MFS COVID-19 Response

Thank you for reaching out with your questions. Here are some that we are hearing most frequently. We will update this page as we continue to hear from our community, local government, and public health officials.

Are teachers still receiving their full pay?
Yes. Without them, we would not have a school and MFS could not carry out its mission. No COVID-related reductions, furloughs, nor layoffs of faculty and staff have been made at MFS. The Board of Trustees and the Head of School rely upon our highly-trained faculty and staff to provide the only PreK-8 Montessori education in the East Bay. All faculty and staff have been retained and will continue working remotely to provide MFS@Home instruction throughout the 2019-20 school year.


Will MFS Be refunding or reducing tuition for the 2019-20 school year because of COVID-19?
No. In order to cover MFS’ financial obligations and provide MFS@Home, tuition will not be refunded. Salaries and facilities are our two largest expenses, and the two most critical to keep in place so we can resume on-site services as soon as it is safely possible. For families experiencing financial hardship, we established the Stronger Together Community Fund to provide assistance.  


Do I lose my deposit if I withdraw now?
Yes. The deposit is non-refundable and is required to hold a place for your student in the fall.


What happens if I don’t make my first tuition payment by May 31?
MFS will not hold your spot for the fall.  


Will the tuition be the same next year?  Will there be other tuition payment options? 
Tuition and enrollment agreements remain the same. We are looking at offering addenda with tuition options based on possible scenarios for educating students in the fall. We will provide additional information about this before the end of May.  


What is the Stronger Together Community Fund (STCF)? 
We know the impact of COVID-19 has been difficult for all MFS families and community members, and we have established the Montessori Family School Stronger Together Community Fund (STCF) to provide support during the pandemic. This special fund will be used to provide additional financial aid and flexibility to MFS families experiencing reduced income due to COVID-19- related layoffs, furlough, or reduced hours. 


What are the funding priorities for the STCF, and how are the funds allocated?    
Financial assistance from the Stronger Together Community Fund will be awarded to families with the greatest demonstrated need. MFS Administration, with an outside consultant, will determine the allocation of STCF funds, much like the traditional financial aid allocation process.


Has MFS applied for the loans provided by the CARE Act?
Yes. We applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP funds were awarded on May 4, and must be used to cover payroll and other specific operating expenses in the 8 weeks after being received, per the strict guidelines of these funds.  


Will MFS offer a summer program this year?
MFS did offer a summer program this year for the El Cerrito Campus, but did not meet minimum enrollment in order to run.


Will the classroom doors open in the Fall?
At this time, no schools know whether they will be open in the fall. MFS will continue to be aligned with county and state public health directives and guidelines and other local independent schools.  


Is MFS considering small group options, alternating days of attendance, or other ways to allow students to meet on campus next school year?
Yes, we are considering all of those options and more, and working hard on plans that will be agile in the face of rapidly changing circumstances.


What does enrollment look like for next year?
Enrollment is projected to be lower next year, but stable. In the short term, enrollment contraction will allow us to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions on group gatherings, as we consider scenarios in which we may be alternately on campus and in remote learning mode.


However, while our numbers indicate stability for the near term, we will need to build enrollment as we move toward a future — hopefully, sooner rather than later — in which our classrooms can once again be fully occupied.


MFS is a strong community celebrating nearly 40 years of providing authentic Montessori education to children in the East Bay. The board and administration have the long term sustainability of the school as a high priority and are taking all possible actions to ensure that MFS continues to serve children and families both during this crisis and long after it passes. 


1850 Scenic Avenue

Berkeley, CA 94709



7075 Cutting Boulevard

El Cerrito, CA 94530


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Pre-K - 8th