Reopening FAQs & Admissions Information REOPENING FAQs: We will be welcoming MICDS students back to school both on campus in person and via distance learning from home when the 2020-21 academic year commences absent any change in government requirements. Please find helpful Health & Safety, School Preparation, and Ram Relief Fund FAQs here: https://www.micds.org/reopening/. APPLICATIONS: We are still accepting applications for certain grades for the 2020-2021 school year: https://www.micds.org/apply.
Absent any change in government requirements, we will be welcoming MICDS students back to school both on campus in person and via distance learning from home when the 2020-21 academic year commences. Please find helpful Health & Safety, School Preparation, and Ram Relief Fund FAQs below.
The greatest strength of our MICDS community is, and always will be, its people. With this in mind, our commitment in these moments of heightened uncertainty is to ensure the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff while sustaining the best possible framework for great teaching and learning that we can in the process.
These guidelines are subject to change at any time based on updated CDC and St. Louis County Department of Public Health guidelines.
Update on Reopening Letter – August 3, 2020
Our most recent letter referenced welcoming all students back to campus this fall. We’ve fielded a variety of questions from parents and guardians since then and want to share some answers with you. Please understand that this information is subject to change based on updated CDC and St. Louis County Department of Public Health guidelines and that in situations specific to MICDS, nurse clinical judgment will also be used.
- Q: Will students, faculty, and staff be screened before being allowed on campus?
A: Daily screening is a requirement for attending school. Parents and employees will fill out daily health checks and monitor their temperatures prior to anyone entering the building.
- Q: If a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, how will we be notified?
A: If a student or employee has a COVID-19 infection, School officials will support the Department of Health’s efforts for contact tracing and enforcing quarantining of those infected and their contacts. Provisions are already in place to support the continuity of learning from home during quarantine periods and for students choosing to remain at home.
- Q: Am I entitled to know who has returned a positive test for COVID-19?
A: Due to legal reasons, the School is unable to provide this information. Families will be notified immediately if their student had close contact with anyone who is diagnosed with COVID-19. As always, we follow the guidance of the St. Louis County Department of Health in making decisions to close classrooms or divisions, or to quarantine specific groups of students, faculty, or staff.
- Q: What length of time will a student or employee be required to remain out of school following a positive COVID-19 result?
A: The following guidelines will be used.
- Symptomatic individual/child who tests positive: the individual will be removed from the campus for 10 days from the symptom onset AND will only be allowed to return 24 hours after fever resolution (if present) without fever-reducing medications AND improved respiratory symptoms.
- Symptomatic individual/child not tested: the individual will be removed from campus for 10 days from the symptom onset AND will only be allowed to return 24 hours after fever resolution (if present) without fever-reducing medications AND improved respiratory symptoms. An individual may return to school if a doctor establishes an alternative diagnosis (e.g., urinary tract Infection) and presents a doctor’s note to confirm the presence of an alternate diagnosis that explains symptoms.
- Symptomatic individual/child who tests negative: the individual will be removed from school until afebrile for 24 hours (if fever present) without fever-reducing medications AND improved respiratory symptoms.
- Exposed and asymptomatic individual/child: the individual will be removed from campus for 14 days from last exposure if she/he remains asymptomatic. If an individual becomes symptomatic, the individual will be removed from campus until they meet the criteria listed above of a symptomatic individual who tests positive or is not tested.
There is no rule for testing to get a “negative test” to clear a child to return to school. A COVID-19 positive individual does not need a repeat COVID-19 test or a doctor’s note in order to return to the campus. All children and staff in the same classroom or who have come in close contact (defined as greater than 10 minutes of interaction less than 6 feet away) with a symptomatic individual should quarantine at home for 14 days. Anyone who develops symptoms during that time should contact their health care provider.
- Q: What actions will the School take if there is a second wave and schools are closed?
A: Should the School be required to close, we would implement the School’s online learning system for all students. A similar, but different, system will be in place from the beginning of the year for students who do not attend classes on campus.
Recognizing that many parents of Lower School students would have difficulty due to work obligations, the School would work with the Department of Health to endeavor to keep Lower School students on campus. This would involve using the entire school to maximize social distancing and mitigate the risk of infection. Online options would continue to be available for parents who choose to keep their children home.
- Q: Will the School have to be closed if a member of the community tests positive for COVID-19?
A: No. All children and staff in the same classroom or who have come in close contact (defined as greater than 10 minutes of interaction less than six feet away) with a symptomatic individual should quarantine at home for 14 days. Anyone who develops symptoms during that time should contact their health care provider.
- Q: What should a parent do if their child has a fever?
A: First, please keep your child home and refer to the screening guidelines for other symptoms. Contact the School nurse or your child’s doctor for additional guidance regarding next steps and possible testing.
- Q: Can I ask to be tested for COVID-19 if I am not showing any symptoms?
A: This is a question for your doctor.
- Q: Will my insurance company cover a voluntary test for COVID-19?
A: Please check with your insurance provider.
- Q: Will off-campus field trips be offered in the fall?
A: At this time, the School has suspended field trips for students.
- Q: Will athletics in Middle and Upper School be impacted?
A: At this time we are planning to start Upper School fall sports on August 10. MICDS is closely following the St. Louis County Guidelines, and we will continue to do so for athletics going forward.
Please see “Athletics” section below for more details.
- Q: What are the School’s expectations for MICDS families away from campus?
A: The School would urge all families to adopt best practices when out in public. This would include the use of face masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing.
Families that have traveled to other countries that are under CDC Travel Health Notice should self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. The School strongly encourages families who have traveled to known hot spots within the United States to self-quarantine as well.
- Q: Are visitors allowed on campus?
A: In order to mitigate risk, the School is limiting visitors to campus. Only essential visitors are allowed and will be screened before entering any buildings. Parents are not allowed inside school buildings, and all parent pick-up of students will occur outside.
- Q: What can families do to keep our campus safe?
A: Families play a vital role in maintaining safety on campus. The number one safety measure is to keep a child home if they are sick. We also encourage all MICDS families to get an annual flu shot, if possible.
Now more than ever, it is imperative that we partner together for the health and safety of our community, which includes cooperation and collaboration regarding accurate reporting of symptoms, keeping children home when they are ill, and abiding by all quarantine guidelines. Please communicate with Health Services if your child or a member of your household becomes ill and/or diagnosed with COVID-19 or if your child has been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19. Having this information will help us provide a safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff.
We want to work with families to support their child’s adherence to safety measures while they are on campus as well as at home. To support this effort, prior to the start of school, we will provide helpful information and training materials to help transition students to a COVID-safe campus. We understand that there are families with higher risk members in their households. As a community that prioritizes health and safety, we must all do our part to adhere to state and local health recommendations and regulations to control transmission and potential future outbreaks. Moreover, there may be times when we ask families to comply with broader safety measures and we greatly appreciate your cooperation in this regard.
Families can also answer the following questions prior to attending school and carefully consider answers before choosing to attend classes on campus:
- Have you or any household contacts tested positive for COVID-19?
- Have you or any household contacts tested positive for COVID-19 and are awaiting results?
- Have you or your child been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
- Do you or your child have any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, chills, headache, or muscle aches?
- Have you or your child traveled within or outside the U.S. by air?
- What is MICDS doing to prepare campus for the safe return of students, faculty, and staff?
MICDS has invested in:
- An antimicrobial barrier system which allows us to quickly clean, disinfect, and sanitize a lot of small classroom items like LEGO, toys, and balls.
- Ordering an air ionization system that significantly reduces the amount of airborne pathogens in all rooms.
- Smart conference systems that capture 360° video and audio for engaging distance learning, and additional portable projectors.
- Age-appropriate signage throughout all school buildings reminding students and employees of proper hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, masks, and social distancing, and direction markers to reduce contact.
- Additional hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the campus and every room will be stocked with disinfectant wipes.
- A system for box lunches delivery for all students to eat in their classrooms, avoiding the congregation of groups in the cafeteria.
- Converting eight water fountains to water bottle filler stations, and replacing three.
- Rearranging and removing furniture from Lower School classrooms to ensure small cohorts who don’t mingle with others, and repurposing classrooms to create additional homeroom spaces.
- iPads or MacBook Air laptops for all Lower School students so they will each have their own personal device.
- Expanding the Upper School nurse’s office to allow for a quarantine area.
- Increasing bandwidth on campus by five times, including additional access points to improve internet connections and to allow alternative spaces to be used as classrooms.
- MICDS-branded reusable facemasks, one for each student and full-time employee. Others will be available for purchase at the bookstore.
- Disposable masks to have on-hand as needed for employees and students.
- Developing a screening protocol with Magnus to allow for a QR code or other visual that lets students efficiently show proof of screening before entering school.
- Increased cleaning of all surfaces.
- Developing contact tracing protocol.
- Adding an emergency childcare option for our employees, including additional sessions of employee assistance for free.
- The training of all health services staff to be contact tracers through Johns Hopkins.
- Lower School Preparations
We’ve used this summer to prepare for both a safe environment for on-campus learning and a more robust distance learning experience. For back-to-school, we will use staggered arrival and departure times to help with social distancing and the transition to smaller homeroom cohorts of eight to 12 students. In compliance with health guidelines, students will be expected to remain six feet apart whenever possible. We will also require students to wear masks at all times except for when eating or drinking or for instances with young children when the risks of mishandling the mask do not outweigh the benefits of the mask.
In addition to physically distancing desks and furniture to create low-risk spaces in each of our classrooms, Lower School teachers have also participated in professional development opportunities to teach in these newly configured spaces. We have examined new technologies and approaches that will enhance the teaching of young children in a socially distanced classroom as well as in a distance-learning setting.
- Middle School Preparations
Our Middle School faculty are prepared to teach in a variety of models this school year: all online, with geographical cohorts, and in a 50% cohort model.
Middle School has been working to reallocate spaces to allow for all students to be present on campus, or what is called a geographical cohort. This will be a combination of students attending class either in the designated classroom or in a nearby space on Zoom, depending on the social distancing capacities of each room. The plan allows for a reduction in Zoom frequency for students, depending on subject and grade level. Middle School has also designated zones to keep the grade levels contained for many of their classes. Physical education and fine arts spaces will be shared spaces across the grade levels. Lunch will be served by advisory cohorts, and recess and flex will be managed by grade level. Directional signage in hallways and staircases along with staggered dismissal of classes will also be part of the daily routine to further reduce crowding during transitions. Entry doors will be designated by grade level and students will report directly to their first period classrooms. Students will not be assigned individual lockers in grade level hallways or PE locker rooms.
The Middle School is also prepared for a 50% Cohort Model should circumstances require an overall reduction in capacity on campus. A 50% Cohort Model has students on campus for a half of each week and at home for the other half of the week in two cohorts that compliment each other (while one is home, the other is on campus).
- Upper School Preparations
Our Upper School faculty are prepared to teach in a variety of models this school year: all online, with geographical cohorts, and in a 50% cohort model.
Using a geographical cohort model, we will have specific zones of the School designated for specific grade levels (understanding that some students will have some classes requiring them to enter multiple zones on campus). Hallways will be one-way and passing periods will be managed to limit traffic. Ninth Graders will enter school through the main May Hall doors adjacent to the US offices and have access to the library, the breezeway, the classrooms directly above the Breezeway in STEM, Orthwein Theatre, and the outside areas directly adjacent to the library (the quad and the area in front of the Art Dept). Tenth Graders will enter through the doors on the north end of STEM and use the immediate internal staircase to head to the top floor of STEM. They will have access to the top floor of STEM, the Robotics classroom, the courtyard, and Brauer Hall. Juniors and Seniors will enter school through the STEM doors on the western end (facing the Alumni Dining Hall) and will have access to the first floor of STEM, portions of May Hall, and all of Olson Hall. Gathering spaces will include the North Gym, pool atrium, and Olson Hall Presentation Room, and they will have the outside spaces on the west end of Olson and May Hall as well.
In this model, we would effectively have three distinct cohorts of students (recognizing that there are a few examples of crossovers for those students who may accelerate in a discipline), providing more options to space students out in classrooms and common areas. This model also enables more effective contact tracing. We will maintain social distancing of six feet within classrooms and, in those cases where classrooms cannot safely accommodate the entire class, a portion of the class (following a set rotation) will be in an adjacent classroom using Zoom to participate.
A 50% Cohort Model has students on campus for a half of each week and at home for the other half of the week in two cohorts that compliment each other (while one is home, the other is on campus).
All students will be required to sign a social contract that confirms that their continued presence will be dependent upon their strict adherence to any and all safety measures and responsibilities to being good citizens in general.
- Athletics Plans (Updated 8/4/20)
At this time, fall practices are set to begin on August 10. Please continue to monitor this page and School communications for updates. Head coaches should be communicating with families, providing start times, locations, and expectations. If you have any questions, please reach out directly to our head coaches (see list below).
MICDS athletic practices follow St. Louis County Guidelines. These may include small group work, students and coaches working together at distance, and daily screenings of students and coaches. Coaches will wear masks at all times. Indoor athletes will be asked to wear masks the entire time. Outdoor athletes should wear masks to and from practice and may be asked to wear them during participation.
Students may attend practices/competitions this season regardless of whether they choose the at-home or in-school options at MICDS. MICDS is waiving the athletic requirement for the 2020-2021 school year. We hope to provide students opportunities to be active and compete, but families should make decisions that they are comfortable with.
We will continue to send updates as we have them as we approach our practice start date of August 10. We will provide an update for Middle School athletics (7th and 8th grade) near the start of the academic year.
Upper School Coaches
Cheerleading Lauren Fletcher firstname.lastname@example.org Cyclocross Britta Siegel email@example.com Boys Cross Country Chris Rappleye firstname.lastname@example.org Girls Cross Country Jim Lohr email@example.com Field Hockey Lynn Mittler firstname.lastname@example.org Football Fred Bouchard email@example.com Girls Golf Steve Johnston firstname.lastname@example.org Boys Soccer Jack Fischer email@example.com Boys Swimming Chris McCrary firstname.lastname@example.org Girls Tennis Patrick Huewe email@example.com Girls Volleyball Peggy Shelton firstname.lastname@example.org
- Q: How will the $2,000 tuition relief and any additional short-term emergency tuition relief be credited to my account / invoices? Can I get my refund now?
A: The credit will be applied to your 2020-21 tuition invoice based on the payment plan you have selected. If your payment plan is the 70/30 plan paid in August and December, 70% of your credit will be applied to the August payment and 30% to the December payment. If your payment plan is the 10-pay plan, each payment will be reduced by 10% of the credit amount.
The refund will be reflected as a pro-rata reduction to your tuition payments. No refunds will be provided in advance.
- Q: My full tuition before the credit for the 2020-21 school year has already been paid. What are my options?
A: If you have already paid your 2020-21 tuition in full, you have three options:
- You may choose to contribute your tuition credit refund to the Ram Relief Fund.
- You may request a refund of your overpayment beginning September 1, 2020.
- You may select to keep the credit outstanding so that it is applied to future charges either in the 2020-21 school year or beyond.
- Q: What is the Ram Relief Fund and what does it cover?
A: The Ram Relief Fund was established to ensure the financial sustainability of MICDS by providing flexible financial support for unforeseen needs and expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These needs and expenses include, but are not limited to, tuition relief for all current MICDS families as well as additional relief for families who have additional demonstrated financial need. Spending from the Ram Relief Fund will be at the discretion of the Head of School and the Chief Financial Officer.
- Q: How do I contribute to the Ram Relief Fund?
A: You may choose to contribute the equivalent to your tuition credit to the Ram Relief Fund. Or you may make a contribution of any size that is comfortable for your family.
- Who do I reach out to if I still have a question?
- Q: How do I know if I will be eligible for short-term emergency tuition relief for the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?
A: Families who have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are experiencing financial stress may request short-term emergency tuition assistance.
- Q: How do I apply for short-term emergency tuition relief for the 2020-21 school year?
A: To initiate a request, families will submit the COVID-19 emergency tuition relief form. They will also be asked to provide any additional documentation necessary to substantiate the level of short-term tuition relief needed. All families will be required to complete the Parent Financial Statement through School and Student Services. Support documents will be required and may include 2018 tax filings, 2019 W-2 or 1099s; the last paycheck stub for those who lost their job due to COVID-19; Schedule C or E; corporate tax returns (K1, 1065, 1120s); current balance sheet/P & L for those whose business has closed due to COVID-19; and unemployment benefit verification. For further information contact Kathy Fagin.
- Q: Is there a deadline to apply for short-term emergency tuition relief for the 2020-21 school year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?
A: No. Families experiencing financial stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic may apply for emergency tuition relief through the summer of 2020.
- Q: How will I be notified if my student will receive short-term emergency tuition relief?
A: You will receive electronic notification within 10 days of completing the application process.
- Q: What is the policy regarding parents who live in separate households?
A: We expect both parents to financially support their child’s education, and therefore require both households to apply for short-term emergency tuition relief.
- Q: Do I need to sign up for the tuition insurance plan?
A: If you enrolled in the tuition insurance plan during enrollment, no further action is needed.
If you are a current parent and you did not enroll in the tuition insurance program during enrollment, you will need to enroll your current student(s) in the tuition insurance program by June 31, 2020. To enroll, log into the MICDS Parent Portal. Then click Preferences/Update Family Profile, and open the Policies tab. Look for the 2020-2021 school year and respond to the “2020 Tuition Refund Plan Selection.” While enrolling in the tuition insurance program may generate a charge to your account, MICDS will apply an offsetting credit equal to the charge so there is no out-of-pocket cost to families. Please note that the tuition insurance program requires attendance for 14 consecutive days to go into effect.
For new parents, access to the tuition insurance enrollment will be enabled on the Portal on July 1, 2020 with enrollment completed by July 15, 2020.
- Q: I already paid for the TRP insurance; when and how do I get a refund?
A: The TRP insurance fee is included on the tuition invoice and paid over the payment plan. The TRP insurance fee is included on the tuition invoice with an offsetting credit to offset the cost.
- Q: Do I need to sign up for the 10-pay plan? How do I notify the school of a change in my payment plan?
A: Your default selection for payment will be the selection made during enrollment. If you would prefer to change your payment plan to the 10-pay plan, please send an email to Aronda Reeves requesting the change by June 15, 2020. Please note that a requirement of the 10-pay plan is that you enroll in VC Pay including automatic payment information.
- Q: What if I do not want the 10-pay plan?
A: No change to the payment plan selected at enrollment will be made unless Aronda Reeves is emailed the payment plan change request.
- Q: I already paid the deposit towards the 10-pay plan; when & how do I get that back?
A: If your paid deposit included $30 towards the 10-pay plan, it will appear as a credit on your student account and will be applied to tuition or other incurred charges.