Here’s hoping your family is doing well and staying healthy! During these last two months of sheltering in place, we’ve been missing being on our big, beautiful campus, but we have been busy launching a new online platform and creating a robust curriculum, keeping students connected with their teachers and classmates while engaging in learning during this unprecedented time. 

When our doors closed on March 13, we didn’t know how long we would be staying home, but following our spring break on March 30, we launched two online platforms: MCCS Home Connections for families in our infant/toddler, preschool, and transitional kindergarten classrooms and MCCS Home Learning for K-5 students. Our elementary teachers meet online with children daily via Zoom for whole class and small group meetings. We use a platform called Seesaw to assign new lessons each day and students can post their responses. Here are some sample videos of teachers reading a story, making  playdough, teaching a K/1 writing lesson, teaching a fourth grade math lesson, and leading our weekly Spanish-music enrichment classes. If you follow us on social media (Facebook and Instagram), you’ll see our students engaging in all of these offerings from home, including their creative takes on the #gettyartmuseumchallenge.  

We know that families have lots of questions about what school will look like in the fall and we wanted to communicate our thoughts to you.  Although we do not know yet what the parameters will be for schools, we are preparing for the following three scenarios. 

  1. On campus scenario: We return to live, on-campus instruction at the beginning of the school year, observing health and safety guidelines.
  2. MCCS Home Learning scenario: All children engaged in our online platforms in response to government orders, health/safety recommendations, and Mills policies.
  3. Hybrid scenario: A combination of on-campus and online home learning.

During this time of uncertainty, we recognize the importance of current and accurate information. We look forward to making summer connections with incoming families and we’ll keep you apprised of our plans as local guidelines are updated. We are also happy to connect with you individually via phone or Zoom, so please let Whitney know if you would like to set up an appointment to check in with me, someone else on our admin team, or another family at our school. We look forward to a wonderful year in partnership with your family to support your child’s education.  

Current families: Please visit the password-protected Our Families page of our website for more updates specific to our online learning platforms and school business.

When we made the announcement to close our physical space at school on March 13, we promised to update you on the timeline for this closure every Friday, beginning April 3. The state of California has now extended the shelter-in-place orders to May 3 and at this point, with continued recommendations from public health authorities to flatten the curve of the global pandemic, we anticipate continuing our online platforms through the end of this school year so that our families and teachers can stay safe at home.

We’re all in this together, and it helps to take a moment of gratitude whenever we can. First and foremost, we want to celebrate this week’s launch of our Home Learning platform for K-5 elementary students and Home Connections platform for infant/toddler, preschool, and TK families. Our amazing teachers, who are balancing their own families and  health needs, are learning a brand new mode of teaching and have already developed innovative ways for your children to receive academic instruction and stay socially connected with their teachers and classmates during this time of physical distancing. As with any new technology endeavor, it has not been without hiccups, but we’ve been overjoyed to see your children’s smiling faces and witness their engaged minds through their creative submissions online–and it’s only week one! Now more than ever, our community connection is so important, so it’s worth repeating, we’re all in this together!  

Dear MCCS Families, 

As you may know, the Mills College campus is now closed except to residents and essential personnel. Governor Newsom’s state-wide executive order has now broadened the shelter-in-place, originally issued from March 16 to April 7. We will continue to communicate with you as things change. 

By now you should have received a separate email from us regarding our new online platforms–MCCS Home Learning for K-5 elementary students and MCCS Home Connections for infant/toddler, preschool, and transitional kindergarten families–which will launch on Monday, March 30, 2020. Later this week, you will receive an email invitation with instructions to gain access to your child’s classroom in Seesaw and a private passcode for each child. (Current families, please go to the password-protected Our Families page of our website for more information.) 

We have seen our teachers rise to this occasion by developing innovative curriculum in our new online format. We are inspired by their flexibility, and sitting in on some of the elementary class meetings via Zoom last week, we have also been amazed at the resiliency of our students.  

This week is spring break, as previously scheduled, and though we will all be hunkering down at home preparing for the March 30th launch, we also want to ensure that our teachers are afforded a much needed break. When we return via our virtual platforms on March 30, we hope to have a better sense of the timeline for moving forward. As promised, we will evaluate and communicate every Friday, beginning April 3, in order for you to know what to expect the following week. 

Please know that we will continue to prioritize the health and safety of our community as we work to preserve students’ opportunities to learn and grow at MCCS. Feel free to consult the MCCS Health Updates on Coronavirus Precautions page of our website for the latest updates, as well, and reach out via email with any questions.  

Sincerely, 

Debra L. Brown, EdD.

Head of School

Jenny Bond

Assistant Head of School

Mills College Children’s School

As the state of California battles to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, public health officials have issued a “shelter in place” order that includes all of Alameda County, including Mills College. We are taking the following steps to implement this order:

As of 12:01 am 3/17/20, the Mills College campus will be closed except to residents, their essential guests, and campus-essential personnel. Residents of the campus will receive a separate communication about the impact of the order.

We will continue to provide regular updates to keep everyone informed as this situation evolves.

I have great faith in the creativity and resilience of the Mills community as we adapt to this latest response to COVID-19. Thank you for helping us endure and outlast this threat.

All best,

Signature_Beth_sm.jpg

Elizabeth L. Hillman

President

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Dear MCCS Families,

MCCS leadership has made the decision to temporarily close effective Monday, March 16, and to transition the school to online distance learning starting Monday March 30. Our teachers and staff will be at school or working remotely next week, preparing online distance learning instruction. While MCCS does not have a confirmed case of coronavirus, we believe that it is in the best interest of the MCCS community to protect you, and our faculty/staff, as well as to help prevent the spread of this virus. As you may be aware, many other independent and public schools are taking this same preventative step that MCCS is taking. 

Elementary parent-teacher conferences will be held next week as scheduled, March 16 to March 19, and teachers will offer the same appointment times via Zoom. Our spring break is scheduled for March 20-27, and after this, we will provide online distance learning, starting Monday March 30.  We will evaluate and communicate every Friday, beginning April 3, in order for you to know what to expect the following week. Please consult the MCCS Health Updates on Coronavirus Precautions page of our website for the latest updates, which will also be communicated via email. 

The California Department of Public Health has reported that the most vulnerable of our population are the elderly; however any of us could be a carrier, so we are taking this precaution to limit transmissions and hopefully save lives. One of the strengths of our wonderful community is the way in which we stand in solidarity with each other and we want to express our appreciation for the many ways that we have and will continue to support one another in ways that feel safe and healthy.

Elementary teachers have prepared materials to support ongoing learning for students. These materials will go home today. Please make sure you take home any belongings that are valuable or important and reach out by phone or email if you need to return to campus to pick something up next week. Head teachers will communicate updates regarding online distance learning plans by Friday, March 20.

Thank you, as always, for your support and partnership. 

Sincerely, 

Debra L. Brown

Debra L. Brown, EdD.

Pronouns: she/her

Head of School

Mills College Children’s School

Dear MCCS Families,

This message is to confirm MCCS will be open tomorrow, Friday, 3/13.

Please look for communication outlining additional response plan details tomorrow.

Thank you all for your partnership, support, and patience, as we navigate this unprecedented territory.

Debra L. Brown, Ed.D.
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Head of School
Mills College Children’s School

Dear MCCS Families, 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has now declared coronavirus to be a pandemic. In line with other local institutions of higher education and following guidance of the CDC to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission, Mills College has taken the precaution of moving classes with 30 or more students to online instruction through spring break (3/29). This does not impact MCCS, as Children’s School class sizes are 20 students or fewer. 

At this time, MCCS and Mills College remain open and there are no confirmed cases or reports of exposure to coronavirus on our campus. However, at MCCS we have charted out likely responses that may impact our school’s ability to remain open.

Click here to see MCCS’s coronavirus response plan.

We are currently at Risk Level 2 (Moderate Risk: Yellow), which means that regular classroom schedules remain in place, but going forward from today through at least mid-April, we are canceling all field trips and community gatherings in an effort to reduce exposure and contagion. Unfortunately, this means that the MCCS Walkathon, scheduled for April 3, will be canceled, but please look for communication from the PFA later this week with alternate plans. 

MCCS will, of course, continue taking the precautionary measures we’ve already outlined (ie., frequent handwashing, extra cleanings, etc.) and continually reassess and communicate any updates or changes as necessary. A link to the above chart, along with all of our other MCCS health updates about the coronavirus, is posted at the top of Our Families page (password: MCCS1920). For Mills College-specific updates, you may also consult this page

Thank you for your continued efforts to help keep our community safe and healthy.  

Sincerely, 

Debra L. Brown

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Head of School

Mills College Children’s School

Dear MCCS Families, 

We know there is mounting anxiety about the coronavirus in the public and that there have been multiple school closures around the Bay Area. At this point, there have been no cases of exposure or diagnosis at Mills College or at the Children’s School so we have no plans to close. However, we are taking note of advisories from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Alameda County Health Department staying in communication with the college in case school closure is warranted. 

Meanwhile, we will send out weekly updates about our coronavirus precautions with our office updates every Monday for the foreseeable future, and will send additional updates as warranted if there is more information to impart to our community. These coronavirus updates are posted at the top of Our Families page (password MCCS1920). 

At school, we are continuing to take the following precautions: 

  • Remind children to wash their hands and stay hydrated throughout the day. 
  • Keep classrooms stocked with hand sanitizer.
  • Additional cleanings from our janitorial service, as well as frequent wipedowns of door handles/jams, tables, chair backs, toys, and equipment.  
  • Close the school if it is in the best interest of keeping our students and staff safe.
  • Last week, we took the additional precaution of closing down water fountains in elementary classrooms and on the playground, as these are common places where children spread germs by putting their mouths on the apparatus. Instead, we encourage families to SEND CHILDREN TO SCHOOL WITH WATER BOTTLES. If a child does not have a water bottle, we will provide water. 

We are also asking our school community to continue to help us by taking the following steps to assure their own health and protect the health of others:

  • Seek medical attention for the following: respiratory symptoms, fever, cough (dry), shortness of breath, or breathing difficulties. Communicate any diagnosis of or exposure to coronavirus to your doctor and to MCCS. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils.
  • Avoid close contact with people showing signs of respiratory illness, such as coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep your child home from school whenever they are sick. This is to protect your child as well as their classmates and the rest of the school. There are varying levels of vulnerability and susceptibility to colds,  flus, and pneumonia amongst our young children, teachers, staff, and families. Even if you feel you have more protected immunity, it is in everyone’s best interest to stay home when you are sick. 
  • Consider curtailing or cancelling travel to impacted areas.

We appreciate your partnership and the community support. 

Sincerely, 

Debra L. Brown

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Head of School

Mills College Children’s School

From: President’s Office <president@mills.edu>

Date: Tue, Mar 3, 2020 at 1:46 PM

Subject: COVID-19 Update

Dear all,

I’m writing with an update on COVID-19. Yesterday, Alameda County Public Health Department confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Alameda County. Alameda County has declared a local public health emergency to direct resources quickly and appropriately. Dr. Erica Pan, health officer, Alameda County Public Health Department, explained: “This news is not unexpected in the Bay Area, and we are ready for cases here. This is not the time to panic; now is the time for all of us to work together.”

We cannot predict how this coronavirus will spread in the Bay Area. We can, however, closely follow instructions from city, county, and state health authorities. Mills will continue to send regular updates as frequently as needed, via email and will post updates to the “Coronavirus update” website, created by Mills marketing team to support Mills’ Incident Response Team (IRT). There is a button to this site on the Mills home page so you can find it easily.

To date, Mills’ response includes the following:

  • Activating our Incident Response Team to monitor the situation, prepare communications, and evaluate resources and policies.
  • Providing educational material regarding general influenza protocols. 
  • Increasing the housekeeping schedule with additional daily cleaning with disinfectants in high-traffic areas. 
  • Installing more hand sanitizers in high-traffic areas on campus.
  • Preparing for quarantine areas in select residence halls if needed. 
  • Monitoring the study abroad and other trips, based on their location, to see if they can proceed or will need to be cancelled.

Later this week, emails will be sent directly to faculty, staff, and students addressing unique concerns/questions for each of those communities.  

Here is what you can do now:

Follow Public Health Advice and Information

Take Precautions

  • Wash hands frequently with liquid soap and water and rub for at least 20 seconds; 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing; 
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Stay home when you are sick;
  • Get a flu shot to protect yourself and others from the flu, which has similar symptoms to COVID-19;
  • People who are well and healthy do not need to use a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses. A face mask can be worn for those who are coughing or sneezing to protect others from getting sick.

Know the Symptoms

  • Patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Similar to influenza, it appears to cause less severe illness in younger people; those with more severe impacts tend to be older, medically fragile individuals with underlying medical conditions.

Please join us in protecting the health of our communities by supporting the efforts of Mills’ first responders and taking care to remain calm and vigilant as this public health crisis evolves.

All best,

Elizabeth L. Hillman

President

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Over the last several weeks, the Coronavirus  (COVID-19) has continued to spread to numerous countries globally and this week, two cases were confirmed in Northern California. Schools are widely regarded as one of the common communal settings that may enable a quick and large-scale outbreak. At this point, no warning has been given to adjust our school schedule, but we  will  monitor city, state, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports on the status of the COVID-19 in our area to provide updates to our school community to ensure that our staff and families are well informed, in the event that we need to close our school sites, should the college or state health officials direct us to do so.

We are asking our school community to help us respond by taking steps to assure their own health and protect the health of others. Here are precautions you can take:

  • Seek medical attention for the following: respiratory symptoms, fever, cough (dry), shortness of breath, or breathing difficulties.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, or towels.
  • Avoid close contact with people showing signs of respiratory illness, such as coughing or sneezing.
  • Keep your child home from school whenever they are sick. This is to protect your child as well as their classmates and the rest of the school. There are varying levels of vulnerability and susceptibility to colds and flus amongst our young children, teachers, staff, and families. Even if you feel you have more protected immunity, it is in everyone’s best interest to stay home when you are sick.
  • Consider curtailing or cancelling travel to impacted areas.

Click here for information from the Alameda County Public Health Department.

What measures MCCS will take at school:

  • Remind children to wash their hands and stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Keep classrooms stocked with hand sanitizer.
  • Clean our doors, tables, toys and equipment regularly.
  • Close the school if it is in the best interest of keeping our students and staff safe.

Click here for information about how to prepare at home.

As an educational institution committed to racial justice, we are also sharing the following article from a member of our community about the spread of anti-Asian racist sentiment surrounding the international coronavirus outbreak: “Disasters often result in people placing blame upon certain communities and groups for the event in question. This scapegoating diverts attention away from the underlying causes connected to economic, political and social decisions as well as the exercise of power.”  Click here for the full article.

MCCS and Mills College will monitor city, state, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports on the status of the COVID-19 in our area to provide updates to the campus community. Many thanks to those of you who reached out to share some of the above information with us. We appreciate your partnership and the community support.

What is the Coronavirus?