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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates and Resources

MIR is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and adapting its practices as needed and required. We will update our community via email and through resources on this page.

Summer at MIR

MIR is hosting a limited Summer School program on campus. If you need to reach office staff, you may contact us via email or phone at 909-793-6989 during our summer office hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Summer Health & Hygiene Plan

We are committed to creating a safe, clean environment that minimizes risk, using the most well-developed advice of public health and facility experts. View MIR's Summer Health & Hygiene Plan >>

MIR COVID-19 Relief Fund

Many families were severely impacted by job losses and reductions as a result of the pandemic. MIR has created a Relief Fund to provide emergency financial aid assistance to MIR families in this situation. If you wish to make a donation, you may do so here.

Email Issues

MIR is sending regular email updates regarding the situation, and texting families when a new email goes out. Due to the increase in the volume of emails, many email clients are filtering us as spam, and emails may not even be in your junk folders. Please whitelist the domain mir.org to receive these emails. We are also posting emails to this page.

Gmail Instructions

  1. Log in to your Gmail at gmail.com.
  2. Click the gear icon in the top right, and select Settings.
  3. Click the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab.
  4. Click Create a New Filter.
  5. In the pop-up window, enter mir.org.
  6. Click Create filter.
  7. Check "Never send it to Spam".
  8. Click Create filter.

Hotmail Instructions

  1. Sign in to your account. Go to inbox.
  2. Click Options located at the upper-right side of the page.
  3. Select More Options.
  4. Under Preventing junk email, click Safe and blocked senders.
  5. Click Safe Senders.
  6. In the text box, type in the domain mir.org, then click Add to list >>.

Outlook Instructions

  • If you use the Outlook email application on your computer, sign in to Outlook.com on a computer (not a mobile device) using your email address and password. Often our emails are in the junk folder on Outlook.com and are not passed along to the Outlook app.
  • If you use the Focused inbox feature, click on "Other" to see if email is listed there.
  • Microsoft has further instructions for whitelisting in Outlook here.

Yahoo Instructions

better if done from a computer rather than a mobile device

  1. Click on the settings icon (the gear near the top right)
  2. Scroll down and click on More Settings
  3. Click on Filters
  4. Click Add New Filters
  5. Under Set Rules, select From > Contains and enter mir.org.
  6. Under Choose Folder to Move To, select Inbox.
  7. Click Save

Canceled Events

All in-person events and field trips have been canceled through the end of the 2020-21 school year. Field trips were canceled for summer school as well.

Letters from Jenny Davidson

JULY 23: Updated Plans for Re-Opening

Dear MIR community,

With the release of California’s new pandemic plan for safe schools, MIR now has more detailed guidance for the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. California’s reopening framework applies to both public and private schools and currently prohibits Elementary school campuses from opening while San Bernardino County is being monitored for elevated disease transmission. Until our county meets the threshold for reopening schools, MIR’s Elementary students will participate in an updated Montessori Home Learning program.

MIR is a licensed childcare provider and is able to operate on-site Montessori programs for Toddler and Primary children with current safety protocols. We can also offer an on-site Montessori elementary program for essential workers. All of our on-site programs will be utilizing outdoor spaces and spreading out in our available indoor spaces as well. In some cases, that will mean that larger classes will be divided into two different classroom spaces.

Below is the full list of offerings that MIR will have in the fall. All programs will be guided by our Montessori trained staff members

MIR PROGRAMS FOR TODDLER AND PRIMARY STUDENTS, FALL 2020

On-site Toddler and Primary Montessori Programs

  1. Our regular Half-Day (9 a.m.-12 p.m. for Primary, 9-11:45 a.m. for Toddler), Full day (9 a.m.-3 p.m.), and All-Day (9 a.m.-5 p.m.) programs will continue.
  2. Morning and afternoon childcare is not available due to current safety requirements. If you registered for morning or afternoon childcare programs, those have been removed from your program.

Montessori Remote Learning for Toddler and Primary

  1. This program is designed for students unable to physically attend campus.
  2. There is no per-diem tuition credit for this program. Tuition will be the same as on-site students.
  3. Parents must apply to participate by July 30, 2020. Applications will be processed the first week of August and families notified asap. Apply for Remote Learning »

MIR PROGRAMS FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS, FALL 2020

Lower and Upper Elementary Montessori Home Learning

This program has been revised based on parent and staff feedback. Families can expect an updated structure that emphasizes the most effective components of Home Learning and addresses challenges that families navigated. Updates to the program include:

  • The use of Google Classroom for improved communication between teachers, families, and students. This will replace the online learning journals and will support collaboration among peers.
  • More frequent connection points including small group lessons and regular office hours for students and families.
  • Tracking and supporting attendance and engagement in Home Learning activities.
  • Orientation sessions for students and parents at the start of the school year and ongoing family support throughout Montessori Home Learning.
  • A more unified and collaborative plan by level.

The Home Learning per-diem tuition credit (as outlined on the rate sheet) will apply.

On-site Essential Worker Elementary Montessori Program

  1. A Regular Day (9 am-3 pm) schedule is available, with an Extended Day (3-5 pm) option.
  2. This program will be guided by Montessori trained teachers who currently fill other positions within our school. Participants will receive Montessori lessons on-site and will not participate in Home Learning with their lead teacher. As with all on-site programs, MIR’s Health and Hygiene Program will be in effect. Family participation in the Health and Hygiene Program is required.
  3. Parents must apply to participate by July 30, 2020. Applications will be processed the first week of August and families notified asap. Apply for the Essential Worker Montessori Program »

The Home Learning per-diem tuition credit will not apply.

ORIENTATION WEEK

August 24-28 will be an orientation week for all MIR programs. For families with children on-site, your first day on campus will either be August 24, 25, 26, or 27. By staggering student start dates, we can safely and effectively orient our community to new campus protocols. By August 10, MIR will notify families when their first day on campus will be. Thank you for your flexibility.

Off-site students and families will also be oriented to Montessori Home Learning and Remote Learning during the week of August 24-28th. Curb supply pick-up and orientation sessions with teachers will be scheduled to set students and families up for success.

I want to thank everyone who responded to the parent survey we circulated last week. We received a strong response and truly appreciate your ongoing engagement, questions, and suggestions. We are keeping your responses in mind as we finalize our detailed plans. You can expect regular updates as more information becomes available.

If you have questions about our safety protocols but have not yet visited MIR’s Health and Hygiene Program, please start there. Family participation in the Health and Hygiene Program is required and more detailed information will be added to this program over the next few weeks.

We are confident that the programs we have available for the start of the year will be safe and enriching learning experiences for all students. As always, MIR will continue to prioritize flexibility in all of our plans. Along with our entire community, we look forward to welcoming all students back to our campus as soon as that can be done safely.

Thank you for your patience and support as we navigate these unique circumstances.

Sincerely,
Jenny Davidson
Head of School

JULY 15: Plans for Re-Opening

Dear MIR community,

The team at Montessori in Redlands has been busy preparing for the 2020-2021 school year and we are narrowing our plans and feasible options for next year. Our main goal has been to build a framework that allows our school to be responsive to the evolving status of COVID-19 transmission in our region and community while continuing to offer the quality Montessori programs that you all know and love.

As you review the scenarios below, please know that we value and appreciate your feedback. There is a survey link at the bottom of this letter to collect your suggestions, questions, and concerns for school next year. Your feedback will be considered as our plans are finalized for the fall. We will share an overview of your community input and will send more frequent updates moving forward.

MIR has completed a full assessment of the resources we have available (supplies, physical spaces, staffing, protocols, and communication tools). Our findings show that unlike many larger school districts, we have the essential resources needed to operate on-site programs next year within recommended safety guidelines. We have been closely monitoring best practices for schools that have successfully reopened and have outlined multiple scenarios we can realistically implement in response to the evolving circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In all of these scenarios, some changes for next year will include:

  • The safety and health of our students, faculty, staff, and families will lead how and where we learn and operate. Our Summer Program has successfully implemented MIR’s Health and Hygiene Program and our team is ready to help orient students and families to these expectations in the fall. Family participation in the Health and Hygiene Program is required.
  • Only staff and students will be permitted beyond our pedestrian gates. Drop-off and pick-up will take place at MIR’s curb for all students. Specific instructions for curb and parking will be shared before school begins.
  • No in-person community gatherings are scheduled for next year. Events will be redesigned online to stay connected, share information, and build community safely.
  • The schedule for Elementary Childcare programs will be modified. More information about those changes will be shared with Elementary Childcare families very soon.
  • Families should make plans for swiftly changing circumstances:
    • If MIR receives notice of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis on our campus, you may be contacted for an immediate pick-up of your child. A temporary closure (from 3 to 14 days) might be needed for cleaning or for a quarantine depending on the circumstances.
    • If there is a positive case within a household, MIR will require the student to complete a full 14-day quarantine after the COVID-19 positive family member has met CDC requirements for returning to work.
  • Remote Learning will be offered to students who cannot physically attend school next year. This might be due to an existing medical condition within the household or to family preference. It is likely that MIR teachers will be present in the classroom with on-site students, so Remote Learning will differ from the Montessori Home Learning program offered in Spring 2020. Families requesting a Remote Learning program are invited to apply by filling out the Remote Learner Application. This will help us understand the reasons for the request and ensure we have the capacity to accommodate your child. In a Remote Learning program:
    • Tuition will be the same as for on-site students.
    • Elementary Remote Students will participate in the classroom by being present online during some classroom work sessions and will have a fixed schedule for staff guidance.
    • Caregivers for Toddler and Primary Remote Students will receive Montessori activities for the home daily and may be invited to attend classroom and group gatherings online.

While we will aim to accommodate as many students on campus as possible, this must be done with a strong emphasis on safety. MIR is currently finalizing a decision model for how and when each possible scenario will be implemented. The two main criteria that will affect our decisions will be:

  1. The level of community disease transmission in San Bernardino County: The CA Department of Public Health defines Elevated Disease Transmission if the case rate (per 100,000 residents) is greater than 100 residents, OR the case rate (per 100,000 residents) is greater than 25 residents AND the positive rate is greater than 8%.
  2. The presence of COVID-19 among staff and students at MIR: We aim to have zero transmission on the MIR campus and will swiftly respond if or when a positive case is identified.

Scenario 1: MIR Students on Campus

  • When all MIR students are present on campus, we have sufficient staffing and physical space to support 6 feet of physical distancing per student. We are adding shaded outdoor extensions to our learning environments that students can access from each classroom. Classes can still be accommodated indoors in the case of inclement weather.
  • Each classroom, with the exception of Toddlers, will operate as an isolated unit and will not mix with others. (Toddlers will function as one unit.) We will encourage collaboration and school community in alternative ways.
  • MIR’s Health and Hygiene Program will be fully implemented and family participation required.

Scenario 2: Fewer Students on Campus

If MIR opens with all students on-site but a government mandate requires that we reduce our group size, MIR’s campus will be temporarily closed to clean and prepare spaces for the following changes:

  • After a brief closure, all Toddler and Primary students can return to campus for on-site learning. Students will operate in isolated groups of 12 that will not mix with others. Primary students will utilize the available Elementary classroom spaces and outdoor learning environments to promote additional physical distancing measures. MIR’s Health and Hygiene Program will remain fully implemented and family participation will be required.
  • Lower and Upper Elementary students will begin a revised and updated Montessori Home Learning program until it is possible for all students to return to campus. A per-diem tuition credit will be offered for up to 40 days of Home Learning during the 2020-21 academic year, as outlined on the 2020-21 Rate Sheet.
  • On-site programs will be offered to Elementary families who qualify as essential workers. Essential workers will be asked to fill out a questionnaire at the beginning of the school year to qualify for this program.

Scenario 3: Full Campus Closure

  • If a government mandate or other circumstance determines that MIR students will be safest learning from home, the campus will be closed and all students will begin a revised and updated Montessori Home Learning program. A per-diem tuition credit will be offered for up to 40 days of Home Learning during the 2020-21 academic year, as outlined on the rate sheet.
  • On-site programs will be offered to families of all ages who qualify as essential workers. Essential workers will be asked to fill out a questionnaire at the beginning of the school year to qualify for this program.

We feel fortunate that MIR has the flexibility and resources to adapt to the changing circumstances that may arise in the next school year. We know that students and families benefit from on-site programs and will strive to provide those learning opportunities whenever it is possible to do so.

We would appreciate your input as we finalize the circumstances for initiating these scenarios. Please take a moment to fill out our community response survey. MIR values your input and will continue sharing updates before the start of the school year.

Thank you for your ongoing trust and support. We look forward to partnering with you as we finalize the planning process for next year.

Sincerely,
Jenny Davidson
Head of School

MAY 29: Update and Plans for Fall

May 29, 2020

Dear MIR families,

As the re-enrollment deadline for the 2020-2021 school year approaches, we wanted to share some additional information about MIR’s planning process for the next year. We are currently preparing for a variety of scenarios, from the almost-normal to the strictest safety protocols, and of course, several options that fall somewhere in between. We are not in a position to predict which of these scenarios will be implemented, but we will have a variety of feasible options to choose from based on the current recommendations and guidelines. The health and wellness of our community will remain our highest priority, and we will continue offering the same high-quality education and care that you have come to expect from Montessori in Redlands.

Many of our tentative plans are designed to allow all, or part, of MIR to continue operating on-site even if there is a future stay-at-home order. As you may have seen, the health and safety measures we are adopting for summer school are based on the rigorous requirements that essential worker childcare-centers have followed since March. Since these have already been demonstrated to be effective, we are confident that we are well-positioned to provide safe on-site care for children and staff.

One of the most significant changes to safety protocols is to limit group sizes and physical interactions between individuals and groups. We are fortunate to have such a large campus and a relatively comfortable climate. Many Montessori schools opening around the world are using their outdoor spaces creatively to adhere to ratios and physical separation while still providing regular school services. We are exploring ways that we can use these strengths and attributes to avoid making significant changes to our schedules or initiating a Montessori Home Learning session. Requirements for group sizes may change between now and the start of school, so we will wait to commit to a specific plan until later this summer.

Our initial plan will be to accommodate all MIR students on our campus, but if group sizes or requirements for ratios require a reduction, we have the option to continue on-site programs for families who most urgently need care. This would include essential workers, households where all adults are working full-time, and families of MIR’s younger students. We will continue this planning process throughout the summer, and we will aim to serve as many children as we can safely accommodate on our campus. If a home learning session is unavoidable, we will use our flexible school calendar to maximize our onsite instruction and ease the expectations of home learning.

We are deeply committed to the health and wellness of our community and look forward to refining and communicating these plans over the summer.

In peace,

Jenny

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will safety protocols change from summer to academic year?

MIR will follow all guidelines from the CDC, California and San Bernardino County Departments of Health, as well as recommendations for local schools and licensing to keep our students and staff healthy and well. Over the summer, we will continue to adjust those plans as recommendations change, and as we learn new ways of gracefully incorporating them into our daily routines. The teachers and staff who will be working over summer will serve as mentors for all staff returning in the fall. We have also formed a committee to strategize additional support we can offer children mentally and emotionally as they return from this extended time of isolation.

Will MIR change the regular school schedule for next year?

At this time, we are not planning to modify school schedules. We are exploring other creative ways to adhere to the stricter safety requirements expected next year. We are still assessing if, or what, changes will be necessary to maintain safety in our before and after school childcare programs and will keep you updated as plans are confirmed.

What happens if I do not re-enroll by June 1?

Enrollments received after June 1 are possible but will be based on the available spaces we have in our classrooms. We are not able to guarantee placement after this date because staffing must be determined and secured prior to the start of the school year. Based on the enrollment agreements MIR has received by June 1, we will begin offering spaces to students in our waitpool and securing staffing for the next school year.

What circumstances allow for a release of contract?

The MIR agreement allows for a release of contract if the student has a medical need or if the family moves out of the area. We follow best practices for independent schools, and refunds or a release of contract are only granted for these reasons.

Will Essential Workers have continuous on-site care next year?

MIR plans to offer continuous on-site care for essential workers throughout the 2020-21 school year. By following the same safety protocols as current essential worker childcare centers, we expect that we will be able to continue those services even if there is another stay-at-home order issued next year.

Is financial aid available if our family experiences a loss of income?

MIR has refocused our entire budget to help retain families who are facing economic hardship. Our school has awarded unprecedented amounts of emergency financial assistance and will strive to accommodate needs for next year as well. Our funds are limited. Families who are interested in supporting our COVID-19 Relief Fund for financial assistance can contribute on the MIR website.

How will the Flexible School Calendar work?

MIR is drafting a calendar for the 2020-21 school year with some of our regular closures designated as "Flexible Closures." A portion of our Winter Break, the entirety of Spring Break, and several staff in-service days will be tentatively reserved on our calendar. In order to maximize our on-site instruction and ease the expectations of home learning, we may reschedule these school closures to align with a campus closure.

How does the Montessori Home Learning per-diem tuition credit work?

If MIR’s physical campus is closed to protect our community from the virus, we will shift to Montessori Home Learning until it is deemed safe to reopen. A per-diem tuition credit will be offered for up to 40 days of Home Learning during the 2020-21 academic year. Toddler families will be granted a per-diem tuition credit of 50%, Primary will be granted 20%, and Elementary will be granted 15%. This tiered approach is based on the children’s level of independence in each age group and their ability to engage in home learning activities. Families will have the opportunity to donate their per-diem credit to the COVID-19 Relief Fund to support emergency financial assistance for MIR families in need.

If Montessori Home Learning is needed next year, will it be the same?

The MIR faculty has been collecting data about the most effective home learning practices from this Spring. We have learned a lot in a short amount of time and will be using this information to refine and improve our Home learning program if it is needed for the 2020-2021 school year.

Can we choose Montessori Home Learning instead of on-site education next year?

MIR is exploring our capacity to offer Montessori Home Learning for families who may not be ready to return to our on-site programs. We will continue assessing the feasibility of this option and will be interested to know if there is a widespread demand for this service. Please use this poll to let us know if this is an option your family would be interested in.

Will your safety measures be effective with young children?

We have been monitoring the status of childcare centers who have remained open since March and their safety protocols have proven to be effective even for young children. With illness policies that keep sick people home, implement high levels of hygiene, and isolate groups from each other, we do not have to rely on physical distancing alone to reduce risks.

MAY 18: Update: Summer School Schedule and Plans

Dear Families,

I am pleased to announce that we will be opening the MIR campus for summer school. We will follow the same rigorous safety requirements that essential worker childcare-centers have implemented since March, and we are well-positioned to provide safe on-site care for children and staff. The 2020 Summer Program will be held in 4 two-week sessions for the following dates:

  • Session 1: June 15-26
  • Session 2: June 29-July 10 No summer school on Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day.
  • Session 3: July 13-24
  • Session 4: July 27-August 7

The health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority as we plan for re-opening our campus to children. Adult/child ratios, our use of physical spaces, student groupings, as well as our cleaning and disinfecting practices will all be significantly modified.

Students in the Toddler and Primary programs will enjoy their regular Montessori program, supplemented with outdoor and water play, music, and arts and crafts. The Elementary Summer Program will support students in building their academic, physical, and social-emotional skills while having a lot of fun. It will also offer much-needed social engagement after an extended stay at home.

Our Safety Team has outlined detailed safety protocols based on CDC, state, and county requirements. We will share detailed information about these protocols as soon as they are finalized. The summer program will give us the opportunity to practice and refine these protocols as we prepare for a larger on-site opening in the fall.

In keeping with this plan, and to meet updated requirements issued by Community Care Licensing, the following modifications will be made to our summer program:

  • The daily schedule will be simplified to 8 a.m.-4 p.m. for all ages.
  • We will not be able to offer swimming.
  • Students will not take physical field trips.

On May 26, we will send more details about the MIR Summer Program and how to enroll. We are implementing a new system for summer school enrollment, which should simplify the process for you.

I continue to be inspired by the creativity and kindness of our community. Thank you for the faith and support you continue to provide to each other and to MIR. If you have any questions, please let me know.

In peace,
Jenny Davidson
Head of School

MAY 1: MIR Update and Plans for Reopening

Dear MIR families,

Thank you for your ongoing support and partnership as Montessori Home Learning continues. This week, our faculty is reflecting on your feedback on the home learning process and discussing ways we can streamline our support for you and your children. We know that this shutdown has been difficult for parents, and we want to help as much as we can.

I'm writing to share some updates about Montessori in Redlands and our current plans for reopening. The majority of our annual expenses are fixed, meaning that our budgeted expenses for this school year were committed before the current stay at home order was issued. Over the past several years, the MIR board has prioritized the cultivation of a reserve fund for unexpected emergencies, but with the immediate and school-wide impacts of this closure, we anticipate MIR’s financial recovery will take time.

When a campus closure became imminent, our business office took immediate action to freeze non-essential spending and conserve cash to help the school come through this pandemic intact. While we had few remaining options for reducing our projected expenses, our supply purchases, cleaning services, and facility improvements were all placed on hold. These swift decisions, along with your continued tuition payments in this difficult time have ensured that Montessori in Redlands is in a position to chart a course for reopening and recovery.

For the foreseeable future, MIR has refocused our entire budget on a very simple purpose - sustaining and supporting our school community. To us this means:

Supporting families who have been hit hardest by the pandemic
Our school has repurposed every available dollar to our Emergency Financial Assistance program for this year and next. MIR has always maintained a modest financial aid fund for families facing financial difficulties. With the current downturn, our typical financial aid fund will be insufficient. We have reduced all non-essential spending through the 2020-21 school year and have launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund, which several families have already supported with donations. The full extent of our community’s need will only be known in time, but our priority is keeping our children’s relationships intact by not losing any students due to an inability to pay.

Retaining our staff
One of the remarkable characteristics of MIR is the longevity and commitment of our teachers and staff. Generations of MIR students have benefited from the consistency and experience that our staff brings year after year. We aim to continue that experience for your children and beyond.

Essential functioning and maintenance of the school
We know that some essential expenses cannot be reduced or delayed. As we look ahead to plans for re-opening, we will need to invest in additional health and safety equipment, and we will prioritize any spending that directly improves the quality of education we provide. These needs will not be compromised.

LOOKING AHEAD AND PLANS FOR REOPENING

While there is still uncertainty about what the summer and fall will hold, our staff and board are preparing for a variety of scenarios that are likely under current projections. We are closely monitoring government recommendations and are collaborating with a large community of independent schools to share insights and best practices. We anticipate that school will reopen as expected in the fall and we are exploring multiple options for our summer school program.

The MIR team is implementing significant safety measures for health and wellness to keep students, staff, and families safe while there is still risk of COVID-19 infection. We will share our detailed safety plans with you prior to opening. Your cooperation will help keep our community healthy and well.

We are preparing for the possibility that additional stay-at-home orders may be issued if COVID-19 infections increase locally. We know that this could require additional Montessori Home Learning sessions during the 2020-21 school year. Now that the school is in a position to prepare for this possibility, we are planning the following accommodations for next year:

Per Diem Tuition Credit for 2020-21 Home Learning sessions
If MIR’s physical campus is closed to protect our community from the virus, we will shift to Montessori Home Learning until it is deemed safe to reopen. A per-diem tuition credit will be offered for up to 40 days of Home Learning during the 2020-21 academic year. Toddler families will be granted a per-diem tuition credit of 50%, Primary will be granted 20%, and Elementary will be granted 15%. This tiered approach is based on the children’s level of independence in each age group and their ability to engage in home learning activities. Families will have the opportunity to donate their per-diem credit to the COVID-19 Relief Fund to support emergency financial assistance for MIR families in need.

Flexible school calendar
MIR is drafting a calendar for the 2020-21 school year with some of our regular closures designated as "Flexible Closures." A portion of our Winter Break, the entirety of Spring Break, and several staff in-service days will be tentatively reserved on our calendar. In order to maximize our on-site instruction and ease the expectations of home learning, we may reschedule these school closures to align with a campus closure. Governor Newsom has also shared the possibility of schools beginning their academic year earlier than usual. We are exploring this option and will share any new information with you as soon as it is available.

Summer School
We are considering the feasibility of running Summer School under the current and projected safety restrictions and plan to announce the status of Summer Session 1 to families on or before May 26th. MIR summer school is offered in four 2-week sessions and each session will be assessed and confirmed independently of the others.

An updated rate sheet is attached to this email (available online here) reflecting the per-diem credit and rates for the 2020-21 school year. We will be sharing re-enrollment agreements with you on Monday, May 4th.

This global health emergency has created the need, and opportunity, to focus on what is most important. For Montessori in Redlands, that includes fulfilling our mission to support children’s development, and the health and well-being of our community. Those priorities will guide our decisions as we continue to navigate this time of change. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.

In peace,
Jenny Davidson
Head of School

APRIL 14: Change to MIR Spring Conferences

Dear MIR families,

As you may know, MIR typically schedules two days of Parent-Teacher Conferences at the end of April. Given the high levels of communication and collaboration between parents and teachers to support Montessori Home Learning, MIR will not be holding Spring conferences as usual. We are revising our schedule for this year as follows:

  • Thursday, April 23: Home Learning continues as usual
  • Friday, April 24: MIR is closed, staff and students have the day off from Home Learning
  • Monday, April 27: MIR Staff In-service day, students have the day off from Home Learning

This plan offers one additional day of Montessori Home Learning guidance, it allows our families and staff to take a day's rest from home learning, and it supports a productive in-service day for MIR staff to work together.

Before the end of the school year, teachers will share a modified progress report summarizing your child's experiences from November through this Spring. Whether your child is moving up or returning to the same classroom next year, each teacher will be prepared to assess and support your child's learning when they return next fall. All children proceed through Montessori at their own pace -- rest assured that our teachers will meet your child wherever they are with compassion and care.

If you have not been in regular contact with your child's teacher about Montessori Home Learning and have questions or just want to connect, I hope you will reach out through your child's Learning Journal or arrange a time for a conversation. We are here for you and want to help however we can.

Sending you best wishes from the entire MIR team,
Jenny Davidson

APRIL 3: Campus Closure Update, April 3

Dear MIR families,

This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom released a statement calling for California school campuses to remain closed for the remainder of this school year, with the expectation that students' education will continue through home learning. While we are all disappointed by this news, we recognize that this decision is made with the interest of our community’s health and safety in mind.

I know that the transition to Montessori Home Learning has not been without challenge. We truly appreciate the willingness of our families and caregivers to partner with us in this unexpected journey. Fortunately, Montessori educators are experienced in creatively and compassionately responding to the unexpected. I believe we are uniquely suited to continue supporting our families through this and to provide a comprehensive home education program for our students.

The MIR Board and the business office are continuing to assess the financial impact of this campus closure on our school. We are facing a loss of income due to the cancellation of childcare fees and the gala, and new admissions for the spring have been halted, resulting in a loss of tuition.

We are also processing a high volume of requests for emergency financial assistance due to a loss of job or income. If you feel you qualify for emergency assistance, please email me directly. If you wish to make a contribution to our relief fund for families, you may do so here.

Our entire staff is actively working to support Montessori Home Learning, and we are doing everything within our power to avoid layoffs or reduction in compensation. Continued employment will ensure a smooth re-opening of the physical campus when this is over, and we have a fiduciary responsibility to the entire community to consider the ongoing strength of the school.

MIR has some reserve funds and a line of credit, but as a lean non-profit, we will need additional funding to carry the school through the pandemic and campus closure. We are currently applying for small business loans and the Paycheck Protection Program loan that was recently created through the CARES Act.

Every day and every week will give us more information about our sustainability, and I plan to offer updates as frequently as I am able. I am grateful for your supportive messages and solidarity as we do our best to navigate these unexpected changes. We truly appreciate your understanding and ongoing support.

Thank you sincerely,
Jenny

MARCH 27: Researching Financial Assistance and Emergency Childcare

Dear MIR families,

We hope this email finds you and your family well. Thank you for your patience, support, and well-wishes as our entire community adjusts to California’s current stay-at-home order and to home learning.

Above and beyond our anxieties about the spread of this virus, I know that many MIR families have already experienced a loss of income or employment as a result of the pandemic. Our finance team is exploring multiple options to help our community through this difficult time and they are prioritizing support for the most vulnerable members of our school community. Please contact me directly if you have lost employment or if you are experiencing financial hardship due to this pandemic.

Some families have chosen to make donations to help our community through this time and I offer you my sincere gratitude. Your support will help us assist families who need it the most and will help MIR retain its teachers and staff. I know that not everyone is in a position to give, and that's okay. I am deeply moved by how much our community cares for each other and for the long-term sustainability of our school.

Many of you are healthcare professionals, first responders, or work in other crucial roles essential to our local pandemic response. MIR is investigating whether we are able to offer an emergency childcare program for you as essential workers.

If this is a service you would qualify for and be interested in accessing, please fill out this form to help us make a more informed decision. Thank you sincerely for your work, we are all deeply grateful.

Thank you and be safe,
Jenny

MARCH 24: Pick Up of School Materials and Student Belongings

We hope everyone is well and finding moments of inspiration and fun while at home!

As we launch the Montessori Home Learning Program, MIR is scheduling time tomorrow (Wednesday, March 25) for students from the following classes to pick up work and belongings for the students. (Please note: it's perfectly fine if another family picks up items for you.)

If your class is not listed here, we are planning to arrange times for you to pick up your student's belongings directly from the classroom.

Items will be handed to you through your passenger-side window. If you prefer to have us put them directly into a trunk or back seat for you, just let us know when you arrive.

PICK-UP SCHEDULE AND LOCATIONS
South Campus Classes
Line up on the curb like you do for drop-off.

  • 8:30-9 a.m.: Emily's class. Parents with siblings in Teesie's class can park on the curb between the office and Toddlers and wait for Teesie's pick up.
  • 9-9:30 a.m.: Teesie's class.

North Campus Classes

8:30-9 a.m.

  • Kristen's class: Line up on the west side of the parking lot (usual location for afternoon pick up).
  • Kelly's class: Line up on the east side of the parking lot.

9-9:30 a.m.

  • Venus's class: Line up on the west side of the parking lot.
  • Roslyn's class: Line up on the east side of the parking lot (usual location for afternoon pick up).

9:30-10 a.m.

  • Kara/Jenny's class: Line up on the west side of the parking lot.
  • Maria/Jennifer's class: Line up on the east side of the parking lot.
If you have multiple children in multiple classes on north campus, or on both campuses, we suggest you arrange to pick up toward the end of one class's pick-up time and the beginning of the other.

If you need something specific from the classroom, please let us know. We will ask you to pull into a parking spot and will retrieve the item for you.

All student bags not picked up on Wednesday will be brought to the MIR yoga room. Please arrange an alternate time to pick up your student's items.

COMPUTING RESOURCES
Some families have reached out to us to let us know that they do not have (or have enough) computing resources at home to support Montessori Home Learning for multiple students. We have limited supplies of devices that we will check out. If this is your situation, please let us know by 12 p.m. on Wednesday by emailing us at info@mir.org for the first distribution of devices on Thursday. By necessity, we will prioritize families with the highest need. We will schedule a second distribution time as needed.

MARCH 24: Introduction to Montessori Home Learning

Dear MIR families,
Over this past week, you and your children have been at the forefront of our minds. The MIR staff shares a mission and long history of supporting child development through Montessori education. This work will continue.

As this pandemic prompted school closures across the globe, Montessori schools began collaborating at a blinding pace to develop strategies for supporting students’ learning and development from a distance. Over the Spring Break closure and during yesterday’s staff in-service, the MIR team has developed our own plan for our Montessori Home Learning Program. We have relied heavily on suggestions from other Montessori schools who are thinking creatively about this, and on many who have refined these approaches after being closed for several weeks already.

Each day this week, we will introduce you to a new component of the Montessori Home Learning Program. Today, we would like to start by sharing the Montessori Home Learning Handbook. It is an orientation to how we expect this process to unfold and the roles that our staff, you, and your student will play.

This work is rooted deeply in our Montessori philosophy: we believe children need both freedom and structure, children are naturally motivated to learn and develop, and adults should serve as a bridge to the children’s environment and learning opportunities.

Our priorities in developing this approach are to:

  • Continue to foster each child’s love of learning and to guide learning opportunities for them.
  • Support the emotional and mental health of both the child and the parents within the context of this situation.
  • Maintain, extend, and encourage community connection in new ways.

We know that this is an extraordinary time and parents are overwhelmed. Starting tomorrow, your teachers will begin sharing resources and suggestions with you. The goals of these resources are to help you and your child establish routines that support learning, and to offer you both some independence.

We acknowledge that you, as parents, have many essential priorities right now. If you are not able to use these resources right away, please be forgiving with yourself. Your teachers will help you prioritize your family’s time and energy by sharing individualized recommendations for your child.

Take care, stay well, and please know that we are here to help.

Best,
Jenny Davidson, Head of School
Mandie Schadwinkel, Assistant Head of School
Jessica Brockardt, Elementary Coordinator​

MARCH 20: Preparations for Montessori Home Learning

Dear Parents,

As the situation surrounding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to evolve, MIR is working hard to set up the infrastructure necessary to support our students and families working from home. You may have heard that Redlands Unified School District recently announced that their closure will be extended through Friday, May 1. For the health and safety of our staff and students, the campus closure at Montessori in Redlands will follow the same schedule.

Our physical campus is closed, but Montessori education will continue. Montessori in Redlands is transitioning to a Montessori Home Learning Program for the duration of time that our physical campus must remain closed.

Our students are uniquely capable of taking on the challenge of learning from home, even at the youngest ages. Montessori is a self-directed learning model. In their time in the classroom, students have learned how to concentrate, how to choose and persist through challenging work, and how to reach out for help when needed. These skills can continue to flourish in a home learning environment.

Our teachers will be there to guide the students and to support you. We will provide more detailed information about the Montessori Home Learning Program at the beginning of next week. The program is intended to support both students and parents in ensuring deep and developmentally appropriate learning continues while students are off-campus. All students and parents, Toddlers through Elementary, will have access to their teachers via various forms of communications.

We know these are challenging times, and you have questions. Here are answers to some of the questions we’ve received. We will continue to send updates as this situation evolves. You can also find updates and an archive of emails at mir.org/covid-19.

When will we receive refunds for Spring Break Childcare and Spring extracurricular activities?
Childcare refunds will be processed by the end of next week.

Will we get a reimbursement of tuition fees?
We plan to continue our education program during the closure. The staff will be working during the closure to support your children remotely. Therefore, we will proceed with billing for tuition as scheduled.

All schools are in the same situation: our ability to retain and compensate teachers and support staff is vital to our ability to effectively carry out our mission and be ready to successfully resume normal operations once the pandemic containment period is over. We need to meet our responsibilities to our employees, which allows us to meet our responsibilities to you and to all of our students.

Is financial aid available to us?
We understand that many families may be facing increased financial hardship at this time, and we want to ensure families do not have to add the potential for a change in schools to an already stressful time. We will strive to make financial aid available for families who need it. Feel free to email me so that we can reach out to you with more information.

What about before- and after-school childcare fees?
MIR plans to issue a credit for before-school or after-school childcare fees that are incurred while the campus is closed.

Will the school year extend into the summer?
That is not the current plan; however, we will re-evaluate as the situation evolves. For now, we are continuing full instruction through the Montessori Home Learning Program and expect to end the school as originally scheduled. While the learning at home will be in a different format than in the classroom, we are providing critical structure and learning to ensure all students stay on track for the school year.

At this time, the MIR Summer Program will also continue as planned. For Toddler and Primary students, this program is the same as the school year program, with additional summer-only activities added. We encourage you to sign-up when enrollment opens to help return your students to their routines. The Elementary program provides focused learning activities that support academic and social-emotional skills. It will also give them the social engagement they will need and want after extended time at home.

What support will be available to families whose parents provide “essential services”?
We recognize that we have many parents who provide defined “essential services” and that this sudden school closure presents a real challenge. We are evaluating whether we can safely offer a limited program for parents in this situation. If you find yourself in an emergency situation or truly exceptional circumstances, please feel free to contact us at info@mir.org. We may be able to help or connect you with other families who would be willing to do so.

We’ve been inspired to hear how families are engaging with this crisis in ways that joyfully support their children. One family of another Montessori school wrote:

"We asked ourselves what could we do, and since in Italy schools are also closed and they have English in the academic curricula, my children will do Skype calls with Italian children to work on their 'English Conversations, Pronunciation, Homework.' We proposed half-time English, half-time Italian, so to have a win-win approach. Just 10 or 15 minutes a day."

How is your family responding creatively and generously to empower your children and others during this time? We would love to hear from you to share with other families. We will send more information soon about how you can share your pictures and stories to help our community stay connected.

This situation is challenging in so many ways, I know. We are committed to supporting our staff and families through this difficult time. I deeply appreciate your patience and support.

Sincerely,
Jenny Davidson

 

MARCH 16: School Closure to be Extended

Dear MIR Families,

After careful consideration, Montessori in Redlands has decided to adjust our home learning schedule to align with the closure of Redlands Unified School District (RUSD). We now anticipate that our school will be implementing Montessori Home Learning from March 24 through April 3. We hope to re-open our physical campus on Monday, April 6. We feel that this is a critical time to prioritize our community’s health by staying home to observe social distancing.

I know that many of your Spring Break travel plans have been disrupted and children are hearing about school closures on the news. Our most recent blog post shares some helpful tips and resources that can help you navigate these topics with your children in an age-appropriate way. Read it here.

The great news is that Montessori education already has a long and rich history of adapting to the unique needs of a particular time, place, and culture. We can continue to support your child's learning and development, even through a temporary campus closure. Our team is currently working on resources, tools, and schedules that will help you navigate these upcoming weeks at home and we look forward to sharing more with you soon.

If your family needs any assistance in navigating this challenging time, I hope you will let me know. We are fortunate to have a strong community that is willing to help when things get tough. I’ll do everything I can to help connect families who are struggling with community members who are able to help. Please just reach out.

I will also take this opportunity to tell you how much we genuinely love working with you and your children. I know I speak for all of our school when I say that we will miss the regular shared time that we have with your children, but we look forward to staying connected in other ways.

Thank you and be well!
Jenny

MARCH 13: Notice of Schedule Changes and Closures

Dear MIR parents,

With the rapid changes from the COVID-19 pandemic, MIR has determined that proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of our school community members are necessary. MIR will be closing our campus to students and families from March 19-27, while we continue to assess the situation.

We are passionate about our mission and we are committed to continue supporting your child’s learning and development from home. Staff will meet for our in-service on March 23. After that date, your family will receive information and resources about how this will be structured moving forward.

In order to prepare for this shift, MIR is also closing for two Spring Break childcare days, Thursday and Friday, March 19 and 20. Families who have registered for those two days will be refunded their childcare fees.

Our schedule for the next two weeks will be as follows:

  • March 16, 17, and 18: MIR is open for families who have registered for Spring Break childcare. If you need to make changes to your childcare schedules for these days, please email info@mir.org as soon as possible.
  • March 19 and 20: Childcare is closed.
  • March 23: In-service Day for staff members. MIR is closed to students.
  • March 24-27: Teachers and staff will begin supporting Montessori learning from home. The school will assess the situation and communicate with families about the next steps.

We are canceling all school events through April 30. These include:

  • Spring Gala
  • Spring Carnival
  • Parent-Child Night

April field trips will either be canceled or postponed. We will be canceling the Spring season of extracurriculars and processing refunds. We might make changes to the format of Parent-Teacher Conferences (April 23 and 24).

The health and safety of our school community is paramount to Montessori in Redlands. Please expect to hear from me with regular updates and additional opportunities for communication. Look for emails from us and sign up for the MIR text alert system. We will be notifying you of updates through that system. Text MIRRED to 41-411 to sign up.

Many thanks for your understanding. These are challenging times, but I am more than certain that our caring, capable, and creative MIR community is up to the challenges. We wish you health and well-being and look forward to our ongoing work together.

Sincerely,
Jenny Davidson

MARCH 12: Notice of Event Cancellations

Dear Parents,

The County of San Bernardino is requiring organizations to cancel events with an attendance of more than 250 people due to the spread of the coronavirus. With this in mind, Montessori in Redlands will be canceling the Spring Gala and the Spring Carnival, both of which are scheduled in April. While we are sorry to lose these important community events, social responsibility is an important part of our mission. If this decision can help slow the transmission of the virus, we know it is the right thing to do.

Our team has already been brainstorming fun alternatives to our annual auction, so stay tuned for other opportunities to bid on the incredible class items you have seen in the MIR lobby. If you purchased a Gala ticket and would like a refund, please email loliver@mir.org with a request. If you bought a ticket and do not request a refund, the payment will be recorded as a donation and dedicated to offset cancellation fees for the event. You will receive a donation receipt for your records.

I know there are many questions about the possibility of school closures. Our administrative and advisory team will continue to monitor recommendations about this rapidly changing situation. At this time, we will continue the precautionary actions we have already established. We will share regular updates as we get more information. If you are not yet signed up to receive our text alerts, please do so by texting MIRRED to 41-411. Texting is used only for urgent communications.

Thank you for all of your help and support in this effort.

Sincerely,
Jenny Davidson

Redlands Updates