We hope that you and your children are well and staying safe during this Pandemic.
This is to inform you that the Governor of NJ announced on Friday, May 29, 2020, that all Montessori Schools are permitted to reopen as of June 15, 2020. In light of this effective June 15, 2020, pursuant to Executive Order 149 we shall open our center. It is a tremendous responsibility for ensuring the wellbeing of children in an environment in which the risks are significantly higher and more complex than they were only a few short months ago.
Please see below the procedures and guidelines we will be following to ensure the safety of staff and children they serve.
Screening and Admittance
- Our Center will screen staff and children for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry to the program facility each day. Children and staff with a fever in excess of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, or exhibiting other symptoms of COVID-19, will not be allowed to enter the facility, nor will persons that have exposure to persons known to have COVID-19 during the preceding 14 days. We would like to encourage parents to be on the alert for signs of illness in their children and to keep them home when they are sick.
Group Sizes and Social Distancing
- Children will be grouped into groups of no more than 10. Classes will include the same group of children each day, to the greatest extent possible, and, also to the greatest extent possible, the same staff will be assigned to care for each group, each day. Groups will congregate no less than 10 feet in all directions from other groups or be separated by walls or other physical partitions. Combining or mixing groups will not be permitted.
- Spacing of groups may be reduced to six feet during nap or sleep periods, if necessary. Cots or bedding will be positioned alternatively head-to-toe to minimize potential virus transmission between children.
- Use of shared spaces (entry ways, restrooms) will be carefully controlled and monitored to ensure that children and staff maintain at least six feet of separation from children, staff or from other groups. Floor markings, physical partitions or other safeguards will be used as necessary. Outdoor play time on playground will be staggered to prevent mixing between groups.
- Field trips and other off-site activities are prohibited, with the exception of activities within walking distance of the facility, as long as social distancing can be maintained throughout. Close person to person contact (hugging, wrestling, games involving touching or tagging) will be strictly limited and discouraged.
- The Staff will be required to wear cloth masks. When feasible, children will wear face coverings within the facility. Cloth face coverings will NOT be put on children under age two because of the danger of suffocation.
- The Center will continue to teach and reinforce healthy hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. When handling food and contact surfaces the staff will not touch anything without gloves or utensils.
- Visitors will not be permitted to enter the Center during operating hours, with the exception of emergency or law enforcement personnel in their official capacity, Department of Children and Families (DCF) personnel for child protection or child care licensing purposes, and persons providing emergency repair services within the center that cannot be reasonably delayed until the center is closed. All others, including persons providing non-emergency maintenance or repair services, prospective customers, prospective employees, entertainers or speakers, and third-party therapists or service providers will be required to visit the facility after operating hours.
- Unless precluded by emergency circumstances, visitors to the facility will be subject to the same screening procedures as children and staff, and will be denied admission on the same basis unless the center is legally precluded from denying access (e.g. a law enforcement agent with an appropriate warrant).
- To the greatest extent feasible, unless the purpose of the authorized outside visitor is to observe the care provided to children (e.g. a DCF licensing inspector)
- Reasonable efforts will be made to minimize visitor contact with children and staff. Visitors will be required to wear cloth masks while visiting the center unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health. If a visitor refuses to a wear a cloth face covering for non-medical reasons and if such covering cannot be provided to the individual by the business at the point of entry, the Center will decline to allow them to enter.
- External entertainers and visitors will not be permitted access to the Center.
Promoting Healthy Hygiene Practices
- Sharing of supplies, food, toys and other high touch items (art supplies, school supplies, equipment etc.) will be strictly limited. The Center will ensure an adequate supply of school, art and other supplies to preclude the need for sharing of items. Children’s belongings will be kept separate in individual storage bins or cubbies and sent home each day for disinfecting. If items must be shared, they will be used by one group at a time and cleaned and disinfected between uses. The Center will ensure an adequate supply of school, art and other supplies to preclude the need for sharing of items.
- Our center will teach and reinforce washing hands and covering coughs and sneezes among children and staff.
- Our center will teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings among children, where appropriate, and staff. Face coverings are most essential at times when social distancing is not possible. Staff and children will be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently.
- The center will have adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol (for staff and older children who can safely use hand sanitizer), and tissues.
- Children and staff will practice frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and will be required to wash their hands upon arriving at the center, when entering the classroom, before meals or snacks, after outside time, after going to the bathroom, and prior to leaving for home. Children will be monitored to ensure proper technique.
- The center will set up hand hygiene stations at the entrance to the facility so that children can clean their hands before entering.
Infant and Toddler program
- Our center is starting infants program as of June 15, 2020. We are accepting infants six week and older.
When washing, feeding or holding infants and toddlers:
- Child care providers will protect themselves by wearing a large button-down, long-sleeved shirt or smock and by wearing long hair up off the collar. The shirt will be changed if there are secretions on it and staff will wash their hands after changing. Staff will wash their neck, hands, and anywhere touched by a child’s secretions.
- Staff will change the child’s clothes if secretions are on the child’s clothes.
- All contaminated clothes will be placed in a plastic bag to be sent home for disinfecting. Infants, toddlers and providers will have multiple changes of clothes on hand.
Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitation Procedures
- The Center will increase the frequency of cleaning toys, equipment, and surfaces, especially doorknobs, light switches, countertops, and restrooms.
- Alcohol wipes will be used to clean keyboards and electronics and wash hands after use. The Center will clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g, playground equipment, door handles, sink handles) multiple times per day and shared objects between use. If groups of children are moving from one area to another in shifts, cleaning measures will be completed prior to the new group entering the area.
- Toys and items that are not easily cleaned or disinfected (e.g., soft or plush toys) will not be utilized in the center, though such items brought from home may be utilized if they are not shared, and returned home with the child each day for washing. Machine washable cloth toys can be used by one child at a time or not used at all.
- Toys that children have placed in their mouths or are contaminated by body secretion or excretion will be set aside until they are cleaned by hand by a person wearing gloves. Clean with water and detergent, rinse, sanitize with an EPA-registered disinfectant and air-dry. On a daily basis, center will clean and then disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often.
- The center will ensure that HVAC systems continue to be maintained and operational. To the extent practicable, windows will be opened frequently to allow fresh air flow, and HVAC systems should be adjusted to allow for more fresh air to enter the facility, along with fresh plants to ensure air quality.
- The Center will only use bedding that can be washed. We will keep each child’s bedding separate and store, in individually labeled bins, cubbies, or bags. Cots and mats will be labeled for each child. Bedding that touches a child’s skin will be cleaned weekly or before use by another child.
Response Procedures for COVID-19 Symptoms or Exposure
- Any confirmed or suspected exposure to COVID-19 occurring in the center will be reported to both the local department of health and the Department of Child and Family Office of Licensing.
Children or staff members who develop symptoms of COVID-19 while at the facility
- If a child or staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19 while at the facility (e.g. fever of 100.4 or higher, cough, shortness of breath), will be immediately separated from the healthy people until the ill person can leave the facility. If the child has symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, shortness of breath), the caregiver waiting with the child will remain as far away as safely possible from the child (preferably, 6 feet).
- If symptoms persist or worsen, we will call a health care provider for further guidance.
Children or staff members who test positive for COVID-19
- If the center becomes aware of a COVID-19 positive case in our facility we will contact local health department for guidance.
- Health officials will then provide direction on whether a center should cease operations following the identification of a positive case in the facility. The duration may be dependent on staffing levels, outbreak levels in the community and severity of illness in the infected individual.
- All rooms and equipment used by the infected person, and persons potentially exposed to that person, will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with CDC guidance.
Returning to Child Care After COVID-19 Diagnosis or Exposure
- If a staff member or child contracts or is exposed to COVID-19, they will not be admitted to the Center again until the criteria for lifting transmission based precautions and home isolation have been met.
- No later than 11:00AM on each operating day, the Center will submit daily logs of attendance and screening results to the Office of Licensing
Please go through above guidelines and procedures and inform us by June 10th whether your child will attend the Center from June 15, 2020 so that we can reserve a spot for your child.