Frequently Asked Questions

COVID Protocols

What does outdoor education look like at Pine Cobble in 2020-21?

With safety in mind, Pine Cobble classes will be moving outdoors more often this year. While safety and academics remain top priorities, increased outdoor time will mean an additional focus on resilience, flexibility, and collaboration and teamwork. 

How are academics impacted by COVID-19 Safety measures?

With increased need for distancing and hygiene, bathroom and handwashing breaks do take longer. Pine Cobble faculty and staff are making every effort to minimize the impact of safety measures on students’ academic experience, by adapting their schedules and teaching practices to accommodate our new safety policies

How often do masks need to be changed?

A new mask will be worn each day and when damaged or soiled.

How to help a child who needs comfort when a teacher because of emotional needs that are part of daily school experiences?

When child needs comfort from a teacher because of emotional needs that are a part of daily school experiences; separation from parent(s), injury, fear, fatigue, frustration.

When child comes to a teacher and grabs the teacher in an effort to receive physical and emotional comfort. Child does not respond to verbal redirection.

When child moves toward other students and cannot maintain social distance from another student due to their emotional needs. Child does not respond to verbal redirections. 

Enter the box to do what is needed to support the child. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another. If the time is going to be more than an in and out, please put on PPE – mask, face shield and gloves.

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

How to help a child who is defiant and support from outside their box is not changing the situation?

When: Redirection given verbally does not help the child and the child does not respond

When: Child does not respond to verbal efforts and does not change their behavior and the behavior persists or worsens

When: Child actively defies direction and acts in a way that makes their defiance unsafe for themselves or others – includes faculty and other students

Enter the box to do what is needed to support the child. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another. If the time is going to be more than an in and out, please put on PPE – mask, face shield and gloves. 

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

How can we help children when they are doing something unsafe and need our assistance to get to a safe place again?

Assisting a child who cannot lift a heavy item, door, personal items.

Help a child who has left their group by leaving the line, leaving the outdoor classroom space, walked away to another outdoor area.

Stop a child who is moving towards a car or the carline. 

Help a child in any emergency or potential emergency. 

Help a child who is injuring or acting aggressively to another student.

Help a child who is not socially distancing themselves from another student either knowingly or unknowingly.

Help a child line up to enter or exit a classroom or an outdoor classroom space.

Help a child move during safety drills or in real emergency situations.

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

How can we help young children with projects and opening lunch items?

Please do so as needed and always look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another. And, avoid being face to face with the child.

In cases like this a mask is the PPE needed. Hands should be washed after helping a child open something from their lunch and before helping another child.

What happens if a child is injured and needs the help of an adult?

Assisting a child with checking an injury after an accident like a head bump, scrape or cut, or a bruise is essential. Applying ice and or a bandaid is part of that process. To do so requires PPE as described up in the toileting section. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another, and depending on injury, do your best to avoid being face to face with the child.

What happens if a child needs assistance with a mask – falling off, doesn’t fit well, etc.

Assist the child as needed by going into their square with your mask on, if it is a simple fix of the mask, no PPE beyond the mask is needed. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that we are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

What happens when a child needs assistance due to their age? Toileting, dressing, etc.

Please support the child to do all the things for which they need help – toileting, handwashing etc. When doing so, please wear a mask, wear a face shield, wear disposable gloves.

Limit duration of contact when in less than 6 ft distancing

After helping the child, please sanitize face shields, sanitize frequently touched surfaces, dispose of gloves.

What will happen when a teacher is out?

The specialist in the room will not teach their special classes that day, but instead will be the substitute. Please be mindful of this possibility and have lessons ready to go for a day when you are suddenly out.

When a faculty member is out and the specialist for whatever reason cannot cover, we will go to remote instruction as needed for that class.

When is it okay for a teacher or student to pull down their mask for a water break?

To drink water, be sure to move six feet away from others and safely pull mask down and drink water. Students and adults.

When winter hits, how will students work with windows open?

Two inches or more is a good height for air circulation.

What is the best plan with regard to open windows? Shall we open them a certain amount? Does height of window impact circulation?

Two inches or more is a good height for air circulation.

What happens in the four classrooms for which a sink is a good distance from their classroom?

A wet wipe and then hand sanitizer are acceptable. 

We are getting sinks in the four classrooms without sinks currently (the classrooms where students use the sinks in their bathrooms near their room). They will be portable sinks and we will change out the bucket under the sink each day.

How often should students wash their hands?

They should wash before snack, before lunch, when using the bathroom, and any time their hands are visibly soiled.

Can we give students their own hand sanitizer to have in their desks? Is that safe?

It is okay to put in 3rd grade and up desks, and just monitor over use.

These are used between handwashing times (i.e. after snack or lunch) as students feel a need to sanitize their hands.

Should kids sanitize their hands upon arriving to school?

Yes, this can be done with the machine as they enter the room each morning.

How can we help children when they are doing something unsafe and need our assistance to get to a safe place again?

Assisting a child who cannot lift a heavy item, door, personal items.

Help a child who has left their group by leaving the line, leaving the outdoor classroom space, walked away to another outdoor area.

Stop a child who is moving towards a car or the carline. 

Help a child in any emergency or potential emergency. 

Help a child who is injuring or acting aggressively to another student.

Help a child who is not socially distancing themselves from another student either knowingly or unknowingly.

Help a child line up to enter or exit a classroom or an outdoor classroom space.

Help a child move during safety drills or in real emergency situations.

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

What happens if a child is injured and needs the help of an adult?

Assisting a child with checking an injury after an accident like a head bump, scrape or cut, or a bruise is essential. Applying ice and or a bandaid is part of that process. To do so requires PPE as described up in the toileting section. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another, and depending on injury, do your best to avoid being face to face with the child.

At what length of time does it become unsafe to be in a child’s box for any reason at all, even when facing their backs? And what to do when that time comes and a child still needs an adult?

Look for opportunities to minimize the time that we are within six feet of each other.

When the lines down the middle do not offer more space – like a tunnel to walk down, is it okay to walk on the taped lines staying as far from the child on either side as you walk down? What do children do as they need to go to the bathroom?

When children need to get up and go to the bathroom, then stay on those lines as they head out the door and back from the bathroom. Again, look for opportunities to minimize the time that we are within six feet of each other.

When can an adult go into a child’s box?

Going in and out of a box for short periods of time – handing out paper, picking up paper or supporting an emotional child from behind them are all acceptable.

If a child needs support academically and there is no other way to do that than to come up behind them in their box, please do so. Please stay behind them as you support them and please limit your time in the box to less than five minutes. The least amount of time to fill the need is the goal. 

Look for opportunities to minimize the time that we are within six feet of one another.

How is the school implementing six foot distancing?

There are many parts of this part of the safety lasagna that come into play here.

In class having students stay in their boxes facing forward is essential. We know there will be times when they are not able to always face forward, but a gentle reminder or clever way you have to help that become muscle memory is essential.

Outside, we will be putting a dot in the center of boxes so students can have a visual of what the center is. Where space allows, we have also added more boxes in an effort to have students have free boxes around them. When students are outside, they may, according to our medical advisor, turn their heads to speak to a person during class with their masks on. 

When children are outside on the playground, regular reminders of what six feet is will help it become muscle memory. Ideas include taking a hula hoop as the teacher in the class and walking around with it in to show what six feet is. Or putting pool noodles on your arms and extend them out far enough in each direction to show what six feet is.

What happens when children pass each other in the hallway going to the bathroom or in another instance?

Children should remain six feet socially distanced when seeing someone in another cohort and continue on with where they were going.

Brief encounters are inevitable. Goal is to minimize them.

Is it acceptable for teachers of 3rd and up to give students a second mask (handing it to them with a glove on) to put in their desk in a bag for a student to access when their mask breaks, allowing teachers to have more time to teach instead of needing to get a new mask every time a student has a mask break during class?

Yes, please distribute 2-3 masks safely to each student in your class (3rd and up is likely the best age for this, but Kristine, Kay and Ashley I leave it to you if you feel 1st graders having extra masks in their desks makes sense) in a paper or ziploc bag. And, it is fine to have 2-3 in a student’s bag in their desk so they don’t need to ask for a new one as often. 

What happens if a child can’t or won’t keep their mask on?

If a child can’t, please first step into their box to help them get the mask back on. Brief encounters  in and out of a box within 6 feet,  working from behind the child  is of insignificant risk. If, even with support for a teacher, the mask repeatedly falls off, please be in touch with the nurse and/or Devin Wootton. The nurse will come to the room in PPE to offer support. And, if there is not an answer Devin will call the parent to come up with a plan and get back to you with the plan. Please write this up in a student incident report, to help us track challenges and to continue to make enhancements to our protocols.

If a child won’t keep their mask on after repeated efforts on your part, please contact Mr. Wootton, who will call the parent and share the school’s concern and make a plan that is shared back with the teacher. Please write this up in a student incident report for reasons other than to make enhancements, but instead to see a pattern in a student’s behavior that Devin can help address with a plan between you, the child and the parent.

How will mask breaks be taken?

There will be designated mask breaks each day outside only, before and after an outdoor activity. (Example, before going on a hike have all stand six feet apart and take off their masks, take a deep breath and put them back on. Another example, send students out of the classroom one at a time to take a longer mask break – this is for students 3rd and up, given their age and going outside and back through the proper doors, etc.)

Will smaller masks be available for younger students?

Smaller masks for younger students Beg – 1st have been ordered and will be distributed upon our return to school. If any older students need smaller ones, please be in touch with the nurse or Andrew.

What is the protocol for decision making around COVID – 19?

Our decisions are based on both extensive international research since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the work of Harvard University’s Global Health Institute. You will see the key indicators we are using in this related link: https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/

The colors on the map indicate four levels of risk by area based on confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000. 

So long as our surrounding area (western Mass, eastern New York, and southern Vermont) is in the green or lower yellow range, we will prioritize in-person instruction. Should the region unfortunately move into the upper ranges of the yellow (more than 4 cases per 100,000), or orange or red levels, we would progressively shift to our remote learning program until COVID cases return to lower levels.

Similarly, if we observe a rapid COVID-19 case spike developing, we may switch to remote learning in the lower ranges of the yellow (i.e. before reaching the 4 cases per 100,000 threshold) as a precautionary measure.

At all times, we will adhere to applicable rules and requirements set by Local, State and Federal officials, meeting or exceeding their level of safety.

What kind of cleaning supplies will the janitorial team use?

We have spent the spring and summer stocking up on cleaning supplies to keep everyone on campus safe. In addition to wipes, and disinfecting spray, the school has also purchased two sprayers/foggers to sanitize rooms. 

May I send in birthday treats or other goodies from home for classroom events?

Please do not send in birthday treats or any other treats from home this year. 

How does my child eat lunch with a mask on?

Updated 10/2/20

Lunch when taken outside, our medical consultant has shared that students and teachers may have their masks down as long as everyone is six feet away, or more, from anyone else.

Lunch taken inside will be with face shields until the desk shields arrive. Realizing this will not be easy, and hoping for good weather, but if the plexiglass desk shields are not in and some temporary desk dividers, also on order in case plexiglass ones don’t make it by Wednesday, are not in, then students will need to wear face shields if the weather does not allow for us to get outside. The teacher desk, bigger plexiglass shields, I believe are in. 


Students will be able to remove their masks to eat lunch while seated at a safe distance from one another.

Are there additional plans to help my child if they are anxious during the day?

We all understand and empathize with feelings of anxiety and will be doing all we can all day to help students feel less anxious. That involves structure to their day, being with friends, doing school work and so much more. Our RULER (social emotional program) and an increase in our Mindfulness classes will both help in lessening anxiety. Teachers will be ready to support your children each day;  please stay in close communication with us as we partner in your child’s learning.

Do you have a designated isolation area for a suspected case of COVID-19?

Yes, we have a designated isolation area for suspected cases of COVID-19. Students showing symptoms or fever will need to wait with the nurse until they are able to be picked up. We will surely keep them comfortable in the designated quarantine room until a parent/guardian comes to pick them up. Faculty and staff with a suspected case will be asked to leave campus immediately or will be placed in the designated space until someone can pick them up.

What are the safety measures your teachers will follow – i.e., masks, social distancing in the classroom, etc.

Everyone on campus will wear a mask while on campus. Everyone will maintain  6 ft of social distance in classrooms as set up inside as well as our outdoor classrooms.  Students will be reminded on a regular basis about safe hand washing procedures. Faculty and staff will maintain their cohort by not interacting with other cohorts, teachers or staff.

Will my Beginner child sleep on the same cot each day?

Yes, beginners will be assigned cots and sleep on the same one every day. Additionally, cots will all be wiped and sanitized after each use. 

What can my child bring to school other than lunch and their books? Are stuffed animals and other toys allowed? Blankets?

It is safest to limit the number of items traveling between home and school. Students should only be carrying their lunch and what they need for classes back and forth. Please no toys, stuffed animals, sheets, or blankets this year.

What happens if my child’s teacher is sick? Will they teach remotely or will there be a substitute for them?

If a teacher is unable to come to campus, but able to teach remotely, they will do so with supervision provided in the classroom. If a teacher is too sick to teach remotely, then a substitute will be provided. That substitute will be either a specialist in their cohort, or, in the case of the upper school, other teachers in their cohort, will be substitutes.

Will my child be sharing supplies in art, etc. with other students?

Students will be unable to share supplies of any kind.

How often will bathrooms be cleaned during the school day?

We will have a person designated to do bathroom cleaning and whole school sanitation throughout the school day. Each bathroom on campus will be limited to use by one cohort.

Are there enough bathrooms on campus to keep students in their cohorts when using bathrooms?

Each bathroom on campus will be limited to use by one cohort. All children in that cohort will use the same bathroom, and teachers will send students one at a time to their cohort’s bathroom. There are bathrooms in the lower school, art building, music building and Cluett House.

What do I do if my child has allergies or something else that makes their nose run, but I know that is all that is causing their runny nose?

All members of the Pine Cobble community will need to provide medical documentation that any symptoms associated with COVID-19 are due to another cause.

What happens if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in my child’s class?

In the event of a confirmed case, Devin Wootton, the Assistant Head of School will implement contact tracing, and all students and faculty/staff who were in contact with the confirmed case will move to remote learning for two weeks, or shorter if an earlier return is safe to do.

What happens on campus if there is a suspected case of COVID-19?

Any member of the Pine Cobble Community with symptoms related to COVID-19 will be asked to leave campus immediately. Students will wait in a quarantine area for pick-up. Anyone with symptoms will need to supply a negative test result before returning to campus or a doctor’s note stating their illness/symptoms that caused them to go home are unrelated to COVID-19. 

What type of health checks are you planning for children and adults each day?

Daily COVID symptom google form filled out by every family for each child and by every faculty and staff, before arrival to campus.

Expectations for families to report contact with anyone inside or outside the household showing symptoms.

Will parents/volunteers/visitors be allowed in the building at any time?

No, we are sorry to say that will not be possible this year.

Does my child have to bring their own mask or will the school supply masks?

The school will be providing masks for every student. The school will also provide a face shield, as needed, to be used along with the masks and not a replacement for the masks.

Will everyone have to wear masks?

Updated 10/2/20

Students of all ages and adults at Pine Cobble will wear masks. There is no known health risk in wearing the hospital grade masks all day. 

All mask breaks need to be outside (other than a drink of water needed that will be six feet away from others) and those breaks people need to be six feet away.


For everyone’s safety both on and off campus, masks will be worn at all times by students, faculty and staff. Mask breaks will be implemented throughout the day when it is safe to do so. 

Physical Space-In Person Learning

What does outdoor education look like at Pine Cobble in 2020-21?

With safety in mind, Pine Cobble classes will be moving outdoors more often this year. While safety and academics remain top priorities, increased outdoor time will mean an additional focus on resilience, flexibility, and collaboration and teamwork. 

How are academics impacted by COVID-19 Safety measures?

With increased need for distancing and hygiene, bathroom and handwashing breaks do take longer. Pine Cobble faculty and staff are making every effort to minimize the impact of safety measures on students’ academic experience, by adapting their schedules and teaching practices to accommodate our new safety policies

How often do masks need to be changed?

A new mask will be worn each day and when damaged or soiled.

How to help a child who needs comfort when a teacher because of emotional needs that are part of daily school experiences?

When child needs comfort from a teacher because of emotional needs that are a part of daily school experiences; separation from parent(s), injury, fear, fatigue, frustration.

When child comes to a teacher and grabs the teacher in an effort to receive physical and emotional comfort. Child does not respond to verbal redirection.

When child moves toward other students and cannot maintain social distance from another student due to their emotional needs. Child does not respond to verbal redirections. 

Enter the box to do what is needed to support the child. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another. If the time is going to be more than an in and out, please put on PPE – mask, face shield and gloves.

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

How to help a child who is defiant and support from outside their box is not changing the situation?

When: Redirection given verbally does not help the child and the child does not respond

When: Child does not respond to verbal efforts and does not change their behavior and the behavior persists or worsens

When: Child actively defies direction and acts in a way that makes their defiance unsafe for themselves or others – includes faculty and other students

Enter the box to do what is needed to support the child. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another. If the time is going to be more than an in and out, please put on PPE – mask, face shield and gloves. 

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

How can we help children when they are doing something unsafe and need our assistance to get to a safe place again?

Assisting a child who cannot lift a heavy item, door, personal items.

Help a child who has left their group by leaving the line, leaving the outdoor classroom space, walked away to another outdoor area.

Stop a child who is moving towards a car or the carline. 

Help a child in any emergency or potential emergency. 

Help a child who is injuring or acting aggressively to another student.

Help a child who is not socially distancing themselves from another student either knowingly or unknowingly.

Help a child line up to enter or exit a classroom or an outdoor classroom space.

Help a child move during safety drills or in real emergency situations.

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

How can we help young children with projects and opening lunch items?

Please do so as needed and always look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another. And, avoid being face to face with the child.

In cases like this a mask is the PPE needed. Hands should be washed after helping a child open something from their lunch and before helping another child.

What happens if a child is injured and needs the help of an adult?

Assisting a child with checking an injury after an accident like a head bump, scrape or cut, or a bruise is essential. Applying ice and or a bandaid is part of that process. To do so requires PPE as described up in the toileting section. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another, and depending on injury, do your best to avoid being face to face with the child.

What happens if a child needs assistance with a mask – falling off, doesn’t fit well, etc.

Assist the child as needed by going into their square with your mask on, if it is a simple fix of the mask, no PPE beyond the mask is needed. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that we are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

What happens when a child needs assistance due to their age? Toileting, dressing, etc.

Please support the child to do all the things for which they need help – toileting, handwashing etc. When doing so, please wear a mask, wear a face shield, wear disposable gloves.

Limit duration of contact when in less than 6 ft distancing

After helping the child, please sanitize face shields, sanitize frequently touched surfaces, dispose of gloves.

What will happen when a teacher is out?

The specialist in the room will not teach their special classes that day, but instead will be the substitute. Please be mindful of this possibility and have lessons ready to go for a day when you are suddenly out.

When a faculty member is out and the specialist for whatever reason cannot cover, we will go to remote instruction as needed for that class.

When is it okay for a teacher or student to pull down their mask for a water break?

To drink water, be sure to move six feet away from others and safely pull mask down and drink water. Students and adults.

When winter hits, how will students work with windows open?

Two inches or more is a good height for air circulation.

What is the best plan with regard to open windows? Shall we open them a certain amount? Does height of window impact circulation?

Two inches or more is a good height for air circulation.

What happens in the four classrooms for which a sink is a good distance from their classroom?

A wet wipe and then hand sanitizer are acceptable. 

We are getting sinks in the four classrooms without sinks currently (the classrooms where students use the sinks in their bathrooms near their room). They will be portable sinks and we will change out the bucket under the sink each day.

How often should students wash their hands?

They should wash before snack, before lunch, when using the bathroom, and any time their hands are visibly soiled.

Can we give students their own hand sanitizer to have in their desks? Is that safe?

It is okay to put in 3rd grade and up desks, and just monitor over use.

These are used between handwashing times (i.e. after snack or lunch) as students feel a need to sanitize their hands.

Should kids sanitize their hands upon arriving to school?

Yes, this can be done with the machine as they enter the room each morning.

How can we help children when they are doing something unsafe and need our assistance to get to a safe place again?

Assisting a child who cannot lift a heavy item, door, personal items.

Help a child who has left their group by leaving the line, leaving the outdoor classroom space, walked away to another outdoor area.

Stop a child who is moving towards a car or the carline. 

Help a child in any emergency or potential emergency. 

Help a child who is injuring or acting aggressively to another student.

Help a child who is not socially distancing themselves from another student either knowingly or unknowingly.

Help a child line up to enter or exit a classroom or an outdoor classroom space.

Help a child move during safety drills or in real emergency situations.

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

What happens if a child is injured and needs the help of an adult?

Assisting a child with checking an injury after an accident like a head bump, scrape or cut, or a bruise is essential. Applying ice and or a bandaid is part of that process. To do so requires PPE as described up in the toileting section. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another, and depending on injury, do your best to avoid being face to face with the child.

At what length of time does it become unsafe to be in a child’s box for any reason at all, even when facing their backs? And what to do when that time comes and a child still needs an adult?

Look for opportunities to minimize the time that we are within six feet of each other.

When the lines down the middle do not offer more space – like a tunnel to walk down, is it okay to walk on the taped lines staying as far from the child on either side as you walk down? What do children do as they need to go to the bathroom?

When children need to get up and go to the bathroom, then stay on those lines as they head out the door and back from the bathroom. Again, look for opportunities to minimize the time that we are within six feet of each other.

When can an adult go into a child’s box?

Going in and out of a box for short periods of time – handing out paper, picking up paper or supporting an emotional child from behind them are all acceptable.

If a child needs support academically and there is no other way to do that than to come up behind them in their box, please do so. Please stay behind them as you support them and please limit your time in the box to less than five minutes. The least amount of time to fill the need is the goal. 

Look for opportunities to minimize the time that we are within six feet of one another.

How is the school implementing six foot distancing?

There are many parts of this part of the safety lasagna that come into play here.

In class having students stay in their boxes facing forward is essential. We know there will be times when they are not able to always face forward, but a gentle reminder or clever way you have to help that become muscle memory is essential.

Outside, we will be putting a dot in the center of boxes so students can have a visual of what the center is. Where space allows, we have also added more boxes in an effort to have students have free boxes around them. When students are outside, they may, according to our medical advisor, turn their heads to speak to a person during class with their masks on. 

When children are outside on the playground, regular reminders of what six feet is will help it become muscle memory. Ideas include taking a hula hoop as the teacher in the class and walking around with it in to show what six feet is. Or putting pool noodles on your arms and extend them out far enough in each direction to show what six feet is.

What happens when children pass each other in the hallway going to the bathroom or in another instance?

Children should remain six feet socially distanced when seeing someone in another cohort and continue on with where they were going.

Brief encounters are inevitable. Goal is to minimize them.

Is it acceptable for teachers of 3rd and up to give students a second mask (handing it to them with a glove on) to put in their desk in a bag for a student to access when their mask breaks, allowing teachers to have more time to teach instead of needing to get a new mask every time a student has a mask break during class?

Yes, please distribute 2-3 masks safely to each student in your class (3rd and up is likely the best age for this, but Kristine, Kay and Ashley I leave it to you if you feel 1st graders having extra masks in their desks makes sense) in a paper or ziploc bag. And, it is fine to have 2-3 in a student’s bag in their desk so they don’t need to ask for a new one as often. 

What happens if a child can’t or won’t keep their mask on?

If a child can’t, please first step into their box to help them get the mask back on. Brief encounters  in and out of a box within 6 feet,  working from behind the child  is of insignificant risk. If, even with support for a teacher, the mask repeatedly falls off, please be in touch with the nurse and/or Devin Wootton. The nurse will come to the room in PPE to offer support. And, if there is not an answer Devin will call the parent to come up with a plan and get back to you with the plan. Please write this up in a student incident report, to help us track challenges and to continue to make enhancements to our protocols.

If a child won’t keep their mask on after repeated efforts on your part, please contact Mr. Wootton, who will call the parent and share the school’s concern and make a plan that is shared back with the teacher. Please write this up in a student incident report for reasons other than to make enhancements, but instead to see a pattern in a student’s behavior that Devin can help address with a plan between you, the child and the parent.

How will mask breaks be taken?

There will be designated mask breaks each day outside only, before and after an outdoor activity. (Example, before going on a hike have all stand six feet apart and take off their masks, take a deep breath and put them back on. Another example, send students out of the classroom one at a time to take a longer mask break – this is for students 3rd and up, given their age and going outside and back through the proper doors, etc.)

Will smaller masks be available for younger students?

Smaller masks for younger students Beg – 1st have been ordered and will be distributed upon our return to school. If any older students need smaller ones, please be in touch with the nurse or Andrew.

My child has friends in other grades; will they get to see them at all? Recess, lunch, etc.?

We will make every effort to foster intergrade connections through letters and video chat; however, in order to maintain the integrity of the class cohort model, we will not be able to allow interactions between grades.

Will there be the buddy program this year?

We will be unable to have an in person buddy program this year, but are exploring options for on campus pen pals and/or buddy video chat.

Will my child have recess with their own class or others?

Your child will have recess with their own class/cohort.

Will there be assemblies this year?

Students will participate in assemblies this year from their classrooms. Assembly speakers and presenters will be projected in classrooms via Google Hangouts/Zoom. Many times, parents will be able to join us remotely but will not be able to attend on campus.

What will the trip fee for 4th – 8th grade be used for and are there any field trips?

Please stay tuned on this. This is a work in progress. We will be making every attempt to continue getting students off campus for trips as a cohort and with the needed distancing. Due to transportation and facility concerns, these trips will likely consist of hikes and outdoor exploration. Remote field trips will be taken in instances where they provide significant educational value.

We will keep you apprised of this throughout the year and revisit the fee based on trips offered.

How does my child eat lunch with a mask on?

Updated 10/2/20

Lunch when taken outside, our medical consultant has shared that students and teachers may have their masks down as long as everyone is six feet away, or more, from anyone else.

Lunch taken inside will be with face shields until the desk shields arrive. Realizing this will not be easy, and hoping for good weather, but if the plexiglass desk shields are not in and some temporary desk dividers, also on order in case plexiglass ones don’t make it by Wednesday, are not in, then students will need to wear face shields if the weather does not allow for us to get outside. The teacher desk, bigger plexiglass shields, I believe are in. 


Students will be able to remove their masks to eat lunch while seated at a safe distance from one another.

Will my child eat in the lunchroom?

In order to keep students safe and mitigate risk, students will eat lunch in their classrooms this year or outside, as a class, socially distanced.

Will there be a lunch program?

Yes, there will be lunch every day we are on campus. Please order the week before via the website.

If your child forgets their lunch on any given day, please call the main office and Andrew Ritter will add them to the school lunch order for that day.

Will my child still have a cubby?

Every child will have a cubby and/or designated storage space, which will be primarily for extra clothes in case they are needed during the school day.

Where will my child store the materials they need at the ready in class?

Each child will have a bin in which they will need to fit their backpack, lunch and any other small items. The bin is the size of a milk crate/filing box. Please be mindful as you think about a backpack for this year. Many/most books will stay home or be used only in school which will mean less going into backpacks each day.

What does my child bring to school?

Lunch and snacks – Please send a cold lunch and snacks in an easy to clean box, unless ordering lunch from school. Microwaves for heating up lunches from home will not be available this year. 

Water bottle. We have turned off the drinking part of our fountains but will continue to have the bottle filler functionality of our water fountains. Many classrooms also have sinks.

School books/iPad in a backpack. 

Light coat as the fall progresses – winter information to follow.

Please, no stuffed animals or toys. Beginner families should not bring in sheets or blankets.

Will the school maintain remote learning while in person?

Students and families who are unable to attend classes on campus will be able to access our on-campus offerings remotely. Students and families will be able to access live and recorded videos of the direct instruction happening in the classroom and assignments through Seesaw and GoogleClassroom. Your child’s classroom teacher and Mr. Wootton will be in touch on a regular basis with those who are doing remote access to our on campus program.

Where is my classroom?

Classrooms have moved – here are their new locations. If you don’t know where your child’s new room is, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Andrew Ritter in the front office at any time – extension 10 or [email protected]

 

Beginners – Flinton building in the room that was the PreK last year.

Door to classroom off lower school basketball court. They will be the only cohort using that door.

PreK – Flinton building in the old Beginner space and common room.

Door to classroom off lower school basketball court. They will be the only cohort using that door.

Kindergarten – Cluett building in our dining room.

Door to classroom is off the Cluett basketball court. It is the main entrance to the dining room. Your children will be guided by an adult to that door. They will be the only cohort using that door.

1st Grade – Flinton building in their room as well as last year’s 2nd grade room next door – these two rooms are connected.

Door to the classroom is the main entrance to the lower school. Then they proceed down the hallway. They will be the only cohort using that door.

2nd grade – Flinton building in the old 3rd grade room.

Door to the classroom is the far entrance to the Flinton building – just outside their classroom. They will be the only cohort using that door.

3rd grade – Cluett building in the library.

Door to the classroom is the main door to Cluett with the columned porch, right off the front circle. Then they proceed to the library. They will be the only cohort using that door. 

4th grade – Flinton building in the old Kindergarten room.

Door to the classroom is the door around the side of the Flinton building – teachers will direct them to that door. They will be the only cohort using that door.

5th grade – Cluett building in the old 6th grade room.

Door to the classroom is the courtyard door off the back of Cluett. They will be the only cohort using that door.

6th grade – Hunter building in the old science room.

Door to the classroom is the side door entrance to the Hunter building, closest to the basketball court that goes directly into the classroom. They will be the only cohort using that door.

7th grade – Hunter building in the multipurpose room.

Door to the classroom is the door to the multipurpose room space closest to the music building. They will be the only cohort using that door.

8th grade – Cluett building in the old 5th grade room.

Drop off in the main parking lot, and children walk up to the door set to the left of the front door of Cluett. They will be the only cohort using that door.

Will there be team sports?

At this time, it will not be possible to have team sports at Pine Cobble for the 2020-21 school year.

Will there still be physical education classes?

Physical education will remain a part of the PC curriculum. In order to keep students safe while engaged in physically exerting activities, the outdoors will be used as often as possible, or the sports teacher will deliver content remotely into the classroom. Students will hike and do socially distanced stretching, yoga and fitness exercises that help improve their strength and help their mental well being as well. We will also focus on social distance team building games and exercises throughout the year. 

Will my children still have specialist classes?

Students will still have specialist classes. One specialist will be in person with each cohort for their class twice a week, and the other specialists will remote into your child’s classroom each week from their office space.

Will there be any after school clubs this year?

We are unable to offer after school clubs this year.

Is there ASK (After School Kids) this year?

We are unable to offer ASK this year. We will reevaluate before the second term begins in January. But, please plan on no ASK all year.

What if my child arrives after the school day begins or needs to be picked up before the school day is over?

If your child arrives after the school day begins, you will need to pull into the visitor parking spots by the main circle outside Cluett House. Then you will need to call Andrew Ritter in the front office (413-458-4680 ext. 10)  to tell him you are here. Andrew will alert the nurse, who will be in PPE, to come to the car and you will show the nurse your child’s COVID Symptom Assessment Form for that day. Once the nurse checks that form, the nurse will walk your child (if they are in beginners through fourth grade, to their room) or if they are in fifth grade and up, the nurse will simply watch them proceed to their entrance and on into their classroom.  

Being picked up early on any day will be very difficult. Please make every effort to have your child be at school during normal school hours. If there is a health emergency, we will be calling you and asking you to come right away to pick up your child. Otherwise, we ask that you not make arrangements for any appointments for your child during the school day. If you know ahead of time that your child has an appointment or will need to be dismissed early, they should stay home and access school via remote access for that day. If they are at school and need to be picked up for a medical reason, the nurse in full PPE will escort your child to your car upon your arrival.

What does student drop off and pick up look like each day?

7:45-8:00 7:45 – 8:15 8:15-8:45 12:00 – 12:15 3:00 – 3:25 3:25 – 3:45
Lower School Lot/Circle 1st, 2nd, 4th B, Pre-K B, Pre-K 1st, 2nd, 4th B, Pre-K
Cluett Circle 3rd, 5th K 3rd, 5th K
Main Parking Lot 6th, 7th, 8th 6th, 7th, 8th

Siblings can be dropped off at the earliest time for which families are eligible. Siblings can be picked up at the latest time for which families are eligible.

The big change for drop off and pick up is that parents will not be able to enter buildings. There will be designated staff available to meet younger students in the parking lot and take them into the classroom. And, in the case of older students, staff will be outside to direct them as needed to the door for their classroom, as students will come and go by grade through the same door every day.

Details about drop off and pick up times:

You will see in the grid above we have made every effort to make drop off and pick up times run as smoothly as possible. We have given windows of time for each division in the morning and afternoon.

We ask that you follow those windows of time carefully. If you choose not to follow the windows of time designated for drop off and pick up for your child(ren), you will be asked to pull over and wait in a designated area decided by the school and stay there until your child(ren)’s designated drop off or pick up time. This will be followed up by a call from the Head of School. This plan for safety for all is only going to work if we all follow the protocols and work together. If there is any confusion on drop off or pick up times, please be in touch with Sue Wells at [email protected]

If you arrive too early, you will have to pull over, out of the way of other cars, and wait until your child’s window of time. If you arrive too late, you will wait until the end of that current group’s drop off/pick up time to then proceed up the driveway to drop off or pick up your child(ren). 

Each morning every family will need to fill out a COVID Symptom Assessment Form – a google form that will come to your inbox each morning-for every child in their family (please be sure Andrew Ritter [email protected] has the correct email in order for you to receive this form each morning). This must be filled out before coming to drop off your child(ren). And, as you come to drop off your child(ren) you will need to show the form that comes to your email after you hit “submit” each day. More details to follow about this.

Are there additional plans to help my child if they are anxious during the day?

We all understand and empathize with feelings of anxiety and will be doing all we can all day to help students feel less anxious. That involves structure to their day, being with friends, doing school work and so much more. Our RULER (social emotional program) and an increase in our Mindfulness classes will both help in lessening anxiety. Teachers will be ready to support your children each day;  please stay in close communication with us as we partner in your child’s learning.

Will my Beginner child sleep on the same cot each day?

Yes, beginners will be assigned cots and sleep on the same one every day. Additionally, cots will all be wiped and sanitized after each use. 

What can my child bring to school other than lunch and their books? Are stuffed animals and other toys allowed? Blankets?

It is safest to limit the number of items traveling between home and school. Students should only be carrying their lunch and what they need for classes back and forth. Please no toys, stuffed animals, sheets, or blankets this year.

What happens if my child’s teacher is sick? Will they teach remotely or will there be a substitute for them?

If a teacher is unable to come to campus, but able to teach remotely, they will do so with supervision provided in the classroom. If a teacher is too sick to teach remotely, then a substitute will be provided. That substitute will be either a specialist in their cohort, or, in the case of the upper school, other teachers in their cohort, will be substitutes.

Will my child be sharing supplies in art, etc. with other students?

Students will be unable to share supplies of any kind.

How often will bathrooms be cleaned during the school day?

We will have a person designated to do bathroom cleaning and whole school sanitation throughout the school day. Each bathroom on campus will be limited to use by one cohort.

Are there enough bathrooms on campus to keep students in their cohorts when using bathrooms?

Each bathroom on campus will be limited to use by one cohort. All children in that cohort will use the same bathroom, and teachers will send students one at a time to their cohort’s bathroom. There are bathrooms in the lower school, art building, music building and Cluett House.

Will parents/volunteers/visitors be allowed in the building at any time?

No, we are sorry to say that will not be possible this year.

Does my child have to bring their own mask or will the school supply masks?

The school will be providing masks for every student. The school will also provide a face shield, as needed, to be used along with the masks and not a replacement for the masks.

Will everyone have to wear masks?

Updated 10/2/20

Students of all ages and adults at Pine Cobble will wear masks. There is no known health risk in wearing the hospital grade masks all day. 

All mask breaks need to be outside (other than a drink of water needed that will be six feet away from others) and those breaks people need to be six feet away.


For everyone’s safety both on and off campus, masks will be worn at all times by students, faculty and staff. Mask breaks will be implemented throughout the day when it is safe to do so. 

Communication

How are academics impacted by COVID-19 Safety measures?

With increased need for distancing and hygiene, bathroom and handwashing breaks do take longer. Pine Cobble faculty and staff are making every effort to minimize the impact of safety measures on students’ academic experience, by adapting their schedules and teaching practices to accommodate our new safety policies

Is the school calendar the same as the printed one we received? Where is the best place to find updated information?

Vacations and school closure dates are the same as printed on the school calendar that was mailed to parents. If there are changes to traditions/events or other parts of the calendar, we will alert you weekly through the Messenger, or more frequently on our website, or via an email communication from Sue or Devin.

How do I communicate information to my child’s teacher?

Please plan to email your child’s teacher directly with any thoughts, questions or concerns around your child’s experience in their classes as well as any social-emotional topics. If the information is about details like lunch orders, etc., please call or email Andrew Ritter in the front office at [email protected] or at ext. 10

Andrew will be able to get back to you in a more timely manner than your child’s teacher. Please be mindful your child’s teacher is teaching throughout the day

Who should I reach out to if I have any questions?

For questions please contact the front office. Andrew Ritter [email protected] will either answer your question or direct you to the person who can.

Early Childhood Enhancements

How often do masks need to be changed?

A new mask will be worn each day and when damaged or soiled.

How to help a child who needs comfort when a teacher because of emotional needs that are part of daily school experiences?

When child needs comfort from a teacher because of emotional needs that are a part of daily school experiences; separation from parent(s), injury, fear, fatigue, frustration.

When child comes to a teacher and grabs the teacher in an effort to receive physical and emotional comfort. Child does not respond to verbal redirection.

When child moves toward other students and cannot maintain social distance from another student due to their emotional needs. Child does not respond to verbal redirections. 

Enter the box to do what is needed to support the child. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another. If the time is going to be more than an in and out, please put on PPE – mask, face shield and gloves.

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

How to help a child who is defiant and support from outside their box is not changing the situation?

When: Redirection given verbally does not help the child and the child does not respond

When: Child does not respond to verbal efforts and does not change their behavior and the behavior persists or worsens

When: Child actively defies direction and acts in a way that makes their defiance unsafe for themselves or others – includes faculty and other students

Enter the box to do what is needed to support the child. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another. If the time is going to be more than an in and out, please put on PPE – mask, face shield and gloves. 

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

How can we help children when they are doing something unsafe and need our assistance to get to a safe place again?

Assisting a child who cannot lift a heavy item, door, personal items.

Help a child who has left their group by leaving the line, leaving the outdoor classroom space, walked away to another outdoor area.

Stop a child who is moving towards a car or the carline. 

Help a child in any emergency or potential emergency. 

Help a child who is injuring or acting aggressively to another student.

Help a child who is not socially distancing themselves from another student either knowingly or unknowingly.

Help a child line up to enter or exit a classroom or an outdoor classroom space.

Help a child move during safety drills or in real emergency situations.

In all of the above look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

How can we help young children with projects and opening lunch items?

Please do so as needed and always look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another. And, avoid being face to face with the child.

In cases like this a mask is the PPE needed. Hands should be washed after helping a child open something from their lunch and before helping another child.

What happens if a child is injured and needs the help of an adult?

Assisting a child with checking an injury after an accident like a head bump, scrape or cut, or a bruise is essential. Applying ice and or a bandaid is part of that process. To do so requires PPE as described up in the toileting section. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that you are within six feet of one another, and depending on injury, do your best to avoid being face to face with the child.

What happens if a child needs assistance with a mask – falling off, doesn’t fit well, etc.

Assist the child as needed by going into their square with your mask on, if it is a simple fix of the mask, no PPE beyond the mask is needed. Look for opportunities to minimize the time that we are within six feet of one another and avoid being face to face with the child.

What happens when a child needs assistance due to their age? Toileting, dressing, etc.

Please support the child to do all the things for which they need help – toileting, handwashing etc. When doing so, please wear a mask, wear a face shield, wear disposable gloves.

Limit duration of contact when in less than 6 ft distancing

After helping the child, please sanitize face shields, sanitize frequently touched surfaces, dispose of gloves.

Remote Learning

What will happen when a teacher is out?

The specialist in the room will not teach their special classes that day, but instead will be the substitute. Please be mindful of this possibility and have lessons ready to go for a day when you are suddenly out.

When a faculty member is out and the specialist for whatever reason cannot cover, we will go to remote instruction as needed for that class.

Who do I go to if I need tech support during remote learning?

We learned so much from our experiences last spring. For quick fixes, please contact your child’s teacher. The teacher will be able to answer most questions, and will certainly direct you to Devin Wootton if they cannot answer your question. 

What if I do not feel comfortable sending my child to on-campus schooling and would like to opt for remote learning?

If you would like to access our on-campus program remotely, please make an appointment with Devin Wootton to go over logistics – [email protected]

Will the school maintain remote learning while in person?

Students and families who are unable to attend classes on campus will be able to access our on-campus offerings remotely. Students and families will be able to access live and recorded videos of the direct instruction happening in the classroom and assignments through Seesaw and GoogleClassroom. Your child’s classroom teacher and Mr. Wootton will be in touch on a regular basis with those who are doing remote access to our on campus program.

What resources and programs will be used in the event the school needs to go remote?

iPads, Logitech Crayons, Seesaw, GoogleClassroom, headphones, keyboards (certain grades), school supplies.

What happens if the school needs to go fully remote at any time during the year?

If the school needs to go fully remote, we will transition smoothly using our new iPads, distance learning tools like Seesaw and GoogleClassroom, as well as lessons learned from our 2019-20 spring experiences. Part of the learning on campus will incorporate these remote tools so students will be able to focus on learning if we do go remote and rely less on parents and family members to learn new technology.

COVID Case Specifics

Traditions and Events

Is there a PTG this year?

The PC PTG will remain in place this year, but will need to meet remotely. At this time we are unable to host social events like the BBQ, but are exploring options for fundraisers like the ski and skate sale. 

Will we have the Pine Cobble birthday tradition of singing to every member of the community?

As you may know, a big tradition at Pine Cobble is singing to a child or teacher in the lunchroom or at our Monday morning assemblies in the lower school on their birthday. This year we will figure out a new way to celebrate birthdays each week that honor students from Beginners through eighth grade and our teachers/staff. Please do not send in birthday and/or celebration treats this year. 

Will there be a winter sports program?

To be determined.

COVID-19 Terms

Each classroom will be its own cohort. What is a cohort?

Updated 10/2/20

Please, no one but the adults and children in your cohort should be together.


A cohort is a class of students and their teacher(s).The cohorts will stay together and no other cohort will join them for any part of the day. Cohorts have their own entrance and exit door as well as their own bathroom. Classroom teachers are part of a cohort. One specialist is assigned to cohorts in our younger grades – Beg – 5th. Our teachers of middle school (6th – 8th) will represent one cohort, as they all teach multiple grades. The students in those grades (6th – 8th) are each their own cohort. This does not mean teachers will teach together, but it means they will teach in different grades in the 6th – 8th cohort.

 

A teacher is not blatantly disregarding or breaking policies when they go into a child’s six foot square because they believe in good faith it is necessary to support that child with a physical or emotional need that is part of the job as an educator. Appropriate PPE (i.e. mask and, if needed, gloves) must be worn and proper hygiene must be followed any time this occurs.