Reopening FAQs & Admissions Info
REOPENING FAQs: We welcomed MICDS students back to school on August 18 with distance learning both on campus and from home. Please visit https://www.micds.org/reopening/ to find helpful Health & Safety, School Preparation, and Ram Relief Fund FAQs. ADMISSIONS: MICDS is no longer accepting new applications for the 2020-2021 school year. We are now accepting new applications to all grade levels for the 2021-2022 school year: https://www.micds.org/admission/.
We are welcoming MICDS Middle and Upper School students back to school for in-person learning starting October 1. Please find division-specific plans and 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.
- Letter from Scott Small on resuming in-person learning in the Upper School (September 22, 2020)
- Letter from Jen Schuckman on resuming in-person learning in the Middle School (September 22, 2020)
- Letter from Amy Scheer on updates for the Lower School (September 22, 2020)
Communications Regarding Reopening
Webinar Video Recording on Planning Return to Campus – September 15, 2020 (also located below)
Update on School Operations and Planning – September 4, 2020
Update on Reopening Letter – August 3, 2020
COVID-19 Status Report
We are looking forward to welcoming more students back to campus. We’ve fielded a variety of questions from parents and guardians 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 complete the Magnus Health Daily COVID-19 Screening (including a daily temperature check) prior to anyone entering the building. Participation in Athletics will require the completion of a separate daily screening.
Here is more information on using the Magnus Health App for daily screening of those students coming to campus.
Trying to decide what to do? Use this helpful Student Symptom Decision Tree.
- 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.
If a person within your child’s cohort tests positive, we will notify you via an email from Health Services along with instructions regarding quarantine requirements, as applicable according to the Department of Health.
- What if a student feels ill while on campus?
If symptoms of illness or injury occur while on campus:
- Notify your teacher and they will send an email to inform the nurse you are coming.
- Collect all of your belongings and go to the nurse for evaluation.
- Nurses will use professional clinical judgment along with published resources to make informed decisions about dismissal for illness, when you can return, quarantine, etc.
Please understand that nurses, using their clinical judgment, will likely send home students more frequently this year than in the past to ensure the health of all students, faculty, and staff.
- Q: What if my student is sick?
If your student has any symptoms they should not be in school. If your student comes to school with any symptoms of illness, the school nurse will coordinate a prompt dismissal. Exclusion and return decisions are guided by algorithms created by the Washington University Pediatric & Adolescent Ambulatory Research Consortium. Please contact your student’s school nurse when your child is ill for return to school guidance and planning. Students with two or more symptoms will be referred to their healthcare provider for evaluation.
- 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, symptom improvement, and approval from school nurse.
- 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 symptom improvement. 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, symptom improvement, and proof of negative test results.
- Exposed and asymptomatic individual/child (due to exposure at home, in school, or in the community): the individual will be removed from campus for 14 days from last exposure if they remain 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 15 cumulative 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 are the PPE requirements for students, faculty and staff?
A: It is the expectation that students and employees will wear a face covering while on campus. At the end of the day each student will take the cloth face masks home for proper laundering. Families and individuals will be responsible for laundering and rotating masks in order to have a clean mask each day. For this reason, it may be beneficial to purchase additional masks for convenience.
- Wash masks with regular laundry on the setting appropriate for the fabric type. Air dry or place it in the dryer on the highest setting.
In the Lower School, students will be provided their own individual bag to place their mask in while eating.
If a student or employee forgets or soils their face covering:
- The school nurses have a somewhat limited extra supply of surgical facemasks in both child and adult sizes for as-needed use.
- Change into a clean mask if it becomes soiled, damaged, or hard to breathe through.
Recommendations on Type of Masks
Per CDC guidance, masks with valves or vents should not be used on campus since they allow exhaled air to be expelled out through holes in the material. This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus.
In addition, emerging data has shown that bandanas and gaiters may also act similarly to masks with valves. Therefore, it is recommended that all community members wear cloth or surgical masks only.
Noncompliance and Opposition to Masks
- If a student or employee is unable to wear a mask for medical reasons, please provide the required documentation from your physician.
- The expectation is that all students wear a mask and divisions will have zero tolerance for sharing/trading of masks, chewing on a mask, or wearing it in an inappropriate manner (e.g., on chin, nose exposed).
- 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.
Any decisions regarding closing of a division or the entire school due to the number of COVID-19 cases will be made in coordination with the St. Louis Department of Public Health (DPH).
- 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: Upper School fall sports began August 10. MICDS is closely following the St. Louis County Guidelines, and we will continue to do so for athletics going forward. As of September 29, 2020, many of our Upper School fall athletic teams will be able to compete.
Middle School sports (7th and 8th grade) began practices on September 9, 2020.
Please see “Athletics” section below for more details.
- Q: What are the School’s expectations for MICDS employees, students, and families away from campus?
A: The School urges all community members to adopt best practices when out in public. This would include the use of face masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing.
Employees, students, and 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.
Also, if students, employees, or families plan to attend a larger gathering, we request that you partner with us in advance to make decisions regarding safety measures (including potential quarantining upon return) to keep our community as safe as possible. Examples include weekend parties, community events, and family gatherings such as weddings. We also ask families and employees to partner with us by not hosting, attending, or allowing students to attend large, indoor gatherings—especially ones where attendees are not masked or physically distanced—since these have proven to be a source of spread. Variables to keep in mind when making decisions regarding attendance at gatherings would include:
- Indoor vs. outdoor gathering
- Safety measures in place (social distancing, masking, and handwashing capabilities) and adherence of those in attendance to these measures
- Size of the gathering (the larger the gathering, the more concern) and if the people in attendance are within your normal circle of exposure
Our Health Team members (Michelle Fox, Stephanie Presson, and Vicki Thurman) are available to discuss the potential risks associated with your specific event and support you in making a decision, including the need to quarantine.
The more we all do our part to consider the health and safety of our entire community, the higher our chances are of keeping our students and teachers in school and our community safe.
- 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 has MICDS done 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.
- 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 that allows 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.
- A screening protocol with Magnus that allows students to 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
Please see Amy Scheer’s email from September 22, 2020, for more details on current plans.
We used this summer to prepare for both a safe environment for on-campus learning and a more robust distance learning experience. We 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 are expected to remain six feet apart whenever possible. We 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.
We request that you consider your child’s close interactions with other children and adults outside of school. The policies and procedures we have in place are an effort to provide an in-person learning environment for as long as possible. We want to remain open to offer in-person learning for those families who choose to send their children to school. We ask that you remember that carpools, extracurricular activities such as sports, and playdates outside of school, especially those involving children from other school communities, all increase your child’s risk of exposure to COVID-19. Again, thank you for your partnership in helping us support learning for everyone.
- 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.
Please see Scott Small’s email from September 22, 2020, for more details on current plans.
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.