We are sharing these Frequently Asked Questions with you based on the most updated information we have as of January 26, 2021. As EEC regulations have evolved, we have too, and we will continue to use all information available to us to keep our children, families, and staff safe.
The intention of these guidelines is to minimize the number of individuals with whom any potentially exposed individual is in close contact by limiting contact between groups (e.g., minimal adults moving in between classrooms or comingling of groups); and to minimize prolonged close contacts between individuals within a group to the degree possible.
We understand that it is difficult to make decisions regarding childcare without a clear roadmap. We hope you trust that we are committed as always to creating a safe and engaging environment for your children to spend their days.
Have your hours or calendar changed?
Yes. We have had to make some changes based on health and safety regulations. At the moment, our operating hours are 8:30 – 5:00, with “Full” or “Extended” Day options. “Full Day” pick-up time is 3:30. “Extended Day” pick-up time is 5:00, although there may be more specific times assigned at some schools in order to maintain health and safety protocols. Once we are able to resume a more normal schedule, our operating hours will revert to 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
We have also had to make some changes to our previously published 2020-2021 school year calendar, An updated calendar is available, but to summarize: As of this writing, the main change that affects families is that the last day of the school year is Friday, June 25. We also made the decision not to close on Friday, June 4th, 2021, for Parent Conference Day but will instead schedule these conferences over Zoom at staggered times.
What will happen to my tuition if you are forced to close again?
If all child care programs are forced to close again due to Covid-19, tuition will not be charged until we reopen. Partial months will not be refunded. Tuition will not be affected if your classroom is required to shut down for 24 hours due to potential exposure. Tuition will not be affected if your child is absent due to a required Covid-19 diagnosis or quarantine.
Will my child have to wear a mask?
Children under 2 are not required to wear a mask
Children over 2 do wear masks when not able to social distance properly.
Will teachers be wearing masks?
Yes, teachers do wear masks. This (as well as constant hand washing and cleaning) is our best defense against the virus.
How will you stagger drop off and pick up?
Each school handles this differently based on factors such as the number of external doors, the number of children in each classroom, and the physical make-up of the school. Your director can provide more information.
What will drop off and screenings look like?
- Each school entrance has a screening station with an assigned staff member wearing appropriate PPE.
- Each family completes a personal screening checklist in the morning before arriving at school. Screening questions include confirmation that you and your child are symptom free. Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
- A staff member (the school director or another staff person) is assigned to greet families at sign-in.
Will parents be allowed in the school?
No. We have made this change after much thought and discussion with other program owners and administrators, EEC as well as the PVP team. Although we welcome families into our schools whenever possible, with the public health guidelines currently in place, we feel that to best track people inside school and to minimize risk, the children will be escorted by a PVP teacher at your check in point to his or her classroom.
How will children be kept socially distant in the small classrooms? Will my child be in the same seat for the entire school day?
Absolutely not. Children are free to move about and we will redirect if necessary to encourage them to work/play in small groups. We also work on reducing the number of children in any given area by increasing the number of learning areas and providing materials that are easily disinfected.
- Centers are designed to limit the number of children (2) in any area at a given time.
- We have reduced the amount of materials and furniture in the classroom to create additional space.
- We work in small groups for activities and all adults will wear face coverings.
- We stagger mealtimes and/or separate children into small groups.
- We have increased outdoor time and outdoor activities.
- All children have an individual container for art supplies (Crayons, markers, scissors, paint brushes etc.)
- Children are discouraged to bring any toys from home with the exclusion of Lovies.
Will my child play with other children?
Yes. It is our firm belief that while we need to minimize close contact, children in the same classroom need to play together. As mentioned above, we will do our best to ensure that the children stay in small groups of 2 when playing in classrooms. When we are outside, children use open spaces/the playgrounds one group at a time. We will do our best to stay outdoors as much as possible as this minimizes risk.
What will monitoring of teachers and students look like?
We will follow the guidelines proposed by EEC for checks before entering the school daily. All staff are also required to complete the screening before entering the school. We assess staff wellness throughout the day, just as we do children.
How do you account for asymptomatic transmission?
We follow all the protocols for tracing children and staff. Our attendance records allow us to manage which children are exposed to which staff each day and week. The intention of having the children stay with their teacher for the day and minimize contact with other groups allows us to better trace contact.
Is there routine testing for teachers?
We have protocols in place for monitoring staff and children. Should a staff member or hild display symptoms of Covid-19 they are immediately isolated and sent home. They also asked to contact their medical professional for advice on testing, etc. before being allowed to return to PVP.
If a student or teacher tests positive will the school be on lockdown for a period of time?
We are in constant contact with the departments of public health in each of our locations and follow their guidelines. We have also learned much during these months and used our combined experience to make the best possible decisions. Once we notify our local board of health about an exposure, they will ultimately decide on what merits a shutdown. The protocols include notification to both EEC and DOH in the case of a positive test result. All of this information is communicated to each family.
What is the protocol for screening contacts of teachers and students?
This question is addressed in the self reporting checklist that every staff member and parent is required to fill out before entering the school each day. This form is available electronically to parents and teachers to fill out daily before coming to school. Parents/children and teachers are not permitted to enter the school if not submitted.
What process should I follow if a child is sick?
If a child presents at childcare with COVID symptoms, they are sent home immediately. If the child has been exposed to an individual who is COVID positive or presumed to be COVID positive, then they may not return to childcare for 14 days. If the child has symptoms but not otherwise exposed, they may not return to childcare until the symptoms abate. If a child begins showing symptoms while already at childcare, they will be isolated with a teacher as quickly as possible into a previously-designated area, away from close contact with other children and adults, until they can be picked up.
Do sick children always have to quarantine for 14 days?
If we have questions about closure or quarantine in the event of a sick child or a positive COVID-19 case, we will consult with our local Board of Health. If we are unable to reach our local Health Board for any reason, we will consult with our licensor for more information. For additional questions related to childcare settings, please contact the state’s dedicated epidemiologist for child care: Dr. Katherine Hsu at Katherine.firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-983-6948.
I have so many more questions about specific health and safety protocols—do you have more details you can provide?
Our parent handbook provides a lot more detail about how we’re handling the many questions that have come up regarding COVID. We would be more than happy to provide you with a copy. Please email us at email@example.com to request a copy.