. Our Mack Flex Learning Plan (engaging teachers, students and parents) provided a gold standard in distance learning, and our closing ceremonies symbolized the deep connection we enjoy with one another.

Your children’s teachers are busy at work finalizing grades and writing their personal and thoughtful narratives. After proofing and final editing by administrative staff next week, these grade reports will be sent digitally to you the following weekend.

Now begins the next phase of our work to design what next school year will look like. As I mentioned in an earlier Friday Connections, our goal is to open on time (August 26) back on campus. But in order to provide a safe environment and to adhere to public health mandates, we know it will look different from last August. And what it will look like will evolve throughout the summer and into the school year. It will require the best of all of us—our patience, flexibility and good will—but we have demonstrated we are up to the challenge and we recognize the rewards are worth it. Thank you for the time you took to complete our parent survey this past week. We are analyzing your responses and will be working with our Back to Mack Task Force while staying on top of developing CDC and Department of Education guidelines and public health requirements. More details will be forthcoming within the next two weeks, including a schedule for ongoing communication and conversations with you via small group virtual meetings and Summer Friday Connections emails.

I hope to see you all (at a distance) during our Final Car Line Parade tomorrow.

Congratulations to all our graduates and best wishes for a healthy and joyful summer,

Diane

April 24, 2020

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

Pursuant to Governor Polis’ executive order issued last Wednesday, April 22, all public school campuses, from Pre-K through high school, will remain closed through the end of the current school year. Mackintosh, along with other ACIS schools, will adhere to that order. The safety of our families, faculty and your children must be our highest priority. We will follow our 2019-2020 school calendar by offering a continuation of our extensive Mack Flex Learning Plan through Friday, May 22. After the Memorial Day holiday, we will offer end-of-school year activities remotely, including Field Day and Graduation. Of necessity, they will look very different, but we will do our best to provide those fun and celebratory moments in order to conclude this school year on a positive note, and we will continue to offer MACKs enrichment suggestions into the summer. Of course, this was not what any of us wanted, and I know it is a tremendous hardship for all of you, but it is heartening to know that our efforts and sacrifices are working to decrease the transmission of COVID-19, keeping us safer and paving the way to a healthy future together.

Based on our analysis and your feedback, we continue to hone our Mack Flex Learning Plan. We are listening. One of the areas we will be looking at more deeply is how to address the social needs of our students, who have been cut off from the very important more informal interactions with their peers. We spent a long time in our recent faculty meeting brainstorming ways we could support those social relationships. Teachers will be incorporating more social interaction time into and around their classes. And even though we ask that you continue to adhere to our tech policy of utilizing student Mackintosh Academy email addresses only for school, we do encourage you to explore ways, using Facetime, Zoom, Skype and other platforms to extend the time that your children connect with each other. Parents all have access to FACTS /Renweb as a way of locating Mack parent emails in your child’s grade, so you can set up these important opportunities for your children. While we will start sending our Mack Flex Learning Plan parent surveys on an every-other-week basis, we are always open to your questions, ideas and concerns.

All my good wishes for a happy weekend with your family,

Diane

April 1, 2020

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

You may have watched Governor Polis’ press conference earlier today declaring that all Colorado schools, public and private, will remain closed through April 30. Mackintosh Academy Littleton will adhere to that order, and we will continue to provide the Mack Flex Learning Plan for all our students. While this is not what anyone wanted and is tremendously disruptive to all of our lives, I concur that it is essential for responding to this current public health crisis. We are past the middle of our first full week of remote teaching and learning. There have been glitches, questions, suggestions, and changes (totally expected), but we have been pleased at the level and quality of student (and parent) engagement. Teaching and learning is happening at Mack, if not yet back on our campus. I know you join me in being thankful to all our teachers, parent volunteers, and support staff, especially Curriculum Coordinator Sharon Muench, for their ongoing work in designing and providing high quality remote education through our Mack Flex Learning Plan. And we are very grateful to all of you for your patience and continued support and partnership, and particularly appreciative of the sacrifices of our parents who serve as health care professionals during this pandemic.

We miss seeing you and your children in person, but we are, nonetheless, together in facing this crisis.

Have a good evening and stay healthy and safe.

Continue to practice social distancing,

Diane

March 19. 2020

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

I sincerely wish that we had a chance to catch our collective breath before circumstances demand that another one of these communications be sent to you, but that is not the case. Pursuant to Governor Polis’ declaration yesterday, with full support of our Board of Trustees, and in partnership with other ACIS schools, Mackintosh Academy Littleton will continue its suspension of on-campus classes through Friday, April 17.

We will begin remote/blended learning with a modified schedule on Monday, March 30 and then a full schedule on Tuesday, March 31, modeled after the examples we sent in our earlier COVID-19 email. This will continue through April 17 and will be extended further if necessary. A clear, detailed schedule for your child’s remote learning experience will be sent to you by Friday, March 27 by your child’s homeroom teacher, via ParentSquare and as an email.

As I have communicated earlier, faculty and staff have been working steadfastly for many weeks now in order to ramp up our remote learning skills and technical capacity, and to develop plans. There have been many joyful as well as productive interactions between teachers and students this week, culminating in conferences today and tomorrow. I do ask your patience as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters together.

As far as I know, there have been no confirmed positives for cases of COVID-19 in our community (parents, students, faculty/staff, family members residing with them); however, the Nurse Consultant has asked that I request that parents inform the school if that changes. The reasoning is that it will help us to get a pulse on how many of our Mack families and staff are affected and to consult with the Tri-County health department for guidance on when our school might resume on-campus classes. Please send any such updates, with pertinent dates, to communityhealth@mackintoshacademy.com All personal information will remain confidential.

It is a tremendously disruptive and stressful time for all of us. It seems like this crisis has flung us so fast and so far away from each other and what we know and can trust. Nevertheless, I also know that we are a strong community and that together we are building a temporary bridge that will protect our children from this tumultuous time and will eventually lead us back together .

Stay strong and healthy,

Diane

March 16, 2020

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

This is a long email with lots of information about our educational planning moving forward. While we are not on campus, we are still in school and preparing to offer your child excellent academic experiences, resources, and support. Before I get into all the details, I first want to say that speaking for all our faculty and staff, we miss your children already and are keeping all of you in our hearts. We are particularly mindful of the sacrifices that our parents who are health care professionals are making daily on our behalf. It is clear from following the news developments that we will not return to campus, as planned, on Monday, March 30th after Spring Break. We all wish this were otherwise, and if something happened to change that assumption, we would celebrate welcoming back your children. Being realistic, I don’t see that happening; no one knows how long this crisis will last. I do know that we will be with you all the way until it is resolved.

You were sent an email earlier today by your child’s homeroom teacher, detailing what this current week looks like, with some activities and assignments. That email also explains how this Thursday and Friday portfolio conferences will work. While these are optional, we strongly encourage you to participate with your child. The students have worked so hard in preparation, and it also gives us all a chance to practice using the Zoom video conferencing platform we hope to utilize after the break. The remainder of this email focuses on the status of plans for after Spring Break; this is still a work in progress, but we wanted to share with you our thinking, so far. Please read all the way down this email.

After Spring Break, we will provide a rich remote learning environment that offers meaningful educational experiences with a routine and social interactions so valuable to young people. Our daily schedule will include a class meeting, along with lessons that support the intended core concepts within each classroom. Additional time will be offered for teachers to connect with parents or support individual or small group learning. Independent work will be assigned for all students. We are still refining our schedule as we learn about our families’ remote working and learning needs. We are attempting to meet the greatest number of our families’ needs, although we expect for there to be “bumps in the road” as we venture on this journey. Please be patient; this is uncharted territory for all of us. Just to give you an idea, see below possibilities of what a schedule might look like for your child. These are NOT finalized and will be refined in the coming week with our staff.

Each K-8th grade class will have:

  • Google Website that will provide parents and students with easy access to upcoming due dates, links to independent work assignments, and optional teacher-vetted enrichment activities
  • Google Classrooms for Core Classes for tasks and assignments
  • Zoom Conferencing for Live Remote Classes

Pre-K Classroom

  • Ms. Logan is providing a weekly routine of activities for your child to use. It is optional to maintain this schedule, but the routine may be helpful for you and your child.
  • There are “assignments” for each child to share pictures of their work via the Parent’s ParentSquare account.
  • Pre-K students will not need technology devices to complete their routine.

Grade K Classroom Schedule Possibility

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00-10:00am Independent Work Routine- Schedule as provided by Mrs. Conner. This time is provided for open office hours for teachers to connect with parents or have individual or small focus learning groups with students. There will be a schedule of independent projects, activities, and reading for your child to select from.
10:00-10:55am Community Meeting via Zoom Conference
11:00-11:30am Math Lesson
12:00-12:25pm Optional Language Arts or Unit of Inquiry Lesson

 

Grades 1st – 6th Classroom Schedule Possibility
(The exact subject in each time period will vary by grade level)

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30-9:55am Community Meeting Independent Work Routine-Schedule as provided by Homeroom Teacher.
9:00-9:25am Unit of Inquiry Math Lesson via Zoom Conference by Math Group Unit of Inquiry Math Lesson via Zoom Conference by Math Group
9:45-10:20am Language Arts Unit of Inquiry Language Arts Unit of Inquiry
10:30-11:30am Independent Work Schedule as provided by Homeroom Teacher.
12:00-2:00pm This time is provided for open office hours for teachers to connect with parents or have individual or small focus learning groups with students.

 

Grades 7th – 8th Classroom Schedule Possibility

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00-9:30am Independent Work Schedule- Routine as provided by All Teachers. Community Meeting.
9:55-10:30am Language and Literature 8th (Virtual Session)

Spanish 7th (Virtual Session)

Language and Literature 7th (Virtual Session)

Spanish 8th (Virtual Session)

Language and Literature 8th (Virtual Session)

Spanish 7th (Virtual Session)

Language and Literature 7th (Virtual Session)

Spanish 8th (Virtual Session)

10:45-11:30am   Individuals and Society (Virtual Session) Performing Arts (Virtual Session) Individuals and Society (Virtual Session) Performing Arts (Virtual Session)
12:00-12:35pm   Math (Virtual Session) Science (Virtual Session) Math (Virtual Session) Science (Virtual Session)
12:00-2:00pm This time is provided for open office hours for teachers to connect with parents or have individual or small focus learning groups with students.

 

Supporting Your Child At Home

  • Maintain a positive attitude. What we say and do in our daily talk supports students in their new learning environment.
  • Establish a daily routine–children feel comforted by a routine and explicit expectations. Maintain a schedule for waking up, preparing for the school day, learning opportunities, meal time, and bedtime.
  • For our younger students, parents may want to sit with their child initially as the teachers establish the routines and expectations for the lessons.
  • Organize the learning space to designate a home base for the video lessons and storage of materials.
  • Reach out and communicate with your child’s teacher, learning specialist Stacey Anderson, Beth Steklac, Sharon Muench, or myself if you are concerned about your child. We are here to support each child and each family to the best of our ability.

Breaks between classes and in the schedule

We have created breaks between classes and an independent work day each week. There will be a lot of screen time, and we want kids to be able to regroup and unplug between lessons. That said, we encourage students to use an alarm of some sort to remind themselves of the start time for the subsequent class. Our goal is to continue learning.

Extra Help and Differentiation

Every day, teachers will have office hours that will allow any student to drop in, ask questions, get help.

Receiving tasks, assignments, and grades/marks

For our 3rd-8th Grade Students this will be the same as they have done all year. We have used Google Classroom routinely to receive and turn in assignments. Teachers then grade the work and return it to the student electronically. This will be new to our K-2nd grade students, but our staff will walk them through how to do this.

Arts, Spanish, PE

Specials will provide weekly tasks and activities for our students to do. They also will have a log or journal to complete. Our specialist teachers are investigating how to use this opportunity to enhance your child’s music, drama, visual arts, PE, and Spanish learning with a multitude of strategies and opportunities that are available.

Student Absences

Should students miss a day or days, just as in “regular” school, they are responsible for completing homework and checking in with their teachers. Teachers will work with students to create individualized plans to catch up on missed work.

Counselor Support

Lillian Hendricks will be available for consultation and support for students and their parents. You can send her an email, and she will set up a Zoom session with your child or you to problem solve whatever may arise. (lillian@mackintoshacademy.com)

What will be different

Working and learning from home is likely to present novel difficulties and distractions. Some teachers will be juggling their own children who are home from school and their teaching responsibilities. While each teacher will manage their particular situation as professionally as possible, there may be times that a teacher may be ill or have to meet the needs of his/her family. There is so much, personally, going on during this COVID-19 crisis, and we ask that parents and students be understanding of teachers’ at-home situations, just as teachers will be understanding of what may be occurring for a student.

This is new for all of us. We have never tried to “run school” completely online. It has been a steep learning curve that changes hourly. Please know that we are going to do our best to address whatever may arise on the first day and each day that follows.

Virtual Conferencing Classrooms (Zoom) at home

You will see first-hand how Zoom works during your Parent-Teacher-Student conferences this week. Before each session, students (and/or parents) will receive an email link with the session information.

We are creating tutorials on how to access Zoom which will be on our website.

Tech Support

If you encounter any issue, please reach out to our Parent Run Technology Department at tech-support@mackintoshacademy.com or call the school at 303-794-6222 and leave a message for Tech Support. If you require a school device (K-8th), please contact us as soon as possible. We will make arrangements for you to pick up a device.

Mackintosh staff, ably led by our Curriculum Coordinator Sharon Muench, have been working non-stop to develop engaging and thoughtful experiences that will propel your child’s learning ahead. While nothing will perfectly replicate the learning community we are able to create at school, we will do our best to communicate with you and continue to present effective learning opportunities for your child. It is our primary goal to continue to support the keen minds and compassionate hearts of our students during this very real global crisis. We appreciate your support and partnership during this new adventure. The administrative staff will be attending classes each day and connecting with families in the coming days and weeks. If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact any one of the administrative staff.

Warmest regards,

Diane

March 13, 2020

Dear Mack Parents;

This is formal notification that Mackintosh Academy Littleton has made the decision to join with surrounding public school districts and ACIS schools by cancelling on-campus classes for students next week, March 16 through 20. Governor Polis just confirmed that Colorado has moved into the community phase of the transmission of the Coronavirus and that we all have a responsibility to help limit the severity of this public health crisis. Mackintosh is committed to doing its part to help “flatten the curve” and spread out the transmission of the virus by practicing social distancing. School closures are an important part of that strategy. While there are no known cases in our immediate population, we know it is only a matter of time before that happens. The Board of Trustees fully supports this decision as does our nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital.

Students will be coming home this afternoon with materials for completing school work next week and participating, virtually, in their conferences next Thursday and Friday. Sharon Muench and Beth Steklac and, ultimately, individual classroom teachers will be reaching out to you with specific details about how this will look. The following week, March 23 through 27 is our regularly scheduled Spring Break. As I indicated in my email to you last night, while we would like to resume on-campus classes, as planned, on Monday, March 30, that will depend upon the public health situation. If students remain off campus for the week after Spring Break, we will address educational needs through remote learning. Faculty have already been working on this with training and planning and will continue those efforts next week.

We know this is very difficult for all of you and your children, but we also know Mackintosh can depend on your understanding and support. We have a strong, resilient and socially responsible community.

Sincerely,

Diane Dunne, Head of School

Stephanie Gill-Kelly, Co-Chair Board of Trustees

Keely Bostock, Co-Chair Board of Trustees

March 12, 2020

Dear Mack Parents:

Governor Polis’ declaration of a State of Emergency anticipates that we have or may soon have community spread of the virus in Colorado. While this was expected, it is not welcome news, and requires all of us to be vigilant about minimizing our exposure to infection. In general, this is less severe for children, but it is tremendously serious for older and immune-compromised populations.

In order to protect the health of our entire Mack community, we respectfully require that you immediately notify the school if any of the following occur:

  • A member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19
  • A member of your household is experiencing symptoms for COVID-19 and has not yet been tested
  • A member of your household has had close contact with an individual who has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

That member of your household (adult or child) will be asked to remain off campus until we have consulted with Tri-County Department of Health to determine what actions are needed, including remaining off campus for the requisite 14-day quarantine period and possible school closure. Please know that we are sending the same guidelines to faculty and staff.

Regarding the issue of school closure. I know there is much anxiety about this. Be assured that any decision around this will not be taken lightly; we completely understand that closure has serious ramifications for parents as well as children. Nevertheless, this is something we must all be prepared to face. As indicated above, our plan is to consult with Tri-County Health Department before we would make a decision to close and for how long. As a matter of course, Mackintosh will follow any governmental, general public health directives that involve closures of all schools. We just received new guidelines from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regarding school closures. They are in line with what I indicated above. Please see the entire notice attached. Any decision of school closure at Mack will be communicated to you using FACTS/RenWeb.

We continue to monitor communications from the CDC and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and maintain contact with other ACIS schools around Colorado to keep abreast of developments, recommendations, and best practices. As well, I am consulting with several parents who are health care professionals, whose reading-between-the-lines advice is invaluable. This help us makes sense of the news and how it impacts us at Mackintosh and also informs our decision-making about school protocols and cancellation or postponement of events.

We are currently working diligently with faculty to develop online and blended strategies to address the educational needs of our students remotely. Stay tuned for more specific details. As discussed in previous emails, we continue to promote healthy practices for hand washing, sneezing and coughing; to prohibit food/utensil sharing, and to implement extensive cleaning and sanitizing practices daily.

We ask your help in a number of specific ways:

  • Reinforce hand washing, coughing/sneezing hygiene practices at home.
  • Avoid travel to any areas identified by the State Department and the CDC as a 2 or 3 level of concern. This is particularly important as Spring Break approaches.
  • Seriously consider changing travel plans and other social/business situations that increase your exposure to the virus.
  • Keep sick children home even, in some cases, without a fever.
  • Determine child care plans in order to be prepared in case of a school closure.
  • Read all school emails, newsletters and ParentSquare posts
  • Keep well informed by consulting reputable news sources. Be careful of being misled by rumors or fake news posts on social media. We have set up a Coronavirus information section on our website that includes a compilation of my Covid-19 communications and some links to excellent sources of information and advice. https://mackintoshacademy.com/covid-19/

Dear parents, most importantly, we ask for your patience, trust and flexibility as we navigate this very fluid situation. Even the guidelines communicated above may have to change in response to a changing circumstances and information; we will continue to keep you apprised and send updates in a timely manner. I speak for all the Mackintosh faculty and staff when I say that we care deeply for your children. This goes above and beyond our commitment to providing them with an excellent education and extends to keeping them safe and strong and secure. We are privileged to partner with you in this important endeavor, especially during a very difficult time.

Warm regards,

Diane

March 7, 2020

Dear Mack Parents:

While the confirmation, earlier this week, that there are cases of Coronavirus in Colorado is not surprising, it certainly added to our stress level and feelings of helplessness. Please be assured that we continue to work with our nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital and Tri-County Health Department to make sure that we are doing all we can to provide a safe environment at school. As I mentioned in my previous email, I have asked our counselor Dr. Lillian Henricks to lead us in addressing the social emotional aspects of this current crisis. Scroll down to read her advice to you on talking to and being with your children. Take comfort from her message that we are not helpless.

My wish for you and your families is that you will get outside, breathe in the healing powers of nature, and enjoy this beautiful Colorado weekend.

Warm regards,

Diane

 

What Can We Do to Stay Healthy?

In our efforts to prepare for potential implications of the Coronavirus here at Mackintosh we are keeping in mind the emotional impact on the children of facing something that is to a large degree out of their control. With this in mind, here are a few ideas for reflection that you can communicate to your children to the degree that you see fit.

One idea is to use this as a teachable moment to reiterate the many things that are in our control relative to our health. In addition to building the habits of the big three – hand washing, sneezing/coughing into the elbow, and not touching mouth, nose or eyes without a tissue, what a good opportunity to discuss and to make healthy choices more generally as a family. You can talk about good nutrition, water intake, sufficient sleep, and ample exercise/time spent outside, and how these practices enhance immunity. In addition, you can reflect as a family on goals of positive thinking and acting (including practicing gratitude, forgiveness, and kindness) which undoubtedly strengthen each one of us as persons. To the degree that we can increase our children’s sense of agency we are equipping them with a life skill that will serve them far beyond coping with the current reality of this spreading virus.

Mindfulness is another practice well worth considering at this time. Being mindful is a simple and accessible way to step away from the barrage of internal and external thoughts that may not serve our overall health. Taking time to slow down and concentrate on your breath, on different feelings in your body, and on what the senses perceive can lead to increased focus and calmness in which the prefrontal cortex is more engaged and we are less at the mercy of our primal brains. Where am I feeling tight or constricted? Why? Take a few deep, slow breaths to release that tension and become more grounded. Gain perspective. What if you did this at the table before dinner: let’s take a few slow deep breaths and reflect silently on those things for which we are grateful. Here is just one of many excellent websites with mindfulness resources geared toward families: https://www.susankaisergreenland.com/.

Stay tuned for a few more ideas, and in the meantime let us strive to keep calm and carry on with what is in our power to do.

P.S. Keep your eyes open for a little comic book intended for kids that we are sending home soon with basic information about the virus.

Lillian

March 3, 2020

Dear Parents:

The health, wellbeing and safety of our students is always Mackintosh’s highest priority. With the Coronavirus spreading around the world and within this country, that firm commitment, as well as our vigilance to best hygiene practices, has increased according. We are closely monitoring developments as they occur. As reported previously, we are in contact with our nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital, medical professionals in our parent community. We follow health alerts and related developments from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the CDC. Currently, there are still no confirmed cases in Colorado, but we are actively engaged in pre-pandemic response planning should that situation change.

In addition to ensuring safety and wellbeing, our goal as a school is to provide the highest quality and most responsive educational environment. We are making every effort to continue in that Mack tradition. Currently, all classes are running as scheduled and upcoming all-school activities will continue as planned. The latter includes our Annual Meeting this Thursday night (March 5), Portfolio Conferences (the afternoon of March 19 and March 20), and Spring Break, (March 23 through March 27.) Our intent is to continue with school as usual as long as we have teachers to teach and students to learn; however, should health concerns require a different decision, we will communicate with you as soon as possible. As indicated, we are involved in discussions with other administration officials at ACIS schools and will be monitoring decisions in nearby public school districts.

This is a stressful time for all of us. As much as we have heightened our efforts and attention, we also don’t want to create unnecessary anxiety. Our mantra is to be prudent, not panic. Continue to scroll down to read what Mack is doing to ensure health, safety, wellness and the delivery of our program. And then read further, to read what you, as parents, can do to help. We are all in this together.

Warm regards,

Diane

 

What Mack is doing:

  • Promoting frequent and effective handwashing by teachers, staff and students.
  • Promoting effective protocols around sneezing, coughing, etc.
  • Remind students not to share food, eating utensils, and plates.
  • Discourage students from touching their eyes, noses, mouths, etc.
  • Disinfecting all tables/desks, counters, doorknobs at the end of each school day.
  • Monitoring developments with public health officials, nurse consultant, other independent schools, public school officials.
  • Seeking specific advise from medical professionals in our parent community.
  • Urging parents to keep sick children home.
  • Requiring sick faculty to stay home.
  • Sending sick children (and faculty) home
  • Working with a current parent who owns a video conferencing business about developing contingency plans for virtual classrooms, if needed
  • Working with our counselor and teachers to allay concerns among our students

 

What Mack Parents can do:

  • Reinforce and practice with your children above top four practices. For more information – https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=sLXzw6j9JVw&feature=emb_logo
  • Keep sick children home. Even if they don’t have a fever, if they are too sick to learn, they are too sick to be at school.
  • Avoid traveling to areas of Level 2, 3, or 4 risk as determined by the CDC and U.S. State Department. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
  • Please let us know if you do travel to these areas. Depending on warning levels, the school may follow suit with local health officials and request 14-day quarantines in order to protect health and safety of all students and faculty.
  • Stay calm.
February 24, 2020

Dear Mackintosh community,

We wanted to let you know that we have been monitoring the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus closely and have been following information and advice from the Centers for Disease Control, the Colorado Health Department, our colleagues at other independent schools, as well as our school nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital. Based on these sources, we believe the risk the virus presents to our students at this time is quite low. To minimize risk for any virus, including coronavirus, it is important to practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing with soap and water, sneezing into a tissue or inner elbows, and regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and to keep sick children and adults at home. We continue to implement these practices at school and encourage you to support them at home, as well.

We are totally committed to the health and safety of our students and will update families if conditions change about this virus. We have also attached an information sheet that was recently released from the Colorado Department of Health.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Sincerely,

Diane Dunne

Fact Sheet for Corona Virus from CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment)

First Item to be hidden

Guidelines about school closure planning

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment: Planning for Schools and Child Care Closure

 

Other resources for parents

Answering Kids’ Questions About the Coronavirus, in Free Picture Books https://nyti.ms/3cfPdLC

Colorado State Emergency Operations Center: https://covid19.colorado.gov/

The World Health Organization (WHO) website. This site has general information on the coronaviruses, a video, and an infographic about preventing the spread of viruses.

U.S. State Department website. This site will list all the international travel advisories and rank locations as to level of concern.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. This is probably the best U.S. site on the virus. It covers symptoms and diagnosis, transmission, and prevention and treatment. It also has travel updates.

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE): https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus

New York Times Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak

March 13th News Conference: Governor Polis announced coronavirus cases in Colorado

Compassionate Hearts Corner

by Lillian Henrick, PsyD, Mackintosh School Counselor

Weeks ago eighth graders Grace and Ember designed a fun book “How the Germs Didn’t Take Over the World“. This little story book educates students about the spread of germs and the increasing power that kids have over them when they wash their hands with soap! If our initial push for frequent and effective hand-washing has subsided, maybe it is time for a booster. One detail that has changed since the book was put together is the new recommendation for mask use across the board, whereas previously this recommendation targeted health care workers and the sick; apart from this change the message is one that will endure. Please share it with your kids as a clever reminder even if they already heard the book in class, which is a possibility. For our younger students or young siblings the Social Story Book For Children about COVID-19: “Something Strange Happened in my City” is another relevant resource. It aims to empower young children to do their part while also trusting caregivers to protect them; it also foments appreciation for the sacrifices of health care workers. There is both a PDF version and one where the book is read aloud.

Craig Knippenberg, LCSW, M.Div began hosting Facebook Live sessions for parents on Tuesdays from 9:30-10:30 am, beginning March 24th. Craig touched on some great ideas in his first episode of “Surviving the Coronavirus at Home: Managing the Side Effects by Thriving During this Time Together.” Highlights include overall practical advice for families and relatable personal anecdotes; how enacting boundaries/schedules for the family both respects children’s needs and meets your own need for personal time; how the practice of forgiveness in family relationships is a priority now more than ever; how lowering expectations of parenting consistency can preserve your sanity and that of your children; and how service to others is a vital way to flourish as a family even now when the gravitational pull is toward self-preservation. Craig also touches upon managing screen time for both ourselves and our children, the importance of validating our kids’ emotions, and the advantage of an adventure
mindset, among other nuggets of wisdom gleaned from his 35 years of experience. Overall, you will find principles for a healthy and balanced approach to living so close to one another at home for an extended time.

Visit www.craigknippenberg.com or his Facebook page @coloradomentalhealth to learn more or to tune in on Tuesdays at 9:30 am. You can go to http://craigknippenberg.com/covid-19/ to sign up for updates and event notifications.

An article briefly summarizing Craig’s tips on coping with the current crisis can be found here (https://bcparent.ca/2020/03/21/12-survival-tips/) .