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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.

This page was updated on 4/28/2022.

Fast Facts for the 2021-2022 School Year

  • Masks are only required under certain circumstances. See the February 4th announcement below.
  • Any student or staff member who displays symptoms of COVID-19 that are outside of their baseline will be sent home. Please see the Addressing Symptoms at School graphic. Please do NOT come to school if any signs or symptoms of illness beyond your baseline are present.
  • Families will need to notify our Health Team if any member of your household tests positive or if you choose to keep your child home for an extended period of time without testing:  healthoffice@mountainsage.org.
  • Families must have a "Plan B" in place for when a child needs to leave school early. Make sure your contact information and pick-up permissions are up to date. Please contact Leisha Craft to make changes.
  • Mountain Sage will be following the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s How Sick is Too Sick guidance. 
  • Vaccinations are not required, but highly encouraged, for those who are eligible.

If You Have Symptoms or Test Positive

Students and staff must stay home if there are any signs or symptoms of illness inconsistent with your baseline (including chronic illness and allergies). If you have any signs or symptoms, contact the Health Office: healthoffice@mountainsage.org. We follow the How Sick is Too Sick guidance from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

COVID-19 FAQ

Are masks required?

Masks are only required under certain circumstances:

  • Those positive or required to quarantine for COVID must isolate for five full days and return on day six only if symptoms are improving. They must wear a mask on days six through 10, according to state and county health guidance.
  • Those who have decided not to test when symptomatic according to How Sick is Too Sick guidelines must wear a mask on days 6 through 10.
  • When students become symptomatic at school, they may be required to wear a mask in the Health Office.
  • As of 3/3/22, masks are no longer required on buses.

Should I wear a certain type of mask (i.e. KN95 or otherwise) if I am required to wear one?

Yes. When required to wear a mask, it must be a high quality, non-cloth mask. Medical grade masks are provided by the school. All required masks should:

  • Be clean and in good repair.
  • Fit snugly, but comfortably against the side of the face.
  • Be secure.
  • Allow for breathing without restriction.
  • Be on the wearer's face.

Masks should not:

  • Have anything hanging off the facial covering that would create a food safety hazard.
  • Have holes or tears.
  • Masks should not be shared with others.
  • Be made of any cloth material.
  • Be made of a mesh material or lace; fabric should not have holes.

Will MSCS still provide masks?

Yes. We will continue to provide a limited supply of medical-grade masks at the Front Desk. 

Will other COVID-19 prevention measures still be in place? If so, what are they?

All other COVID-19 prevention measures will continue:

  • Hand washing and frequent cleaning practices.
  • Handwashing is preferred over hand sanitizer.
  • Hand hygiene will happen upon arrival, after using the bathroom, before eating, after recess or completing activities that involved shared materials. Students may bring their own unscented hand lotion from home.
  • We will use a designated Under the Weather Room to separate anyone who exhibits COVID-like symptoms.
  • Hand-sanitizer, touchless water bottle-filling stations, and touchless soap dispensers have been installed. Water fountains were approved for use again by the health department in summer 2021.
  • All employees are trained on health and safety protocols.
  • Where possible, three feet of distance between students and desks will be followed.
  • Seating charts will be maintained for all classrooms and small groups. 
  • Mixing classes during outside recess is acceptable.
  • Frequent cleaning of high-traffic areas.
  • Disinfect in classrooms with known positives and in high-traffic areas such as bathrooms.
  • All classrooms have HEPA filters. Fans can be placed to allow fresh air in, or if the air quality index is high, turned to pull classroom air out.

What does it look like if a child in my student’s class starts experiencing symptoms? 

Students who don't feel well will go to the Health Office to visit with staff. If it is determined that their symptoms meet the How Sick is Too Sick guidance for going home, the parent will be contacted to pick up the child from school. Health Office staff will consult with the parent to determine when a student can return based on Return to Learn guidance.   

Flowsheet for Addressing Symptoms at School 

Will Mountain Sage engage in hybrid learning if necessary?

No. School will be in-person with full classes. There will not be hybrid classes or a separate virtual option. Individual classrooms may experience remote learning under certain circumstances.

What happens when there are multiple cases of COVID-19 in my child's class or in the school?  

When outbreaks occur, we will work with the LCDHE to determine the appropriate response. 

What does this mean for volunteers and visitors?

All volunteers and visitors must complete a symptoms check before arriving and reschedule if you are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms.

What does it mean to self-monitor? 

Student symptoms and temperature checks are the responsibility of parents and should be done prior to students  entering school. Staff members are also expected to complete symptom and temperature check before coming to work. Anyone experiencing symptoms outside of their baseline should stay home. Mountain Sage will strictly follow the CDPHE's How Sick is Too Sick guidance. 

Can students and staff go to school if they do not feel well?

No. Staff and students must stay home if they have any symptoms inconsistent with their baseline. Parents should call the 970-568-5456 to report the absence and email our Health Team to consult about their return.

Where can I get a COVID test for me or my family?

At-home testing kits can be obtained through:

PCR or molecular tests:

Where can I get a vaccination?

Please visit the PSD COVID Vaccination web page or the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment website

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.

February 4th, 2022

Earlier today Poudre School District announced that it will lift the district’s mask mandate for schools at 11:59 pm on February 11th. Given the diligence the district has used in making this decision, including working closely with the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, Mountain Sage will operate in alignment with this decision and on Monday, February 14th will allow people to choose whether or not to wear a mask while at school, barring certain circumstances. Please make sure that you and your students are masked next week (February 7th-11th).

Masks will still be required in some settings and situations, according to public health guidance for schools. We are still awaiting finalized guidance, but masks will still be required in at least the following instances, but not limited to: 

  • Those who test positive for COVID must isolate for five full days and return on day six only if symptoms are improving; they must wear a mask on days six through 10, according to state and county health guidance.    
  • On school buses, which may occur for field trips, according to a federal mandate. Students may not get on a bus without a mask. 

We will communicate further after we receive updated guidance. All of our COVID-19 guidance will continue, including contact tracing in high-risk settings and following local health department guidance. Please keep students experiencing illness symptoms home from school. 

State and county projections show a reduction in COVID-related cases due to vaccinations and increased community immunity. That said, we may still face challenges like staffing shortages and outbreaks that could prompt shifts to remote learning.  

As we move into this new territory, it is important that we remember who we are at Mountain Sage: a supportive community of peers, parents and teachers, who work together responsibly and safely with respect and kindness, even if our opinions differ. Many public health officials still recommend wearing masks, and we ask that everyone treats one another with dignity and respect, whether they choose to wear one or not. 

Please email all questions, concerns, and comments about this to connect@mountainsage.org

With gratitude,

Mountain Sage Community School

January 31st, 2022

Hello Mountain Sage community,

Recent changes to the guidance surrounding COVID-19 now allow at-home testing to verify both positive and negative test results. PCR and molecular tests are no longer the only tests needed to return to school. However, at-home tests can only be used to verify negative test results when the following requirements have been adhered to:

  • You have been in communication with our Health Team.
  • An appropriate photo of the test has been seen and verified by our Health Team. Appropriate photos must:
    • Show the test on a piece of paper where the student's name, date of testing, and both start and stop times for testing are clearly written. Handwriting should be legible and the picture should not be blurry or taken at any angles that would obscure the result window. See the photo for example. 
  • Everyone must still follow the next step of Return to Learn, which is that symptoms must be resolved OR improved AND have not had any fever, vomiting, or diarrhea in the last 24 hours without use of medication. A well-fitted mask must be worn at all times, with special consideration after returning to school.
  • If a person wouldn’t have been considered well enough to be at school in pre-COVID days, they aren’t well enough to be at school now, even with a negative test result. 

At-home testing kits can be obtained through the federal government and the State of Colorado

The new guidance also states that as of February 1st, all people who are 12 years of age or older will be required to have a booster dose (or not yet eligible for a booster dose but have completed their primary series + 14 days) to be exempt from quarantine if they are considered a close contact. A person is considered fully vaccinated on the date they receive their booster dose (there is not an additional waiting period after receiving it). To find a nearby vaccine clinic, visit our COVID-19 page and scroll down to the bottom of the FAQ section.

Any COVID-related questions can be sent to healthoffice@mountainsage.org. All other questions can be sent to connect@mountainsage.org.

Thank you for your continued cooperation with following COVID-19 guidance,

The Mountain Sage Health Team

January 24th, 2022

Hello Mountain Sage community,

Last week, Poudre School District announced it will no longer be sending automatic COVID-19 related notifications to parents. At Mountain Sage, we will continue to send classroom-specific notifications when a positive case has been confirmed and the person has been present at school within 2 days of their diagnosis. Given our small school size, and as a means of staying informed as a community, we feel this communication is important for the health of our school. These emails will be titled COVID-19 Courtesy Notification.

The guidance around quarantine length has changed, allowing some people to return to school after 5 days instead of 10 following consultation with our Health Team and provided they are able to wear a well-fitted mask. Please ensure your child understands the continued importance of wearing a mask while at school, whether they have quarantined or not, and that they arrive at school prepared with a mask that fits appropriately. We will continue to maintain a supply of masks for those who lose or forget one.

We are also excited to hear that at-home testing kits are now available through the federal government and the State of Colorado. We encourage you to use these kits for non-school related times. Mountain Sage continues to follow the Return to Learn Guidance and requires a negative PCR or molecular test when test results are needed. At-home testing kits are not valid for returning to school.

Any COVID-related questions can be sent to healthoffice@mountainsage.org. All other questions can be sent to connect@mountainsage.org.

Thank you for your continued cooperation with following COVID-19 guidance,

The Mountain Sage Health Team

January 6th, 2022

Hello Mountain Sage families,

We hope you are staying warm and safe during these cold and snowy days of winter. Now that we have returned from Winter Break, we are learning just how many families of students and staff have been affected by COVID-19. With this in mind, we are sharing information about extended absences and other potential school actions related to COVID.

First and foremost, we remain committed to avoiding whole-school remote learning and will not be engaging in hybrid learning. There may be class-specific instances where students will need to engage in remote learning for a period of time, however we are working diligently to avoid this scenario. Your continued participation in keeping children home if they show any signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and timely communication with our Health Team are of paramount importance. 

Extended student absences are on the rise due to COVID-19. If your child will have an extended absence due to COVID, here’s what you can expect for make up work/assignments:

  • K-2nd students are unlikely to be given any make up work/assignments. We ask that parents focus on supporting literacy skills by reading with their child and/or encouraging their child to read alone, as well as spending time practicing numeracy/math skills as appropriate.

We encourage screen-free time to draw, create, play games, and uphold age appropriate home responsibilities.

  • 3rd-5th grade students may be given assignments/make up work via email from the class teacher related to core content (English language arts and math).
  • 6th-8th grade students will be expected to check the To Do List in Google Classroom and complete work related to core content (English language arts and math).

In the unlikely event that staff absences create a situation where we are unable to safely and effectively operate a particular homeroom class, the class group may be sent home. We will notify families by phone, text, and email if that is the case. If you have not already, please text YES to 67587 to receive text messages from Mountain Sage Community School. 

Thank you, Mountain Sage community, for having done such a wonderful job of keeping each other safe and protected to the best of our abilities. Let’s continue to do this, holding each other with respect and care as we head into the winter months. While we are doing everything in our power to maintain in-person operations, as this is best for children and families, we do want to be honest with you that the current spike in COVID cases presents new/renewed challenges. With a limited substitute teacher pool, we are doing our very best.  If you or anyone you know may be interested  in joining the Mountain Sage substitute pool, please contact Nancy Sexton at nsexton@mountainsage.org.

Any questions or concerns related to COVID-19 should be directed to our Health Office team by emailing healthoffice@mountainsage.org or calling 970-568-5456. As you might imagine, our health team is working as quickly as possible and responding to many requests. They will get back to each person as soon as they are able. Thank you in advance for your patience, understanding, communication, and support.

Questions unrelated to COVID can be sent to connect@mountainsage.org.

January 3rd, 2022

Hello Mountain Sage families,

Welcome back from Winter Break! We hope you and your family were able to spend the past two weeks exactly as you needed. The days are getting longer and while winter has many more weeks to share, the extra bit of light each day helps.

With school starting tomorrow and COVID-19 cases on the rise, we have updated our COVID guidance on the COVID-19 page of our website. As always, any student or staff member experiencing any signs or symptoms of illness, no matter how small, should remain home and contact our Health Office right away by calling 970-568-5456 or emailing healthoffice@mountainsage.org. Please do NOT come to school with congestion, runny nose (even slight), a headache, scratchy throat, etc. Any person in attendance at school with signs or symptoms will be sent home.

Highlighted changes to the protocol include:

  • What to do if you have symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19
  • What to do if you are a close contact to a COVID-positive person

Please read the page in its entirety here.

Any questions or concerns related to COVID-19 should be directed to our Health Office team by emailing healthoffice@mountainsage.org or calling 970-568-5456. As you might imagine, our health team is working as quickly as possible and responding to many requests. They will get back to each person as soon as they are able. Thank you in advance for your patience, understanding, communication, and support.

Questions unrelated to COVID can be sent to connect@mountainsage.org.

See you at school!

September 10th, 2021

Hello Mountain Sage community,

We are writing to let you know of the following message from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment:

​​Date of Notification: 9/9/21
Date Classroom/Activity was determined to be a pre-outbreak: 9/7/21

The Larimer County Department of Health and Environment (LCDHE) has been notified that two classrooms in Mountain Sage Community School (1st Grade Randazzo’s Class, 5th Grade Addington’s Class), are in pre-outbreak status. Pre-outbreak status is defined as 2-4 children in a single classroom that were identified as a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 within 14 days of each other.

The County’s recommendations for our school at this time are actions already being taken: wearing masks, following and providing seating charts, symptoms monitoring, and more. Thanks to the diligence of our school community, no additional actions need to be taken at this time. 

As we move forward into this year, we may see classes that move into Outbreak status, which is defined as 5 or more students in any class that are identified as a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 within 14 days of each other. Outbreak status does not mean an automatic quarantine or move to remote learning for that class. In the event of an outbreak status, more specifics will be given at that time after consultation with the LCDHE.

Here are some additional things you can look for throughout this year:

  • An email titled COVID-19 Case Assessment will be sent to any class with a probable or positive COVID case in that class.
  • Timely school-wide communication will be sent in the event of a Pre-Outbreak or Outbreak status.
  • All COVID-related announcements (including this email) and current information will be kept on the COVID-19 page of our website.

We ask that every family continue to:

  • Call 970-568-5456 to report an absence.
  • Make sure any required COVID test is either molecular or PCR and that your test results are shared with our Health Office in a timely manner.
  • Communicate frequently with the school Health Office, your class teacher, and administration.

If you have questions or concerns, please email connect@mountainsage.org or call us at 970-568-5456.

Thank you for working together and with us to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment at Mountain Sage.

​​​​​​​August 4th, 2021

Dear Mountain Sage Families,

With the start of the 2021 school year just around the corner, we are looking forward to reconnecting with all of you and once again bringing the beauty of in-person Waldorf-inspired education to full classes of children every school day.

As mentioned in last week’s school newsletter, The Beat, we will be continuing COVID prevention and response best practices such as handwashing, increased ventilation with air purifiers, open windows, and fans, utilizing outdoor learning spaces, and ensuring enhanced cleaning protocols. We will no longer do symptom checks and temperature checks at drop-off. Instead, families will be expected to self-screen prior to coming to school each day. Mountain Sage will also be following the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s updated Return to Learn guidance. If a COVID-positive case occurs, Mountain Sage will work with the Larimer County Health Department to determine the appropriate response. This could include contact tracing and quarantining.

We know many of you have been waiting for our decision about mask wearing for this school year. Earlier this evening, Poudre School District (PSD) announced its mask protocols for fall 2021: PSD will require masks in PSD buildings for all staff, students, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

Mountain Sage Community School will align with this decision. Beginning tomorrow, August 5th, our school will require masks while indoors for all staff, students, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks will not need to be worn outdoors, and children will be allowed to mix freely while outside for recess and during other outdoor activities. This indoor/outdoor approach is straightforward and will be easy for students to remember.

As we move into the new school year, please contact us with any questions you may have. We are here to help and are committed to bringing our best selves to our unique and beautiful school community each day. Although we may continue to experience the fluctuations and challenges of the pandemic, I am confident that this will be a joy filled year at Mountain Sage where students will be nurtured with love and positivity as they travel their educational path.

Thank you,

Liv

Liv Helmericks, School Director

Mountain Sage Community School