The goal of Valley Forge Kinder House Montessori School continues to be providing a genuine, high quality Montessori program in an environment that is safe, caring and supportive of the children and their families.
Masking Guidelines Update
Updated May 2, 2022
Starting tomorrow, May 3rd, masking is required for students 2 and over and for all adults at school. Masks should be surgical or K95/KN95 masks, not cloth masks.
There are several cases of COVID-19 that just presented in the school community. All persons with COVID were infected outside of school and tested positive Saturday and Sunday. We do need to return to masking at this time and will continue to monitor the situation. We put everyone’s health and safety first.
Thank you for continuing to monitor your children, keeping sick children home and communicating with the school. WE believe we have the BEST families and we thank all of you for all your efforts!
Masking Guidelines Update
Updated March 18, 2022
The CDC recommends continued masking for children in early childhood education programs. The ECE licensing agencies in PA are guiding all programs to follow the instructions as outlined in the link above, including this statement:
CDC recommends universal indoor masking in ECE programs for those ages 2 years and older, regardless of vaccination status.
Due to low levels of COVID-19 in our community, high vaccination rates, and natural immunity due to recent infections, masking will be optional at VFKH starting on Monday, March 21st. We will continue to monitor the situation. In cooperation with the Health Departments and licensing agencies, masking may be reinstated. As always we will update our website and communicate to families as things evolve. Thank you for all your efforts and patience as we navigate this together.
Note: It is still required for children with COVID-19 symptoms to stay home until either a letter from their doctor or a negative COVID-19 test is obtained.
COVID-19 Guidelines Update
Updated January 6, 2022
It has been shown the best place for children is to remain in school. In order to do this, we need to ensure everyone stays as healthy as possible. We have an incredibly respectful and conscientious community of parents, and we thank you for your efforts. Already many families have taken precautions to keep their children at home and to communicate with the school.
As a result of your diligence, VFKH has not had any COVID-19 cases over the entire two years. This past week, with the highly contagious and present Omicron variant, our first cases happened. This was with more diligence than ever on everyone’s part. It is no one’s fault. The Health Departments stated every school in our area is reporting cases. They were very complimentary that we had not had a case until now. With the Departments of Health guidance, we immediately took the necessary steps to limit transmission. Thank you for your wonderful, supportive attitudes and help with this. We know this can add an extra burden to families. We are also grateful that cases reported were either asymptomatic or very mild and are happy to report this.
As of January 4th, new guidance has been provided from the local Department of Health to schools in response to the recent wave of COVID cases. The local Department of Health requested schools “ask your families to remain extra diligent about assessing their children for signs of ANY illness (including a runny nose) and not send [children who appear unwell] to school.” With this message, we are again asking families to keep their children at home if they seem under the weather. A child does not have to have a fever to be sick and contagious to others. If we notice your child is unwell, we will call to have your child picked up. Per the guidance received, children with COVID symptoms will be asked to complete a COVID test before returning to school.
The CDC updated its quarantine and isolation guidelines. As of January 5th, the guidance from the Department of Health is that the new guidelines apply to school-age children and staff. Children under 5, who are not yet eligible for a COVID vaccine, will continue to receive direction about quarantine and isolation based on the prior guidelines.
A New Policy Effects Early Childcare Regulations
Our regulations – 55 Pa. Code § 3270.137, 55 Pa. Code § 3280.137, and 55 Pa. Code § 3290.137 – relating to child health, states, “an operator who observes an enrolled child with symptoms of a communicable disease or infection that can be transmitted directly or indirectly and which may threaten the health of children in care shall exclude the child from attendance until the operator receives notification from a physician or a CRNP that the child is no longer considered a threat to the health of others.”
Also acceptable is a negative test result signed by a pharmacist testing site operating with CLIA Certificate of Waiver or Certificates of CLIA Compliance, such as a CVS or Minute Clinic, if they are unable to have their pediatrician provide a written note or a signed negative test result.
The PA DOH maintains a list of reportable diseases and COVID-19 was added to the list. PA DOH requires that COVID-19 be reported within 24 hours. A link to the updated list is provided here.
After a child or facility person contracts or is showing symptoms of a communicable disease or infection, the child care provider must exclude that person from the facility and must receive notification from a physician or a nurse practitioner (CRNP) that the person is no longer considered a threat to the health of others before the child or facility person may return to the facility.
If Your Child Tests Positive for COVID-19:
In the case of a positive COVID-19 test result:
- Isolate your child.
- Inform the school office as soon as possible ([email protected]).
- Contact your child’s pediatrician.
- Contact any close contacts.
- Receive a note from your child’s doctor with return date and confirming your child is no longer a threat to the health of others in order to return to school. (A negative test is not required as PCR tests can continue to return positive results beyond the contagious period).
- At this time your child will be considered immune to COVID-19 for 90 days after contracting the disease. Therefore, your child will not be required to quarantine during this period if deemed a close contact to an infected person.
VFKH Response to COVID-19 Cases:
- Communicate the occurrence to the school community and provide direction if needed.
- Report to the county Health Department within 24 hours.
- Take steps recommended by the Health Department.
- Notify our licensing agencies within 24 hours.
- Monitor others for symptoms.
- Complete a thorough sanitizing cleaning.
Links for Important Guidance
We recommend that you have the Quarantine and Isolation Tool accessible for reference.
- Chester County Department of Health Quarantine and Isolation Tool as of January 4, 2022
- Montgomery County Department of Health Quarantine and Isolation Guide
- Chester County Reporting At Home Positive COVID-19 Antigen Test information
- Montgomery County Reporting At Home Positive COVID-19 Antigen Test information
Preventative Measures in Place at School:
- Wearing a well-fitting mask for those 2 and over
- Vaccinations (all staff and many children 5 and over have already bceen vaccinated)
- Ventilation – once again we are taking extra steps to ensure fresh exchange of air in classroom spaces
- Hand washing – children and staff wash hands on arrival and throughout the day
- Fogging – in response to many circulating illnesses we are fogging in the evenings with a plant based, non-toxic sanitizing solution
- Children and staff who have COVID symptoms will stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours, symptoms improve, and have a negative COVID test and/or a note from their doctor or CNP.
- Regular cleaning
COVID Symptoms Used by the DOH for Screening
Some COVID symptoms (any symptom is cause for concern):
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Updated September 2, 2021
Pennsylvania has mandated masks in all schools and childcare centers. VFKH requires masks for all children (except toddlers and infants), teachers, staff, and visitors. Children with a health reason for not wearing a mask may receive permission with the submission of a signed letter from a medical professional.
We ask that all families monitor their child’s health and keep children home who have symptoms or seem unwell. You know your child best. Children do not need a fever to be sick. We were successful last year in keeping students healthy due to our conscientious families. Thank you! Please continue this effort. It is much appreciated.
All staff at VFKH are vaccinated. We will continue mitigation strategies including hand washing, increased ventilation, and sanitizing measures, such as fogging and UV light.
VFKH remains in contact with the county Departments of Health and will continue to follow their guidance.
Temperature checks are no longer recommended and we will discontinue this practice unless your child presents as unwell. If a child becomes sick at school we bring them to the office with a cozy cot, call the parent, and monitor the child. We will care for and comfort your child until you are able to arrive.
Updated May 14, 2021
New CDC Mask Guidance
The CDC announced fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks. They determined after study reviews that fully vaccinated persons are not at risk of spreading COVID nor contracting a serious a form of COVID. VFKH staff have received their vaccines. We have changed our policy so that fully vaccinated people at our school may choose whether or not they will wear a mask.
November 18, 2020
We have had no cases of COVID-19 at our school. We thank all of you for continuing to communicate with us and monitoring your child’s health carefully. We are all relying on one another to keep our community healthy and we appreciate your efforts. It is with your care and caution that we are able to offer a safe and caring learning environment for the children. It has been so heartwarming to see the joy the children express at school and with their teachers and friends.
Safety is always our first priority. We are aware numbers are high in Montgomery County and that the Montgomery County Health Department is requiring school grades K-12 to close from 11/23 to 12/6 in anticipation of post-holiday coronavirus spread. The good news is Limerick campus is NOT included in this mandate.
“The closure of Montgomery County public and private schools for these two weeks does not include any child care centers or early education schools OR early learning centers providing care for school age (kindergarten age ) children. “
Chester County is not making any changes which would affect our Phoenixville campus.
At this point, we feel our mitigation measures are effective and the benefit of in person care and learning is profound in the development of children. We are carefully monitoring the situation. We are fortunate that we are a small community with extensive safety measures in place and a responsible parent community.
That said, if you feel more comfortable or if you visit family during the holiday, you have the option of keeping your child home the week of 11/30. Please let us know if you will be choosing to do this.
September 23, 2020
Per updates from the CDC we are not completing a full health symptom screening at arrival. We ask that you please check your child’s health each day before school and take their temperature. If your child is sick, please keep your child home. At arrival we will continue to ask you about the health of your child, any fever reducer provided within 24 hours and if anyone at home has symptoms of COVID-19 as well as a temperature check.
Things will continue to adjust and here we are offering clarification from the Department of Health and CDC. As we move into the cold and flu season if your child has cold or flu symptoms we suggest you contact your pediatrician. If the symptoms appear typical for your child, i.e. seasonal illness, etc. please return to school when symptoms are improving and 24 hours after a fever has broken. If the illness is atypical, please discuss the next steps with your physician and move ahead as medically recommended.
5 Keys of Commitment
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to the following five principles: Safety, Flexibility, Community, Choice, and Excellence in Education.
We plan to return to on-campus learning on September 8 with modifications set in place to ensure the safety of the children, the faculty and the staff while continuing to honor our commitment of excellence in education. We will take advantage of our large properties (Limerick 3 acres and Phoenixville 5 acres) to maximize the use of outside for both learning and recreation.
Note that we will update this page with all the latest information as the situation changes.
Here are the some measures we are putting in place and some of the questions we have received.
Separation of Programs
Our campuses provide for separation of children by program throughout the day for eating, bathrooms and classroom spaces.
Our Limerick campus has two buildings. Our Toddler program is in The Cottage, and our preschool children in our Primary program are in the Main building. Each building has its own staff and its own bathrooms. Children eat in their program space.
The Primary and Elementary programs are housed in separate spaces within the school. Each space has its own staff and bathrooms. Children eat in their program space.
With large grounds and playgrounds at each campus, we utilize the outdoors for walks, fresh air, gardening, and recreation.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines
As ever, our goal is to provide a genuine, quality Montessori program in an environment that is safe, caring and supportive to the children. We know and care about one another as a community at VFKH. In preparation for the return to in-class education, VFKH has prepared the COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines for our school. This booklet outlines the policies and procedures we are putting in place to maintain a safe environment for the children. From morning health screenings to carefully prepared rooms for social distancing, fresh air and sanitation, VFKH is prepared to implement the necessary safety measures. Please feel free to read our COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines and contact us with any questions. As needed, updates will be made and communicated to the VFKH community.
Daily Health and Safety Measures
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented several daily safety and hygiene measures at our schools. These measures reflect a community-wide commitment to the well-being of our children, parents and staff.
We recognize that the current COVID-19 situation has resulted in a financial strain for some families. We work with our families to provide tuition assistance where there is a financial need. Contact us for the details and the information required.