AllTogetherNow! Preschool Protocol

 

Effective August 2020 (subject to revision)

Due to the enormous changes and challenges brought by the pandemic, many of our policies and procedures have changed to protect the health and safety of our children, families, and staff. Parent’s understanding and cooperation is critical to minimizing our collective risk of exposure to COVID-19. 

We will make every effort to communicate clearly with families since our policies and protocols will be evolving to meet the needs of our community and follow the guidelines offered by the state.

Arrival at AllTogetherNow! (ATN)

Parents or caregivers who are self-quarantining due to close contact with a COVID-19 positive person or people should NOT drop-off or pick-up children.

The arrival protocol is as follows:

1. Both parents and students must wear a mask.

2. Upon arrival at ATN, please wait at the gate until invited in by a teacher. Please keep a six-foot distance between other families arriving for check-in. This should only take a few minutes.  We appreciate your patience.  

3. A teacher will greet you and your child wearing gloves, mask, glasses, to perform a health screening. 

4. These are the questions you can expect to be asked during the daily health check and the process for taking temperatures. Please be aware that intentionally omitting information or offering false or misleading information will result in immediate withdrawal from the program.

  • Has your child been in close contact with a person who has tested positive with COVID-19?

  • Does your child feel unwell with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19? For example, do they have, or have they had, a cough, high temperature, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, diarrhea, or new loss of taste or smell?

  • Has your child, or anyone in your family, traveled outside of Vermont?

  • Has your child taken any fever-reducing medicines (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.)?

  • Does your child show any signs of infection, which could include flushed cheeks, fatigue, irritability, or other signs (observed by staff)?

  • We will then take your child’s temperature with a touch-free thermometer and record his or her temperature. A temperature over 100.4 is considered a fever for these purposes. 

  • Because the risk of infection from COVID-19 is still very real in our community, children who are exhibiting any symptoms of any illness may not attend ATN Preschool. This includes normal childhood illnesses such as colds and coughs that have usually been par for the course. If you suspect that your child has seasonal allergies, please be in touch with your health care provider to have her/him make this determination.

  • If you answer yes to any of the above questions, your child may not attend ATN on that day. If a child has a fever, you must consult a physician and he or she must be fever-free for, at least, 48 hours before they can return to school.

5. Once your child has been screened, please accompany your child to the outdoor sink and help your child wash hands according to the posted guidelines (at least 20 seconds), and deliver your child’s bin they’ve brought from home, on the porch.

6. We ask parents to say goodbye briefly as others may be waiting. 

Attendance Requirements

Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 or awaiting test results should self-isolate until:

1.    48 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medication AND

2.    Other symptoms have improved AND

3.    At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND

4.  Must have Dr.’s approval to return 

We expect that families whose children are in attendance will follow the current Governor’s Orders around Health and Safety Precautions. You can view updated orders at https://vem.vermont.gov/covid19. At the time of writing, this includes practicing physical distancing with people who are not in your family and CURRENT self-quarantining travel guidelines (as seen here accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/restart/cross-state-travel) to keep us all safe. 

If you have traveled out of state, or have visitors from hot spots, please let us know your quarantine protocol.

What to Bring (please **LABEL EVERYTHING**)

Because of the increased risk of infection from personal items brought from home, we ask you to please limit personal items to the following: 

  • Medium-sized storage bin to be used as an individual cubby to contain personal items--this will go home each day

  • Small day pack for hikes

  • Clothing appropriate for the weather that day, specifically rain and snow gear since we will be outside in all weather, a full change of clothes, and a bathing suit.

  • Snacks and lunch (with utensils)

  • Sunblock (please apply before arrival)

  • Towel

  • Sun hat

  • Water bottle

  • 2 cloth facial coverings (preferably ones that hang around the neck)

  • Non-toxic insect repellent (optional) 

  • Crib sized sheet for rest time

If a Child Becomes Sick at School

While we will be doing daily health screens and temperature checks, it can happen that children become sick while at school. Because of the heightened health and safety practices at this time, it is absolutely critical that if your child becomes ill you are able to come and pick him or her up in no more than 30-45 minutes. Make sure you can be reached at all times, and if not, make sure we know who to contact to come and pick up your child quickly.  

While maintaining the child’s privacy, if a child becomes sick at school, or tests positive for COVID, we will inform all families.  

Use of Cloth Facial Coverings

In keeping with new Health and Safety guidelines, ATN staff will wear cloth facial coverings when inside or within six feet apart while outside. Students aged 2 and up must wear masks indoors, and must wear masks outdoors when within 6 feet of others.  Exceptions can be made when deemed not developmentally appropriate.   

Physical (Social) Distancing 

Physical distancing is still the best way to slow the spread of the virus; although it is recognized that this is frequently not possible in settings with children.

We will be implementing strategies that are developmentally appropriate but also recognize that children will be close to one another and that it is not possible or beneficial to maintain complete physical distance. Teachers will absolutely hug and provide close physical comfort to children when it is needed.

In addition, we will be spending most (if not all) of our time outside, which is the healthiest place possible at this time. When indoors, windows will be open at all times, when possible. 

 Parent Communication

To minimize contact, all parent-staff communication should be done over the phone or by email. We want to know pertinent information about your child.   You can leave a note, call the school at 223-1242 during school hours or to leave a message overnight, or contact Ellen directly at 249-1107 or alltogethernowpreschool@gmail.com. While we will miss our face to face time with parents, it is absolutely critical that pick-up and drop-off be as swift as possible.

Pick-up Procedure

Pick-up time is anytime between 3- 4pm. Unless the weather does not permit, you can expect to find us outside in the play-yard at pick-up time. Please enter the gate, one family at a time, and keep a minimum of six feet apart from other families during pick-up time. To keep things moving smoothly, as with arrivals, pick-up time should be brief and conversation with staff or other families should be kept to a minimum.

If you plan to pick-up your child early, please indicate at sign-in AND email/call/text to ensure that we have your child ready to go when you arrive.

Contingency Planning

Due to smaller group sizes and the need to maintain consistent group sizes, it may occur that we do not have sufficient staffing to open school on a given day, should a teacher become ill. We are working to troubleshoot these issues as best we can. We also know that we should expect that navigating the future with COVID-19 may involve some stops, starts, and re-adjustments. We will be using guidance from the Governor’s Office, the Vermont Department of Health, and the Child Development Division to inform any future decisions. We will, of course, try to give families as much notice as possible should there be any changes. We do know that we should expect disruptions in the future, and families are encouraged to create contingency plans for the care of their children should school not be available on a given day or should the need for a longer closure arise.

Clear communication will be key for navigating our school opening under these circumstances. Please be in contact if you have any questions or concerns. Please be patient with us as we learn how to operate under the new guidelines. I expect that some of our processes, like drop-off and pick-up, may require some tweaking before we get it quite right. As always, we are grateful for your support and understanding.

Please sign and print our Protocol Agreement

 
 
 

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