Safe Conditions for In-Person Learning at MCDS

Your child’s safety is our top priority. Our rigorous safety precautions, thoughtful planning, small class sizes, spacious classrooms, and expansive 40-acre campus help your child stay safe and healthy while learning in person.

Daily screening
requirements

Our entire community shares responsibility for staying safe and protecting others.

  • Depending on pandemic conditions, daily screening may include questions about travel and gatherings away from school, along with any other behaviors that might increase the risk that a person has been exposed to COVID-19. In all cases, we seek to balance privacy with the wellbeing of our community.
  • Individuals experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are required to stay home.
  • Our school nurse meticulously tracks symptoms, confirmed exposures, and probable exposures across the entire school community, helping us keep everyone safe.

Ample space for physical distancing

Inside and outside, our large campus offers more than enough space for safe in-person learning.

  • Small class sizes and a 100,000-plus square-foot building with 40 spacious classrooms and community areas (including a library, lunch areas, and large gymnasium) ensure that proper social distancing can be maintained at all times.
  • Many classes and activities are held outdoors on our 40-acre campus, weather permitting. An outdoor amphitheater, large fields, numerous trails, and lakefront access offer plenty of space for multiple classes at a time.
  • Cohorting by grade level limits the number of people your child comes into contact with during the day.
  • MCDS requires a minimum of 6 feet social distancing in all interactions and limits the sharing of materials at school.
  • Private spaces are available in our school nurse’s area for any community member who develops symptoms while on campus to comfortably quarantine until they can return home.

Rigorous safety precautions

Meticulous hygiene practices and fastidious cleaning and disinfecting follow CDC guidelines to keep in-person school safe.

  • Face coverings are required at all times for everyone in the building.
  • Everyone on campus is required to wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water (or use hand sanitizer if hand washing is not available)
  • Faculty and staff regularly clean and disinfect classrooms and common areas throughout the school day. MCDS provides training and EPA-approved cleaning supplies and disinfectants to all faculty and staff to ensure cleaning and disinfecting is done correctly.
  • MCDS cleaning staff follows CDC guidelines for deep cleaning the school. All areas of the school are cleaned and disinfected every evening.
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For which academic year would this student be enrolling if your family chooses MCDS?

Parent information

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Our faculty and staff are excited to meet you and your students! Would you like to schedule a video chat with one of the following MCDS faculty or staff? (Please select all that apply)
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At MCDS, each person matters and each person has a story. Would you like us to connect you with a parent ambassador?
If there is something else you'd like to learn about, or someone else you'd like to speak to, please note it here.

Data-driven decisions informed by expert medical advisors

Frequent communication with our medical task force and public health officials keeps MCDS ahead of the coronavirus curve.

  • Our program is shaped by data and guidelines from Public Health Madison & Dane County, the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and numerous other scientific studies and articles, as well as frequent communication with our team of medical advisors from American Family Children's Hospital, the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and other institutions.
  • Our flexible plan for safely offering in-person school is the result of meticulous research and planning across numerous committees, and we continue to enhance our program based on feedback from our community members, the latest research on preventing transmission in schools, and local pandemic conditions.

Facilities improvements make our building even safer

Our carefully planned facility investments include:

  • Sanitizing stations
  • Plexi Shields at front desks
  • New bottle-filling stations to replace drinking fountains
  • Implemented increased air circulation recommendations
  • All classroom furniture was rearranged to optimize learning space while maintaining physical distancing.
  • Carefully coordinated processes for maintaining distance during transition times, including drop-off and pick-up, recess, and passing times between classes, keep things moving safely and efficiently.
  • Additional educational assistants have been hired, helping us keep classes small and appropriately distanced, while still providing individualized attention to all students.
  • Travel around the building is restricted within each division to help minimize each person's number of contacts.
An in-person Pre-Kindergarten student practices a mini xylophone.

Flexibility and choice for your family

Our innovative Flexible by Choice program gives your family the ability to choose remote or in-person learning—and the flexibility to change your decision as needed.

Contact us to learn more
Customize Your Virtual Admissions Experience

Student information

First and last name
Academic year of interest
For which academic year would this student be enrolling if your family chooses MCDS?

Parent information

First and last name

Customize your admissions experience

Our faculty and staff are excited to meet you and your students! Would you like to schedule a video chat with one of the following MCDS faculty or staff? (Please select all that apply)
We are looking forward to sharing a variety of information that shows how our school is uniquely different. What information are you most interested in learning about? (Please select all that apply)
At MCDS, each person matters and each person has a story. Would you like us to connect you with a parent ambassador?
If there is something else you'd like to learn about, or someone else you'd like to speak to, please note it here.
  • We are honored to be with MCDS! Everything is fantastic, we couldn't be happier, and the virtual school is phenomenal. Even the car line isn't bad.

    —Lower and Middle School parent

What does the typical day of in-person student look like at MCDS?

Before School

Daily Symptom Screening at Home

Parent completes a temperature and symptom screening via text message before leaving home.

Arrival at School

Drop-off

Student arrives and enters through division-specific door. Parents stay in their vehicles (except Pre-K and K may have one parent escort into the building).

Screening

All persons entering the building who did not complete screening via text message will be screened at the door.

School Day / Classes

Start and End of School Day

7:45–8:15 a.m.—Student entrances open. Screening begins for in-person student arrival.

8:20 a.m.—Classes begin for both in-person and remote students.

3:30 p.m.—Classes end for both in-person and remote students.

All-Modes Schedule

Remote and in-person students follow the same schedule. View example schedules

Concurrent Classrooms

In-person and online students are in the same classes at the same times. When the teacher is remote, students attending in person use laptops, and an educational assistant is present with them in the classroom.

Between Classes

Storing Items

Most students store their items in their classrooms or backpacks. Locker and cubby availability is limited this year to help prevent groups of students from gathering.

Recess and Passing Times

Students limit their travel around our building. Students stagger passing and recess times throughout the day, maintaining social distancing at all times.

Lunch

Lunch is in classrooms, or outside if weather permits. Hot lunch is still available.

After School

Pick-Up

MCDS is using an app that allows students to remain in their classrooms until the person picking them up has arrived at the building.

Sports, Extracurriculars, Extended Day, and Other Activities

To the greatest extent possible, students remain grouped in their divisional cohorts for these activities.

How does MCDS help in-person and remote students connect with each other throughout the school day?

See how it all fits together in the infographic at right.
A Day in the Life of . . . MCDS In-Person Students 2020-21 Start-of-School-Year Plan Before School Daily Symptom Screening at Home Parent completes a temperature and symptom screening via text message before leaving home. Arrival at School Drop-off Student arrives and enters through division-specific door. Parents stay in their vehicles (except Pre-K and K may have one parent escort into the building). Screening All persons entering the building who did not complete screening via text message will be screened at the door. School Day Classes All-Modes Schedule Remote and in-person students will follow the same schedule. See example schedules from Pre-K, Kindergarten, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-4, Middle School Grades 5-8, and High School Grades 9-12 at www.madisoncountryday.org/all-modes-schedule. Concurrent Classrooms In-person and online students will be in the same classes at the same times. Students attending in person will be using laptops when the teacher is remote. Additional Faculty Support MCDS is hiring additional educational assistants and subs to help cover remote teachers with students who are attending in person. All classes with a remote teacher and in-person students will have an MCDS employee in the classroom with the students. Between Classes Recess and Passing Times Students will limit their travel around our campus. Students will stagger passing and recess times throughout the day, maintaining social distancing at all times. Storing Items Most students will store their items in their classrooms or backpacks. Locker and cubby availability will be limited this year to help prevent groups of students from gathering. Lunch Lunch will be in classrooms, or outside if weather permits. Hot lunch is still available. Study Groups, Individual Teacher Appointments, and other opportunities to connect After School Pick-Up MCDS is currently testing an app that will allow students to remain in their classrooms until the person picking them up has arrived at the building. Sports, Extracurriculars, Extended Day, and Other Activities To the greatest extent possible, students will remain grouped in their divisional cohorts for these activities. MCDS Remote Students Start and End of School Day 7:45–8:15 a.m. Student entrances open. Screening begins for in-person student arrival. 8:20 a.m. Classes begin for both in-person and remote students. 3:30 p.m. Classes end for both in-person and remote students. Remote Attendance Remote students will attend classes via video, using Zoom. Every classroom has been equipped with a webcam providing a wide view of the room, to help remote and in-person students feel more connected. MCDS Traditions & Student Life Stay tuned for more details about MCDS Virtual Assemblies, MS/HS student-led clubs during lunch time, and all of the traditional LS Homeroom and MS/HS Advisory activities that make the MCDS experience special—all will continue, accessible to both remote and in-person students. Sports, Extracurriculars, Extended Day, and Other Activities Many extracurriculars, athletics and other after school activities will be offered in remote or dual format for remote students. Remote options will be clearly indicated on the quarterly signup. Notifying MCDS About Your Choices MCDS students and families have the option to switch modes between in-person and remote when the in-person option is available. MCDS requests 2 business days’ notice to prepare for the mode switch for your student. And, we request that the decision be made for a full week at a time. Of course, if your student is sick or needs to quarantine, switching to remote learning with less than 2 days’ notice is absolutely allowed.

Interested in learning more about in-person school at MCDS?

We'd love to give you a personalized tour of everything MCDS has to offer your child.
Customize my personal tour!
Customize Your Virtual Admissions Experience

Student information

First and last name
Academic year of interest
For which academic year would this student be enrolling if your family chooses MCDS?

Parent information

First and last name

Customize your admissions experience

Our faculty and staff are excited to meet you and your students! Would you like to schedule a video chat with one of the following MCDS faculty or staff? (Please select all that apply)
We are looking forward to sharing a variety of information that shows how our school is uniquely different. What information are you most interested in learning about? (Please select all that apply)
At MCDS, each person matters and each person has a story. Would you like us to connect you with a parent ambassador?
If there is something else you'd like to learn about, or someone else you'd like to speak to, please note it here.