We are sharing these Frequently Asked Questions with you based on the most updated information we have as of July 13, 2020. EEC regulations seem to be changing regularly, and we will update these FAQ’s and continue to communicate with you as information and changes are released. (Edits are noted in green or pink.)

The intention of the new 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 returning to childcare without a clear roadmap. We hope you trust that, despite the image these regulations may imply, we are committed as always to creating a safe and engaging environment for your children to spend their days.

General Questions

What date does Summer Session 2 start?
August 3 is our official reopening date.

Will you open before August 3rd  if you are able?
No.  We will use this time to train staff, rewrite policies, communicate with parents, prepare curriculum and generally get ready for our reopening on August 3.

When will my deposit/prepaid tuition for SY 19-20 be refunded?
Week of June 15 for prepaid contracts; July 2nd for monthly contracts.

(Please note: Due to the overwhelmingly large number of changes for August enrollment and refunds being requested there may be delays in refunds being posted to your account or credit card. Please bear with us as we are fielding many emails requesting changes (both cancellations and new enrollments). All refunds will be posted as quickly as possible.)

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.

How much will the additional monthly fee be for next school year?
At this point we anticipate the fee will be 10% of your monthly rate (beginning with the September tuition payment; it will not be applied in August). The fee will be assessed and charged monthly and will be reassessed as the conditions and regulations change throughout the school year.

Should we assume the calendar for the 20-21 school year will be the same? 
Yes, 20-21 school year calendar will remain as is. However, please see below for additional information about August.

August 31-September 4, 2020
Pine Village is typically closed for the full week before Labor Day for staff training and preparations. We recognize that after being closed for such a prolonged period, it is important to keep as much consistency as possible for the children and families, however, and have therefore made the decision to OPEN during that week, from Monday (8/31/20) – Thursday (9/3/20) to provide additional care for any child enrolled for the August session (for an additional fee). (This will only be available to families contracted for the summer program.) We will not provide care on Friday, September 4. We will determine a daily rate for care for each location (based on tuition) and share that with you over the next two weeks. Later in July, we will send out more information, including information on how to register for the days you’d like your child(ren) to attend. You will be invoiced for those days separately.

To summarize:

  • The August Summer Session ends on August 28.
  • PVP will provide care for enrolled children from August 31-September 3 (for an additional fee).
  • PVP will not provide care on Friday 9/4, Monday 9/7, or Tuesday 9/8.
  • PVP will reopen for the first day of the new school year on September 9

The following questions will address the actual school day.

What will your hours be in August?
After much thought we have come to the realization that for Summer Session 2, PVP will need to reduce our hours in every location. Our new hours for August 3 through September 3 will be 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 pm. We anticipate that this regulation may change when new guidelines are released closer to September. This, combined with more robust enrollment in the fall, will allow us to stick with our previously released COVID schedule of 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 pm.

Applying the new regulations for staffing, which limits our ability to combine classrooms at the beginning and end of the day, added to greatly reduced enrollment numbers for the summer. This means that when we have two or three children in a class we cannot combine those children with another group thus allowing a teacher to end his or her day. Teachers will essentially be in the same classroom for the full day with the same group. With enrollment numbers as low as they are for summer, this means we cannot staff with two teachers per classroom which would allow us to stagger staff schedules for a full day. As of September 2020, we have made the decision to maintain the same operating hours from the summer. Every school is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Will my child have to wear a mask?
Children under 2 are not required to wear a mask

Children over 2 are encouraged to wear a mask but not required to unless we are unable to socially distance at 6 feet.

Will teachers be wearing masks?
Yes, likely the staff will all be wearing masks.  This (as well as constant hand washing and cleaning) is our best defense against the virus. We will help to prepare the children to recognize their teachers in masks before school resumes. We will have Zoom calls with teachers and practice putting on and taking off masks so that the children are familiar. We will also have the teachers wear buttons with their smiling faces so that the children can recognize them.  

How will you stagger drop off and pick up?
Drop off will take place between 8:00 am and 9:00 am. We anticipate that these times will be scheduled between you and your director during the week of July 20. Our 3:30 pickup will be scheduled out by family as will the rest of the afternoon pick up times. We will schedule as close to 5:30 as possible for those that need it. These schedules will be developed with your director and teachers. As of September 2020, every school is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Drop off and pick up times will be scheduled accordingly.

What will drop off and screenings look like?

  • Each school entrance area will have a screening station with an assigned staff member wearing appropriate PPE.
  • Each family will be asked to complete a personal screening checklist in the morning before you arrive at school to save time. Screening questions will 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.
  • The station will have hand sanitizer (out of reach of children), gloves, masks and a log book/folder.
  • We will have extra copies of screening checklists. 
  • A staff member, Director or other staff person will be assigned to conduct screening.
  • Screenings will be conducted individually as people arrive per their previously agreed upon schedule and will be documented and collated in our daily log folder.

Will parents be allowed in the school?
We have decided that, for the month of August at least, parents will NOT be allowed inside the schools. We made this change after much thought and discussion with other program owners and administrators, EEC as well as the PVP team. 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. We will send out the procedures for drop off and pick up in greater detail as we get closer to 8/3.

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 will be free to move about and we will redirect if necessary to encourage them to work/play in small groups. We will 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. 

Additional Plans

  • Centers will be designed to limit the number of children (2) in any area at a given time.
  • We will reduce the amount of materials and furniture in the classroom to create additional space.
  • We will work in small groups for activities and all adults will wear face coverings.
  • We will stagger mealtimes and/or separate children into small groups.
  • We will increase outdoor time and outdoor activities.
  • All children will have an individual container for art supplies (Crayons, markers, scissors, paint brushes etc.)
  •  Children will be 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 will 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 will 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 will also be required to complete the screening before entering the school. We will assess staff wellness throughout the day, just as we do children.  

How will you account for asymptomatic transmission? 
We will follow all the protocols for tracing children and staff. Our attendance records will 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 will allow us to better trace contact.  

Will there be routine testing for teachers?
We have protocols in place for monitoring staff and children. Should staff or a child display symptoms of Covid-19 they will be immediately isolated and sent home. They will also be 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? 
The classroom affected will need to be closed for 24 hours and disinfected. We are required to notify our local board of health in each community and 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 will also be 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 and parent will be required to fill out before entering the school each day. We will provide these forms to parents and teachers  to fill out daily before coming to school and we will also have additional copies at our Screening Station in the entrance to each school. These are kept in a log at the school and parents 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 the above symptoms, they should be 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 child care settings, please contact the state’s dedicated epidemiologist for child care: Dr. Katherine Hsu at Katherine.hsu@massmail.state.ma.us or 617-983-6948.

How will restricted drop off and pickup times be implemented?
Parents will be given a drop-off and pick up time to reduce interactions and allow us to screen everyone before entering the building. We will do everything we can to work with schedules and impact you as little as possible but please be patient and understand that we are doing everything possible to keep everyone and comply with make these regulations. workable for everyone.   

How will you ensure that all areas, materials, furniture, and equipment used for child care are safely and properly cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected, including a schedule for cleaning all areas of the building? 

  • Our cleaning company will perform a deep cleaning and disinfecting before we reopen.
  •  The schools will be cleaned by designated staff throughout the day and get a thorough cleaning by our cleaning company nightly
  • We will review our protocols with the cleaning company and put everything in writing for them. 
  • A cleaning schedule will be posted in each classroom and bathroom with areas specified and a person identified as responsible for each area.
  •  We have a cleaning schedule template that specifies, date, time, areas cleaned and signature of person completing task.  

Indoor Air Quality at the Schools
We have had all of our HVAC systems serviced. All HEPA filters have been changed and air flow increased to maximize flow.

Plans to Access the Outdoors
We know that the safest place for everyone to be right now is outdoors. Our planning for summer and fall (and beyond) includes accessing as many outdoor options as we are able to access. We see our neighborhoods as resources for learning and we are planning and will be training staff on finding new creative way to use the outdoors as our classroom.

There are many resources that PVP staff have always had great access to. We will be reaching out to our partners in the communities to see how we can work together and gain access for our children to outdoor spaces that we may be able to use this summer and fall as well. We are targeting school playgrounds, public green spaces, church playgrounds, and other community based outdoor options.

What To Expect When You Return To Childcare
The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has produced a wonderful resource at https://eeclead.force.com/resource/1593944251000/Parent_Reopening_Guide describing how things will look, generally speaking, when you return to childcare (at Pine Village). We think it nicely describes the partnership that all early childhood programs have with EEC as we relicense and commit to following the new regulations and health and safety policies. It portrays the collaborative efforts between providers and EEC to create preschool environments that support children and maintain a healthy environment.