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We'll get through this together.

Mountain Sage Community School is committed to maintaining a safe, loving environment for our students, teachers, staff, volunteers, and their families. As such, we ask that you visit this page regularly, and take care of you and yours.

Mountain Sage is staying up to date on Poudre School District's guidelines, monitoring updates related to COVID-19, and will provide additional information as it becomes available. This webpage will be updated as new information is made available, please check back regularly. The MSCS community will be notified of any major events.

Mountain Sage is currently in Phase 1.

Click here for details on all of our phases.

Pertinent Websites

Please refer to these websites for county, state, and federal information.

​​Larimer County Department of Health and Environment

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

School Announcements

Any school announcement pertaining specifically to our COVID-19 response, including movement between phases and school closures, is listed below. For access to every all-school email from Mountain Sage, download the SchoolMessenger app. For access to editions of The Beat, the school newsletter, click here.

Dear Mountain Sage community,

With Monday’s snowfall we felt the distinct draw of the winter season, and then, in a mirroring of the constant changes of this school year, the snow melted and the days became brighter and warmer again. With so many ups and downs as we head into winter, the time for surrounding ourselves in warm, glowing lights is at hand. Today’s Lantern Walk is aptly timed!

On November 2nd, I sent an email announcing November 30th as our Phase 3 start date, providing local health officials and our authorizer, Poudre School District, determined it safe. This morning, Poudre School District shared that the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases in our community has prompted a move back into Phase 1, fully remote learning for K-12 students, beginning November 23rd. As stated in the November 2nd email, MSCS will be aligning with the District’s decisions regarding COVID related phases. This means we will not begin a transition to Phase 3 on November 30th. If your student has been receiving ongoing support in Phase 2, we will connect with you directly. We will update you about our plans for Jan. 4 and beyond as the situation is monitored through December.

For our families with students ready to engage in Phase 3 hybrid learning, this news may be frustrating to hear. I encourage everyone to follow the Safer at Home protocols, such as wearing a mask, maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from others not in your close circle, and limiting holiday and other gatherings to less than 10 people and from no more than two households. By following these best practices, we can help reduce community spread of COVID-19 in hopes of beginning a successful Phase 3 opening in January 2021.

The Mountain Sage staff has been working expeditiously towards a Phase 3 opening. This work will now continue for the month of December. Abby Keeler, our Mountain Sage Virtual Coordinator, is putting the final touches on this essential program and will be emailing MSV families in the near future. Our Hiring Committee has been interviewing for key positions and hopes to welcome new staff members very soon. Erica Graham, our Facilities Manager, has been working tirelessly to prepare the school building for the safe return of students. Annie Hinton, our Enrollment and IT Coordinator, has been upgrading our internet service and tech capabilities. Teachers have been preparing their classrooms and training on creative and effective ways to continue bringing our unique program to all students, whether they are in person or at home for any reason.

All of this and so much more will continue in the coming weeks. We will update the Parent Guidebook and continue to share with you changes, Q&A sessions, and more. If you have any questions, please email connect@mountainsage.org.

As I mentioned at the start of this email, today is Lantern Walk. Traditionally an event we hold for our K-3 students and their families, this year our Festivals Committee encourages everyone in our community to feel the strength and brilliance of our own internal light. We can do this, Mountain Sage. As the song goes, “Each of us is one small light, but together we shine bright.”

With gratitude,

Liv

 

Liv Helmericks

School Director

Dear Mountain Sage community,

So much has transpired since my last email to you on October 2nd. On October 19th, Mountain Sage transitioned to Phase 2 operations. I am writing today to share information about our intended transition to Phase 3 and to provide you with some of the key details we are looking toward in order to make that transition. Before I share these plans, I want to acknowledge that COVID-19 cases are rising in Larimer County. My hope is that our greater community will pull together and help bring those numbers down so that schools can remain open for in-person, hybrid learning. In the event that numbers continue to rise, it may impact our intended timeline to transition to Phase 3 (outlined below). We will follow the guidance and mandates put forth by the city, county, and state, and align with the operational status of our authorizer, Poudre School District, as we move ahead.

We are excited to share that after much planning and consideration of myriad details, we have made the decision that our Phase 3 transition will begin November 30th. The first day of Phase 3 for K-3 and Homeschool Enrichment students will be Monday, November 30th, and the first day for grades 4-8 will be Monday, December 7th. Students in our regular phased program will come to school for in-person learning on their current A/B Group days and will engage in remote learning on the days they are not in-person. Fridays will remain a remote learning day for all students. Students in Mountain Sage Virtual will receive a new MSV schedule. If you are uncertain about which program your child is in or have questions about enrollment, please email Annie Hinton, Enrollment Coordinator.

We realize that this news may bring with it lots of questions. Specifics about what on-site learning will look like and about the new MSV plan, including the schedule, will be shared with you in the coming weeks and made available in the Parent Guidebook. For now, mark your calendars and know that we cannot wait to hear the joyful sounds of learning in our building once again! We deeply miss sharing space with your children and are looking forward to welcoming them back into their classrooms.

We would love to open in a Phase 3 sooner and you may be wondering why we have not, now that local health officials have approved schools to do so and offered updated school guidance regarding cases and outbreaks. There are many reasons, chief among them our need to hire a School Health Tech, Custodian, and other key support staff roles prior to a Phase 3 transition, as well as time to allow for necessary staff development and collaboration to ensure our hybrid learning environments will continue to meet the learning needs of all our students. In a normal year, any one of these tasks would take careful planning, adequate time, and additional resources. In this very unique year, we are working through all of them at once and as quickly as possible for the best possible outcome.

We recognize this time has been very challenging for many in our community. We deeply appreciate your continued communication and partnership.

While none of us know what the future holds, we know that Mountain Sage will be ready for whatever may come. We are adaptable and resilient! We will continue to work together on behalf of your children, our students.

You can expect more details in the coming weeks as we approach our intended Phase 3 transition date. If you have any questions in the meantime, please do not hesitate to email connect@mountainsage.org.

With gratitude,

Liv

Liv Helmericks

School Director

Hello Mountain Sage Families,

Throughout the changing landscape of the pandemic we have been faced with many decisions we never anticipated having to make. The highest levels of planning, skillbuilding, flexibility, and resilience have been demanded at every turn. The path into the second quarter of the fall 2020 semester will be no different. 

As previously announced, MSCS will remain in Phase 1 through the end of this school year’s first quarter, October 16th. Since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, we have gained a much deeper understanding of what it means to maintain a unified and prepared school community remotely in the midst of a pandemic. After careful review of recent community survey results, current local health department metrics, and the unique needs of our school community,  it has been determined with the support of the Mountain Sage Community School Board, that beginning October 19th Mountain Sage will enter Phase 2.  Phase 2 means that the majority of Mountain Sage students will continue with remote learning only, and that we will be providing limited on-site support for students who require in-person interventions to ensure continued growth. 

While in Phase 2, we will be readying ourselves for a future move into Phase 3 by investing in key technology and recalibrating our Mountain Sage Virtual program. Current survey results indicate that at least a fifth of our students require remote learning for the 2020-21 school year. Through continued thoughtful design and planning, we aim to integrate Mountain Sage Virtual students into our Phase 3 hybrid model so that all students can continue to receive core academic instruction from their current class teachers. We are actively researching new technologies that will make this possible, and more time is needed to make sure we can implement a plan that is truly sustainable for both teachers and students. This plan will also serve our school in Phase 3 when facing sudden possible group quarantines and extended student absences that come with on-site learning in a pandemic.

Survey results also indicate that there is a need for flexibility as family situations evolve. To that end, you will receive quarterly check-in surveys like the one we sent in September. These will offer a chance to share any changes to your family’s circumstance, along with feedback about the technology and other important factors for this school year.

As a small school serving a diverse K-8 student population during a pandemic, the successes and challenges of remote learning are clear. There is no perfect or ideal choice on the path we are currently traveling. Compromises and tradeoffs abound, and it is demanding for the entire community in new and different ways. Parents, thank you for working so hard and striving everyday to meet the demands stemming from this difficult and unusual set of circumstances. I know it may feel impossible at times.

Amidst all of this, though, there is also opportunity. We are learning more every day and it is essential to use the coming weeks to continue to reflect and refine our approach so that our program is the best it can possibly be for all students. We know that the strength of our school program and community lies in making decisions that continue to align with our mission and values.  In our changed world, Mountain Sage aims to create an approach that will succeed long-term, providing stability as we weather the uncertain times ahead. 

Our goal is for our Mountain Sage community to thrive. Strategic educational program design, strong health and safety measures, and a compassionate community will make this possible. 

In the coming weeks, we will continue to be engaged in a dynamic development process that requires grace, creativity, and an open heart and mind. We deeply appreciate your partnership and patience during this unprecedented school year. If you have any questions about this decision or next steps, please email connect@mountainsage.org

In Gratitude,

Liv

 

Liv Helmericks, School Director

​​​​​​​Hello Mountain Sage community,

Earlier this week, Director Helmericks sent an email stating that we will be announcing our second quarter plans with you by Friday, October 2nd and that a community check-in survey would be sent before the weekend. The survey is now live and ready for your input!

https://hipaa.jotform.com/202597782378067

You can also access it in the Parent Portal, located in the My MSCS portion of our website.

Please take as much time as you need to provide thoughtful answers to each question. We ask that everyone in our community participate. If you have any questions about this survey, please let us know.

Thank you!

Mountain Sage Community School

Hello Mountain Sage community,

This evening Poudre School District made an announcement regarding their plans to shift to a Phase 3 in the coming weeks. We know you are curious about what this means for Mountain Sage.

Our team is determining the best approach to next steps for our unique school community. Later this week, you will receive a community check in survey. Please take the time to fill it out and submit your answers to us. Your input is key. The Mountain Sage Board will hold their monthly meeting next week and additional planning meetings will be held among the staff. We will share our plan for the second quarter with you by Friday, October 2nd.

If you have any questions, please send an email to connect@mountainsage.org.

With gratitude,

Liv

Liv Helmericks

School Director

Welcome back Mountain Sage Dragons!

The new school year is upon us. Whether you are a new or returning family to Mountain Sage, we are so excited you are here!

As you can imagine, we have a lot of information to share with you. To that end, we are happy to announce that the first version of the 2020/2021 Parent Guide is now available on our website. Please take some time to read through all of the information in this evolving document. Here are some highlights:

School Start

All of Mountain Sage is opening in a Phase 1, fully remote program. School will start the week of August 24th. Please refer to the school calendar for specific start dates and times.

Computers

Every K-8 student in our full program will be provided with a Chromebook to support their remote learning. You do not need to do anything to request this. Distribution details will be announced soon. Homeschool Enrichment families: Chromebooks will only be provided if your student does not have access to a home computer. Please email Stephanie Powers if this fits your situation.

A/B Groups

The final A/B Group assignments have been made and are viewable in your ParentVue account. After logging in, click on the Student Info tab in the left hand menu. The A/B Groups are visible in blue, titled In Person Instruction Days. At Mountain Sage, we will be using the A/B Groups throughout the entire year. This should provide consistency for everyone. We understand that parents have begun self-organizing into “learning pods” that can provide support for both children and parents. When doing this, please stay within your A/B Groups. This will help your child foster and maintain healthy relationships with classmates with the same weekly schedule, while also helping to isolate any potential spread of COVID-19. We will be helping to share A/B Group lists by class to aid parents in making this connection for themselves.

Along with the information in the Parent Guide, we have some additional announcements to share:

  • Next week we hope to host a virtual Q&A session about the upcoming school year. Watch for an announcement about that.

  • Your child’s teacher will be sending out a welcome email soon. They can't wait to connect with each of you!

  • Mountain Sage Virtual families should have received an email from us last night. Please email connect@mountainsage.org if you did not receive it.

  • This year's first edition of The Beat, our twice monthly school newsletter, will hit your inbox the first week of school. Be sure to watch for it!

And finally, with so much newness in the air regarding this school year, we want to offer you three tangible actions to take now:

  1. Establish a sound internet connection. This will be a key to your child’s school success this year. Please visit Poudre School District’s website for lots of great resources surrounding internet access. Mountain Sage families can also access the mobile internet provided by PSD vans. Please email Stephanie Powers for more information.

  2. Create a learning space for your child to sit, stand, and move. With a Phase 1 start and a remote learning component in phases 1-3, it’s important that each child have a safe, comfortable learning space. They should be able to sit, stand, and move around with ease. Spend some time now creating this space so that when school begins, both you and your child feel prepared.

  3. Begin to determine a regular daily routine. One of the best things any family can do during remote learning is to have a routine for waking and sleeping, eating, and transitioning between home life and school life and back again. Some of this structure will come from your child’s weekly school schedule, but spending time now discussing and planning for a consistent home rhythm is helpful. Be sure to include a hard stop for school work and plenty of time for social experiences in your A/B Group as is right for your family.

Thank you Mountain Sage families! If you have any questions, please send them to connect@mountainsage.org. We can’t wait to see you, even if online.

Go Dragons!

- Mountain Sage Community School teachers, support staff, and administration

Hello Mountain Sage Families,

I know that many of you are interested in learning more about Mountain Sage Virtual. To that end, I’m happy to share the new Mountain Sage Virtual page on our website, dedicated to this new program. To spare you another long email, the rest of this communication will focus on sharing timely details related to MSV, and I’ll ask that you refer to the website for details and additional information.

Enrollment is now open for Mountain Sage Virtual! MSV is available to students currently enrolled in MSCS. To request enrollment in Mountain Sage Virtual, please complete the MSV Request FormForms must be submitted on Saturday, August 8th at 5 pm.

We are currently in negotiations with a person for the MSV Coordinator position. This person is deeply familiar with the heart and soul of our school and is excited to usher in this new program. Once the MSV Coordinator is in place, their first order of business will be to create the weekly and daily schedules, working the various learning experiences into a strong, weekly rhythm. I look forward to announcing the MSV Coordinator as soon as possible!

One important detail I want to be sure you see: the start date for MSV is August 31st. This later start date gives us extra time to ensure that all aspects of our new program are ready to go.

If, after reviewing the website, you still have questions about MSV, I invite you to join me for a Mountain Sage Virtual Q&A on Wednesday, August 5th at 10 am. I’ll answer your questions and provide you with any new information we may have. Questions can be submitted ahead of time to connect@mountainsage.org and can also be made during the Q&A. To join on your computer, following this link: https://meet.google.com/scv-dwxj-nwn. To call in, dial 1-415-604-0308 and use the PIN 317 367 622#.

I’m excited about Mountain Sage Virtual and look forward to seeing it bloom, fed by your support and love.

With gratitude,

Liv

Liv Helmericks

School Director, Mountain Sage Community School

Hello Mountain Sage Families,

Last Friday we sent out an email containing lots of new information regarding next school year. As with all the best laid plans during this time in our society, we have some changes to share and some additional information to add. Homeschool Enrichment families, please note you will be receiving a specific email tomorrow morning.

Start Date and Times

In alignment with Poudre School District’s new start date of August 24th, which they announced yesterday, we have chosen to revise our student start date and will also begin on Monday, August 24th. Our on-site start and end times are the same as they were last year: middle school is from 8:15 am - 3:30 pm and elementary school from 8:30 am - 3:30 pm. Please visit our online school calendar for additional information. Please note that Thursdays will no longer be early release days at Mountain Sage. Early release days will now occur on Fridays.

Phase Information

As we stated last week, we have decided that the likely highest phase of operation for Mountain Sage this year is Phase 3. At this time, we plan to begin the school year in the Phase 3 model. However, given the ever-changing nature of this pandemic, we will make a final announcement regarding our opening phase the week of August 9th.

Masks

All staff and students will be required to wear masks while in the school building. Additional guidance around masks will be made available before the start of school. If wearing a mask is not doable for your family, the Mountain Sage Virtual program may be a good option for you.

Temperature and Health Checks

Temperature checks and health assessments will be done every morning for both staff and students. This will mean some adjustments to our drop-off procedures, which will be shared closer to opening.

A/B Groups

The A/B Groups are live in your Synergy ParentVue account under Student Info. Just click here to login or follow the link on our homepage. If you don’t yet have access to ParentVue or have questions, please email Stephanie Powers, Office Administrator, for assistance. Due to the complex nature of their scheduling, these groups are subject to change based upon enrollment in Mountain Sage Virtual and other factors, and requests made to switch groups may not be granted.

Mountain Sage Virtual

This Thursday, we will send an email dedicated just to Mountain Sage Virtual. If you are interested in that program, please be sure to read the email fully.  We do want to reiterate that PSD Virtual is not a Mountain Sage program and enrolling your child in PSD Virtual or choosing to independently homeschool, will mean losing your child’s spot at Mountain Sage.

As we move toward the beginning of the new school year, I want to acknowledge that some parents have expressed concerns about remote learning days. Please know that we have taken great care in creating daily and weekly rhythms for the 2020-21 year that can flex between phases, support engagement, accountability and positive learning experiences, and keep the children connected to each other, their teachers, and their work. We are bringing in new tools, improved online methods, and a refreshed energy around this new form of learning. We also know that strong parent-school partnership will be essential this year and we are looking forward to further supporting parents in this work.

Thank you to everyone who responded to the Sack Lunch Survey! We are still accepting responses. Please share with us your interest by participating in this two question online survey. 

I look forward to sharing with you additional details about the school year in the coming weeks, and as guidance and mandates affect our school. If you have any questions or concerns for your child or family, please send us an email.

With gratitude,

Liv

​​​​​​​

Liv Helmericks

School Director

Mountain Sage Community School

Hello Mountain Sage Families,

There is much to report today! I appreciate your attention to this entire letter. Please read it carefully, knowing that a group of 20 teachers and administrative staff have been working tirelessly through the summer to create the best possible Mountain Sage experience for students, their families, and our staff for the coming school year. We know that not every member of our community will agree with every decision made. We also know that our community is a caring one and filled with people who want the best for each other. Let’s hold ourselves to the same standards we hold our students: be kind, safe, respectful, and responsible.

Sack Lunches at Mountain Sage

We are exploring the possibility of bringing a sack lunch program to Mountain Sage. In order to determine if such a program would be viable at our school, we ask that you share with us your interest by participating in this two question online survey. 

A/B Groups

We are happy to announce that the A/B Groups are live in your Synergy ParentVue account under Student Info. Just click here to login or follow the link on our homepage. If you don’t yet have access to ParentVue or have questions, please email Stephanie Powers, Office Administrator, for assistance. Due to the complex nature of their scheduling, these groups are subject to change based upon enrollment in Mountain Sage Virtual and other factors, and requests made to switch groups may not be granted.

Phase Information

We have been attuned to local and state health guidance and mandates throughout the summer. After much discussion and evaluation, and out of respect and love for our community, we have decided that the likely highest phase of operation for Mountain Sage this year is Phase 3. Our facility simply will not allow for a safe Phase 4 under current physical distancing and health guidelines. Given the ever-changing nature of this pandemic, we will announce our opening phase by early August.

School Start Date

In order to begin the year with a weekly rhythm, the expected start date for all grades except for Kindergarten is now Monday, August 17th. We recognize this comes on relatively short notice.

Masks

All staff and students will be required to wear masks while in the school building. Additional guidance around masks will be made available before the start of school. If wearing a mask is not doable for your family, the Mountain Sage Virtual program may be a good option for you.

Mountain Sage Virtual

In response to the need identified in the most recent parent survey, we are working to create a year-long 100% remote program called Mountain Sage Virtual (MSV). This program is meant for the family who needs to have children participate remotely 100% of the time, regardless of the phases our school will flex between throughout the school year. Mountain Sage Virtual students will remain in the MSV program, regardless of whether Mountain Sage opens in a Phase 1, or transitions to a Phase 1 and remains there for any length of time.

Online Waldorf-inspired education simply does not exist in a teacher-led, 100% virtual program. Because of this, we are creating a program where our students will likely be taught core subjects in a non-Waldorf online platform by non-Mountain Sage teachers and specials subjects by Mountain Sage teachers through recorded videos. Students will be invited to participate in iconic class projects and all-class virtual gatherings, and remain part of the greater Mountain Sage community through all-school virtual events and communications. In order to preserve the magic of our youngest students, Kindergarten will have a play-based focus, and 1st grade will be uniquely tailored to the development of the young learner at the beginning of their academic journey.

Some other important things to consider are:

  • Mountain Sage Virtual is a separate program and requires a year-long commitment. There may be the possibility of transitioning back to the MSCS full program at the semester break;
  • Mountain Sage Virtual students will be provided a device to use to support their online learning;
  • In order to participate in online learning, families will need internet access at their residence. If they do not have internet service or adequate internet, we can provide resources for families to research obtaining their own service;
  • Some students have needs that may be challenging to meet in an online format. Our team may need to work with you to help you determine your child’s best option for school next year;
  • Students enrolled in Mountain Sage Virtual will maintain their enrollment (their “spot”) in the Mountain Sage program. Enrolling in PSD Virtual or any other non-MSCS program forfeits a child’s spot at Mountain Sage;
  • Enrollment in Mountain Sage Virtual must be completed by 5 pm on Saturday, August 8th.
  • Further details about MSV, including the start date for enrollment, will be shared with the community next week.

Thank you for reading through all of this important information, and for your patience as we move ahead in these uncharted waters. If you have any questions, please let us know. While certain things remain unknown, we are always happy to offer more information and to hear your questions. We are all committed to making this year the best it can be, no matter what may come our way.

With gratitude,

Liv

Liv Helmericks

School Director

Mountain Sage Community School

The new Mountain Sage 2019/2020 end-of-year timeline is as follows:
Last day of instruction will be May 14th;

  • End-of-year closing activities for all grades, such as school clean-out, laptop return, etc., will occur between May 18-May 20th;
  • Teachers will be available to connect with their current class families through May 22nd.

Details about end-of-year closing activities, including specific dates, times, and a clear process, will be shared soon via email. All updates, including this one, are posted to the Mountain Sage website for reference. Additionally, look for the many ways we will be celebrating this 2019-2020 school year. Questions can be directed to Hillary Mizia, Communications Coordinator.

Hello Everyone,

The frequency of my communication speaks to the rapidly evolving situation we are living in. I am writing today to share that Mountain Sage will be following the actions of Poudre School District, making the difficult decision to continue remote learning, and not re-open our school building, through the remainder of the school year.

After Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday that the statewide school closure is extended through April 30, Poudre School District staff conferred with officials at the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment. Larimer County recommended school districts consider closing for in-person learning through the end of the year. With the safety of staff, students, and families top of mind, PSD made the difficult decision to heed the County’s recommendation. You can learn more about their decision here.

This situation is like nothing we have ever experienced collectively, and as a school community we have been faced with an enormous shift. While we engage in physical distancing, we are called to find ways to remain socially connected, using the tools available to stay on our path, together. Our entire school community is being pushed to learn, change, and grow in new ways. This is hard. It is also an opportunity to dialogue and to continue our creative exchange in service of the children and of each other.

As a school we are interested in making progress along the educational path, and we understand this is not always linear. Sometimes our path is winding. Now is one of those times. I urge you to dig deeper into your own family rhythm. Pay attention to your family’s natural cycles and needs. Connect around the things that bring joy and laughter. This is a time when the strength of daily rhythm and willingness will carry us. More than ever, we must cultivate acceptance and take things one day at a time.

I also recognize that this abrupt end to our regular days is particularly unfortunate for our graduating eighth grade class. Their journey at Mountain Sage won’t end in the way we intended. Know that we are committed to finding creative ways to bring closure to the school year for them and all of the classes. Rest assured you’ll hear more about this in the near future.

We ask that you stay connected to us. Please let us know what is working well for you, and what is feeling difficult. The faculty and staff at Mountain Sage care deeply for you, the children and families we serve. We are here to help in any way we can. Office hours and emails are posted here on our website. You can also reach out to me, our school social worker Kate Vanderleek, our IT coordinator Annie Hinton, and our communications coordinator Hillary Mizia.

Mountain Sage families, you are in our hearts during this time.

Wishing you peace,

Liv
Liv Helmericks, School Director

Yesterday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced that schools will remain closed at least through April 30th. Polis reiterated that it remains unlikely that schools will return to in-person learning this school year and explained that due to the constantly evolving information around the novel coronavirus pandemic, his general practice is for executive orders to be enacted for 30 days at a time.

With this in mind, Mountain Sage will extend our current remote learning plans through April 30th, and beyond that if required. Additionally,  Family-Teacher Conferences, previously scheduled for April 9th & 10th, are canceled. This time will now be teacher work days, with no posts or remote learning scheduled to take place.

Google Classroom Information
Mountain Sage will be using Google Classroom as our primary remote learning platform. Our middle school students already use Google Classroom; with the current remote learning requirements, we will be expanding the use of Google Classroom to serve our kindergarten through fifth graders as well. By Monday, March 30th, your elementary child(ren)’s class teachers will share information with you around appropriate access and tools.

Also beginning Monday, March 30th, parents and guardians of all Mountain Sage students will be able to take advantage of the new Remote Learning Hub page of our website. This page will house the Google Classroom posting schedule for our entire K-8 program, as well as other valuable resources, contacts, teacher office hours, and tutorials for Google Classroom.

Many families are facing myriad challenges beyond academics. If you and your family are struggling with anything from food security to loss of employment due to the increasing restrictions placed on our lives, please feel free to contact our School Social Worker, Kate Vanderleek, so that we can help you find resources that may help offset the disruptions to your normal life. Various resources are also listed on our website here.

​During this time it is also important to remember to take time for yourself. Do this by taking a walk, meditating, cooking a meal, reading a book, playing a game with family, disconnecting from social media, spending time with pets — even five deep, calming breaths can make a difference. Take these breaks for your mental health. If you feel like you are struggling, please reach out to someone to talk. If you’re on Facebook, the private Mountain Sage Family Community group is a place to connect with other parents and guardians.

Stay at Home Orders
On March 25th Governor Jared Polis issued a statewide Stay at Home order, effective Thursday March 26th at 6 am through April 11th, and Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales issued a Stay at Home order, effective March 26th at 5 pm through April 17th, requiring all individuals  to stay at home except for food and essential services to further reduce the spread of illness in our community.

Gov. Jared Polis recently signed an executive order suspending in-person learning in public and private schools across the state from March 23 to April 17. This includes Mountain Sage Community School.

Things are changing quickly and we want to keep you updated in a timely manner. We will communicate with you about what this means in the days to come with direct email and communication from your teachers.

Education Commissioner Katy Anthe has announced that all standardized tests are cancelled for the remainder of the 2019/2020 school year. This may impact the work packet your child brought home. We are working on what this new remote learning picture will look like. Stay tuned for emails from both the school and your child's teacher.

UPDATE TWO
Since sharing our news of an extended spring break, some questions have come up. Many of these same questions have been addressed by Superintendent Sandra Smyser on PSD's website. You can read her full statement here. We wanted to share with you the answers most relevant to our Mountain Sage community:

  • To restate, March 16-20 is our regularly scheduled spring break for students. March 23-27 marks the start of remote learning opportunities. Lessons will not necessarily replace new learning that would occur if schools were open; rather, the lessons and activities will provide students opportunities to practice and reinforce concepts students have recently learned; engage in projects that may extend and enrich student learning; and introduce new concepts or skills, when appropriate. If you have questions about your teacher’s plans, please contact them directly.
  • Students should be ready to engage in whatever remote learning opportunities their teachers have prepared for them beginning Monday, March 23. This will look different for each class and grade, especially given our unique school program. Please read email communication from your child's teacher.
  • ​An option for internet access includes Comcast, which announced that it will provide Internet access to low-income families in its service areas starting March 16. For more information, including how to sign up, visit: www.internetessentials.com. If more resources become available, we will link to them on the PSD COVID-19 response web page.
  • Students should take everything home they need. Students who left items behind will NOT be able to go into their schools.
  • During the closure, the Food Bank for Larimer County is partnering with PSD to distribute food to families from: 1301 Blue Spruce Drive, Fort Collins; and 2600 N. Lincoln Ave., Loveland.
  • Those who want to help should contact the Food Bank to volunteer time or donate money. For more info: https://foodbanklarimer.org
  • Ms. Graham, Facilities Manager and Mr. Poltzer, Custodian, will be disinfecting our building during the closure.  They are well versed in all the necessary COVID-19 cleaning procedures.
  • We know tensions are running high – for students and their families. Please use the links under Parent Resources in the green box above. If you're on Facebook, we'll be posting additional resources on both our public page and in the Mountain Sage Family Community group. If you're not on Facebook, please connect with Hillary Mizia, Communications Coordinator, and she will send them to you.
  • Safe2Tell will still be available for students, parents and staff. For more information and to make reports: https://safe2tell.org

​UPDATE ONE
​As of today, Poudre School District has announced a closure of all schools for one week after spring break, effectively closing all schools and school facilities from March 16th-27th for an extended spring break. Mountain Sage will follow suit, closing our school March 16th-27th.

​If your child was absent today, it is imperative that you stop by the school between 12-3:30 to collect your child’s belongings. Our school facility will undergo a deep clean over break and all personal items must be removed.

Please treat March 16th-20th, Spring Break, as it's meant to be treated: a break! Rest, connect, get outside, work on your garden, and have fun. Children should not do any work during this time. March 23rd-27th will be a week of enrichment and enhancement as guided by your child's teacher. We know this will not look the same as what our students experience each day at Mountain Sage. You can expect an email directly from your child's teacher with more information.

This situation is changing day by day and we appreciate your understanding as we adapt our unique program to meet the needs of a safe, healthy community.​

Over the past few days, the staff and administration at Mountain Sage have been examining all the ways we can be prepared for the possibility of a school closure after spring break. With a curriculum unique in design and a diverse student population, this takes some creative, careful thought.

Current circumstances demand that we take steps to be as prepared as possible. Today you will see an email with a survey regarding technology access in your homes. Please respond to this, as it will help us understand how many families can readily utilize a computer and the internet, and allow us to prepare all students and families equally in the event that classes be taught remotely. We are exploring all the ways this might look for every student at Mountain Sage and understand there is no “one size fits all” solution. In the event that Mountain Sage does have a prolonged closure, you will receive an email directly from your child's teacher with information about schoolwork.

To be clear: There are no plans for school closures, as of March 12. Mountain Sage would follow PSD recommendation. PSD would confer with public health officials before implementing a closure. We just want to be prudent and think ahead, knowing this situation is evolving daily. 

A few additional items:

  • As of the afternoon of March 11, the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment was not recommending the cancellation of events (i.e. parent-teacher conferences, etc.).
  • As of the afternoon of March 11, PSD has received no notification from the health department about any presumptive/positive COVID-19 cases with a PSD connection. Also as of that time, there was still only one presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in a Larimer County resident. The health department has stated that the one confirmed case in the county has no connection to any school district.

In the spirit of keeping ourselves well in order to keep the community well, the following actions are now in effect in addition to measures already being taken:

  • ​All school events during school hours involving students and teachers or just adults will continue as planned.
  • All school events planned for after hours and involving a mixed age group have been cancelled or will be rescheduled as an outside event if possible. Stay tuned for specific updates from teachers.
  • We are moving from handshakes to elbow taps, foot shakes, and other alternative greeting gestures.

We are following PSD's outbreak procedures regarding COVID-19. For additional fact-based information about COVID-19 please visit Larimer County Department of Health and EnvironmentColorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mountain Sage is continuing to disinfect all “high touch” surfaces. The children are getting frequent reminders to wash hands well with soap and water for 20 seconds and to cough into their elbows. Families can help us all stay healthy by keeping their students home when they have any of the symptoms that appear here under “When to Keep your Child Home from School”.

Thank you for all of your help in maintaining a healthy environment for all students and staff.

​ Ms. Doucette, MSCS Health Tech