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.
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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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.
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.
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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?
Daily Symptom Screening at Home
Parent completes a temperature and symptom screening via text message before leaving home.
Arrival at School
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).
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.
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.
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 is in classrooms, or outside if weather permits. Hot lunch is still available.
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.