Additional Guidelines During COVID-19 Pandemic 21-22 School Year
To reduce the spread of COVID-19 we will be implementing the following social distancing guidelines that are appropriate for the age of the children we serve.
- Our class sizes will maintain a maximum of 10 children for our largest groups. (9 for our Toddlers and Three-Year-Olds)
- Each morning classroom will operate independently as much as possible to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission between groups.
- Fixed pairs of classrooms will be considered a “cohort”. Those two groups will have shared outside playground time and may share a floating support teacher.
- Children who stay for the afternoon may experience comingling of groups if necessary.
- We will utilize our outdoor spaces as much as possible throughout the day while still keeping distinct cohorts apart.
- We will minimize the sharing of any common play spaces to the extent possible. When spaces must be shared, we will utilize additional cleaning protocols between each group’s uses.
- Children over 2 will wear masks as much as possible. When they need to remove their masks, such as for eating, they will be spaced further apart from each other. Bandanas or masks with filters are not allowed.
- Teachers will wear masks as much as possible, and always when in close contact with a child.
- We will design our classroom spaces to allow for children to spread out as they naturally play, but we will not forbid children to play together.
- We will design our transitions between spaces to minimize the interaction between multiple groups in hallways and exits.
- Some high touch items that are difficult to disinfect, such as sensory materials and art supplies, will be allocated to each child’s personal supply which he/she can freely use.
- For children who sleep at school, rest mats will be placed so that children’s heads are 6 feet apart. Masks will not be worn while sleeping.
- When teachers are assisting with any toileting needs, they will utilize additional PPE such as smocks and gloves.
- Staff will have additional training in maintaining safe environments and reducing the transmission of disease.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTING
The following steps reflect our already thorough cleaning procedures along with additional enhancements.
- All children and teachers will wash their hands frequently throughout the day, and especially during these times: upon arrival, before and after eating, after playing outside, anytime they have contact with any bodily fluids, and before and after using the bathroom.
- When handwashing is not immediately available yet warranted, teachers will supervise the use of hand sanitizer with the children.
- Throughout the day, teachers will implement routines that involve the frequent cleaning and sanitizing of these items: classroom toys, tables and chairs, sink areas, and door knobs.
- We will disinfect surfaces with a solution of 4 tsp. bleach per quart of water, or other EPA approved disinfectant.
- We will limit the use of fabric items or items that children may be likely to mouth.
- Every evening our professional cleaning company will do a thorough job of disinfecting all the classrooms and bathrooms.
CONNECTING WITH FAMILIES: drop off and pick up
We want you and your child to feel welcomed each morning. Our new procedures may feel different than before, but we know that in time the relationships we develop will make these plans work well.
- We will be offering an Orientation experience as well as resources for preparing your child to come back to school prior to the start of the session. Specific details will be shared by your child’s teacher in June.
- Teachers will communicate with parents through weekly general notes. These notes will be filled with pictures and details about the curriculum. Individual feedback about your child from your teacher will happen by email every other week and by phone as needed. Your Program Director will also be available to discuss your child’s development and Zoom conferences can be arranged.
- Each morning we will ask you to reply to our google.doc attesting that your child has not shown any signs of illness nor has he/she been directly exposed to anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This document must be received daily before your child can be admitted to school. No exceptions will be made.
- Parents will wear masks at drop-off and pick-up.
- Parents will not be entering the building. If your child requires additional support to have a positive transition, your child’s teacher will work with you to develop an effective plan.
- Upon arrival at school, a staff person will greet you and conduct a friendly visual confirmation that your child appears to be healthy. A teacher will then escort your child inside.
- Your child’s teacher will describe the exact details of the check-in and drop-off procedure for their group, so that you can prepare your child in advance. We will create a plan that allows for distancing between families and reduces waiting as much as possible.
- Pick-up times will be staggered according to the schedule you signed up for. We will have a teacher available to bring your child to the closest door to meet you for dismissal.
- We ask that you stay 6 feet apart from other families during these transitions. We will do our best to try to make this process as supportive and efficient as we can, but we know that there will be times where waiting is inevitable. We appreciate your patience.
HOW PARENTS WILL HELP: before and after school
We will be very grateful for the cooperation of our families as we work to keep everyone safe and keep our doors open.
- Families will assess their child’s health before coming to school and send a daily electronic attestation to this assessment. Any child who is showing the following signs of illness will be kept home:
- Fever(100.00 F or above), felt feverish, or had chills
- Sore Throat
- Shortness of breath
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting)
- Excessive fatigue
- New loss of taste/smell
- New muscle aches
- Close contact with a person known to have COVID-19.
- Parents will dress their child in freshly cleaned clothes each day they attend school and provide us with two changes of clothes to keep at school if needed.
- Parents will provide a daily supply of clean masks for every child over 2 years old.
- We urge parents to speak with your pediatrician about getting a flu vaccine this year. It may be required in the fall.
- If a child needs to bring a “lovie” to school, parents will disinfect it each day after school. However, we recommend having a school-based “lovie” that “lives at school” to make this process easier if needed. We ask that no unessential toys from home to come to school.
- Parents will commit to following the current Massachusetts guidelines for Social Distancing as a family.
OTHER HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
- Outside visitors will not be permitted in the building, with the exception of individuals needing access to perform building maintenance or repairs. We will try to schedule these services outside of school hours as much as possible, and will keep children and teachers apart from these workers at all times. If you employ anyone outside your home to transport your child to/from school, that person must remain outside the building during the transition.
- Children who are at high-risk for respiratory issues or other health vulnerabilities must have a written Individualized Health Care Plan from their healthcare provider to attend.
- Children who develop any symptoms of illness at school will be immediately isolated from their group and parents will be called to pick up as soon as possible. We will then consult with our Health Care Consultant and/or our local Board of Health for specific guidance regarding re-entry to school.
- If a child, teacher or household member is found to have confirmed COVID-19, we will follow the current guidance of the Board of Health regarding exclusions or closures. These are the guidelines we have been given at the time of this writing:
- Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, must self-quarantine for 10 days.
- If a parent/sibling with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is not able to strictly isolate from the rest of the family, then our student’s exposure quarantine begins 10 days after the parent’s diagnosis.
- If a parent/sibling has a confirmed case and our student tests negative then only that family needs to quarantine as long as the parent has not entered our building.
- Before a person with a confirmed case can leave quarantine they must get clearance from the Board of Health in the town where they live.
- If a child, teacher or household member is found to have been exposed to COVID-19, we will follow the current guidance of the Board of Health regarding exclusions or closures. These are the guidelines we have been given at the time of this writing:
- Anyone who was directly exposed to a confirmed case, must self-quarantine for 14 days. (This timeframe can be reduced by following a specific testing and symptom tracking protocol.)
- Exposure is defined as 10 minutes or more of contact within 6 ft. of distance from the sick person within the two days prior to symptom onset up to the date of confirmed recovery.
- Evidence of full vaccination and/or documented history of positive COVID-19 within the last 90 days may be considered by the BOH, as long as there has been no sign of symptoms.
- Travel restrictions are in constant flux due to severity of outbreaks in different regions. We will send out announcements of any changes in our policy, but parents are responsible for informing themselves of the current restrictions if they chose to travel. Travel to regions with high incidents of transmission may require a quarantine and/or proof of vaccination.
- If a parent knowingly engages in behavior that falls under the recommended quarantine guidelines determined by the state, they assume full responsibility for tuition during their child’s quarantine.
- Parents will be billed monthly for the following month’s tuition. If we experience a classroom quarantine triggered by a known exposure we will not be refunding any tuition already paid. Future tuition owed for a classroom that is not yet operating will be charged at 25% of the rate.
- By signing a contract to attend our program, parents are agreeing to these policies as well as the policies in our Parent Handbook.
As more is being learned about this virus and its transmission we reserve the right to modify these plans in consultation with the Board of Health or the Department of Early Education and care.