A Summary of Suzuki Enhanced Protocols During COVID19

Our Four Key COVID Practices

Community-wide commitment to COVID mitigation strategies: Our school community developed a pledge to follow comprehensive COVID mitigation practices at home, at school, and at work – this pact includes both faculty and staff as well as the families. If we all make sacrifices to protect each other, we keep our foundation solid and strong. When we commit to each other and to staying healthy, we reduce opportunities for COVID to be introduced into our school environment. 

Eliminate COVID transmission opportunities within our school: We have implemented several holistic strategies to limit exposures and co-mingling within our community. We keep each classroom completely separate from one another to eliminate the possibility of spread amongst classrooms. From investments in facilities and additional sanitation equipment to altered schedules and retraining of staff, we are committed to providing the best – and healthiest environment possible.

Follow CDC “gold standard” for addressing COVID exposures: We are committed to a science-based approach in the event of an exposure or a confirmed case of COVID within our community. Our exclusion practices adhere to the highest standards as specified by the CDC and the Department of Health. With each exposure, we are in communication with the Department of Health and follow their guidelines on how to react, always following protocols and doing what is best for the health of our children, staff and families.

Proactive and Transparent Communications: We recognize that a high level of trust is required for both faculty and families to feel safe in a group environment. As a result, our communication approach is rapid, thorough, and proactive while still maintaining confidentiality.

Please be aware that any updates to our policies are published in the Suzuki School blast, and that the sender for these items had changed to Procare. For messages before July 2021, you can search your inbox for blast@suzukischool.com to access any past emails! Similarly, if you wish to access our recent Town Hall Meeting (July 2021), please click here!

Impact on the Educational Experience

Extensive COVID protocols have required some changes to our standard programming.

What remains the same:

  • An authentic Montessori experience including a full work cycle.
  • A full-day program.
  • Trained teachers.
  • A commitment to Spanish Dual Language Immersion.
  • Our Montessori teacher training program – it simply transitioned to virtual instruction!
  • Our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Our premium services: food program, school nurse, and child development specialist.

What has changed during COVID?

  • COVID hours of operation reduce the need for additional classroom staff who can introduce COVID into the environment.
  • Staggered drop-offs and pickups are done outside along with a health check at drop off.
  • Enrichment activities have been scaled back to only those that can be done virtually or by the classroom faculty to eliminate daily commingling between classrooms.
  • Classroom group sizes have been reduced.
  • Elimination of floating teacher/substitute teacher positions to reduce commingling between classrooms.
  • We still maintain our open door policy (but ask that you please contact school Administration to schedule an observation).
  • Modified withdrawal policy consistent with the volatility of the climate created by COVID (reduced during COVID to 30 days from 60 days).
  • All non-essential meetings, trainings, and conferences have moved to virtual – even for internal staff.

Learn More About Our Strategies Below!

Our mitigation strategies are all about keeping our community healthy and adapting common sense practices to remain COVID free. When the campuses reopened on June 1st all returning community members agreed to practice certain mitigation strategies at school and at home. These mitigation practices have evolved over time as we learn more information and identify vulnerabilities.

In addition, when new faculty or families join the Suzuki School, we educate them on both our COVID19 protocols and our expectations on how they will help to keep our schools COVID19 free. What we ask of all families including parents, children, staff, and teachers is to commit to:

  • Wearing a mask and social distancing whenever out of the home.

  • Travelling smartly – whether for work or pleasure, and whether in state, out of state, or by air or car, we ask that families and faculty communicate with us about their travel plans so that the appropriate mitigation strategy can be implemented. In some cases, this includes exclusion from the school upon return for a period of time, and/or COVID testing before returning to school.

  • Social outings and recreation – we are asking everyone in the Suzuki community to:

    • Refrain from going into restaurants and bars for in-person dining.

    • Refrain from community pools and other recreational or social outings where exposure risk cannot be carefully controlled.

    • Refrain from using gyms unless they can be assured that the gyms are enforcing limits on group sizes and social distancing, and enforcing mask wearing.

    • If the family or faculty have older siblings to limit activities in team sports where proper social distancing is not possible or practiced.

    • Limiting playdates, sleepovers, and birthday parties to only those in the same classroom – and not other classrooms or campuses (we monitor this through daily reporting by parents).

  • New Families: we work with new families to educate them on our policies and to determine if the family or the child need to quarantine before starting at the school. We may require this if the family has recently travelled or if the child just left another school.

The primary work to reduce transmission in the schools is around:

  • Stopping sick or exposed students, faculty, and staff from entering the school.

  • How people transition and interact with each in the building.

  • How the campuses are kept sanitized and/or classrooms and common area spaces segregated.

Daily Health Form and Health Check:

The school has developed its own proprietary app for the Health Screening that is completed each day. This app flags exceptions which are sent to the school nurse to review. In addition, all community members are strongly encouraged to contact the school nurse before coming to school about any health concerns or exposures. When arriving at the school, there is a temperature check, and the Health Screening Form is reviewed.

In addition to daily screening questions about health, we also verify each day that all members of our community are social distancing, and identifying any social interactions outside of school hours with other community members (except if in the same classroom). This form also reports on recent travel and is used to follow up with families or faculty if we have not reviewed with them already.

Classroom Procedures:

There are staggered drop offs at the schools to minimize comingling of classrooms. In addition, we have designated administrative staff as “runners” who perform all the duties that faculty used to do that required them to leave the classroom. This includes getting supplies, delivering food, taking temperatures, doing laundry and taking out trash to name a few. In addition, children who are escorted in the building during drop off or pickup only physically interact with their classroom teachers. In essence, by dramatically reducing the number of times faculty or children have to leave the classroom, we reduce the opportunities to spread COVID19 between classrooms. Our playground protocols remain consistent other than the playgrounds are used by one classroom at a time, and cleaned more frequently. There is also a buffer built in to the playground schedule so classes are not meeting during transitions.

While at school everyone is expected to socially distance at all times, except for co-teachers in a particular classroom where it is impossible to do so. The administrative team also socially distances from each other so that there can be continued leadership support in the event one of them is exposed to or gets COVID. At the end of each day, every faculty and staff member completes a Contact Tracing form, and any exceptions to our policy are flagged and reviewed the next day.

A major change has been in how we utilize substitute teachers and “floating faculty” because we must keep classrooms in their own “bubble”. Substitute teachers can no longer move from classroom to classroom freely. Instead we require a 48 hour period after a substitute teacher has been in one classroom before going into another classroom. In addition, the floater positions have been eliminated since the nature of this position creates co-mingling of classrooms.

Enrichment teachers are also no longer allowed to provide in person instruction because it can create cross exposures between classrooms. Rather, these teachers provide virtual lessons where it makes sense.

All of the adults in our community must wear form fitting masks, preferably KN95 at all times when around other people – including outside on the playgrounds. Faculty are provided face shields if they want an additional level of protection as well as the other standard PPE. Additionally, teachers wear an extra external layer of PPE, like a nurse’s jacket, that can be changed if soiled.

Children ages three and above, or those preparing to move up to Primary classroom must all wear masks. We have found that the children have adapted well to this requirement, and exceeded all our expectations! The only times children are not wearing masks is when they are playing outside, napping or eating. During mealtimes, we use custom sneeze-guard panels to place in between children. The clear panel allows them to see one another through and continue to talk and interact freely.


We have done extensive retrofitting at all three campuses to reduce shared spaces, better insulate rooms, and continue to do so as more refinements are identified. The school has had stand alone air purification systems for some time, and in May 2020 we installed Global Plasma Solutions – an air purification system which integrates with our HVAC units. This system is widely used in school systems and covers all the spaces where we have HVAC.

For many years we have cleaned with Geneon cleaning products which were selected because they are green, safe to breath, non toxic, and still as effective as a sanitizing product. We also use misting machines each night and during operating hours since the misters can more easily cover large areas and vertical surfaces. Our teachers track cleaning for their classrooms and our runners sweep the building 2-3 times a day to wipe down common-touch surfaces.

We are fortunate to have knowledgeable medical professionals and public health experts as advisors to the school. These experts continue to be resource on how to implement the highest and most cautious standards in the event of an exposure or a confirmed case of COVID19:

  • If someone gets COVID19 they must exclude for, at minimum, 10 days and be symptom free for at least 2 days before returning. :

  • If a child, teacher, or administrator is diagnosed with COVID19, anyone who has been in close contact must quarantine for 14 days before returning. Close contact is defined as within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes in the prior 48 hours. :

  • If a parent or a spouse has COVID19, but the child does not present any symptoms, then the child is excluded from the school for, at minimum, the 10 days that the parent is considered contagious (if residing in the same house), followed by a 14 day quarantine period. :

  • Siblings of children who have had a direct exposure are also asked to quarantine.

We recognize that one of the most frightening aspects of COVID is when a person feels there is a lack of information – about the disease, about who may or may not have the disease, potential exposures, or the rate of exposures in our community. We therefore, have taken a very proactive approach to communications that we try to make immediate and personal, where appropriate: :

  • If there is an immediate known exposure (e.g. in the same classroom) the parents and faculty members are contacted by phone and if they do not answer the phone we leave a message. :

  • A detailed email is also sent out to the classroom community, and a more general one is sent out to the other families at the campus which does not identify the classroom. :

  • If a parent contracts COVID19 but the child is symptom-free, this is reported out as a secondary exposure to the campus community.

Each Tuesday, the school publishes a COVID newsletter with policy updates, useful information or to solicit input from our community.

What has not changed….

Our school focuses on providing an enriched Montessori experience that prepares students for their next school experience – whether it is public or private schools. Our students attend a wide variety of schools besides the area public schools including private schools with rigorous admissions requirements, Spanish Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Schools, and charter schools and we continue to prepare our students for all these scenarios. These goals are unwavering and continue during the pandemic. In some cases we have had to slow down the migration to having a DLI teacher in every classroom as our staffing and group size requirements have changed in response to COVID19. If you are interested in your child attending a DLI school after Suzuki, it is important that you communicate this to us.

We also continue to offer an excellent food program – currently focused on lunch and an afternoon snack, and supporting children and families with both the school nurse and the child development specialist. Our school nurse continues to be busy with addressing standard childhood illnesses, immunization, injuries and also now spends a substantial amount of time addressing COVID19 considerations. Our child development specialist continues to observe children (from outside the classroom), working with parents and teachers on strategies, and has added in parent education series on helping parents address child development challenges arising from the pandemic.

In addition, our accredited teacher training institute continues to offer new cohorts of Montessori training of both Suzuki and community learners. This is important to ensure that we can always have trained Montessori teachers in every classroom.. For some time, the school has been investing in training and transformation regarding Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and these efforts will continue through 2021, as we explore, collaborate and educate our community on how to ensure that we provide a culturally responsive teaching environment for the children and families.

A few areas have had to be curtailed during the pandemic – in particular, in person enrichment classes, children interacting with the friends from other classrooms, the personal touch of in person conferences or conversations, and reduced operating hours. We have reduced class sizes so that children can spread out more, and now use customized barriers at tables so children can interact with some enhanced protection.

Historically, the school was open from 7 AM to 6 PM during the week. As we assessed the need to keep classrooms separate, to eliminate floating teachers, to minimize contact of children or faculty in the classrooms with others, and to move to a drop off and pick up outside the school, we recognized we could not do this safely or effectively without adjusting the school day hours. The school now operates under modified hours, on a staggered basis, with the school opening at 7:45 AM and the last classrooms closing at 5:00PM.

Thank you for your interest in our COVID19 mitigation strategies. We know it is a big decision to join our community, and it is important that you share a similar philosophy. If you have any questions - please feel free to contact admissions.