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Mackintosh Academy’s highest priority is the health and safety of its students. One of the most important ways we can do this is by providing accurate and timely information about the COVID-19 outbreak. See below for related school announcements, links to previous HOS emails to parents, and links to a collection of important resources and up-to-date advisories and information.

COVID-19 Testing Program Information Sheet

Back to Mack Reopening Plan August 2021

Messages from the Head of School

September 10, 2022

Dear Mackintosh Parents,

What a great first two weeks!  We are so excited to welcome back our adventurous fifth through eighth graders from their overnight trips.  I’m sure they will have many stories to share this weekend. The Friday Connection is a periodic communication that primarily provides updates regarding health and safety on campus.  I am happy to provide this first Connection and am also happy to report that it will be a short one!

We have made one small change to our COVID protocols based on experience and current guidance.  If there is a know positive case of COVID in a child’s household, we now require the child wear a mask at school and we will continue to require a test by day five (no earlier than day three) in order for the child to remain in school.  Children with know cases in the household will be required to wear a mask for ten days from date of the most recent household member’s symptom onset.  There are several members of the community wearing masks at different times, so children will not feel singled out in these instances. 

As a school we are adjusting to the ongoing presence of COVID in the community.  Since the start of school, we have had one staff member and two students test positive for COVID while a third student was presumed positive.  The students were in separate classes.  These statistics are in line with or slightly below other area independent schools.  Parents will always receive a direct exposure notification if there is a positive case in their child’s classroom within the exposure window of 48 hours.  

We have now successfully completed two weeks of screening through the testing program with Novir.  Over 90 members of our community have enrolled in the screening program.  Both weeks of testing showed zero positive results from those tested. If you would like to enroll your child in the weekly screening, please check ParentSquare for instructions.

Thank you to our parent volunteers who are diligently signing in when on campus.  A gentle reminder to please sign out when you leave and please return our visitor badges.  The changes to our door locking system are working well and both students and teachers are adapting to new routines that allow us to keep all doors, except the main entrance by administration, locked during the school day. 

Thank you for your continued support!  Have a great weekend.


May 27, 2022

Dear Mack Parents:

Just a very short update at the start of a long holiday weekend. I attended a Children’s Hospital webinar earlier today, and while Colorado’s COVID numbers are considerably higher than they were a month/two months ago, there are some very early signs this may be tapering off. Let’s hope these slight indications are born out over the next few weeks. At Mackintosh, our numbers have definitely improved—we had no confirmed reports of positive cases in our community this past week. What a difference from two weeks ago! We are hopeful—fingers crossed—that we can make it through the end of the school year, and we thank you for all your cooperation and support during this recent outbreak and throughout the entire year.

This next paragraph is not about COVID, but it is about connecting. Our Spring Festival yesterday was a joyful gathering. It has been a long, long wait for us all to be on campus, and it felt completely wonderful to enjoy a warm spring evening together. The talent and art shows were a delightful illustration of our students’ spirit, creativity, and courage. Thank you for attending and volunteering. A final note – I was so surprised and almost overwhelmed by the farewell presentations and the amazing, amazing flash mob. Wow! I am still processing all of last night. Thank you for being part of that.

Have a good weekend,


May 18, 2022

Dear Mack Parents:

Thank you for your support for both staff and your children as we implemented measures to help manage an unexpected surge of cases on campus late last week.  While COVID, of course, will remain in the community, we believe these measures have significantly slowed community spread and allowed teachers and students time to recover as needed.  We have continued to monitor cases and have been in close contact with the health department who have complimented our strong tracking and parent support.  We have also continued our practice of quarantining any child who has a positive case in their household.  This has significantly lessened possible in-school exposures. 

Based on our review and discussions with Tri-County Health, here are the plans through the end of this week and into next week.  As with Diane’s Saturday communication, we felt it was best to let parents see the entire picture.  Below, please find information on new cases and exposures since the Saturday communication, and our plan class by class.  Please know this situation remains fluid; we will update parents with any changes.


  • One new (kindergarten) teacher positive – now five days past possible classroom exposure

  • One kindergarten child positive – no classroom exposure due to existing quarantine

  • Classes will continue on regular schedule

  • Masks recommended

1st grade

  • One possible exposure – more than five days ago

  • No new student cases

  • Classes will continue on regular schedule

  • Masks required indoors through Friday, May 20, masks optional starting Monday (dependent on no new cases.)

2nd Grade

  • No new cases

  • Classes will continue on regular schedule

  • Masks required indoors through Friday, May 20, masks optional starting Monday (dependent on no new cases.)

3rd/4th Grades

  • 4 new cases

  • 2 staff members still quite ill

  • All class will continue on MackFLEX through Friday, May 20

  • All students return to in-person learning Monday, May 23 (unless still under COVID isolation protocols – see below.)

  • At-home tests Sunday, prior to return, recommended

  • Masks required indoors through Thursday, May 26

5th Grade

  • No new cases

  • Return to in-person learning Thursday, May 19 (unless still under COVID isolation protocols – see below)

  • All students must have a negative COVID test today (Wednesday) to be allowed to return tomorrow – Please send a photo of the test to frontoffice@mackintoshacademy.com

  • Masks required through Friday, May 20

6th Grade

  • One new case, classroom exposure Monday, May 16

  • Classes will continue on regular schedule

  • Masks required through Friday, May 20

7th/8th grades

  • One new case – no classroom exposure due to existing quarantine

  • Classes will continue on regular schedule

  • Masks recommended

COVID Isolation protocols

The following guidelines apply to all students. If your child has tested positive, or is a sibling of a child who tested positive for COVID, please carefully review guidelines and dates to determine the appropriate day to return to school.  Sarah Schultz is happy to help any parent walk through these calculations.

Student tested positive:

Students are required to isolate at home for five days following a positive test, with the day of the test or symptom onset (whichever is earlier) being day zero. The student should test again on day five.  If the test is negative, they may return to school on day 6. If it is positive, they are required to extend the isolation period by 5 days (returning on day 11).  In cases where a family did not test on day 5 due to classroom quarantines, students should take a test as soon as possible and follow the same protocols.  All students may return on day 11 without any further testing required.  (In some cases, testing may remain positive, but students are no longer considered contagious past day 10.)

Student’s sibling or other household family member tested positive:

Students are required to quarantine at home for five days following a positive result of a family member with day zero being the day of the positive test.  Quarantined students should test on day five.  If the test is negative, and the student is symptom free, they may return on day six.  Should the child develop symptoms or test positive, they should follow instructions above, with the date of the positive test being day zero.  

Beth Steklac

May 14, 2022

Dear Mack Parents:

Since yesterday’s Friday Connections, we have received communication about several more COVID cases. This is clearly a dynamic situation, and it has required us to develop a targeted plan to address different realities in different classrooms. We will adapt plans to address new circumstances as they arise and will keep you informed. Our overarching goal is to be safe and to finish the school year in person and on campus, but we must take these difficult steps to increase the likelihood that we can achieve those goals. I know this is tremendously inconvenient and challenging for you; it is for us, as well. But we are all together in wanting the very best for your children.

Here are our current plans.  Teachers will be in touch with you in their Sunday Weekly Updates and follow-up communications regarding any specific class changes. The most significant impact right now centers on grades 3 – 5, so this is where we will start.

3rd and 4th grades 

  • 12 children and all three homeroom teachers are out sick. Not all are confirmed positive for COVID, but many are, and the incident rate is rising; we strongly suspect there has been community transmission in the classroom.

  • Monday, May 16: there will be NO classes; teachers need to recover enough to adjust their plans for the rest of the week.

  • Tuesday-Wednesday, May 17 and 18: MackFLEX for all students well enough to participate.

  • Will reassess further for Thursday and Friday, May 19-20. 

5th grade

  • 5 out of 16 students are sick, most with COViD.

  • Monday through Wednesday, May 16-18: all classes will be on MackFLEX for students well enough to participate; this includes those students who are in Mrs. Muhich’s math class.  No math class for Ms. O and Mr O classes on Monday. See below.

  • Will reassess for Thursday and Friday, May 19-20.

6th grade

  • There have been no recent positive cases.

  • Classes will continue in person, as usual, starting Monday, May 16.

  • Because there was a higher chance of interaction with 5th graders, we are REQUIRING that all students and teachers wear masks inside classrooms. For better protection, please utilize N-95 or KN-95 masks.

  • MackFlex continues to be available for COVID-related illness/exposure after 24 hours notice.

Miss O Math class

  • Monday, May 16: there will be NO math class 

  • Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17-18: Math will be on MackFlex

  • We will reassess for Thursday and Friday

Mr. O/Mrs. Wolf Math Class

  • Monday, May 16: there will be NO math class. 

  • Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17-18: Math will be on MackFlex. 

  • We will reassess for Thursday and Friday.


  • No confirmed cases in Pre-K/K.

  • We are staying the course with in-person classes but encourage everyone to wear a mask inside the classroom.

First Grade

  • There were three recent cases/two of which are now resolved; no indication of community transmission.

  • Classes will continue in-person for students who are not isolating or quarantining

  • We are REQUIRING all students and teachers to wear masks inside classrooms. For better protection, please utilize N-95 or KN-95 masks.

  • MackFlex continues to be available for COVID-related illness/exposure after 24 hours notice.

Second Grade

  • One new case; no indication of community transmission.

  • Classes will continue in person for students who are not isolating or quarantining

  • We are REQUIRING all students and teachers to wear masks inside classrooms. For better protection, please utilize N-95 or KN-95 masks.

  • MackFlex continues to be available for COVID-related illness/exposure after 24 hours notice.

Seventh and Eighth grade

  • Two resolved cases; one recent exposure. No indication of community transmission.

  • Classes will continue in person for students who are not isolating or quarantining. 

  • We are URGING but not yet requiring students and teachers to wear masks inside classrooms. For higher protection levels, please utilize N-95 or KN-95 masks.

  • MackFlex continues to be available for COVID-related illness/exposure after 24 hours notice.

We are doing our best to be responsive and stem the impact of all of this on our school community. We urge precautionary measures on your part outside of school.

Have a nice weekend,


May 13, 2022
Dear Mack Parents:

There is much that is wonderful happening on campus—the 7/8 triumphant performance of As You Like It, 5/6 participation in the national KidWind  competition next week and 6th grade Exhibition the following week, kindergarten’s successful first (and last) field trip of the year completed today, and your knock-it-out-of-the-park efforts this week to let our teachers know how much you appreciate them. Just to name a few.

Unfortunately, there is not-so-wonderful news, as well—our COVID numbers are trending the way of the state’s…upward. Most of you have already received exposure notifications from Beth if/when your child’s class was directly impacted, but I wanted our entire parent community to know where we stand. The Omicron sub-variants are wildly contagious.

Here is our data for this past week:

  • 7 students and 1 staff member tested positive for COVID
  • 6 additional students are currently out of school because of in-home exposures to positive individuals
  • Positives and in-home exposures are in the following cohorts: 1st, 2nd, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8
  • 10 additional students were absent one or more days due to illness, not currently identified as COVID

So, there is a lot going on. We are deeply grateful to you, our parent community, for being so transparent in communicating with us and keeping even mildly sick children at home.

A few reminders and requests:

  • Continue keeping sick children home and communicating with us about possible exposures.
  • MackFLEX is available for COVID-related in-home exposures and illness only. Please understand that the number of cases we are experiencing now make it so, so difficult for teachers. Out of necessity, they will have to modify the MackFLEX services they are able to provide. They are devoted and doing their absolute best, but these are extremely trying circumstances. And we know this is tough for all of you.
  • We were in touch with Tri-County Health Department earlier today; they recommend that any student/faculty member in the above-listed affected cohorts wear a mask indoors for 10 days after the date of exposure. This recommendation is for school and elsewhere.
  • We have certainly seen more masks in our classrooms. We strongly encourage everyone to follow suit.

We are close to the finish line; we want to keep all classes on campus and to end the school year healthy and happy. I know you are committed to working with us to do just that, and we are committed to doing our best and keeping you informed.



April 29, 2022

We are coming to the end of another month, bringing us closer to the end of the school year but not yet to the end of our COVID concerns. That being said, things are still looking much better, overall, but, my goodness—we have all been dealing with this for over two years now. The really good news is that we have held firm as a community, and I know that we will continue to do so.

Our COVID numbers at school have shown a slight uptick in the past few weeks, not unlike what is happening in our state. We currently have three students on MackFLEX as a result of testing positive or experiencing a close exposure. Specific classes have been informed. Our regular Thursday screening testing this week revealed no new cases, which prompted a deep sigh of relief. Nevertheless, we have seen a slight increase in the number of staff and students who have chosen to wear masks for now, and we are being even more vigilant about opening windows and running/maintaining our HEPA filters.

Here are a few pieces of information I learned from attending two recent webinars, one with Children’s Hospital, the other with Tri County Health Department.

  • Our statewide cases are still very low but increasing (positivity rates are now over 5%), and hospitalization rates are up a little.
  • The Omicron sub-variants, BA.2 and now BA.2.12.1, are significantly more transmissible but not showing signs of being more virulent.
  • Public health officials expect that cases are likely to continue to increase over the next few weeks but not to reach the levels seen during the original Omicron surge.
  • Vaccinations are still considered effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalization.

We will continue to monitor data through attending webinars and reviewing the CDPHE COVID dashboard https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial-dashboard and the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html

Our goal remains to keep your children and our teachers safe and in school, and to finish out the 21-22 school year on a happy and healthy note. We are deeply appreciative of your active support by informing us of any health-related concerns and keeping sick children home. That has been the key to our mutual success.

Warm regards and have a wonderful weekend,


April 15, 2022

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

With the increase of the BA.2 Omicron sub variant showing up across the country, especially in the Northeast but also in Colorado, I thought it was time to reach out to you again. The very good news within our community is that our weekly serial testing has not yielded any positive COVID cases since the end of January. Please know that if that changes, we will communicate directly with parents of students in the affected class, and let all parents know there has been a positive case in the school. No news is good news in this instance.

Because of Earth Day activities next Thursday, we have arranged for our next serial testing to occur on Wednesday. It is not too late for you to sign up your child. Given the rising case numbers, I do ask that you reconsider if you had previously decided not to have your child test. https://trackbynovir.com/register Our organization code is C8648.

We continue to monitor data through the CDPHE COVID dashboard https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial-dashboard and the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html. I spoke with our Children’s Hospital consultant just yesterday and routinely touch base with other ACIS schools. Some area schools are showing case increases, a few significant, while others are not. I found this report from Colorado Public Radio to be informative, cautionary, but not overly alarming. https://www.cpr.org/2022/04/14/covid-strain-ba2-driving-up-infections-colorado-slightly-few-severe-cases/

Our continued success as a community results from your willingness to be transparent in your communications with the school and to cooperate with our safety requirements. Keeping sick children home, picking them up from school when they show symptoms even though we know it is inconvenient, and adhering to follow-up requirements like testing before returning and wearing a mask for a few days is tremendously supportive of our efforts to keep the school community safe. Thank you.

We are committed to keeping you informed and responding to changing circumstances with care and prudence.

Have a wonderful weekend,


Diane M. Dunne, Head of School

March 18, 2022

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

I hope you enjoyed your child’s portfolio conference; I am always so impressed by the pose, confidence, and thoughtfulness the children demonstrate during this annual reflection on their own learning. On behalf of all of the Mack faculty, staff, and administration, I send wishes for a fun and relaxing time together during spring break. We are looking forward to the start of an excellent final two months of school when classes resume on Tuesday, March 29, after our professional development and work day on Monday, March 28.

A final important note – We have so enjoyed seeing more of our students’ faces these past two weeks, but, at the same time, we remained committed to respecting different levels of concern and decisions about not wearing masks and to providing a safe environment for everyone on campus. We are all COVID-weary at this point, after two years of dealing with the pandemic, but we do urge you to continue to take prudent safety precautions over the break. There are signs in Europe and Asia that this new Omicron sub-variant is particularly contagious, and it has made its appearance in this country. If you are exposed to the virus, let us know. We encourage all who travel, especially into higher transmission areas, to take a rapid test before returning to school. These are now readily available. And we will continue to offer our weekly screening testing program on Thursdays at school. Looking forward to a safe spring into summer, here is a link to order free COVID tests from the federal government.

Every home in the United States is eligible to order two sets of four free at-home tests through federal website or by calling 1-800-232-0233

Warm regards,


March 4, 2022

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

There was something of a celebratory air today as many students’ faces emerged from behind their masks, but there was no gloating, no pressure, absolutely no “mask shaming.”  There was also much mask wearing in evidence, and most importantly, there were beautiful class discussions about decision making, personal choices, privacy, and respect for differences. HEPA filters were running, windows were open, and hands were being washed. Once again, our children are leading the way for all of us in their joy and matter-of-fact open mindedness. 

A number of you have reached out to me with questions about our safety procedures with visitors on campus. This is where we stand:

  • Parents

    • Sign in at front office and Sarah will give you a lanyard or sticker with ID to wear

    • We are still requesting that you give us a copy of your COVID vaccination card

    • Masks are optional unless you are working in the kitchen where they are required

  • Outside our community

    • Visitors sign in at front office and Sarah will give them a lanyard or sticker with ID 

    • We are still requesting that they give us a copy of their COVID vaccination card

    • Masks are required inside the buildings

  • ACIS – as you know a site visit team of nine administrators/teachers from ACIS schools around the state are on campus next Monday through Wednesday

    • Everyone on the team is triple vaccinated

    • They will all be wearing ID lanyards

    • Masks are required inside classrooms and other places where students congregate

We can all celebrate the current improvement in our COVID numbers while recognizing that even should circumstances change, we are flexible and resilient and will respond as needed. Let us enjoy the sunshine in the way that we choose.



February 25, 2022

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

Thank you for taking the time to answer the survey we sent out about mask wearing. The response rate was very high and provided us with useful information about where our community stands regarding this issue. A strong majority of our respondents expressed moderate to high levels of comfort with making masks optional while a smaller but still significant number were moderately to highly uncomfortable. These numbers did move into higher levels of comfort and less discomfort when we factored in achieving the recommended positivity rate of < 5% and case incidence of <50 cases per 100,000.

Even though, in some ways, we are a fairly homogenous community, these results do reflect the fact that we also represent a wide range of opinions and different life circumstances, most significantly, in this case, risk factors for serious illness. Our ongoing task is to build upon our commonalities while we also learn from and respect those differences.

At the same time we were studying your feedback, we were also reviewing the COVID data in our county and what other schools were doing. Many schools  in the Metro area have already dropped masked mandates, and others will do so over the next few days and weeks, and, most importantly, the CDPHE website reveals that the COVID numbers continue to decline rapidly. Excellent news! As of today, Arapahoe County has a 4.4% positivity rate and a one-week case incidence of 68.1 out of 100.000.  For the fourth week in a row, our Mackintosh weekly screening yielded no positive cases. And, so far, there is no indication that making masks optional is leading to increased transmission and illness, though that is a lagging indicator and bears continual watching.  

I am asking that those of you who are anxious to have your child forego masks, hang in there a little longer, and those of you who are anxious about having your child in classrooms where others are not masked, consider the implications of these extremely encouraging numbers and trends. The school will be reviewing the revised CDC guidelines that are supposed to be announced very soon and determine how those relate to our situation.

I will reach out to you next week with what I anticipate will be more good news about numbers and a date for ending our mask mandate. But this change comes with important stipulations:

  • The COVID numbers need to support it
  • Masks would be optional, not prohibited, based on individual parent decisions
  •  We will be depending on all of you to help us ensure an open-minded and accepting environment in which students and teachers would feel free to mask or not
  • Our weekly screening testing will continue unabated, and, once again, we urge you to register your children if you have not yet done so
  • We will continue to track the COVID numbers and illness data, and if they go up significantly, we will consider a return to a mask mandate

 Thank you and have a good weekend,


February 18, 2022

Dear Mack Parents:

It is hardly possible to listen to the news these days without hearing about mask mandates. Colorado has moved more quickly than I would have imagined to rescind those requirements, and Mackintosh will move in that direction, as well, but we are taking a little more time to do so, while looking forward to the day soon when we can see each other’s faces more clearly. We are a strong, supportive, and cohesive community, which doesn’t mean we all think or feel the same, but it does mean we understand the imperative of standing together to support each other and achieve essential goals–in this case, safety and keeping our campus open.

After much review of the data, public health communications, discussions with our nurse consultant and other health professionals in our community, we have made the decision to wait a little longer before moving to a mask-optional approach. There are two parts to this decision: one to end the mandate, the other to wait a few more weeks to implement. Here are the reasons why:

Why end the mask mandate?

  • The Omicron numbers have dropped and continue to drop steeply in Colorado and the country
  • Hospital capacity has significantly improved
  • The impact of mask wearing, especially on our youngest students, is wearing–socially, emotionally and sometimes physically.
  • There has been a sharp decline of cases in our community– we have now enjoyed three straight weeks of negative results from our weekly screening testing
  • We have a high rate of vaccination and immunity in our community and the state

So, why wait?

  • The positivity rate in Arapahoe county is currently at 6.2%, not below 5%, which has been the level aspired to throughout this pandemic
  • The weekly incidence of cases per 100,000 is currently at 128.5, which the CDC still considers a high rate of transmission
  • We are still in the pandemic phase of this epidemic, which means that the virus remains unpredictable and widespread, and masks in schools are recommended by public health officials
  • Updated CDC guidelines for schools around masking are due to be released next week
  • We benefit from watching to see how the next couple of weeks go for schools that have already rescinded their mandates

This is a deliberate, compassionate, and purposeful waiting, not a passive one. It gives our school the time to think through this clearly and wait for the circumstances supporting this anticipated change to be optimal.  It also gives us time to hear from you, to hear your concerns, your wishes, your questions. Please take the survey we sent out by email by next Friday, February 25. In the meantime, as you have no doubt noticed, we are taking steps to open up gradually, welcoming parent volunteers, planning field trips, and inviting guest speakers. All of these were thoughtful and intentional decisions.

It has been a tumultuous past two years, and we have done so well as a community. Let’s leverage our hard-won experience and the strong ties that bind us together in order to make wise and timely decisions in support of our children, our teachers, and our school.

Warm regards and enjoy the holiday weekend,


February 4, 2022

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

As I am sure you all have heard, there is some excellent news about rapidly declining Omicron numbers, and, as a result, some health departments and schools in the Metro area are rescinding their mask mandates. After careful consideration, review of current data, and feedback from various sources, we have decided that Mackintosh will stay the course, for now, and continue with our mask requirement. Our plan is to chart a nuanced, prudent, and respectful course, one that is driven by caring for our Mackintosh family as well as an understanding of how hard the past few years have been. We are defining metrics that will help us in making decisions that eventually lighten up some of our current protocols and allow us to return to many of the joyful activities of the before times, including seeing each other’s faces.

I attended a Tri-County Health Department webinar earlier this week, and, while the data supporting their decision to lift their mandate this weekend were impressive and tremendously heartening, the presenters also made clear that the best standard for student safety is masking. During the past week, I have reached out to number of resources– three parent health professionals who served on our Back-to-Mack Task Force and our Children’s Hospital Nurse Consultant; they all know and understand the data, and they also know, understand, and love our school. They all counseled caution and patience right now.

While we can never guarantee total safety, we also need to recognize that current transmission figures and positivity rates are still at levels higher than they were at the start of the school year. And hospitalization numbers are also high. No one likes to wear masks, but they work in helping to lower transmission and achieving the next most important goal–keeping our Mack children in school on campus. Because of the highly transmissible nature of Omicron, we had five teachers out over the past few weeks, two for the same ten days, and it stretched our ability to cover classes. I want to feel more confident that we are past that crisis before we start dismantling mitigating procedures that have kept us safe and in-person for almost two years. The encouraging trends need to be translated into actual numbers, and the actual numbers (positivity rates and cases per 100,00) need to be lower than what is projected over the next few weeks. For now, the underlying concerns around this pandemic are still there; the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC, and CDPHE all continue to recommend wearing masks in school, vaccines are not yet available for all school-age children, and high-risk individuals are part of our community. On a more positive note, we are feeling comfortable taking steps to venture out into the world a bit more through selected field trips and more guest speakers.

Tri-County Health Department stated, during that recent webinar, that their decision about masks should be seen as a shift from public health mandates to community responsibility. I know their decision and mine will not make everyone happy, but I am absolutely certain our school will continue to embrace that deep sense of community and take responsibility for ourselves and each other, now and in the future.

Thank you for your understanding and support, and have a lovely weekend,


Diane Dunne, Head of School

More information? Here are a few links to data and opinion around this:



Tri-County Health Department  press release 


January 21, 2022

Dear Mack Parents:

Greetings to you on a cold, snowy Friday afternoon, one, happily, that was warmed by our first and second graders’ performance of Once Upon a Lily Pad.  Don’t hide your light, let it shine, they sang with great enthusiasm. Those words of wisdom are important ones to hold onto right now. Even though, we are seeing signs that this current Omicron crisis may have peaked (state positivity rates, while still very high, are a little lower this week; hospitalizations are down a bit; and our own weekly screening testing results were all negative), we know we have to stay the course, keep our spirits up, and shine our light on others. Even when we’re wearing masks!

As you saw in ParentSquare, we received a shipment of COVID testing kits through CDPHE and distributed them, one per child, at pm car line today. If you did not get one today, let Sarah Schultz know, and she will make that happen. sarah@mackintoshacademy.com

Also, a reminder that every home in the U.S. is eligible to order #4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests from the federal government. The tests may be ordered by going to https://www.covidtests.gov/, and usually ship in 7-12 days.

And another reminder, thanks to a ParentSquare post from a 3/4 Mack mom: There was an informative story on NPR about how to find the right masks for ourselves and especially for the kids. The story is here: https://www.npr.org/live-updates/morning-edition-2022-01-13#you-need-a-better-face-mask-heres-how-to-pick-one

With your support and our Mack children’s bright spirits, we will continue to shine our light from South Prince St. in Littleton.

Have a wonderful weekend,


January 11, 2021

Dear Parents,

Once again thank you for your ongoing support and words of encouragement over our first week back at school!  We are so happy to see the children laughing and playing on campus or on MackFLEX.  It reminds us daily of the importance of routine and community.  Never-the-less it was certainly a challenging week and we are not out of the woods yet.  We are grateful for our weekly testing program and extra vigilance of parents at home in testing children with symptoms.  We have been able to catch a number of cases early.  However, in spite of these efforts it does appear that we have had some community spread in our 5th through 8th grade classes.  

While health authorities are scrambling to catch up and gather the necessary data, we feel it is important to maintain extra vigilance in the coming weeks.  For the time being, we are requiring a negative COVID test or quarantine for any child who has symptoms at home, or who is sent home from school with symptoms of any kind.  We previously did not require a test if symptoms resolved in 24 – 48 hours.  With the contagion of Omicron, we no longer feel this is prudent.  

All children who have experienced even minor symptoms are required to have a rapid test or quarantine before returning to school.  We understand that tests can be scarce at times. If needed, we have extra tests available at school.  Should you wish to use a school test, we will ask you to arrive at 8:35 on the day your child is returning to school (when your child is symptom free.)  Please park your vehicle and contact the front office.  Sarah will bring a test kit to your car.  We ask that parents administer the test to their child and wait with them in the car or fifteen minutes.  Sarah will return to check on test results and if results are negative, the child may immediately go to class.

Should parents prefer not to test their child, they may instead choose a five day quarantine.  Children in quarantine will be eligible for MackFLEX with 24 hours notice.  These students may return to school once they are symptom free and have completed a minimum five day quarantine.  The date of symptom onset is considered day zero. 

Thank you again for your continued support.

Beth Steklac

January 7, 2021

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

What a whirlwind return to school in 2022! Teachers are busy juggling in-person AND MackFLEX teaching and learning, and many of you are juggling your work schedules with also supervising children at home. We are grateful for your goodwill and the generosity of a number of stellar substitute teachers who have been holding down the fort for teachers who must isolate or quarantine at home. Regardless, teaching and learning is moving forward, and our campus is open.

We all know, however, the next few weeks will be quite challenging and will demand patience, creativity, and flexibility…from all of us. Here are a few messages, updates, and requests:

  • We love your children.
  • We are doing our best to keep you informed and give you notice when circumstances demand change. But please know that just as this Omicron variant is moving very quickly, we need to act quickly, too. Class/cohort quarantines, even whole-school quarantines, could be required and announced with little notice.
  • We have been able to move students into MackFLEX, often without the required 24-hour notice. But that is not a guarantee; it depends on the situation. We will keep you informed.
  • Keep us informed and keep children home even with the mildest symptoms.
  • If your child has had a positive COVID test; the day of the test or the onset of symptoms is considered day zero.  They must isolate for an additional 5 days and then test negative on day 5 in order to return to campus on day 6. If they test positive on day 5, they will need to isolate for an additional 5 days, returning to school on day 11.
  • We feel so fortunate to have secured our weekly screening testing and appreciate your signing up for your child to be included. This has allowed us to catch cases early on.
  • We may take longer to get back to you to answer your emails or calls. And emails are preferable; we are trying to reserve phones for those emergencies and COVID-related questions. We appreciate your patience.
  • Mask wearing is critical, and better quality masks as well as greater adherence to always covering mouth and nose are also critical. Upgrade your child’s masks. Please avoid single-layer masks and reinforce with your child the necessity to wear them correctly to enhance effectiveness.
  • Did we say, we love your children? Almost goes without saying. And we are tremendously grateful for your partnership.

Have a good weekend. Stay safe and practice deep breathing and stretching exercises—we will, too.

Warm regards,


December 30, 2021
Dear Mackintosh Parents:
A negative COVID test is now required for students to return to school on Tuesday, January 4. Did I say that in addition to good faith, mutual respect, and concerted effort, we also need to stretch to new levels of flexibility? I should have. This situation we are living through right now requires that and so much more. Because of new information, we have adjusted our back-to-school plans. Much to our relief and surprise, Novir, the company that we are contracted with for our weekly screening testing, has agreed to offer rapid testing for all our students (and staff) on Monday morning, January 3. Novir will then return on Thursday for our regular weekly testing. These are the rapid antigen tests. PCR testing is more conclusive but even less available right now and in increased demand especially for those who are showing symptoms.
Special Monday morning testing by Novir is excellent news and allows us to provide an extra layer of protection for our return to campus and school on Tuesday. When I sent out the parent email yesterday, I said that we were requesting that students test before Tuesday. The reason for only requesting it was because securing tests was quite difficult. That problem has now been solved, so we are requiring that all students (and staff) have a negative test before returning to campus on Tuesday, January 4.  
Please scroll down to read the details:
  • Negative test is required for students to return to school on Tuesday, January 4; rapid test results will suffice.
  • Rapid testing of Mack students is scheduled on campus from 9:30 – 12:00 on Monday, January 3. This testing is limited to staff and students. Unfortunately, we cannot open this up for parents.
  • If you have already registered your child for the regular Thursday testing, you do NOT need to register again for this special Monday testing.
  • If you have not already registered for regular Thursday testing, here are the instructions: You must complete registration by Monday, 8:00am to be eligible for the special Monday testing. To register please click https://trackbynovir.com/register. Our organization code is C8648. Register yourself first, as the parent or guardian (head of household), then add your children (members of your household). PreK students who are 4 years or older should check “kindergarten” on the drop down box. 

  • Check in for Monday testing is in the entryway to the gym; the actual testing takes place in the gym.
  • When you arrive on campus, please line up (masked and with space between your family and others) outside the entryway to the gym.
  • Parents must remain with children in line at all times when outside; a staff member will meet your child at the door to the gym entryway and escort them into testing. Most of our students are already experts at this.  After testing, children will exit through the farthest east door. Parents need to move to that area outside and wait while their child is being tested. We ask that you leave campus (and free up parking) immediately after testing. Please no visiting the classrooms, playground or field. Sorry.
  • You will receive a notification from Novir with test results via email; the school receives that, too.
  • Negative results mean you are good to go the next day. Positive results, please be in touch with Sarah Schultz frontoffice@mackintoshacademy.com for next steps.
  • If you do not want to have your child tested at school on Monday, you will need to acquire testing on your own and send a photo of test results to frontoffice@mackintoshacademy.com by 4:00 on Monday, January 3 for your child to return for the regular start of school on January 4.
We know this is not a panacea, nor are masks and distancing, but we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Rapid testing is not 100% conclusive. Vaccines are not 100% effective. What is 100%, however, is Mackintosh’s resolve to serve your children well. And I know that you are 100% together with us in doing just that. Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and cooperation.
I hope, but am not certain, that this is the last mass email before next week. Please do check your emails and Parent Square posts. I will also send this out via Parent Square. If you have any questions, please email Beth Steklac at beth@mackintoshacademy.com
Diane Dunne
Head of School, Mackintosh Academy 
December 29, 2021

Dear Mack Parents:

I hope this finds you healthy, happy, and enjoying the holidays with your children.  I want to first take this opportunity to acknowledge your generosity during this season of giving. Your overwhelming response to our One Campaign, your kind words of support, as well as your holiday treats to faculty and staff are tremendously appreciated by all of us. 

I had hoped that a holiday gift we could all enjoy at the end of 2021 would be not having to worry about the pandemic. But, as we know, that is not the case, and we must strengthen our resolve and discipline in order to keep ourselves and others safe. We are planning to resume in-person, on-campus teaching and learning on Tuesday, January 4, but we need your support to increase the chances that we can continue to do so throughout the remainder of the school year. We do not yet know how the Omicron variant might impact those plans as we move through the next few months. I have been following news reports and communications from other ACIS schools indicating that this new, extremely contagious variant could lead to a level of positive cases, with teacher and student absences, that would necessitate returns to remote learning, something we all want to avoid. Public Health officials are still saying that the best defense we have against this heightened threat is the vaccine, including boosters. 

In addition to getting vaccinated and boosted, we must implement other safeguards. Please scroll all the way down for important reminders, requirements, and requests:

  • We are urging all our families and staff to take extra precautions to reduce high-risk exposures by limiting indoor holiday and other future gatherings, especially when masking is not in place. We are also asking that families follow (or exceed) local masking guidelines when shopping, traveling, etc.

  • Monday, January 3: No school for students. Planned professional development and work day for teachers. All faculty and staff will take a rapid COVID test, first thing in the morning. 

  • Tuesday, January 4: Students return to school for classes.

    • We are requesting that all students take a rapid antigen or PCR test with results available before Tuesday’s return.

    • We are requiring that all students who test positive, have had a close contact with someone who tested positive, or show any illness symptoms, even very mild ones, remain at home. Please report to Sarah Schultz; she will go over next steps with you.  If students demonstrate any symptom at school, we will contact parents immediately, so they can pick up their child. MackFLEX will continue to be reserved for students who test positive or who have had a direct exposure, with 24-hour teacher preparation time.

    •  We will be maintaining all our safety protocols: masking, distancing, opening windows, being outside when feasible–children must dress for the weather.

    • We are urging that everyone on campus take advantage of our Thursday screening testing. We currently enjoy 100% staff participation and 75% student participation. That is excellent, but we can do better. Yes, this just provides a snapshot in time, but it is an important weekly data point and allows us to catch cases early. If you have not yet registered your child, please, please, do so. Here is the link:  To register please click https://trackbynovir.com/register. Our organization code is C8648. Register yourself first, as the parent or guardian (head of household), then add your children (members of your household). PreK students who are 4 years or older should check “kindergarten” on the drop down box. 

    • If you or your child tested positive during the break, please email Sarah Schultz (sarah@mackintoshacademy.com) so we can keep accurate records of the spread within our community.

We are committed to doing our best to ensure our teachers’ and your child’s safety and to continue on-campus teaching and learning. We will keep you informed as circumstances change and protocols evolve.  There are still some rocky times ahead of us, but we are a strong community, and I am confident we will persist in meeting these challenges, with good faith, mutual respect, and concerted effort.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy new year,


December 17, 2021

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

Working closely (if not in person) with all of you, we have made it successfully to the end of this calendar year. Given the nature of the health crisis swirling around us, that is no small accomplishment. Thank you.

Just a few words about the future. With this new variant on the march and our deepest desire to connect with family and friends over the holiday season, we really don’t know what will transpire. What I do know is that we will persevere, enjoy the goodness and light in each other and our Mack children, and we will face the challenges that arise. In more practical terms, all our current safety protocols, including weekly testing, will remain in effect for the foreseeable future, and we know that you will continue letting us know about illnesses, symptoms, and exposures. We will be responsive to changing circumstances and are committed to being transparent and timely in communicating with you.

During my commute this morning, I listened to an interview with a physician from New York-Presbyterian and Columbia Irving Medical Center in Manhattan.  (NPR:  Omicron cases could overwhelm an already fragile health system)   As you can imagine, it contained some dire warnings about the possible impact of the Omicron variant in the coming months. But what struck me even more was what he said about the importance of working together, how we couldn’t fight this pandemic individually, that we must respond collectively. When I heard that, I had to smile because we know that at Mackintosh. We have acted and continue to do so, both individually and collectively. What an honor and comfort it is to be part of this community!

Happy holiday wishes to all of you from all the Mackintosh faculty and staff.

Be safe. Stay healthy. We will see you in the new year.


November 18, 2021

Dear Mack Parents:

Excellent news—80% of our student/staff population tested today, and the results were excellent. No positive results! Such good news as we enter into the holiday season. It seems we are an island of health in the midst of rising COVID cases in Colorado and beyond.  Let’s work together to keep it that way. As you plan your Thanksgiving holiday, we urge you to seriously consider the following…for all our benefit:

  • If your child is not fully vaccinated AND you travel, especially internationally
  • Have your child quarantine for seven days after the travel—MackFLEX will be available during that time
  • OR
  • Have your child take a rapid test on the Sunday before returning to school and the following Thursday when we again host our screening testing at school. Of course, report positive results to us.
  • Closely monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
  • If your child is not fully vaccinated AND you attend large gatherings:
  • Have your child quarantine for seven days after the gathering—MackFLEX will be available during that time.
  • OR
  • Have your child take a rapid test on the Sunday before returning to school and the following Thursday when we again host our screening testing at school. Of course, report positive results to us.
  • Closely monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
  • If you plan for your child to quarantine during that first week back from school because of travel or large gatherings, please notify Sarah Schultz no later than tomorrow (Friday) afternoon.
  • If symptoms or a positive COVID test require your child (vaccinated or not) to quarantine at any time, please notify Sarah asap and we will set up MackFLEX after a full-day grace period for the teachers to plan.
  • Consult the CDC travel recommendations. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html   
  • Consult the CDC guidelines for enjoying safe holidays. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/celebrations.html

 We look forward to virtually welcoming grandparents tomorrow for our Grand Event.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving,


November 12, 2021

Dear Mack Parents:

I am writing to you after a busy day attending the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) annual conference being held at Gaylord of the Rockies. I am joined today and tomorrow by our Mack faculty and staff—all of us motivated by our desire to learn what will help us better educate and support your children. And, in case you are wondering, NAGC required all in-person participants to be fully vaccinated and wear masks during workshops and other events. Stay tuned for more details of a parent education event the evening of Wednesday, December 1, when a group of our faculty and staff will present their conference take-aways to you.

It has been a few weeks since the last Friday Connections, and I wanted to touch base with you in light of the numbers of concern regarding the pandemic in Colorado and to confirm that Mack remains committed to the safety of our school community and to maintaining our effective COVID safety protocols. We are all weary of this but remain resolved to continue with our solid proven practices,. Here is a link to an important recent UC Health article, which analyzes what is happening in our state and what we can do about it. https://www.uchealth.org/today/why-are-colorado-covid-19-cases-spiking/

A few final words:

  • We are heartened to hear accounts (accompanied sometimes by wonderful photos) of our younger students being vaccinated and urge you to consider the same for your child, now that the vaccine is approved and available for children five-years old and up.
  • We are continuing with our weekly CDPHE screening testing, resuming next Thursday, 11/18. If you have not yet signed up your child, please do. It is a minimally invasive test and is tolerated quite well by our Mack kids (and their teachers!)  Identifying asymptomatic cases early on benefits everyone. If a child does test positive, as happened last time, all unscreened children in that class will be required to go home immediately and only able to return to school after they have had a negative test.

To register please click https://trackbynovir.com/register. Our organization code is C8648. Register yourself first, as the parent or guardian (head of household), then add your children (members of your household). PreK students who are 4 years or older should check “kindergarten” on the drop down box. 

Enjoy a safe and beautiful Colorado weekend.


October 22, 2021

Dear Mack Parents:

I hope you all enjoyed Fall Break and are continuing to revel is these beautiful Colorado Indian Summer days. Since the last communication, three weeks ago, we have had a confirmed positive COVID case that did result in our first cohort quarantine of the school year. The very good news is that the child who tested positive is fine, there was no community transmission, and the children are all back at school. This means that our safety protocols around mask wearing and distancing inside are still working. We will keep on keeping on.

The other good news is that over 100 students and staff participated in our first serial testing last Thursday with the wonderfully affirming news that no one tested positive. With the widespread number of cases in the state/country and the holiday season approaching, I don’t assume that this outcome will continue every week. But it was a great way to kick off the initiative. The tremendous value of this serial testing is that it will catch asymptomatic cases, hopefully, before the virus has had a chance to spread to others in our classrooms. Please know that if someone had tested positive, that person would need to isolate immediately and any children in that classroom who had not tested negative would need to quarantine until outside test results indicate it was safe for them to return to school. If you haven’t signed up your child for this important and free public health service, we urge you to do so. To register please click https://trackbynovir.com/register. Our organization code is C8648. Register yourself first, as the parent or guardian (head of household), then add your children (members of your household). PreK students who are 4 years or older should check “kindergarten” on the drop down box. 

Please note–because next Thursday is an early dismissal day for conferences, our next serial screening testing is scheduled for November 4. This, along with our ongoing safety initiatives and the promise of a vaccine available for ages 5 -11, yields the best chance for keeping everyone safe and in school on campus throughout the school year. 

What struck me last Thursday was how resilient our Mack kids were— facing any fears and approaching the nasal swabbing with a sense of civic duty, humor, and sangfroid. Here is some of what we heard from them: 

My mom says it’s really important I participate.

Where’s my $25?

The last time I had this done….

And, a very big sneeze.


Have a good weekend,


October 11, 2021

Dear Parents,

We are pleased to begin the registration process for our on-campus COVID-19 screening testing program. This weekly testing program is free and available to all Mackintosh students, ages 4 and up, as well as teachers and staff. The goal of the program is to be able to identify COVID-19 cases quickly and early, which can help us stop an outbreak before it happens and enhance our regular safety protocols, furthering our chances that Mackintosh will remain open for in-person learning throughout the year.

Novir will manage our testing program through a partnership with the State of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Novir staff will complete all of the testing and analysis. Mackintosh is requiring that Novir staff wear masks, provide proof of vaccination and have completed a background check.

In order for this program to be effective, the CDPHE is recommending at least 70% participation within a school community. We hope all families will seriously consider signing up.

We are awaiting final confirmation from Novir, but expect testing to occur on Thursdays from 11:00 am-12:00 pm, beginning on Thursday, October 21st.

In order to be ready to initiate this program, it is essential that Mack families sign up their children as soon as possible. To register please click https://trackbynovir.com/register. Our organization code is C8648. Register yourself first, as the parent or guardian (head of household), then add your children (members of your household). PreK students who are 4 years or older should check “kindergarten” on the drop down box.

A student must be registered in order to participate in the program. Results of testing will be available the same day and will be communicated to the school and to the parent directly. Please contact the front office (303) 794-6222 or frontoffice@mackintoshacademy.com with any questions or difficulties with the registration process. A detailed information sheet is also attached.


October 1, 2021

Dear Mack Parents:

It is now October and, so far, our safety protocols are doing what was intended and desired by all of us. During this time when transmission rates and new cases are still high, both in Colorado and in the nation, we continue to have no indication of community transmission of the virus at school, and we have had no new confirmed cases among out students and staff within the last two weeks.

We also know that we are dealing with a volatile situation, and things could change.  It requires our steadfast efforts to keep our classes and campus open and our Mack children thriving, especially as we move into the colder-weather months and the holiday season. Here are a few suggestions and reminders:

  • While we are still actively pursuing an at-school screening testing program, we encourage you to sign up for the Rapid At-Home testing program available through CDPHE. This provides free testing kits so you can check if you become aware of any exposure of if you are experiencing any symptoms. https://covid19.colorado.gov/covid-19-testing-at-home
  • Public health officials are concerned about a convergence of high COVID-19 cases along with the seasonal flu. They are encouraging all of us to take advantage of flu shots now widely available. To help with that, we have, for the second year in a row, arranged to have a flu clinic at school for our teachers and staff during a professional development day. 
  • Keep doing the excellent job you are with informing the school of any possible and confirmed exposures and symptoms.
  • The familiar mantra for this moment in our lives? Avoid large crowds, wear masks, and get vaccinated.

A few words about MackFLEX. Mackintosh is committed to providing the necessary virtual support to help our children through the challenges wrought by this pandemic while also recognizing that the impact on teacher time and energy is significant. We have been working to streamline and clarify what is available through MackFLEX and when MackFLEX or other strategies apply. Click here to find a chart that outlines the details.

Enjoy a beautiful weekend with your beautiful children.



September 3, 2021

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

There is much to cover, so please read all the way down. Our Back to Mack plan, which we issued before school started, has not changed, but there are some finer points we need to clarify and emphasize. First, there are a few things I want to highlight before getting into the informational aspects of this email:

  • There is no underestimating how stressful this time is for all of us. It is all around us—confusion, anxiety, pandemic fatigue, the discomfort of wearing masks, and disturbing reports on the news. We will do our best to minimize the stress for your children. Maintaining in-person teaching and learning on our lovely campus is the best way for us to deliver on that commitment. All our protocols are aimed toward that end.
  • We are also dedicated to providing clear, honest, and timely communication with you and to foster respectful and open-minded interactions within our community.
  • We are continually grateful to you for your trust in us and your open and timely communication about health concerns and symptoms, possible exposures, and travel plans, and your acceptance of the hard decisions we must make, both for individual children/families and overall.

Screening Testing

  • Thank you for taking the survey to determine interest in the CDPHE screening testing program. We had a 90% response rate.
  • We had a positive response rate of 70%, which is enough support for us to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to move forward.
  • It will take several weeks, and we estimate it will not be ready to go until the end of September or beginning of October.
  • As indicated, this is offered to schools through CDPHE; they will be using an independent contractor to do the testing, and that contractor has not yet been identified.
  • Participation is completely optional. Parent permission will be required; we are assuming the vast majority of folks who gave a positive response on the survey will follow through with that permission. But you can rescind permission if it becomes too difficult for your child.
  • If we were to fall much below that 70% threshold for participation, the benefits significantly diminish, and we may make the decision to end the program.
  • The logistics for implementing this on campus are complicated and time/energy consuming. Since we have preliminary support, we will follow through, but please understand that if it becomes unsustainable for us to administer, we may also be forced to end the program.
  • Look for more details to come.

How we make decisions:

Nothing about this pandemic is simple. The information you so responsibly provide to us about symptoms, possible exposures and travel plans is analyzed carefully, using our CDPHE guidelines, and it is kept confidential. Following is the framework we use to organize our understanding of this data, make decisions, and take action:

  • Quarantine – Known Exposure: Students who have had a known exposure to an individual who has tested positive, or is presumed positive for COVID, will be required to quarantine at home for 10 days from the date of exposure.  A COVID test is required after day five of the quarantine.  Should the family choose not to have a test, the required quarantine period is 14 days.
  • Quarantine – Possible exposure:  In the case where a student has a family member or close contact with an individual who themselves have had close contact with someone who is positive with COVID-19, quarantine is voluntary.  We do ask, however, that you notify the school immediately in all cases and also let us know the test results for the individual in question.  For example – if a child’s parent was exposed at work, it is recommended that the parent take a test between days five and seven after exposure.  In the meantime, the child may continue to attend school or may voluntarily quarantine.  Should the parent’s test come back positive, then the child would be required to quarantine at home per “Known Exposure” above.
  • Quarantine – School Exposure:  The school will immediately inform parents if their child has had close contact with an individual at school who has tested positive or is presumed positive for COVID.  The school will likely require quarantine of an entire class or classes in such cases.
  • Students in quarantine may participate in MackFLEX after a 24-hour notice to teachers.
  • Isolation – Major symptoms:  Students experiencing a major symptom (loss of taste of smell, fever, new or worsening cough or shortness of breath not related to pre-existing conditions) are required to isolate at home and must receive a negative COVID test prior to returning to school. In addition, students must be fever free for 24 hours (without medication) and be able to comfortably wear a mask.
  • Isolation – Minor Symptoms:  Children experiencing minor illness symptoms including headaches, stuffy nose, stomach aches and sore throats are required to isolate at home.  If the symptoms resolve in 24-48 hours, the children may return to school.  Students having symptoms that last longer than 48 hours will require a negative COVID test prior to returning to school.  In addition, students must be fever free for 24 hours (without medication) and be able to comfortably wear a mask.
  • Students who are home sick will not participate in MackFLEX unless they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or are awaiting test results for COVID-19 and have provided 24-hours’ notice to teachers.  Children experiencing a regular illness should rest and get ready to come back to school.  Teachers may send home materials or find ways to help or accommodate for missed work due to illness.

Please note: We do not inform parents of children who have had contact with classmates who have had possible exposures or symptoms of illness.  There is a reasonable and sufficient window of time to determine in these cases whether or not the exposure or illness is COVID-related, prior to any chance of further community spread.  This has been confirmed in detail with our nurse and the local health department and is part of standard practice. This also ensures we maintain necessary confidentiality. Should there be a rash of similar illnesses in a classroom (e.g. three or more children in the same class with stomach illnesses) we will let parents know.


Along with vaccinations, masks have become a lightning rod issue during this pandemic, and they are the most visual manifestation of how it is impacting our daily lives.

  • While there are differing opinions in the press about the efficacy and safety of masks, our understanding based on recommendations made by national and state public health officials is that mask-wearing is safe and a major transmission-prevention strategy. This is especially important because most of our students are not yet eligible to be vaccinated.
  • We have not changed from what we announced before school started: everyone, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks inside the classrooms and inside common areas.
  • Our mask policy is now further mandated by the recent public health order issued by Tri-County Health Department that covers both public and private schools in our county.
  • We continually review our optional outside mask policy; currently masks are only required during more congested times and activities, e.g., am and pm car line and use of the GAGA pit. Any staff member can require mask wearing if congested conditions arise and students cannot/do not maintain safe distances.
  • All masks and mask wearing are not created equal. They must be worn covering nose and mouth and must be made from a material that provides sufficient protection. If there is a question about the efficacy of a mask, our nurse consultant recommends a light test (does the light shine through it? If it does or there are visible holes, it does not work.) You can do this at home if you have a question. We can do it at school if we have concerns. If necessary, we will offer an alternative mask or call a parent so they can bring another mask for their child.


  • The CDC has recommended that unvaccinated individuals do not travel this holiday weekend.
  • We are requiring quarantining of students who travel internationally from now until further notice. Please contact the office for more details.
  • We urge everyone to be cautious, avoid large crowds, maintain masking when traveling, even if it’s just inside your local grocery store.

Along with all of you, we had hoped we would be in a better place with this pandemic, but we are where we are, with a very serious increase in transmission and hospitalization rates. Colorado is doing better than many states, but our situation is still quite serious. To date, however, (including last school year), we have not had any community transmission. We (teachers, staff and administration) are working diligently to keep it that way.

Stay healthy and have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend.  We will continue to journey and move forward together,


Diane Dunne, Head of School


August 13, 2021
Dear Mackintosh Parents:

Attached please find our updated Back-to-Mack plan containing specific details about our current 2021-2022 COVID safety protocols. We are holding a short community meeting for parents next Tuesday evening, August 17, from 7:00 – 7:45 pm, to review some highlights from this plan and answer your questions. (The Zoom link and passcode information was sent on email)

Our campus is a hive of activity as teachers prepare their classrooms and themselves for the first day of school, August 25, and they are all looking forward to their class picnics next week and the before-school conferences on August 23 and 24. We are also in the process of updating the COVID-19 sections of the 2021-2022 Student and Parent Handbook, which we will make available to you early next week. The teachers will review all the COVID protocols with your child once we return to school on Wednesday.

A final word about these Friday Connections emails. Way back in March 2020, during the early days of this pandemic, I started sending out (and eventually numbering) COVID informational emails, and then I just got tired of this scary virus running everything and I changed the name of these communications to Friday Connections. During such a challenging time, connecting with each other in our community and connecting you with the latest information we have and the latest decisions we make is essential in order for us to get through and beyond this emergency. We have made tremendous progress together since those very dark days, and we have enjoyed significant success, but we, unfortunately, are still in the “getting through” stage. I will continue sending these Friday Connections, most often on a bi-weekly basis, depending on need, and I hope that you will find them helpful.

Have a safe and fun weekend and enjoy this clearer air.

We will see you soon.



September 17, 2021

 Dear Mack Parents:

Today is September 17, and we have now completed 17 days of in-person schooling with your children, days filled with joy, laughter, learning…and a few tears–the balance feels just about right. Also, there has been much effort focused on keeping our community safe during a serious pandemic. Here is an update on how we are doing and what we need to continue to focus on.


As you know, we did have a positive case on campus, but, as yet, no indication of community spread. All our screening results among the 7/8 student and faculty population came back negative. Everyone will now go through the next round of testing via PCR tests today or tomorrow, which will let us know whether or not there was any transmission on campus. So far, no one is showing symptoms, so we are very hopeful that these results will also be negative.

We could not be more appreciative of our middle years parents, students, and faculty who were so diligent in their cooperation and displayed an impressive sense of communal responsibility. When we followed up with Tri-County Health Department, after working with our nurse consultant, the public health official there told us she was very impressed with how we were handling the situation, implying that we had a gold-standard approach. Our Mackintosh community deserves no less, and we will maintain the same level of commitment to your child’s safety and know that we will enjoy the same level of support from all of you.

Tri-County area

Beth and I attended one of a series of Tri-County Health Department informational webinars for school officials. Here are a few of our takeaways:

  • This school year start was tough in all three counties (Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas).
  • The graph of pediatric COVID cases has climbed significantly since the middle of August, but hospitalization rates for children are still low.
  • There are currently 37 confirmed school outbreaks (an outbreak equals five or more connected cases) with most of those being in Douglas County. Mackintosh is in Arapahoe county.
  • 85% of confirmed cases in the Tri-County area are of unvaccinated individuals
  • Their informal assessment for the approval of a vaccine for children, ages 5-11, was a minimum of a month away, but no guarantee because the FDA testing and analysis requirements are very high.
  • Here is a link to the Tri-County website for more information. https://www.tchd.org/


  • We must continue to be vigilant, both in and out of school, and maintain masking, distancing, and avoidance of large crowds.
  • Minimize travel—something to consider when making Fall Break plans.
  • Seriously consider vaccination if you are unvaccinated.
  • Keep sick children at home.
  • Continue to inform the school of symptoms and exposures, and let us know your questions and concerns.
  • Get a flu shot when those are available.

Stay safe, have a good weekend, and enjoy your beautiful children.

Warm regards,


April 30, 2021
Dear Mack Parents:

Yesterday’s rescheduled Earth Day celebration was a joyful and productive coming together on campus—an outdoor assembly with children reporting on ways that the pandemic positively impacted the environment, a reprise of the performance group’s dance Let it Grow, followed, in the afternoon, by cleaning up on campus and at our neighboring parks as well as planting lovely flowers to enjoy at school.

Thank you again for your very generous support of last weekend’s Mack Event, a delightful evening of fun connection and fundraising. That effort combined with last fall’s very successful One Campaign allowed us to enhance our newly-opened arts spaces, and to proceed this summer with some long-deferred capital improvements—resurfacing the driveway and replacing the siding on the original parts of the gym building. In addition, we are now able to send all our faculty to the National Association for Gifted Children conference coming to Denver this fall—a marvelous professional development opportunity.

Here are a few COVID-related updates:

  • No doubt you have been hearing about more relaxed CDC mask guidelines for those who are fully vaccinated. As I mentioned a while back, Mack faculty and staff are all now fully vaccinated, but we will be continuing with our mask wearing protocols on campus, both inside and outside the classrooms, in order to provide the safest environment possible for your children.
  • Our Nurse Consultant, Donna Antilla, asked me to let our parents know that Children’s Hospital is participating in a COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy study for children five to eleven years old. If you might be interested in being part of this study, please go to www.covidvaccinestudy.com to learn more.
  • If you are vaccinated and want to take a tour of our lovely new arts spaces, check out a new post on Parent Square for details on how you can sign up for that. I hope to see many of you soon. https://www.parentsquare.com/feeds/7393228

Along with budding trees and bright flowers, spring has brought us many signs of hope about this pandemic, but we also see terrible news about COVID spread from other parts of the world. Mack continues to be vigilant, and we encourage you all to do the same, and thank you again for being absolutely wonderful about keeping us informed of exposures and health concerns at home, and cooperating with our safety measures. You are the best!

Enjoy the weekend, stay safe, and revel in the move into May,


March 12, 2021
Dear Mack Parents:

A few quick updates to pass along before the Big Snow descends:

Snow Day Possibilities

  • We will be watching snow reports and school closings carefully as the weekend progresses and let you know (via ParentSquare and FACTs) as soon as possible if road and weather conditions prevent Mackintosh from opening on Monday. If they do, Monday will be a snow day. Reminder: we also post on TV Channels 9 and 4.
  • If our winter wonderland continues into Tuesday, we will hold MackFLEX classes for grades 3 – 8. Teachers have sent those students home with computers and whatever else they require to be productive. Because of the difficulty of virtual learning for our youngest students, we will extend the Snow Day into Tuesday, if necessary.
  • Hot off the press– Just as I sat down to send this to you, I found a Snow Day petition signed by a number of Mack students and at least one adult. A popular uprising!

Spring Break

  • Thank you again for your cooperation in responding to our Spring Break Survey
  • Sarah Schultz has reached out to families whose children need to quarantine upon their return from trips or who must exercise extra watchfulness around possible symptoms.
  • Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable break starting after our annual portfolio conferences next Thursday afternoon and Friday; we will look forward to welcoming you all back on Tuesday, March 30. Remember, Monday, March 29 is a teacher work day.
  • Here is a link to an article sent to us by our nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital–Parents’ Top Questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19) https://www.childrenscolorado.org/conditions-and-advice/parenting/parenting-articles/coronavirus/

Patty Weston Plan

  • As you all know, Mrs. Weston’s last day at Mack is next Friday, March 19. She is retiring after 30 years of remarkable service to Mackintosh and, true to form, is working hard to ensure a smooth transition for April and May. We will miss her very much and wish her a happy retirement.
  • Mr. Ashworth will take over running PE for the remainder of the school year.
  • Maddie Flatt, who has been teaching in grades 5-8 throughout the better part of this year, will take over Mrs. Weston’s math class.
  • Parent and grandparent Mack subs, Ana Krumholz and Ann Newton, will assist Miss Logan in the PreK during the mornings.

Stay safe and warm over the weekend and enjoy your child’s portfolio’s conference next week.


April 16, 2021
Dear Mack Parents:

Even though the campus is blanketed in snow right now, there are only seven weeks left in the current school year and the practical start of summer. Here are some upcoming ways for us to connect throughout this time together. Mark your calendars and watch for more details.

  • (In person) Parent Tours of the not-quite-so-new arts expansion: be on the lookout for a Parent Square invite to join one or two other fully-vaccinated (but still masked) parents, so you can check out the wonderful performing and visual arts spaces that your children have been enjoying but you haven’t yet visited. Three requirements—that two weeks have elapsed since your second vaccination shot, the tours will occur at 4:00pm, that you have signed up and are scheduled to participate. If necessary, children may join.
  • (Digital) April 19: Strategic Planning survey coming your way. What a great way for you to connect with us by giving us your feedback.
  • (Students only) April 22 Earth Day: Unfortunately, we cannot invite parents to this one, but all the faculty, staff and students will connect around celebrating and tending to the earth we share. We will enjoy an outside and distanced all-school assembly followed in the afternoon by grade-specific service activities. More details to come from your child’s teachers.
  • (Virtual) April 24 the Mack Event: I hope you will all join us for a virtual evening of trivia, community and fun. Click here to RSVP for the Mack Event!
  • (Virtual) May 24-27 Exhibition, 4:30 – 6:30: Sixth grade parents, families and friends will be invited to individual student presentations.
  • (Virtual) June 3, 1:45 – 2:30: Graduation Celebration (grades PreK-7): An end-of-the-school-year gathering for all our students to honor their move up to the next grade, special awards. Parents invited to enjoy virtual fun.
  • (In person) June 4, Graduation, 9:00 – 10:30: Eighth grade families will each receive five tickets—not including 8th grader—to be able to celebrate their Mack graduate inside the gym. This will be our first graduation to utilize the new stage facilities. While it will be smaller than usual, it will be truly landmark and wonderful. Many more details to follow.
  • (In person) Summer gatherings: In conjunction with Parent Council, we are working on planning safe and fun events that allow Mack families to connect with each other over the summer.

Have a great weekend,


August 6, 2021
Dear Mackintosh Parents:

I hope this message finds you still enjoying summer with your children. Certainly, the news about the Delta variant and surges in COVID-19 cases have cast a shadow on all of us, but there is still much to celebrate—the lazier days of summer, the upcoming start of a new school year, and, most of all, our wonderful Mack kids. In order to keep your children safe and at school throughout the year, we have developed COVID safety protocols that will be in place for the start of the school year. These are consistent with what I sent to you in my late June Friday Connections email and are informed by recommendations from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Tri-County Health Department, and vetted with our Children’s Hospital Nurse Consultant. They are also in line with what other ACIS schools are doing. Please know that school administration is paying close attention to ongoing public health developments related to the pandemic, both positive and negative, and we will adjust protocols when it is advisable to do so.

For the beginning of the 21/22 school year at Mackintosh, the following will be in effect:

Calendar: We are following the school calendar as published.

  • Mackintosh Academy will be in-person and on-campus, per the school calendar, with all classes starting Wednesday, August 25.
  • Class picnics will held in person and outdoors the week before, August 16–20.
  • Before-school conferences will be held via Zoom, August 23-24
  • New Parent Orientation will be held via Zoom, August 24.
  • Back to School Night will be held via Zoom, September 1.


  • All faculty, staff, and students (all grades and regardless of vaccination status) will be required to wear masks while indoors.
  • Masks are optional outdoors.

Other In-classroom Safety Protocols:

  • HEPA filters will be utilized in classrooms.
  • Windows will be open to allow more fresh air and greater circulation.
  • Surface sanitizing and frequent handwashing procedures will continue in place.
  • Students will be distanced from 3 – 6 ft, where and when possible.


  • Faculty, staff, contract personnel (maintenance, enrichment classes, etc.) are fully vaccinated and will adhere to above mask requirements while students are on campus.
  • We strongly urge all parents and students to be vaccinated when those become available.
  • Parents of students, ages 12 and older, are asked to provide information about COVID vaccination status along with regular immunization data. Individual information will be kept confidential.


  • Unvaccinated students will be required to quarantine if they are determined to be in close contact to a person with COVID-19.
  • Fully-vaccinated students exposed to the virus will only be quarantined if they test positive or show symptoms of infection.
  • Because of level of exhalation and/or close face-to-face contacts, certain off-campus activities (e.g., football, volleyball, choir, band, etc.) are considered high risk. If exposed to a case of the virus during high risk activities, unvaccinated students will be required to quarantine.


  • MackFlex, our online learning program, will only be available for students who must temporarily quarantine or isolate for COVID-exposure or illness reasons. Teachers require 24-hours to prepare.
  • MackFlex will be limited to core classes and not include specials classes.
  • Students who are absent for other health- or family-related reasons will receive independent, make-up work from their teachers, per standard school practice.


  • We are not currently continuing with daily required screening via ParentSquare.
  • If a child is brought to school, parents are certifying that their child is well, to the best of their knowledge, and, furthermore, that their child has not had an exposure to COVID-19.

Parents on Campus:

  • We are currently continuing with extremely limited parent access to campus.
  • Limited volunteer opportunities, e.g., Pizza Friday will be available for fully-vaccinated parents.


  • Ongoing communication between home and school is critical for our success. Please call the front office if you have any concerns or questions and to report COVID-19 exposure or diagnosis.
  • Friday Connections emails will continue (mostly bi-weekly) for the foreseeable future. You can access all previous such emails on our Website—Updates from the Head of School.
  • We are currently updating last year’s Back to Mack Re-opening Plan and COVID-related protocols in the Student-Parent Handbook. Both will be available before school starts.
  • If you plan travel out of state within ten days of the start of school, we ask that you take extra precautions and carefully monitor for symptoms and possible exposure. Keep the school informed

I have no doubt we will be successful, in full partnership with you, in enjoying a safe, productive, and joyful school year with your children.

Warm regards,

Diane Dunne
Head of School

March 5, 2021
Dear Mack Parents:

We have been heartened by the response to our Spring Break Survey sent out last Friday. If you haven’t done so, please make sure you complete it as soon as you can. If you are traveling or visiting or closely interacting with those outside your immediate family over the break, we will contact you to resolve questions and to confirm plans for your child’s return to school. In some cases, as indicated in our previous Friday Connections, we will be requiring your child to quarantine before returning to school after the break.

Survey sent over email.

Here is also a link to an article by Denver-based mental health therapist Craig Knippenberg, LCSW, M.Div., published in the current issue of Colorado Parent magazine—Leading your Family to the Top of the COVID Mountain. https://www.coloradoparent.com/parenting-and-covid/

But wait, there’s more! As mentioned in last Wednesday’s Littleton Bite, Craig Knippenberg is hosting an informative and interactive webinar for our parent community Hijacking the Brain: The Impact of Electronic Gaming and Social Media on your Child’s Brain. Please join us for a thought-provoking evening, next Tuesday, March 9, 6:30pm. You must RSVP to receive the link and handouts for this free webinar. https://tinyurl.com/uz4end74

Enjoy this beautiful weekend,


January 29, 2021
Dear Mack Parents:

As you know, we implemented a quarantine for our PreK-K cohort this past week. We are still on track to welcome our youngest students back to campus next Tuesday as originally estimated. That means, once again, we do believe the combination of vigilant parents and our well-implemented safety protocols have prevented transmission of the virus on campus. We are still keeping our fingers crossed until the quarantine period is over, but it is looking promising.

We urge you to remain steadfast in adhering to safety protocols in your lives outside of school. The numbers in Colorado continue to improve right now, with a positivity rate this past week of 5% and vaccinations ongoing. On the other hand, there is considerable concern about these more contagious variants showing up in the state and across the country. We all know what to do, but we have to remain strong and patient and persistent in doing it.

Warm regards and have a nice weekend,


February 12, 2021
Dear Mack Parents:

I hope this email finds you enjoying the long holiday weekend. Furthermore, I trust you are also paying close attention to following safety guidelines while you are enjoying this break. Our COVID numbers in Colorado are quite encouraging and with increased vaccinations, it seems reasonable to be hopeful right now; however, as I have said (and you have heard on the news) so many times, we are definitely not out of the woods with this pandemic. More than ever, we must all be vigilant and disciplined. We know these more contagious variants are here, and we all feel tremendous pandemic fatigue and an overwhelming desire to get back to normal. But we are not there yet, that will take some time, still, and we don’t want to lose the gains we have worked so hard to achieve.

I am asking that you also look very seriously at your plans for Spring Break and how they might put you, your family and your school in harms way. Airline travel and spending time with folks outside your immediate family are probably the two biggest risks; they are also the things that many of us look forward to for that week-long March break. I am urging you to carefully consider plans for Spring Break and maintain communication with the school so that we can make necessary decisions and continue our efforts for a safe campus environment.

Similar to Thanksgiving and the Winter Break, we are paying close attention to COVID numbers in our counties and to what other ACIS schools are doing to keep their communities safe after that break. You know by now that we are firmly committed to having your children on campus, and we take a measured and intentional approach to implementing anything that interferes with that. But we are also committed to providing a safe environment, and we cannot do that without your cooperation. We are working aggressively to ensure that all our teachers are fully vaccinated. And, since, for the most part, they are the most vulnerable population on campus, this certainly factors into our decision making. But I must tell you that considerations like requiring negative tests, selected quarantines, and short- term MackFLEX are all on the table for that week after Spring Break. We will be reaching out within the next few weeks to ask you about your plans. Please think seriously about the bigger picture when you are making them.

Warm regards (and we need that warmth this cold weekend, for sure.)


February 26, 2021
Dear Mack Parents:

The back and forth, from snow to 60 degree days, that Colorado throws at us this time of year is an apt metaphor for COVID. Right now, the national infection rates and hospitalization numbers are quite promising, the positivity rate in Colorado is low at 3.5%, and our state is one of the leaders in the country in getting vaccinations to its citizens. But, we are facing a number of serious “howevers” : the more contagious U.K. variant is spreading, we are all suffering from pandemic fatigue AND the annual rite of spring—spring break—is fast approaching. It could turn cold and snowy at any moment, and we need to be prepared.

A number of ACIS schools are unilaterally calling for a week of remote learning for everyone that week after spring break. I don’t want to do that. Our community is small, caring, and has demonstrated a strong sense of mutual responsibility and willingness to communicate openly and honestly with us, making it reasonable to implement a more nuanced and responsive option. Our plan right now is to open our campus for in-person teaching and learning after the break on Tuesday, March 30 (Monday, March 29 is a Teacher Work Day.) However, we need two of three things from you during and after Spring Break to make that work:

  • Preferably, continue to follow safety protocols: distancing, masks, avoiding social gatherings, events, and travel by public transportation (plane, train, etc.) over Spring Break.


  • If you need to engage in travel and social gatherings over Spring Break, self-quarantine after you return and have your child attend MackFLEX those first days back, March 30 – April 2.


  • Continue to report any symptoms to the school and follow public health guidelines re: quarantine, testing, etc. This is particularly important given that CDPHE reports that there are minimal outbreaks of flu or other respiratory illnesses in the state, which means that if symptoms do arise, it is likely COVID.

We are asking that you all complete the following very short survey by Friday, March 12. If you are traveling or visiting or closely interacting with those outside your immediate family, we will contact you to resolve any questions and confirm the plans for your child’s return to school. (url sent via email)

Thank you for your cooperation and your faith in us. This is such a difficult time we are experiencing, but it is a source of comfort to travel through this in concert with you and your wonderful children.

Have a wonderful weekend,


December 30, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

I hope you are staying well and enjoying family time during the holidays. Thank you again for your wonderful generosity to faculty and staff, and to Mackintosh, over the past month and thank you also for your cooperation in completing the recent survey we sent out. Taking into consideration your and faculty responses as well as current data about the state of the pandemic in Colorado, we will continue with a prudent and judicious course and stagger our return to on-campus learning. This means the following:

  • January 5 – 8: Grades Pre-K – 2 on-campus half-day, dismissal schedule same as prior to winter break.
  • January 5 – 8: Grades 3 – 8 MackFLEX, similar to schedule prior to winter break; teachers will communicate details.
  • January 11: All grades return for full-day on-campus learning; regular car line schedule.
  • January 11: Before and After Care program available to those enrolled; Beth will communicate with parents.

Here are the reasons behind our decision:

  • Colorado data have been improving since Thanksgiving. Positivity rates in counties surrounding our school range from 5.4% – 9.6% as opposed to 13% and over, and there are currently estimated to be one in 53 persons contagious with Covid as opposed to one in 40. This is still serious and worse than in August, but it does indicate that safe behavior in the wider community prevented an anticipated spike after Thanksgiving.
  • https://covid19.colorado.gov/
  • Consistent with the Governor’s task force on returning to in-person learning, we still have experienced no cases of community spread at school even though we have had a few confirmed cases among Mack families.
  • https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WTHW8gcsIFPQwGQC6mU5Up_1hGi1zvSX/view
  • Research continues to indicate that transmission rates are low in young children.
  • A full 82% of our community supported (preferred or expressed comfort with) the above option we have chosen.
  • Our school safety protocols are firmly in place and stringently followed, supported by highly-motivated personnel and parents, school investment in mitigation, and a conducive physical environment (small class sizes, windows, outside doors, use of outdoor spaces, etc.)
  • The survey also indicated significant community adherence to safety protocols outside of school (100% wearing masks, social distancing, etc.)

Here are areas of concern:

  • Some Mack families indicate planned participation in gatherings and/or inviting guests into their home during the remainder of the holidays.
  • Some Mack families plan to travel during the remainder of the holidays. Depending on the details, this could be a minor or major concern in terms of possible exposure risk.

Here is what we ask:

  • All families practice equivalent of 10-day quarantine behavior (no gatherings (especially inside), no guests) before returning to campus if they have significant exposure risk as indicated in concerns above. This means starting December 27 for PreK – 2 and January 2 for Grades 3-8.
  • If you are not able to do this, contact your child’s teacher and arrange for your child to “remote in” to class until 10 days after the holiday gathering, guest visits, and high-risk travel are completed. Remember that teachers need a minimum of 48 hours notice in order to prepare.
  • If you think anyone in your family has been exposed, self-quarantine, get tested five – seven days after possible exposure, and continue to quarantine until you get results.
  • Continue daily screening of your child before arriving at school
  • Continue sharing with us about any symptoms or exposure in your household.
  • Continue your adherence to safety protocols like mask wearing and social distancing.
  • Contact Beth or me if you have any questions.

One Final and Important Word:

We all want January 11 to signal the permanent return to on-campus teaching and learning that runs until graduation of the 20/21 school year; however, be prepared that changes in on-campus learning might become necessary again for some or all students due to

  • Cohort quarantine
  • School transmission outbreak
  • Worsening wider-community public health situation

There is a light at the end of this dark and terrible tunnel, and we will reach it. I have absolutely no doubt that our Mackintosh community possesses the patience, wisdom and generosity of spirit to find our way there together.

Warm regards and Happy New Year,


January 15, 2021
Dear Mack Parents:

At the start of the Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend, we have good news to share. Our first cohort quarantine was successfully implemented, and our sick Mack student and family are recovering. Thank you to parents and teachers who all cooperated completely. The PreK – K faculty and students are slated to return to campus next Tuesday, and, so far, it appears that our safety protocols prevailed in preventing any on-campus spread of COVID.

I thought you’d like to know that when we talked with our Children’s Hospital Nurse Consultant about the situation, she told us we were the only school in her practice that had gone this long without a cohort quarantine. Bravo for a job well done by everyone, and we will continue to be vigilant.

COVID numbers have improved in Colorado, but we are certainly not anywhere close to being out of the woods, so we must continue to be resolved in adhering to safety practices and reporting any illness/symptoms to us in a timely manner. And, we so appreciate your discipline (and memory) in completing health screening before coming to school; we enjoyed three days this week at 100%. Congratulations!

Best wishes for a fun, relaxing, and safe three-day weekend, and I encourage you take the time to reflect upon the reason we celebrate during this weekend in January. I will leave you with timely and inspirational words from Martin Luther King Jr.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

With love,

January 11, 2011
Dear Parents,

Mackintosh has been incredibly fortunate this year in keeping COVID at bay on our campus. Unfortunately, the time has come when we have joined many other schools in having to share the sad news that one of our students has recently become ill and is presumed to have COVID. The child had direct exposure to COVID outside of school and became ill this weekend. This child was on campus last week attending classes. While we are still awaiting official results, we have been advised that the child is presumed positive, and we have immediately taken the necessary actions. Please be advised that we have implemented a ten-day quarantine for our PreK/K cohort. PreK and Kindergarten students who do not develop any symptoms will be permitted to return to school on January 19th. Siblings are not impacted by this quarantine and will be permitted to attend in-person classes unless the quarantined child develops symptoms.

We know that this news can be upsetting. At the same time we are so appreciative in the hard work of our teachers, parents and students in following safety protocols so that when the inevitable happens, as it did this weekend, we can be comforted that we have done our best to minimize spread. An immediate quarantine is part of this effort. You can continue to do your part by maintaining safe practices at home, filling in your health screen daily and informing the school of any illnesses, both for your child and within your household.

Mackintosh will continue, with its strong safety protocols in place, to provide on-campus learning for our students for as long as possible. Will will proceed with our planned welcome back for our 3rd through 8th grade students tomorrow, as well as continued in-person learning for our 1st and 2nd grade students. The quarantine does impact some of our staff members, so your child may see some minor schedule changes. If you need more information regarding quarantines or current state statistics, we encourage you to explore the CDPHE website which has a wealth of information.

We wish a speedy recovery to our Mack student and appreciate your continued community support.


Diane Dunne and Beth Steklac

December 18, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

As this final week of the school calendar for 2020 comes to a close, my heart is full of appreciation for your support, kindness, and for our school/home partnership that feels stronger than ever. Now we can move onto enjoying winter break, knowing we are working together to keep our community safe. While there were the first few COVID cases reported among our families during and after Thanksgiving, there still has been no community transmission at school. That is consistent with the recently issued report of the Governor’s Back to In-Person Task Force and the Governor’s letter to parents.



The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) confirms that our state and county numbers, while much higher than in the fall and even last spring and still at the highest risk level of red, seem to have leveled off and not suffered the Thanksgiving spike we all feared. Bravo to us. I know that our small but mighty Mackintosh community did its part through responsible holiday behavior and ongoing adherence to safety protocols. I am sure, like me, you are tremendously heartened to watch the news reports about vaccinations and to know that some of our health care professional parents have or will receive the vaccine shortly. This will be a lengthy process, but we are looking forward to the day when we can put this pandemic behind us. But we are not there yet and won’t be for a while, so we must remain vigilant and committed to doing the right thing to take care of ourselves and each other.

I want, we all want, our children and teachers to return to campus on January 5. I don’t know yet if we can get what we want. What I can tell you is that we will be studying the public health data and recommendations. We will continue to communicate with our Children’s Hospital Nurse Consultant and our own Mack health care professionals, and we will make a thoughtful and intentional decision for a plan aimed at providing the best and safest education we can. Our state and county COVID numbers have improved but are still much too high, hospital capacity is doing better but the stresses on our health care system and personnel are significant, and now we are entering the second and longer phase of our holiday season. Pandemic fatigue is growing. In ways for which we are very grateful, Mackintosh is this little island of comfort and safety, but we are not immune to what is happening in the wider community, both in Colorado and beyond. In reality, if we all want to be back on campus on January 5, holiday travel and gatherings should be avoided or, at the very least, completed by December 27, in essence, maintaining a voluntary quarantine for at least 10 days before returning to school. Realistic? Enforceable? So much to consider. I am giving you an unsolicited glimpse into the variables we are juggling all the time in order to make the most prudent decisions for Mack.

Some schools and school districts have already announced the specifics of their reopening plans for January; others are waiting for more data. Some ACIS school Heads tell me that their metro-area county health departments have recommended they go remote for that first week (or even two) after the holiday to allow COVID cases to reveal themselves. Our nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital suggests Mackintosh think about doing the same to provide, as she puts it, another mitigation layer. We will pay attention to all of that as well as feedback from our parent and faculty community and will make a decision no later than December 30, a little less than a week before the end of the break. Here are the scenarios we are considering:

  • All grades return to on-campus classes on January 5
  • A continuation of current post Thanksgiving schedule (PreK-2 on campus half days; 3-8 in MackFLEX) for one to two weeks
  • All grades in MackFLEX for one to two weeks

As always, we are balancing safety, educational best practices, consistency and certainty, with an eye to what is least disruptive for everyone. And we are also looking to the long view—what is most likely to ensure that we will enjoy sustained on-campus experiences for our students and teachers when we do return. Please help us understand your thoughts and plans at this time by completing a survey to be sent to you by this Monday–we always review your concerns, questions and ideas as part of our decision-making process.

Thank you for your faith in us, for your commitment to partnering with us, your adherence to safety protocols in your daily lives, and for understanding that we are doing our very best for your children.

Enjoy a safe and happy holiday,


November 20, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

These emails have now become weekly as the circumstances surrounding this pandemic worsen and change so rapidly. I would much rather be writing about more positive things, but this is what is uppermost in our minds right now, and it is important that we all maintain open and honest communication. I believe communication and our shared mission and good will toward each other is what is seeing us through this difficult time.

This is where we stand as of today:

  • Our current plan is still to return to on-campus teaching and learning, as scheduled on Monday, November 30.
  • However, rising cases throughout the state, questions over the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday, complicated logistics in responding to rapidly changing scenarios, as well as health concerns among parents, faculty, and staff demand that we reconsider the feasibility of this plan. I will confirm by the end of the day on Wednesday, November 25, whether we are continuing as planned or need to adjust temporarily to MackFLEX remote teaching and learning.
  • Metro area counties have now moved to Severe Risk Level (now Red). If the Governor determines that we are in Stay at Home (now Purple), we will most likely change to full MackFLEX, even if that happens after Wednesday, November 25.
  • The response rate to our Thanksgiving Survey was very high (thank you) and responses indicate our families’ significant adherence to safe behaviors and recommended protocols. I am following up personally with families for whom I still have questions.
  • Our Mack community Covid statistics are quite promising, significantly so in relation to other schools at this time:
    • No confirmed COVID cases—students, faculty, parents
    • No cohort quarantines; cautionary one-day quarantine of aftercare cohort.
    • Direct contact with infected persons for Mack faculty and students: two additional from the week before
    • Indirect contact with infected persons for Mack faculty and students (this means a Mack student or staff member had contact with someone who has had contact with a Covid-positive individual): none that we know of.

Despite, or maybe due to, these troubling times, I want to end on a note of gratitude. Thank you for partnering with us, thank you for trusting us with your children, thank you for sharing your own parents with us for the Grand Event, and thank you for being the respectful and responsible parents that you are.

Warm Regards,


November 20, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

These emails have now become weekly as the circumstances surrounding this pandemic worsen and change so rapidly. I would much rather be writing about more positive things, but this is what is uppermost in our minds right now, and it is important that we all maintain open and honest communication. I believe communication and our shared mission and good will toward each other is what is seeing us through this difficult time.

This is where we stand as of today:

  • Our current plan is still to return to on-campus teaching and learning, as scheduled on Monday, November 30.
  • However, rising cases throughout the state, questions over the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday, complicated logistics in responding to rapidly changing scenarios, as well as health concerns among parents, faculty, and staff demand that we reconsider the feasibility of this plan. I will confirm by the end of the day on Wednesday, November 25, whether we are continuing as planned or need to adjust temporarily to MackFLEX remote teaching and learning.
  • Metro area counties have now moved to Severe Risk Level (now Red). If the Governor determines that we are in Stay at Home (now Purple), we will most likely change to full MackFLEX, even if that happens after Wednesday, November 25.
  • The response rate to our Thanksgiving Survey was very high (thank you) and responses indicate our families’ significant adherence to safe behaviors and recommended protocols. I am following up personally with families for whom I still have questions.
  • Our Mack community Covid statistics are quite promising, significantly so in relation to other schools at this time:
    • No confirmed COVID cases—students, faculty, parents
    • No cohort quarantines; cautionary one-day quarantine of aftercare cohort.
    • Direct contact with infected persons for Mack faculty and students: two additional from the week before
    • Indirect contact with infected persons for Mack faculty and students (this means a Mack student or staff member had contact with someone who has had contact with a Covid-positive individual): none that we know of.

Despite, or maybe due to, these troubling times, I want to end on a note of gratitude. Thank you for partnering with us, thank you for trusting us with your children, thank you for sharing your own parents with us for the Grand Event, and thank you for being the respectful and responsible parents that you are.

Warm Regards,


November 6, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

As you all know, the pandemic is hard upon us right now with rising cases and some schools moving to fully remote teaching and learning. We are committed to the safety of our students, our teachers and staff, and you; however, we are also committed to providing the best education for your children, so, for now, we are continuing with on-campus, in-person classes. While we must and do pay attention to county and metro statistics, we are currently basing our decision making on our own school data—absenteeism, quarantines, confirmed cases (zero so far), any signs of community spread, and the level of compliance with safety protocols as well as public health guidelines and requirements.

We know we are in good shape with most of those to the extent that we can control them at school; we will review safety practices and heighten our level of vigilance on Monday.

We know you are a responsible, respectful, and cooperative parent community.

But it is time to move to the next level in order to maximize our chances of continuing with in-person classes.

It may be a cliché, but it is still true—we are in this together. So please:

  • Without fail, wear masks and practice social distancing
  • Do not gather in groups outside your immediate family
  • Refrain from social and sports activities that bring you and your children into contact with too many people.
  • Avoid travel
  • Continue to communicate with us about ANY illness, no matter how minor; we will talk you through what you should do re: school attendance for your child (and siblings.)
  • Remember to screen your child every morning

Websites for the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and Tri-County Health Department go into greater detail, but we have all heard the details. Now is the time for no exceptions…as hard as this is. And it will get harder with the holiday season fast approaching. But then, if we still have to move into full remote learning, we will do it wholeheartedly, knowing we have done our very best.

I hear the children outside my window. I see them at lunch and during recess. Their enthusiasm for learning is palpable in the classrooms. Their smiles and laughter fill all of our hearts. Let us do what we must to keep that going at 7018 Prince St. in Littleton.

Warm regards,


November 25, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

It is with great sadness but also a sense of calm and an informed hope for the future, that I announce that starting Tuesday, December 1 until the start of Winter Break on December 18, Mackintosh Littleton will move classes for grades 3-8 to full-time MackFLEX remote teaching and learning, and grades PreK – 2 will switch to a half-day schedule for in-person, on-campus learning. Faculty and staff will utilize Monday, November 30 to prepare for this transition; there will be no classes held that day. This decision resulted from a thoughtful, extended collaborative process with administrative staff; consultation with faculty, Board of Trustees leadership, health professionals in our community; and an ongoing review of public health and governmental communication. Please scroll down to understand the Why and the How: the factors we weighed in making these changes as well as some specific implementation details.



  • Governor Polis announced yesterday that 1 out of every 41 people in Colorado are currently contagious with the virus.
  • On November 5, that number was 1 in 100. On November 20, it was 1 in 49. This is an alarming trend. As the Governor said in his press conference, “It’s not a time to be fearful, but a time to be very cautious.” Mackintosh is increasing its level of caution.
  • While our Mack parents have overwhelmingly committed to holiday plans that adhere to safety guidelines, we are not immune from what others are doing. Airports and stores are crowded, and large social gatherings are still taking place.
  • In general, faculty, particularly those who are exposed across many grades, are at higher risk than our students; older students are at higher risk than younger students. Our youngest students are at low risk.
  • Governor Polis recommends that schools continue to provide in-person classes for younger students for whom remote teaching and learning is so difficult. His recommendations for older students are to do what the school deems appropriate.


  • When students or faculty need to quarantine because of possible Covid exposure, even when those resolve in a positive way, it creates stress, anxiety and disruption in the classroom and the school community.
  • Given the increasing level of contagion in the population cited above, those instances of precautionary quarantine will surely happen with greater frequency over the next few weeks, and the potential of positive cases rises significantly.
  • During such a tumultuous time, ensuring a level of certainty and predictability is a relief and critical to our emotional wellbeing
  • Our goal is that we will return to a full on-campus program on Tuesday, January 5; however, we know enough to know that is not an absolute certainty.
  • To provide even more continuity and stability in our Pre-K – 2 in-person classes, we will not be offering remote teaching and learning to these students unless they are already participating in that program or are required by the school to quarantine for Covid-related reasons.


  • We all agree that the best education for young people is in person, on campus.
  • Up until now, the need for students/teachers remoting in has been relatively low, and we have been able to address that need while maintaining our high Mack standards.
  • That level of quality will erode and the strain on teachers will rise when the number of students and faculty who may need to quarantine increases as is anticipated over the next few weeks.
  • Our full MackFLEX is a gold standard program, particularly for students who are old enough to have developed the necessary technology and self-management skills.
  • Teachers have been working to enhance those skills in the classroom since August.
  • Faculty and administration have been working to improve upon last spring’s MackFLEX throughout the summer and fall.


Pre-K through 2nd Grades

  • Monday, November 30: teachers will prepare for their switch to half-day on- campus classes; no classes for students will be held.
  • Tuesday, December 1: In-person classes will resume, 8:30 – noon. AM car line will start at 8:15; PM car line is at noon.
  • No Before Care or After Care will be offered.
  • This revised schedule will provide full in-person programming in community meetings, language arts, math, units of inquiry and, depending on grade, some performing arts and physical education.
  • Additional activities for physical education and performing arts will be provided via Seesaw for students to complete at their own pace in the afternoons.
  • Daily health screening via Parent Square will continue to be required.
  • All safety protocols and practices will remain in place.

3rd through 8th Grades

  • Monday, November 30: Teachers will prepare for a pivot to MackFLEX; there will be no classes for students.
  • Monday, November 30: Regular car line schedule for parents to pick up any materials needed for MackFLEX classes.
  • Monday, November 30: MackFLEX schedules available after 2:00.
  • Tuesday, December 1 through Friday, December 18: full MackFLEX classes; schedules posted weekly.
  • Tuesday, December 1, 8:30 – 9:15: there will be an extended community meeting for each homeroom. This is required for students and highly recommended for parents, particularly parents who are new to Mackintosh and MackFLEX this year.
  • We urge parents to continue to inform us of possible Covid exposures and confirmed cases, so we can continue to track this important data within our community.

I know this is not what we wanted. I know this will be difficult for many of our families and a deep disappointment for our students as well as our teachers. It is not a perfect solution; believe me we tried to develop one. We can only do our best, something you and we tell our Mack children all the time, and we are offering your children our very best.

We have enjoyed a beautiful and lucky 13 weeks of in-person, on-campus, and Covid-free school. Let us take the next three weeks to enhance our common safety, enjoy some certainty, hone our MackFLEX skills, and build upon our autumn successes so that we are in a position to face both the challenges and opportunities that 2021 will bring to us all.

With thankfulness for all of you and your children,


October 9, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

It has been a few weeks since my last Friday Connections, not because I didn’t want to connect but because I kept waiting for one piece of very important but elusive good news that I wanted to share, one that connects us all. We are now cleared to occupy our beautiful new arts expansion!!! This represents the combined power of our vision, generosity, persistence, and patience. What a fabulous step forward for Mackintosh. We will cut a ceremonial ribbon with your children on Monday and will be inviting all of you to celebrate with us virtually in a few weeks. Stay tuned for details.

Fall Break is almost upon us. This mid-October respite is always a welcome time to slow down, sleep in, maybe enjoy the colors of our beautiful mountains before winter descends upon us. As I mentioned in an earlier communication, what this break is not is a break from the need for vigilance and safety. With colder weather coming, we absolutely must double down on our efforts to keep this virus away from our school community, as much as possible, by wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding crowds and unnecessary travel. In addition to what you are already doing (which includes being so cooperative in letting us know of health concerns) we ask the following for the foreseeable future:

  • If you and your family travel by plane, please notify Sarah Schultz in the front office, so we can be more vigilant in our observations for any possible symptoms.
  • If during those travels, you end up visiting a hot spot for virus transmissions, please quarantine for two weeks upon your return. Your children will be able to remote into classes through MackFLEX.
  • If you and your family travel out of the country, please quarantine for two weeks upon your return. Your children will be able to remote into classes through MackFLEX.
  • And, take the time, now, to get flu shots for you and your children.

All of us must maintain our focus and stamina for meeting the challenges we face together this year. We are truly responsible for each other’s safety.

At an ACIS (Association of Colorado Independent Schools) Heads of School meeting earlier this week, we were discussing how thriving during this time required a strong and ongoing interdependent effort—children, parents, faculty and staff. And your Mack teachers echoed this sentiment when they chose Survive and Thrive as their theme for this year. Together, we will do both.

Warm regards and have a wonderful weekend,


January 8, 2021
Dear Mack Parents:

I am still reeling from the news reports and images of violence at our nation’s Capitol earlier in the week. I imagine you feel the same, but I hope you also join me in taking comfort in the respectful, responsible and cooperative community we enjoy at Mackintosh Academy. While differences of opinion and sometimes conflict are part and parcel of the human experience, we are committed to following the values and principles of the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile with attributes such as principled, caring, and open minded. The way we as a community are supporting each other during this very stressful year beautifully manifests those ideals and reassures us that we can continue to thrive, not just survive this year of COVID.

There is relief in sight as vaccinations begin to spread more widely into the population. Nevertheless, the situation continues to be very serious. So far, the Denver metro area has been spared the nightmare experience of cities like Los Angeles and New York, but our positivity rates have moved upward in the past two weeks and the more contagious variant of the virus is here. Mackintosh is committed to a return to in-person classes for all grades on Monday, January 11 as announced on December 30, but I can tell you that my concern and the anxiety of our teachers have increased. We will enhance our compliance to safety protocols, and we need you to do the same. We have been tremendously heartened by your open and honest communication about possible exposure to the virus and your adherence to our subsequent guidelines. We are depending on you to continue doing so.

Here are some specifics we need from you:

  • Report to the school any symptoms within your family and follow our recommendations.
  • Wear masks, social distance, and avoid large gatherings in your personal lives
  • Self-quarantine for ten days if you may have been exposed. We are particularly concerned with holiday celebrations. As requested before, if you traveled out of state, socialized in large groups (especially inside,) or hosted guests in your home, we ask you to arrange for your child to remote into classes until that ten-day self-quarantine is completed; then they can attend in-person classes. Inform your child’s homeroom teacher asap and copy Sarah Schultz in the front office.
  • Complete health screening via Parent Square every school day before 7:45 am. We urge you to make this part of your daily routine; it is very time and personnel consuming for us to do this during morning car line.
  • Dress your child for the weather; we will open windows, go outside for lunch, and increase outdoor activity.
  • Check the fit of your child’s mask. If your child is frequently touching the outside of the mask to pull it up over their nose…it doesn’t fit properly.
  • Get vaccinated when that becomes available to you and your family.

We are looking forward to seeing most of our Mack students on Monday Morning. Have a great (and safe) weekend.

Warm regards,


October 23,2020
Dear Mack Parents:

Even though the weather has turned cold, the sun has been smiling on Mackintosh. In addition to opening our new arts spaces, we continued with no confirmed cases of COVID in our school community. This is the result of much hard work, diligence, strong community spirit, and no small amount of luck. But, as you surely know from watching the news, cases are increasing almost everywhere in the country, including Colorado and the Tri-County area. We must not allow ourselves to become complacent or tired with our efforts; this will require the ongoing best of all of us. We must be more careful than ever: travel, inside gatherings, children’s sleepovers, sporting events, birthday parties, etc., so many of the joyful activities of our regular lives, contain a dark side that can cast a shadow upon us all.


We are quickly approaching the holiday season, which promises to be a particularly tricky one this year. Our first piece of guidance is to refer to CDC guidance regarding travel: Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html

Celebrating holidays, including Halloween, in a different way is strongly recommended. Take a look at some CDC suggestions. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html

We have increased the urgency of our recent recommendations:

  • If you and your family travel by plane, please notify Sarah Schultz in the front office, so we can be more vigilant in our observations for any possible symptoms. Seriously consider quarantining for two weeks upon your return.
  • If, during those travels, you end up visiting a hot spot for virus transmissions, we urge you to quarantine for two weeks upon your return.
  • If you and your family travel out of the country, we urge you to quarantine for two weeks upon your return.
  • During quarantine and/or isolation for symptoms, your child will be able to remote into the classroom via MackFLEX after the required 24-hour turnaround, which allows teachers time to get everything organized.
  • Take the time, now, to get flu shots for you and your children.

In addition to monitoring communications from Children’s Hospital, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Tri-County Health Department, we are in constant contact with other ACIS schools. One of the areas of serious discussion among these schools, throughout the state, is whether we should alter our school calendars to address concerns regarding exposure during the holiday season. A few of the schools have changed their schedules to go remote between and/or after breaks. Along with the vast majority of these independent schools, we are choosing, for now, to adhere to our published master schedule and to continue with in-person teaching and learning; however, this requires that all of us maintain vigilance and make choices with others in mind. This is also dependent on evolving conditions in the country, the state, and within our own community as well as government and health department advice and/or dictate. We will keep you informed in a timely manner of any changes.

Ending on a happy note

Our virtual ribbon cutting this morning was great fun and well attended. We were happy to see so many of your faces and delighted that Andrew Mackintosh, Eve Mackintosh’s youngest child, participated in the celebration. Afterward, he told me that his mother would have been pleased with what we have and continue to accomplish as a school. He remarked that she always used to say, The impossible just always take longer. These are wise and hopeful words whether we were wondering how long it would take to open our new arts spaces or, most importantly, how we will ever get through this “impossible” time we are having to endure. But endure, and survive, and thrive, we will.

Here is one final link, a recording of our virtual ribbon-cutting celebration. https://youtu.be/P5c5c_Haz1k

Enjoy with your children and have a safe and wonderful weekend,


November 13, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

The news reports about the spread of coronavirus are upsetting and head spinning for all of us. My goal in this and all the Friday Connections communications is to be open, honest, and caring, to let you know where Mackintosh stands, provide access to relevant information and opinions, make recommendations to you, and request your feedback and support.

Please scroll all the way down this email.


Where Mackintosh stands is with all of you and your children. We are sparing no effort to address the academic, social/emotional, and physical health needs of your children. Meeting the last two of these requires a continual balancing act right now. All the research shows that children’s social/emotional needs are best served by in-person learning, but there are times that being in school, in person, is at odds with keeping them and their teachers safe. We are walking that tightrope every day as the daily case count of Covid-19 in Colorado surpasses March levels.

Here is where we are:

  • For now, Mackintosh is continuing with in-person teaching and learning.
  • Please understand, that could change with very short notice. Teachers are preparing for the possibility of going MackFLEX remote, and so should you. We must and will pay attention to our own situation and public health directives.
  • We do take note of what public school districts are doing. As you know, we mostly follow their lead for snow days, when we all have to travel those same icy roads. But this is not the same; our internal statistics and our physical environment are very different and much more advantageous in this situation.
  • Our internal data is good but showing some signs for concern:
    • No confirmed cases of COVID among Mack students, staff, parents.
    • No cohort quarantines.
    • Still low but Increasing frequency (1 in October; 2 in the last two weeks) of close direct contact with infected persons, reported for Mack faculty and students.
    • Increasing frequency (5 in October; 9, so far, in November) of indirect contacts with infected persons for Mack faculty and students. This means a Mack student or staff member has contact with someone, such as a parent, who has had contact with a Covid-positive individual
  • No doubt, this increase is a reflection of what is happening in the Denver Metro area. Counties are at the orange level of Safer at Home, the most severe. The next level is Stay at Home or red. If transmission rates and other metrics don’t improve and continue to worsen, it is only a matter of time before the Governor and public health entities will move us to that red, Stay at Home level. We monitor daily. Here are some resources for you.
  • Helpful way to stay up to date on real time Colorado Coronavirus data: https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial/covid-19-dial-dashboard
  • CDPHE report on in-person learning: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1tQ2mlVokJrVr42121MALc9JDBN3s1I8B/view

Here is what we recommend:

‘Tis not love’s going hurts my days, But that it went in little ways. Edna St. Vincent Millay

Why is that woman quoting poetry to me again?

Aside from the fact that Ms. St. Vincent Millay is one of my all-time favorite poets, there is much relevant wisdom here, and I want to share it. Of course, we all know the drill about wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, but what some research is showing now is that it is the “little ways,” engaging in some of the smaller joys of life, that is helping to fuel this latest outbreak–children’s sleepovers, soccer practice, birthday parties, etc. Here is an article to read and ponder and carefully consider in planning your daily lives. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/11/12/covid-social-gatherings/

Here is what we need to know from you:

We are asking that you complete another survey to help us with our planning for after Thanksgiving. We asked you a few weeks ago to give us a sense of what your plans were. Now we are asking you to be very specific with us and to take a hard look at the corresponding risk factor, as well as our related recommendations. We have done our best to assess the level of risk for certain activities. It is very important that you take the time to complete this short, confidential, but critical survey by Monday, November 16.
Thank you. Have a wonderful weekend.

We will make it.


October 30, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

I hope you enjoyed your conferences this week, a week that began with a cold, cold snow day and ended with the opportunity to have those warm and important conversations about your child.

Please scroll down for important information:


Remote Learning Scenarios

I have been reaching out to new families to check in with them about how things are going at Mack. One of the questions that comes up often is what would trigger Mackintosh going to full MackFLEX remote learning. Given the changing nature of the pandemic, this is something of a moving target, but I can identify several scenarios that would result in our temporarily suspending in-person classes:

  • Quarantine of several (most likely two or more) cohorts at the same or overlapping times. In effect, this would reduce the number of teachers remaining on campus to a level that would not allow us to maintain teaching in-person classes
  • A determination by Tri-County Health Department that our school is experiencing an outbreak, typically five cases of unrelated students and teachers
  • A governmental (Governor Polis, CDPHE, Tri-County Health Department) dictate that schools must go to remote teaching and learning.

We have also indicated that, for now, we are planning to continue with in-person teaching throughout and beyond the holiday season; however, we are constantly monitoring what other independent schools are doing (and why) and carefully evaluating the advisability of going temporarily into full MackFLEX as a proactive measure or requiring families who travel out of state to quarantine upon their return. We are committed to continuing with in-person teaching and learning, something we all agree is best for our children, but circumstances may demand different responses, and we are committed, first and foremost, to the safety of our school community.


Thank you so much; we enjoyed a very high response rate (75 – 80%) to our recent parent survey. Overwhelmingly, you told us that your children are doing well, and you support and are cooperating with our safety protocols. We also appreciate your sharing your thinking about holiday plans and urge you to continue to do so. Your full partnership with us during this time is absolutely critical and much, much appreciated.

Please note: Because of the amount of time and effort required of teachers to incorporate students remoting into their in-person classes, we limit MackFLEX to students whose health situation requires isolation and/or quarantining. We cannot offer MackFLEX to families for extended trips or vacations.

Exposure Notification Service

I am sure, like me, you have been receiving notices on your phone about the new Exposure Notification Service offered by the state of Colorado. In both Thursday webinars I attended, with Tri-County Health Department and Children’s Hospital, school officials were urged to encourage their families to participate in this new service. Estimates indicate that if a county had 15% participation, it could potentially lower the number of COVID cases by 8% and the number of deaths by 6%. Very impressive! You can go to https://www.addyourphone.com/ to access more information and learn how to sign up. Also I listened to a very helpful segment about this on Colorado Public Radio this morning. I urge you to check it out. https://www.cpr.org/2020/10/22/new-phone-app-to-track-colorado-coronavirus-exposure-will-arrive-this-weekend/


As we keep saying and are probably tired of hearing, we are living through unprecedented and tumultuous times—a pandemic, a terrible wildfire (and hurricane) season, and a contentious political environment. Regarding the latter, our approach is to adhere firmly to our mission and our International Baccalaureate values to be respectful, listen to different viewpoints with empathy, and recognize that we are joined by commonalities more than we are separated by differences. We invite all of you to join us in intentionally practicing those IB Learner Profile attributes, much needed right now—open minded, principled, knowledgeable, caring, and resilient.

Be safe, have a happy Halloween and a lovely weekend.


August 10, 2020
Dear Parents,

We are now just a few short weeks from the start of the 20/21school year and the re-opening of our campus. Below you will find information on two specific programs, MackFLEX Hybrid Learning and Before and After Care, requiring enrollment decisions this week.

We thank you for your recent survey responses. As expected, our community has a wide variety of needs and preferences. The majority of our families (72%) continue to prefer on-campus learning. Just over one-third of this group currently consider remote learning to be challenging at this time. The remaining 28% of families prefer remote learning with just over half of those families finding on-campus learning to be challenging at this time.

Our teachers and administration are committed and working hard to best meet the needs of all Mackintosh students this fall. Our unique set-up – 110 students, not 1100 students; small class sizes; windows that open; exterior doors; large outdoor spaces; and, most importantly, a motivated and responsible parent community – positions us well for on-campus learning. We continue to move forward with our re-opening plan and look forward to seeing many of our children once again in-person. It is essential that parents support our re-opening plans by taking extra precautions during this time of travel and family vacations. Please, please follow CDC, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Governor Polis’ safety guidelines—wear masks in public, avoid large gatherings, socially distance. Your well-being is intricately connected to everyone else’s. We are all responsible for each other and want to come back together as a school community in late August, strong, healthy and ready to learn.

As part of our fall planning we require some important decisions and commitments from our families this week. Below, you will see details regarding enrollment in the MackFLEX Hybrid learning program and enrollment in before and aftercare. Enrollment in any of these programs is required by August 14th.

Hybrid Enrollment

As part of our MackFLEX learning, Mackintosh is providing a hybrid learning option for families needing to keep their child home due to COVID-19 health concerns. The goal of MackFLEX Hybrid is to give students access to the planned on-campus learning. MackFLEX Hybrid will look different in each grade level. In general, children may expect periods of the day where they have direct video access to regular in-class teaching and group work. Students participating in MackFLEX Hybrid will also have some independent work times and assignments. MackFLEX Hybrid is not the same as the independent, stand-alone MackFLEX Learning Program (fully remote) we offered last spring. That program was based on a defined schedule of Zoom classes and all students working from home. Teaching and learning in the Hybrid option will be based on the planned on-campus programming with the majority of students physically in the classroom. As much as possible, students at home will be provided access to the classroom through video and other electronic means. There will be necessary screen breaks and independent work times throughout the day for students learning from home. We are working on ways to assist with the social aspects of school through virtual buddies and some group activities with both virtual and on-campus students.

To assist our teachers in planning, families must formally register for hybrid learning. Consistency and predictability, while scarce in this unusual time, are key for success of both our teachers and children. We ask that students who enroll for hybrid learning commit initially to a minimum of three weeks at home. Please note that our hybrid learning option begins on Monday, August 31, allowing teachers the necessary time to initiate in-class teaching and learning that will also support our hybrid students. This means the initial commitment for the Hybrid option is Monday, August 31 through Friday, September 18. Prior to September 18, we will contact families to determine if they wish to continue with hybrid learning through the remainder of the Unit of Inquiry period, approximately three more weeks, or choose to switch to on campus learning. Subsequently, all enrollment periods for Hybrid (or any change from on-campus to Hybrid or from Hybrid to on-campus) will be based on the Unit of Inquiry cycles, requiring an approximately six-week commitment.


  • Isolated or quarantined children may join the MackFLEX Hybrid program at any time
  • In the case of an entire cohort in quarantine, the cohort will move to the MackFLEX Learning Program (fully remote); this will include students already in the Hybrid program.

To enroll your children in MackFLEX Hybrid, please send an email
to beth@mackintoshacademy.com no later that Friday August 14th.

Childcare Enrollment

This fall Mackintosh will be offering both Before and After Care. We are restricting enrollment to 20 students in each of these programs. We ask that spaces be reserved for families needing childcare to support employment. Families wishing to enroll in Before or After Care must reserve and pay for a spot in advance. These children may then use as little or as much time as needed in the regularly scheduled hours. No drop-in childcare will be available. Families must register for the entire term. Should we have openings after the initial enrollment period, partial registrations may be considered. Children in Before and After Care will be considered to be in defined cohorts for COVID-19 possible tracing needs. Please note that all safety protocols in place during the regular school day will also be enforced during Before and After Care. In addition, our plan is for students to be outside as much as possible during these times.

Before Care Hours: 7:00 – 8:15 am. Childcare provided by Mrs. Mindy Lambert
After Care Hours: 3:00 – 6:00 pm. Childcare provided by Mrs. Clara Butler

Childcare costs are outlined below. Fees cover the period from August 31st** to December 17. Childcare will be billed through FACTS on September 1st. Prorated refunds will be available to parents for any periods of MackFLEX fully remote learning.

After Care: 1st child $600, each additional sibling $540
Before Care:1st child $240, each additional sibling $225

To enroll your child(ren) in Before or After Care (or both) please send an email to frontoffice@mackintoshacademy.com with your child’s full name and your chosen program(s) no later than Friday August 14th.

**Due to construction delays, it is possible that childcare may not be available the first or even second week of school. We need to be sure the gym and art room (the new home of childcare) are safe and ready for occupancy before we can commence childcare programming. Should the start of care be delayed, fees will be prorated.


Beth Steklac

August 19, 2020

Dear Parents,

We are just one short week away from the beginning of school.  As we move from an unusual summer into an exciting but still unusual fall, we are looking forward to reconnecting with our Mack students on a daily basis, whether in person or online.  Every year at this time I send home a few procedural details and reminders about the return to school.  This year the list is much longer to include many necessary new procedures.  Please be sure to read through this entire communication; we have a lot to share!

Community Health
Now more than ever, we are all in this together.  Please help us have a healthy on-campus start to the school year by carefully following Safer at Home guidelines and communicating any health issues with the school.  We ask parents to please share known exposures immediately with staff and to abide by quarantine guidelines (see below.)

Got Questions?
While we have made every effort to clearly communicate plans, we know that the landscape has continued to shift over the summer.  We will be providing a link to the new 2020-2021 Student-Parent Handbook this Friday.  It includes our regular school policies and procedures, plus many new procedures specifically related to the Pandemic.  These have been written in blue for easy reference.  If after reading the Handbook and reviewing the Back to Mack Plan you still have burning questions, we are happy to answer them during our upcoming Town Hall meetings scheduled Monday, August 24th at 6:00 pm Zoom and Tuesday, August 25th at 9:00 am Zoom.  You are also invited to email us directly with any questions.  Please allow us 24 hours to respond to written requests – it is a rather busy time!

Mark Your Calendar:  Please be sure to note the following important Back-to School Events
August 24 & 25: Back to School Conferences (Sign up via ParentSquare)
August 24 (6:00pm) Zoom & 25 (9:00am) Zoom: Town Hall Meetings
August 25:  Mandatory New Parent Orientation 7:008:30 pm Zoom
August 26: First Day of School 5th through 8th Grades
August 27: First Day of School 2nd through 4th Grades
August 28: First Day of School PreK – 2nd Grades
August 31: First Day of School for Hybrid Learners (5th8th grade students may be invited to select classes earlier; please watch for separate communications.)
September 2: Mandatory Back to School Night 6:00 – 8:00 pm (Zoom link will be forwarded separately)
September 7: Labor Day NO SCHOOL

If you have not already signed up for conferences Monday, August 24th or Tuesday, August 25th, please do so by signing up through ParentSquare.  This is an important time to meet with your child’s teacher. Students in third grade and higher should attend with their parents.  All conferences will be held virtually.

School start and end times:
All 1st through 8th grade classes begin promptly at 8:30. We ask that students arrive between 8:00 and 8:20. Early drop-off is not permitted.  PreK and Kindergarten classes will start at 8:45.  PreK and Kindergarten drop-off starts at 8:15. Classes dismiss according to the schedule on your school calendar.  The calendar can be found on our website and on ParentSquare.

Before and After Care:
Before and After Care will be available starting Monday August 31st.  No drop-in child care is available.  Families needing child care are required to pre-enroll and pay a fixed fee.  If you have not yet enrolled and anticipate needing child care, please contact the Front Office frontoffice@mackintoshacademy.com.  Spaces are limited.

Hybrid Learning:
Students must formally be enrolled if they are to participate in hybrid learning.  A commitment of three weeks is required for the beginning of the school year (unless a child is in a quarantine period.) If you have not registered, but are planning on having your child participate in MackFLEX Hybrid, please notify me  immediately. beth@mackintoshacademy.com

Students who have been outside the US are required to quarantine for 14 days prior to attending school.  Students with a known exposure to someone diagnosed with or reasonably assumed to have had COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days.  Students who have spent time in another state with high COVID-19 transmission are requested to self-quarantine for 14 days.  Quarantined students may participate in Hybrid learning until the end of the quarantine period.  This applies both to the beginning of school and any possible travel during the school year.

Families are required to complete and submit a daily health screen prior to bringing their child on campus.  The health screen is available on ParentSquare and is shown in red on the upper right corner of the ParentSquare home screen.  Screening must be completed between 8:00 pm the night before and 8:00 am on the school day. If a health screen form has not been completed, the parent will be asked to park their vehicle and wait for a staff member to complete the screening.  Late submissions (after 8:00 am) will not be accepted, as screening requires a temperature check.  A member of the Mackintosh staff will screen the child as soon as they are able. Until that time, both parent and child must remain in their vehicle.  Mackintosh staff will also complete random health screens upon arrival and at other times during the school day.

When to Stay Home:
A known COVID-19 exposure or new symptoms of COVID-19 (listed on the screening form and also available in the Handbook) either observed by a parent or staff member will necessitate a 10 day isolation period (at home) plus a minimum of 24 hours fever free prior to returning to school unless:
• Symptoms resolve in 24 hours (without medication) OR
• A medical professional has ruled out COVID-19 (e.g. positive strep test)
In these cases the child may return to school when healthy.  A doctor’s note will be required for B.

Please note that guidelines and procedures may change based on Health Department updates.  We have specific procedures related to individual, cohort and whole-school quarantine.  The school will contact parents if any of these need to be enacted.

We are attaching for your reference a wonderful tool provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment entitled “Can I go to school today?”  It provides clear and helpful guidelines for parents.

All students are required to wear masks during the school day.  Students must arrive wearing their mask and must bring a second clean mask every day.  We will be helping the students create proper storage containers for masks to be used during mask breaks such as lunchtime. Mackintosh will have masks available should a child’s masks break or become unwearable during the school day.

Campus Access:
Parents will not be allowed to enter any buildings on campus until further notice.  Parents of children in PreK must walk their child to the PreK playground upon arrival at school, where they will be greeted by a teacher.  Parents of students entering Kindergarten may walk their child to the door of the Kindergarten classroom.  Parents of children in grades one through eight are asked to remain in their vehicle at all times unless they need to assist a student in exiting a vehicle safely.

Should a parent need to drop off an item or drop off or pick up a child early, they are required to phone or email the Front office for assistance.

Parking on campus is only permitted for parents of PreK and Kindergarten students during morning drop-off.  If a parent intends to park their vehicle, we ask that they arrive between 8:30 and 8:45am.  These parents may use the spots on the east side of the lot only (east side of the island, or spots adjacent to the playing field.) These spots may not be used by any parent after 8:45am as they will be used for outdoor classroom activities. West parking spots and spots by the PreK/K building are reserved for teaching staff.

Car line Procedures:
It is critical that parents abide by drop off and pick-up times.  We cannot offer drop-in childcare at this time, and the need to minimize contact between cohorts severely limits staff availability.  We ask that you pay careful attention to your child’s time slot.

Drop-off Times
1st-8th grades 8:00 – 8:25 am (We recommend older children be dropped off in the earlier part of this time frame.)
PreK – K 8:15 – 8:45am.  If you will be parking, please do not arrive prior to 8:30.

Pick-up Times
PreK/K 2:50
1st/2nd 3:10
3rd/4th 3:20
5th/6th 3:30
7th/8th 3:40

Parents with more than one child, may come at the oldest child’s pick-up time.  If your children have significantly different pick-up times, you are welcome to pick up one sibling and return to campus later to pick up the other(s).

Carline drop-off and pick-up will be contactless to protect our staff.  Staff will not be available to assist with backpacks, seatbelts or other items.  Staff will also not open or shut car doors and trunks.  Please work at home with your child on safe procedures for entering and exiting a vehicle. We ask that parents remain in the vehicle at all times.  If a child must have parent assistance, please turn off the engine, quickly exit the vehicle to assist the child, and return immediately.  Parents exiting a vehicle are required to wear a mask.

Parents of children in PreK and Kindergarten may park their vehicle and escort the child.  Parking for PreK and Kindergarten parents is restricted to the period between 8:30 and 8:45 am.

Drop-off and Pick-up Locations:
Drop-off for all students (unless being walked by a parent) is at the main sidewalk entrance in front of the north building.

Pick-up for PreK and Kindergarten students will be at the lower entranceway to the kindergarten classroom.

Pick-up for all other students is in front of the north building.  To maintain social distancing and minimize contact between cohorts, students may be staged in different waiting areas for pick-up, including a section of the parking lot.  Please do not stop to pick up a child in a waiting area, rather pull your vehicle to the approved loading area and we will bring the child to the car.

We ask for extra patience as we fine tune pick-up procedures – these may change!

Please also take careful note of our regular carline procedures from our Parent Handbook.

  1. Drivers will enter and exit the parking lot slowly and with caution. Note that there is a one-way flow of traffic counter-clockwise around the entry loop.
  2. Parents/Guardians will not leave children unattended in their car.
  3. Car engines will not be kept running if a driver is not in the vehicle and in the driver’s seat.
  4. The sidewalk/walkway leading to the Administration Building will be kept open and free of cars at all times (with the exception of carline when parents are dropping students off or picking them up at this location).
  5. Parents/visitors that park behind another car are required to leave their keys in the car or with the main office.  Alternately they may place a note on their window with their name and location on campus in case the vehicle needs to be moved.
  6. The carline procedure at drop-off in the morning and pick-up in the afternoon involves:
    • Entering the parking lot and circling until the driver reaches the entrance to the North Building where a staff member will be standing to assist with helping the student from or into the vehicle.
    • The driver will come to a complete stop and stay within the vehicle while the staff member assists the student(s) in entering or leaving the vehicle.
    • The driver will make sure that the student is ready to leave the car (in the morning) with his/her lunch, backpack, etc. in easily accessible locations so that the line may move forward as effectively and efficiently as possible.
    • If a student is not ready to unload from or load into his/her car, the driver will be kindly asked by the staff to circle the lot again to keep the carline moving.
    • Parents/guardians will not use the carline time to discuss issues with their student’s teachers.  A telephone message or e-mail may be sent to the teacher to determine an appropriate time for discussion.
  7. If a parent/guardian/driver needs to park during carline, he/she will be expected to leave the vehicle parked until a break in the carline traffic or the end of carline to allow the process to move forward without interruption.  Vehicles backing into the carline create hazardous situations for other drivers and students; therefore, staff will strictly maintain this policy.

Snacks/Lunches and Trash:
Snacks and lunches will be consumed outdoors.  We will be using a broad variety of spaces for lunch, which may include eating on the grass or a patio area.  Students may bring a small cloth napkin for food items.  There will be absolutely no sharing of food.  Students will be asked to place all uneaten items and food trash back into their lunchbox for disposal at home.  You may wish to include a container or bag for messy items like half-eaten yogurts.  We will not be providing outdoor trash containers; this avoids having children exposed to food waste from other students.

Prince Street: 
The posted speed limit on Prince Street is 30 mph.  Spots near the school are closely monitored by the Littleton police.

You made it to the end. Thank you for reading through carefully and following these procedures diligently. Please review the attached CDPHE document Can I go to school today?  And stay tuned for the updated Student/Parent Handbook coming your way on Friday.


Beth Steklac
Assistant Head of School


July 31, 2020
Dear Mackintosh Parents:

Approaching the beginning of August, our thoughts always turn more and more to the start of school. This year, those thoughts are fraught with anxiety and uncertainty. We all want to embrace the exciting promise of the new school year but, at the same time, we all want to remain safe. The teaching and administrative staff at Mack are totally aligned with you, our parents, in working diligently to make the best decisions for the benefit of your children. Hopefully, you have had a chance to review our Back-to-Mack Reopening Plan. If you haven’t, I urge you to do so as soon as possible. https://mackintoshacademy.com/covid-19/

As I sat down to write this message to you, I saw the email from our School Health Policy and Prevention Coordinator at Tri-County Health Department announcing new reopening guidance from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), developed in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Initial review indicates that our plan adheres to and quite often exceeds the major requirements. Our Admin team will be working next week to drill down into the details of this document. We will update our reopening plan accordingly, incorporate protocols into our Student and Parent Handbook, and communicate with you.

In the meantime, we want to hear from you to gain a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings right now. Please take the time to respond to this short survey by Wednesday, so we can include your input into the next stage of our planning.





One final note – we urge our entire community to take extra precautions during this time of travel and family vacations. Please, please follow CDC and Governor Polis’ safety guidelines—wear masks in public, avoid large gatherings, socially distance. Your well-being is intricately connected to everyone else’s. We are all responsible for each other and want to come back together as a school community in late August, strong, healthy and ready to learn.


Warm regards,


July 17, 2020

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

I hope you and your family are staying healthy and are able to enjoy summer amid all the anxiety and fatigue surrounding this pandemic. What a time we are living through!

As promised, we are sending out our Back-to-Mack Reopening Plan, attached below. Please know that we will continue to update as additional health guidelines are established. This plan and all updates will be posted on our website along with a wealth of other COVID-19-related information and communications. https://mackintoshacademy.com/covid-19/

You are invited to attend one of our two office-hour Zoom meetings scheduled for next week during which Beth Steklac, Sharon Muench and I will address your questions about this Back-to-Mack Reopening Plan.

  • Monday, July 20 at 6:30pm
  • Tuesday, July 21 at 8:00am.
  • Join Zoom Meeting (Please check your email inboxes for the meeting information)

If those times do not work for you, you may email me directly.

We are at a particularly difficult stage in this pandemic, with an upsurge across the nation and increasing cases in Colorado. Schools’ ability to reopen campuses and remain open are dependent on the prudent choices we all make over the next few weeks and months. Here are some links for you to review: Governor Polis’ new mask mandate and information about travel concerns.


We have asked our faculty and staff, and we ask you, our Mack families, to join together in adhering to these guidelines and making those sometimes tough personal choices to benefit our entire community. These times require tremendous flexibility, resilience, and generosity on all our parts.

Warm regards,



May 29, 2020

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

This last week of school contained a wealth of celebrations:

  • Class Closure Meetings
  • 6th grade Exhibition Group Presentations
  • Field Day
  • Fun Day
  • Closing Ceremonies
  • World Premier of Middle School Zoom Romeo and Juliet
  • Graduation (On demand version available soon)
  • Tomorrow’s Final Car Line Parade!

These were all opportunities for us to acknowledge what we have accomplished together this school year and, especially, these last two-and-a-half months. As I told the eighth graders and their parents at graduation this morning, this was not the closing we would have wished for our students, but this virtual and distanced reality is our truth right now, rooted in our caring for each other, our consideration for our community, as well as our determination to persist and make the best of a difficult situation. There is no doubt that we succeeded. Our Mack Flex Learning Plan (engaging teachers, students and parents) provided a gold standard in distance learning, and our closing ceremonies symbolized the deep connection we enjoy with one another.

Your children’s teachers are busy at work finalizing grades and writing their personal and thoughtful narratives. After proofing and final editing by administrative staff next week, these grade reports will be sent digitally to you the following weekend.

Now begins the next phase of our work to design what next school year will look like. As I mentioned in an earlier Friday Connections, our goal is to open on time (August 26) back on campus. But in order to provide a safe environment and to adhere to public health mandates, we know it will look different from last August. And what it will look like will evolve throughout the summer and into the school year. It will require the best of all of us—our patience, flexibility and good will—but we have demonstrated we are up to the challenge and we recognize the rewards are worth it. Thank you for the time you took to complete our parent survey this past week. We are analyzing your responses and will be working with our Back to Mack Task Force while staying on top of developing CDC and Department of Education guidelines and public health requirements. More details will be forthcoming within the next two weeks, including a schedule for ongoing communication and conversations with you via small group virtual meetings and Summer Friday Connections emails.

I hope to see you all (at a distance) during our Final Car Line Parade tomorrow.

Congratulations to all our graduates and best wishes for a healthy and joyful summer,


July 3, 2020

Dear Mack Parents:

Celebrating a national holiday, during this troubled and uncertain time, demands that we rededicate ourselves to our shared positive values, nurture our deep respect for each other, and find direction from the lessons of our communal history. At the same time we must dig deep to find the will and strength to address the problems that beset us. Those imperatives are equally valid for our small gem of a school. We take joy in knowing that we give the best to and bring out the best in our children, but, at the same time, we cannot be impervious to the struggles we must face in order to stay true to our mission during this coming school year.

Over this Fourth of July weekend, I wanted to update you on where we are and will be with our plans for reopening in August, and with the latest news of ongoing work and progress in many other areas.

Status of Progress on Reopening Plans

Intentional and determined work continues unabated in this area. Our achievable goal is to mitigate, not eliminate, risk, and we recognize we must be flexible and prepared to adjust, as needed, on short notice.

  • We are still planning on a five-day, on-campus program with incorporation of virtual aspects to meet needs of students whose health profile temporarily precludes their attendance.
  • Work on improving our Mack Flex Learning plan continues in order for us to transition into off-campus, temporary virtual teaching and learning should circumstances and government mandates require.
  • The expanded 2020/2021 School Year Calendar and Supply List, sent to you earlier this week, incorporate strategies (staggered start to beginning of school year, virtual conferences and gatherings, tech/supply fees) to accommodate this evolving situation.
  • The Back to Mack Task Force is developing recommendations in specific areas and will convene next Thursday.
  • More details on the reopening plan will be announced to parents on July 17 with the caveat that this is not the final word—things are changing rapidly, and we must be responsive to realities.
  • Administration is currently updating and revising the Student/Parent Handbook to delineate specific COVID protocols and procedures. This will be forwarded to families in August.

Physical Improvements on Campus

Much work has already been achieved and continues on our arts expansion and existing classrooms.

  • Expansion: drywalling is completed, temporary wall between gym and stage has been removed, floor finishes will be installed within the next two weeks, stage curtains and sound system have been ordered. The plan remains for us to be able to occupy this new space at the start of school.
  • Existing classrooms: carpet has been removed and new easy-to-clean floor surfaces have been installed in our two-section 3/4 classrooms, connected not combined first and second grades classrooms, and kindergarten classroom.

Teachers, Teachers, Teachers

  • We are fully staffed for the start of the 20/21 school year with two new-to-Mackintosh teachers: Sarah Fishman (second section of 3/4) and Delaney Monroe (first grade.)
  • With guidance from Curriculum Coordinator, Sharon Muench, faculty are engaging in professional development around IB, virtual and hybrid teaching strategies, as well as specific tech skills.
  • The upgrades and changes in location of classrooms mean teachers have been busy cleaning out materials, moving supplies and furniture, painting walls, rethinking and redesigning their teaching spaces to accommodate social distancing.
  • Teachers are busily putting together individual student caddies with classroom and art supplies to reduce significantly use of communal materials.
  • Teachers will have their classrooms ready for the first day of school before the start of our August 12 meetings. We know that this year, we will need all those days of faculty meetings and trainings to provide the safe and smooth transition back to campus your children deserve.

Keeping ourselves and others safe

The following is adapted from a long message I sent to teachers earlier this week and wanted to share with you, urging you to follow. This is more important now than ever in light of the recent upsurge in Coronavirus cases.

It is essential that we all follow CDC, health department and state-recommended and -required safety guidelines this summer and into the school year, whether we are on or off campus. Social distancing and appropriate mask wearing are essential for our health and the health of others. Be extremely mindful of your travel plans and generally limiting the cohort of folks you interact with. Be aware of state regulations about quarantining when you return from travel to other states. I will be urging our parent community to do the same. The data show that transmission is much more likely to come through adults and not children. We, as educators, are responsible for providing a safe school environment by restricting and monitoring our own behavior. This becomes increasingly important as we move closer to the start of the school year. We are a dedicated and professional group of educators, and I know you take your responsibilities seriously and will act accordingly.

Enjoy this holiday weekend with your family.

With affection and great regard for you and your children,


April 1, 2020
Dear Mackintosh Parents:

You may have watched Governor Polis’ press conference earlier today declaring that all Colorado schools, public and private, will remain closed through April 30. Mackintosh Academy Littleton will adhere to that order, and we will continue to provide the Mack Flex Learning Plan for all our students. While this is not what anyone wanted and is tremendously disruptive to all of our lives, I concur that it is essential for responding to this current public health crisis. We are past the middle of our first full week of remote teaching and learning. There have been glitches, questions, suggestions, and changes (totally expected), but we have been pleased at the level and quality of student (and parent) engagement. Teaching and learning is happening at Mack, if not yet back on our campus. I know you join me in being thankful to all our teachers, parent volunteers, and support staff, especially Curriculum Coordinator Sharon Muench, for their ongoing work in designing and providing high quality remote education through our Mack Flex Learning Plan. And we are very grateful to all of you for your patience and continued support and partnership, and particularly appreciative of the sacrifices of our parents who serve as health care professionals during this pandemic.

We miss seeing you and your children in person, but we are, nonetheless, together in facing this crisis.

Have a good evening and stay healthy and safe.

Continue to practice social distancing,


April 24, 2020
Dear Mackintosh Parents:

Pursuant to Governor Polis’ executive order issued last Wednesday, April 22, all public school campuses, from Pre-K through high school, will remain closed through the end of the current school year. Mackintosh, along with other ACIS schools, will adhere to that order. The safety of our families, faculty and your children must be our highest priority. We will follow our 2019-2020 school calendar by offering a continuation of our extensive Mack Flex Learning Plan through Friday, May 22. After the Memorial Day holiday, we will offer end-of-school year activities remotely, including Field Day and Graduation. Of necessity, they will look very different, but we will do our best to provide those fun and celebratory moments in order to conclude this school year on a positive note, and we will continue to offer MACKs enrichment suggestions into the summer. Of course, this was not what any of us wanted, and I know it is a tremendous hardship for all of you, but it is heartening to know that our efforts and sacrifices are working to decrease the transmission of COVID-19, keeping us safer and paving the way to a healthy future together.

Based on our analysis and your feedback, we continue to hone our Mack Flex Learning Plan. We are listening. One of the areas we will be looking at more deeply is how to address the social needs of our students, who have been cut off from the very important more informal interactions with their peers. We spent a long time in our recent faculty meeting brainstorming ways we could support those social relationships. Teachers will be incorporating more social interaction time into and around their classes. And even though we ask that you continue to adhere to our tech policy of utilizing student Mackintosh Academy email addresses only for school, we do encourage you to explore ways, using Facetime, Zoom, Skype and other platforms to extend the time that your children connect with each other. Parents all have access to FACTS /Renweb as a way of locating Mack parent emails in your child’s grade, so you can set up these important opportunities for your children. While we will start sending our Mack Flex Learning Plan parent surveys on an every-other-week basis, we are always open to your questions, ideas and concerns.

All my good wishes for a happy weekend with your family,


March 19. 2020
Dear Mackintosh Parents:

I sincerely wish that we had a chance to catch our collective breath before circumstances demand that another one of these communications be sent to you, but that is not the case. Pursuant to Governor Polis’ declaration yesterday, with full support of our Board of Trustees, and in partnership with other ACIS schools, Mackintosh Academy Littleton will continue its suspension of on-campus classes through Friday, April 17.

We will begin remote/blended learning with a modified schedule on Monday, March 30 and then a full schedule on Tuesday, March 31, modeled after the examples we sent in our earlier COVID-19 email. This will continue through April 17 and will be extended further if necessary. A clear, detailed schedule for your child’s remote learning experience will be sent to you by Friday, March 27 by your child’s homeroom teacher, via ParentSquare and as an email.

As I have communicated earlier, faculty and staff have been working steadfastly for many weeks now in order to ramp up our remote learning skills and technical capacity, and to develop plans. There have been many joyful as well as productive interactions between teachers and students this week, culminating in conferences today and tomorrow. I do ask your patience as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters together.

As far as I know, there have been no confirmed positives for cases of COVID-19 in our community (parents, students, faculty/staff, family members residing with them); however, the Nurse Consultant has asked that I request that parents inform the school if that changes. The reasoning is that it will help us to get a pulse on how many of our Mack families and staff are affected and to consult with the Tri-County health department for guidance on when our school might resume on-campus classes. Please send any such updates, with pertinent dates, to communityhealth@mackintoshacademy.com All personal information will remain confidential.

It is a tremendously disruptive and stressful time for all of us. It seems like this crisis has flung us so fast and so far away from each other and what we know and can trust. Nevertheless, I also know that we are a strong community and that together we are building a temporary bridge that will protect our children from this tumultuous time and will eventually lead us back together .

Stay strong and healthy,


May 16, 2021

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

Mackintosh Academy will maintain its current COVID safety protocols. We have been very successful in providing a safe working and learning environment throughout the 20-21 school year, and we are committed to doing that through the last day of school on June 3 and graduation on June 4.

As you know, I typically send any updates on Covid-related matters as part of a Friday Connections email, but the rapidity with which the guideline changes came out precluded my doing that. I posted that quick Parent Square response last Thursday, prompted by what I found to be somewhat confusing reports on the nightly news; I wanted to assure everyone the school was paying attention and I wanted to be very clear about what was expected during the following few days in that school week.

You and your children deserve the intentionality and thoughtfulness we have always strived to invest in these decisions and communications. Here is a list of key data points we have reviewed and the school-related considerations we have pondered in making this longer-reaching decision to stay the course through the end of this school year.

  • May 13 – New CDC guidelines recommend that fully-vaccinated individuals may no longer need to wear masks but that non-vaccinated individuals should continue to do so.
  • May 14 – Governor Polis’ executive order generally supported those guidelines but indicated that schools have the ability to make their own decisions.
  • May 14 – Tri-County Health Department reached out to schools telling them to continue to follow CDPHE Case and outbreak guidance for students and staff in schools, regardless of vaccination status and to follow face covering requirements for individuals 11 and older and strongly encourage children 2-10 years old to wear face coverings. They are waiting to see what CDPHE issues as updated guidance.
  • While loosening of mask and other COVID safety guidelines, is tremendously encouraging, the pandemic is not over. Current data indicate that one out of every 81 persons in Colorado is infected with the virus, and more contagious variants are evident in the state.
  • During this school year, Mackintosh has experienced no community spread of the virus, with only 9-10 reported individual student cases, resulting in individual quarantines. We have suffered only two cohort quarantines, both of those in January. But, as you see above, quarantine requirements are still in effect. 
  • Our faculty and staff is fully vaccinated; our student population is not.
  • There are only 12 school days remaining in the 20/21 school year, and we want all our students to enjoy all of them.
  • As educators, we know that maintaining some consistency and predictability is particularly important as the school year comes to an end and students participate in non-routine celebrations and special events that mark this time of year. 
  • Making significant changes in our deeply ingrained day-to-day protocols is inadvisable at this time. 

 I hope the above gives you a glimpse into what we took into account in determining our response to these announced changes from  the CDC and the Governor’s office. Obviously, there is much to celebrate here and also much to reflect upon as we move into summer and determine what next school year will look like. Let us enjoy, for now, the safety and sense of wellbeing we have worked, so diligently, to achieve together. Thank you again for your patience and support.

Warm regards,


March 16, 2020
Dear Mackintosh Parents:

This is a long email with lots of information about our educational planning moving forward. While we are not on campus, we are still in school and preparing to offer your child excellent academic experiences, resources, and support. Before I get into all the details, I first want to say that speaking for all our faculty and staff, we miss your children already and are keeping all of you in our hearts. We are particularly mindful of the sacrifices that our parents who are health care professionals are making daily on our behalf. It is clear from following the news developments that we will not return to campus, as planned, on Monday, March 30th after Spring Break. We all wish this were otherwise, and if something happened to change that assumption, we would celebrate welcoming back your children. Being realistic, I don’t see that happening; no one knows how long this crisis will last. I do know that we will be with you all the way until it is resolved.

You were sent an email earlier today by your child’s homeroom teacher, detailing what this current week looks like, with some activities and assignments. That email also explains how this Thursday and Friday portfolio conferences will work. While these are optional, we strongly encourage you to participate with your child. The students have worked so hard in preparation, and it also gives us all a chance to practice using the Zoom video conferencing platform we hope to utilize after the break. The remainder of this email focuses on the status of plans for after Spring Break; this is still a work in progress, but we wanted to share with you our thinking, so far. Please read all the way down this email.

After Spring Break, we will provide a rich remote learning environment that offers meaningful educational experiences with a routine and social interactions so valuable to young people. Our daily schedule will include a class meeting, along with lessons that support the intended core concepts within each classroom. Additional time will be offered for teachers to connect with parents or support individual or small group learning. Independent work will be assigned for all students. We are still refining our schedule as we learn about our families’ remote working and learning needs. We are attempting to meet the greatest number of our families’ needs, although we expect for there to be “bumps in the road” as we venture on this journey. Please be patient; this is uncharted territory for all of us. Just to give you an idea, see below possibilities of what a schedule might look like for your child. These are NOT finalized and will be refined in the coming week with our staff.

Each K-8th grade class will have:

  • Google Website that will provide parents and students with easy access to upcoming due dates, links to independent work assignments, and optional teacher-vetted enrichment activities
  • Google Classrooms for Core Classes for tasks and assignments
  • Zoom Conferencing for Live Remote Classes

Pre-K Classroom

  • Ms. Logan is providing a weekly routine of activities for your child to use. It is optional to maintain this schedule, but the routine may be helpful for you and your child.
  • There are “assignments” for each child to share pictures of their work via the Parent’s ParentSquare account.
  • Pre-K students will not need technology devices to complete their routine.

Grade K Classroom Schedule Possibility

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00-10:00am Independent Work Routine- Schedule as provided by Mrs. Conner. This time is provided for open office hours for teachers to connect with parents or have individual or small focus learning groups with students. There will be a schedule of independent projects, activities, and reading for your child to select from.
10:00-10:55am Community Meeting via Zoom Conference
11:00-11:30am Math Lesson
12:00-12:25pm Optional Language Arts or Unit of Inquiry Lesson


Grades 1st – 6th Classroom Schedule Possibility
(The exact subject in each time period will vary by grade level)

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:30-9:55am Community Meeting Independent Work Routine-Schedule as provided by Homeroom Teacher.
9:00-9:25am Unit of Inquiry Math Lesson via Zoom Conference by Math Group Unit of Inquiry Math Lesson via Zoom Conference by Math Group
9:45-10:20am Language Arts Unit of Inquiry Language Arts Unit of Inquiry
10:30-11:30am Independent Work Schedule as provided by Homeroom Teacher.
12:00-2:00pm This time is provided for open office hours for teachers to connect with parents or have individual or small focus learning groups with students.


Grades 7th – 8th Classroom Schedule Possibility

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9:00-9:30am Independent Work Schedule- Routine as provided by All Teachers. Community Meeting.
9:55-10:30am Language and Literature 8th (Virtual Session)

Spanish 7th (Virtual Session)

Language and Literature 7th (Virtual Session)

Spanish 8th (Virtual Session)

Language and Literature 8th (Virtual Session)

Spanish 7th (Virtual Session)

Language and Literature 7th (Virtual Session)

Spanish 8th (Virtual Session)

10:45-11:30am   Individuals and Society (Virtual Session) Performing Arts (Virtual Session) Individuals and Society (Virtual Session) Performing Arts (Virtual Session)
12:00-12:35pm   Math (Virtual Session) Science (Virtual Session) Math (Virtual Session) Science (Virtual Session)
12:00-2:00pm This time is provided for open office hours for teachers to connect with parents or have individual or small focus learning groups with students.


Supporting Your Child At Home

  • Maintain a positive attitude. What we say and do in our daily talk supports students in their new learning environment.
  • Establish a daily routine–children feel comforted by a routine and explicit expectations. Maintain a schedule for waking up, preparing for the school day, learning opportunities, meal time, and bedtime.
  • For our younger students, parents may want to sit with their child initially as the teachers establish the routines and expectations for the lessons.
  • Organize the learning space to designate a home base for the video lessons and storage of materials.
  • Reach out and communicate with your child’s teacher, learning specialist Stacey Anderson, Beth Steklac, Sharon Muench, or myself if you are concerned about your child. We are here to support each child and each family to the best of our ability.

Breaks between classes and in the schedule

We have created breaks between classes and an independent work day each week. There will be a lot of screen time, and we want kids to be able to regroup and unplug between lessons. That said, we encourage students to use an alarm of some sort to remind themselves of the start time for the subsequent class. Our goal is to continue learning.

Extra Help and Differentiation

Every day, teachers will have office hours that will allow any student to drop in, ask questions, get help.

Receiving tasks, assignments, and grades/marks

For our 3rd-8th Grade Students this will be the same as they have done all year. We have used Google Classroom routinely to receive and turn in assignments. Teachers then grade the work and return it to the student electronically. This will be new to our K-2nd grade students, but our staff will walk them through how to do this.

Arts, Spanish, PE

Specials will provide weekly tasks and activities for our students to do. They also will have a log or journal to complete. Our specialist teachers are investigating how to use this opportunity to enhance your child’s music, drama, visual arts, PE, and Spanish learning with a multitude of strategies and opportunities that are available.

Student Absences

Should students miss a day or days, just as in “regular” school, they are responsible for completing homework and checking in with their teachers. Teachers will work with students to create individualized plans to catch up on missed work.

Counselor Support

Lillian Hendricks will be available for consultation and support for students and their parents. You can send her an email, and she will set up a Zoom session with your child or you to problem solve whatever may arise. (lillian@mackintoshacademy.com)

What will be different

Working and learning from home is likely to present novel difficulties and distractions. Some teachers will be juggling their own children who are home from school and their teaching responsibilities. While each teacher will manage their particular situation as professionally as possible, there may be times that a teacher may be ill or have to meet the needs of his/her family. There is so much, personally, going on during this COVID-19 crisis, and we ask that parents and students be understanding of teachers’ at-home situations, just as teachers will be understanding of what may be occurring for a student.

This is new for all of us. We have never tried to “run school” completely online. It has been a steep learning curve that changes hourly. Please know that we are going to do our best to address whatever may arise on the first day and each day that follows.

Virtual Conferencing Classrooms (Zoom) at home

You will see first-hand how Zoom works during your Parent-Teacher-Student conferences this week. Before each session, students (and/or parents) will receive an email link with the session information.

We are creating tutorials on how to access Zoom which will be on our website.

Tech Support

If you encounter any issue, please reach out to our Parent Run Technology Department at tech-support@mackintoshacademy.com or call the school at 303-794-6222 and leave a message for Tech Support. If you require a school device (K-8th), please contact us as soon as possible. We will make arrangements for you to pick up a device.

Mackintosh staff, ably led by our Curriculum Coordinator Sharon Muench, have been working non-stop to develop engaging and thoughtful experiences that will propel your child’s learning ahead. While nothing will perfectly replicate the learning community we are able to create at school, we will do our best to communicate with you and continue to present effective learning opportunities for your child. It is our primary goal to continue to support the keen minds and compassionate hearts of our students during this very real global crisis. We appreciate your support and partnership during this new adventure. The administrative staff will be attending classes each day and connecting with families in the coming days and weeks. If you have questions or need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact any one of the administrative staff.

Warmest regards,


June 25, 2021

Dear Mackintosh Parents:

I hope you are well into reveling in the joys of summer, particularly this year, as Covid restrictions have mellowed considerably and we are all able to experience a wonderful taste of freedom. I imagine, like me, however, you have also been following news reports of the spread of the more contagious Delta variant in our state and around the country. We are clearly not yet out of the woods.

This Friday Connections is just to let you know that our Administrative Team is also enjoying the positives and paying attention to the negatives as we begin to formulate early ideas about what next school year will look like. With your support and cooperation, Mackintosh was tremendously successful in providing on-campus teaching and learning all last school year with just three cohort quarantines, nine individual student cases, and no school-community transmission of Covid. Our deepest desire is to improve upon those metrics during the 21/22 school year, to increase the level of freedom and normalcy in our daily operations, and most importantly, to keep your children and our faculty/staff safe. We will continue to consult with state and local public health departments, Children’s Hospital, and other independent schools in determining prudent and thoughtful guidelines. And we will reach out to members of last summer’s parent/board member Covid Task force.

School doesn’t start until late August, but I wanted to give you some insight into our current thinking. We walked a difficult path together last year, and it seemed respectful to keep you in the loop about our thoughts moving forward.  Nevertheless, we cannot stress enough that these represent our best guess at this moment in time; they are neither comprehensive nor definitive.  The picture might change significantly over the next one-and-a-half to two months. Let us all hope it is for the positive. We will continue to communicate with you. Our plan is to publish revised guidelines mid-August.

Here is our current thinking on a few important matters:

  • Vaccinations are strongly encouraged when those become available.
  • Quarantine/isolation protocols will remain in place for unvaccinated individuals.
  • Very limited MackFlex will be provided for Covid-related quarantines/isolations only.
  • Masks will be required inside and optional outside for all individuals on campus.
  • We will continue use of HEPA filters, open windows, spaced seating, and, when desirable, outdoor classes.

I hope this is helpful in allaying some concerns and keeping us all on the same page. I am not in a position to go into more detail at this time but will do so no later than mid-August.

Enjoy summer with your children and stay safe. I hope to see you during our fun on-campus summer gatherings.

Head of School

March 12, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

Governor Polis’ declaration of a State of Emergency anticipates that we have or may soon have community spread of the virus in Colorado. While this was expected, it is not welcome news, and requires all of us to be vigilant about minimizing our exposure to infection. In general, this is less severe for children, but it is tremendously serious for older and immune-compromised populations.

In order to protect the health of our entire Mack community, we respectfully require that you immediately notify the school if any of the following occur:

  • A member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19
  • A member of your household is experiencing symptoms for COVID-19 and has not yet been tested
  • A member of your household has had close contact with an individual who has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.

That member of your household (adult or child) will be asked to remain off campus until we have consulted with Tri-County Department of Health to determine what actions are needed, including remaining off campus for the requisite 14-day quarantine period and possible school closure. Please know that we are sending the same guidelines to faculty and staff.

Regarding the issue of school closure. I know there is much anxiety about this. Be assured that any decision around this will not be taken lightly; we completely understand that closure has serious ramifications for parents as well as children. Nevertheless, this is something we must all be prepared to face. As indicated above, our plan is to consult with Tri-County Health Department before we would make a decision to close and for how long. As a matter of course, Mackintosh will follow any governmental, general public health directives that involve closures of all schools. We just received new guidelines from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regarding school closures. They are in line with what I indicated above. Please see the entire notice attached. Any decision of school closure at Mack will be communicated to you using FACTS/RenWeb.

We continue to monitor communications from the CDC and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and maintain contact with other ACIS schools around Colorado to keep abreast of developments, recommendations, and best practices. As well, I am consulting with several parents who are health care professionals, whose reading-between-the-lines advice is invaluable. This help us makes sense of the news and how it impacts us at Mackintosh and also informs our decision-making about school protocols and cancellation or postponement of events.

We are currently working diligently with faculty to develop online and blended strategies to address the educational needs of our students remotely. Stay tuned for more specific details. As discussed in previous emails, we continue to promote healthy practices for hand washing, sneezing and coughing; to prohibit food/utensil sharing, and to implement extensive cleaning and sanitizing practices daily.

We ask your help in a number of specific ways:

  • Reinforce hand washing, coughing/sneezing hygiene practices at home.
  • Avoid travel to any areas identified by the State Department and the CDC as a 2 or 3 level of concern. This is particularly important as Spring Break approaches.
  • Seriously consider changing travel plans and other social/business situations that increase your exposure to the virus.
  • Keep sick children home even, in some cases, without a fever.
  • Determine child care plans in order to be prepared in case of a school closure.
  • Read all school emails, newsletters and ParentSquare posts
  • Keep well informed by consulting reputable news sources. Be careful of being misled by rumors or fake news posts on social media. We have set up a Coronavirus information section on our website that includes a compilation of my Covid-19 communications and some links to excellent sources of information and advice. https://mackintoshacademy.com/covid-19/

Dear parents, most importantly, we ask for your patience, trust and flexibility as we navigate this very fluid situation. Even the guidelines communicated above may have to change in response to a changing circumstances and information; we will continue to keep you apprised and send updates in a timely manner. I speak for all the Mackintosh faculty and staff when I say that we care deeply for your children. This goes above and beyond our commitment to providing them with an excellent education and extends to keeping them safe and strong and secure. We are privileged to partner with you in this important endeavor, especially during a very difficult time.

Warm regards,


March 13, 2020
Dear Mack Parents;

This is formal notification that Mackintosh Academy Littleton has made the decision to join with surrounding public school districts and ACIS schools by cancelling on-campus classes for students next week, March 16 through 20. Governor Polis just confirmed that Colorado has moved into the community phase of the transmission of the Coronavirus and that we all have a responsibility to help limit the severity of this public health crisis. Mackintosh is committed to doing its part to help “flatten the curve” and spread out the transmission of the virus by practicing social distancing. School closures are an important part of that strategy. While there are no known cases in our immediate population, we know it is only a matter of time before that happens. The Board of Trustees fully supports this decision as does our nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital.

Students will be coming home this afternoon with materials for completing school work next week and participating, virtually, in their conferences next Thursday and Friday. Sharon Muench and Beth Steklac and, ultimately, individual classroom teachers will be reaching out to you with specific details about how this will look. The following week, March 23 through 27 is our regularly scheduled Spring Break. As I indicated in my email to you last night, while we would like to resume on-campus classes, as planned, on Monday, March 30, that will depend upon the public health situation. If students remain off campus for the week after Spring Break, we will address educational needs through remote learning. Faculty have already been working on this with training and planning and will continue those efforts next week.

We know this is very difficult for all of you and your children, but we also know Mackintosh can depend on your understanding and support. We have a strong, resilient and socially responsible community.


Diane Dunne, Head of School

Stephanie Gill-Kelly, Co-Chair Board of Trustees

Keely Bostock, Co-Chair Board of Trustees

March 3, 2020
Dear Parents:

The health, wellbeing and safety of our students is always Mackintosh’s highest priority. With the Coronavirus spreading around the world and within this country, that firm commitment, as well as our vigilance to best hygiene practices, has increased according. We are closely monitoring developments as they occur. As reported previously, we are in contact with our nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital, medical professionals in our parent community. We follow health alerts and related developments from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the CDC. Currently, there are still no confirmed cases in Colorado, but we are actively engaged in pre-pandemic response planning should that situation change.

In addition to ensuring safety and wellbeing, our goal as a school is to provide the highest quality and most responsive educational environment. We are making every effort to continue in that Mack tradition. Currently, all classes are running as scheduled and upcoming all-school activities will continue as planned. The latter includes our Annual Meeting this Thursday night (March 5), Portfolio Conferences (the afternoon of March 19 and March 20), and Spring Break, (March 23 through March 27.) Our intent is to continue with school as usual as long as we have teachers to teach and students to learn; however, should health concerns require a different decision, we will communicate with you as soon as possible. As indicated, we are involved in discussions with other administration officials at ACIS schools and will be monitoring decisions in nearby public school districts.

This is a stressful time for all of us. As much as we have heightened our efforts and attention, we also don’t want to create unnecessary anxiety. Our mantra is to be prudent, not panic. Continue to scroll down to read what Mack is doing to ensure health, safety, wellness and the delivery of our program. And then read further, to read what you, as parents, can do to help. We are all in this together.

Warm regards,



What Mack is doing:

  • Promoting frequent and effective handwashing by teachers, staff and students.
  • Promoting effective protocols around sneezing, coughing, etc.
  • Remind students not to share food, eating utensils, and plates.
  • Discourage students from touching their eyes, noses, mouths, etc.
  • Disinfecting all tables/desks, counters, doorknobs at the end of each school day.
  • Monitoring developments with public health officials, nurse consultant, other independent schools, public school officials.
  • Seeking specific advise from medical professionals in our parent community.
  • Urging parents to keep sick children home.
  • Requiring sick faculty to stay home.
  • Sending sick children (and faculty) home
  • Working with a current parent who owns a video conferencing business about developing contingency plans for virtual classrooms, if needed
  • Working with our counselor and teachers to allay concerns among our students


What Mack Parents can do:

  • Reinforce and practice with your children above top four practices. For more information – https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=sLXzw6j9JVw&feature=emb_logo
  • Keep sick children home. Even if they don’t have a fever, if they are too sick to learn, they are too sick to be at school.
  • Avoid traveling to areas of Level 2, 3, or 4 risk as determined by the CDC and U.S. State Department. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/
  • Please let us know if you do travel to these areas. Depending on warning levels, the school may follow suit with local health officials and request 14-day quarantines in order to protect health and safety of all students and faculty.
  • Stay calm.
March 7, 2020
Dear Mack Parents:

While the confirmation, earlier this week, that there are cases of Coronavirus in Colorado is not surprising, it certainly added to our stress level and feelings of helplessness. Please be assured that we continue to work with our nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital and Tri-County Health Department to make sure that we are doing all we can to provide a safe environment at school. As I mentioned in my previous email, I have asked our counselor Dr. Lillian Henricks to lead us in addressing the social emotional aspects of this current crisis. Scroll down to read her advice to you on talking to and being with your children. Take comfort from her message that we are not helpless.

My wish for you and your families is that you will get outside, breathe in the healing powers of nature, and enjoy this beautiful Colorado weekend.

Warm regards,



What Can We Do to Stay Healthy?

In our efforts to prepare for potential implications of the Coronavirus here at Mackintosh we are keeping in mind the emotional impact on the children of facing something that is to a large degree out of their control. With this in mind, here are a few ideas for reflection that you can communicate to your children to the degree that you see fit.

One idea is to use this as a teachable moment to reiterate the many things that are in our control relative to our health. In addition to building the habits of the big three – hand washing, sneezing/coughing into the elbow, and not touching mouth, nose or eyes without a tissue, what a good opportunity to discuss and to make healthy choices more generally as a family. You can talk about good nutrition, water intake, sufficient sleep, and ample exercise/time spent outside, and how these practices enhance immunity. In addition, you can reflect as a family on goals of positive thinking and acting (including practicing gratitude, forgiveness, and kindness) which undoubtedly strengthen each one of us as persons. To the degree that we can increase our children’s sense of agency we are equipping them with a life skill that will serve them far beyond coping with the current reality of this spreading virus.

Mindfulness is another practice well worth considering at this time. Being mindful is a simple and accessible way to step away from the barrage of internal and external thoughts that may not serve our overall health. Taking time to slow down and concentrate on your breath, on different feelings in your body, and on what the senses perceive can lead to increased focus and calmness in which the prefrontal cortex is more engaged and we are less at the mercy of our primal brains. Where am I feeling tight or constricted? Why? Take a few deep, slow breaths to release that tension and become more grounded. Gain perspective. What if you did this at the table before dinner: let’s take a few slow deep breaths and reflect silently on those things for which we are grateful. Here is just one of many excellent websites with mindfulness resources geared toward families: https://www.susankaisergreenland.com/.

Stay tuned for a few more ideas, and in the meantime let us strive to keep calm and carry on with what is in our power to do.

P.S. Keep your eyes open for a little comic book intended for kids that we are sending home soon with basic information about the virus.


February 24, 2020
Dear Mackintosh community,

We wanted to let you know that we have been monitoring the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus closely and have been following information and advice from the Centers for Disease Control, the Colorado Health Department, our colleagues at other independent schools, as well as our school nurse consultant from Children’s Hospital. Based on these sources, we believe the risk the virus presents to our students at this time is quite low. To minimize risk for any virus, including coronavirus, it is important to practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing with soap and water, sneezing into a tissue or inner elbows, and regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and to keep sick children and adults at home. We continue to implement these practices at school and encourage you to support them at home, as well.

We are totally committed to the health and safety of our students and will update families if conditions change about this virus. We have also attached an information sheet that was recently released from the Colorado Department of Health.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.


Diane Dunne

Fact Sheet for Corona Virus from CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment)

First Item to be hidden

Guidelines about school closure planning

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment: Planning for Schools and Child Care Closure


Other resources for parents

Answering Kids’ Questions About the Coronavirus, in Free Picture Books https://nyti.ms/3cfPdLC

Colorado State Emergency Operations Center: https://covid19.colorado.gov/

The World Health Organization (WHO) website. This site has general information on the coronaviruses, a video, and an infographic about preventing the spread of viruses.

U.S. State Department website. This site will list all the international travel advisories and rank locations as to level of concern.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. This is probably the best U.S. site on the virus. It covers symptoms and diagnosis, transmission, and prevention and treatment. It also has travel updates.

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE): https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus

New York Times Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak

March 13th News Conference: Governor Polis announced coronavirus cases in Colorado

Compassionate Hearts Corner

by Lillian Henrick, PsyD, Mackintosh School Counselor

Weeks ago eighth graders Grace and Ember designed a fun book “How the Germs Didn’t Take Over the World“. This little story book educates students about the spread of germs and the increasing power that kids have over them when they wash their hands with soap! If our initial push for frequent and effective hand-washing has subsided, maybe it is time for a booster. One detail that has changed since the book was put together is the new recommendation for mask use across the board, whereas previously this recommendation targeted health care workers and the sick; apart from this change the message is one that will endure. Please share it with your kids as a clever reminder even if they already heard the book in class, which is a possibility. For our younger students or young siblings the Social Story Book For Children about COVID-19: “Something Strange Happened in my City” is another relevant resource. It aims to empower young children to do their part while also trusting caregivers to protect them; it also foments appreciation for the sacrifices of health care workers. There is both a PDF version and one where the book is read aloud.

Craig Knippenberg, LCSW, M.Div began hosting Facebook Live sessions for parents on Tuesdays from 9:30-10:30 am, beginning March 24th. Craig touched on some great ideas in his first episode of “Surviving the Coronavirus at Home: Managing the Side Effects by Thriving During this Time Together.” Highlights include overall practical advice for families and relatable personal anecdotes; how enacting boundaries/schedules for the family both respects children’s needs and meets your own need for personal time; how the practice of forgiveness in family relationships is a priority now more than ever; how lowering expectations of parenting consistency can preserve your sanity and that of your children; and how service to others is a vital way to flourish as a family even now when the gravitational pull is toward self-preservation. Craig also touches upon managing screen time for both ourselves and our children, the importance of validating our kids’ emotions, and the advantage of an adventure
mindset, among other nuggets of wisdom gleaned from his 35 years of experience. Overall, you will find principles for a healthy and balanced approach to living so close to one another at home for an extended time.

Visit www.craigknippenberg.com or his Facebook page @coloradomentalhealth to learn more or to tune in on Tuesdays at 9:30 am. You can go to http://craigknippenberg.com/covid-19/ to sign up for updates and event notifications.

An article briefly summarizing Craig’s tips on coping with the current crisis can be found here (https://bcparent.ca/2020/03/21/12-survival-tips/) .

Mackintosh Academy Littleton