Our program implements a pandemic action plan that has been developed in accordance with the NJ Department of Children and Families COVID-19 Related Health and Safety Requirements and Returning to Rutgers: A How-To Guide to Repopulating Rutgers Spaces. Below are highlighted actions from our approved plan to advise parents of the actions that we are taking in response to COVID-19.
SCREENING AND ADMITTANCE
Entry and attendance into the Center shall be limited to enrolled children and staff only. Parents may not enter the Center. Visitors shall 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 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 staff and children shall complete a Daily Health Check each day upon arriving at the Center to determine if they may attend for the day. The Daily Health Check will include COVID-19 symptom screening questions and symptom checks, exposure questions, and a temperature check. Upon passing the Health Check staff and children shall perform hand hygiene before entering the preschool. Likewise, staff and children shall perform hand hygiene just prior to leaving the Center at the end of the day.
The Daily Health Check also includes a question regarding travel outside of the immediate area (NJ, NY, PA, CT, or DE). In accordance with NJ Department of Health guidance, children who have traveled outside of the immediate area must quarantine at home for a period of at least 14 days. Children attending childcare/daycare/preschool are not eligible for reduced quarantine time frames and must quarantine for the full 14 days before returning to our programs.
PROMOTING HEALTHY HYGIENE
Children and staff shall practice frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and shall 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 should be monitored to ensure proper technique.
All staff must wear masks at all times. Children over the age of 2 years old will be encouraged to wear masks. No children will wear masks while eating, drinking, or sleeping/resting.
Respiratory hygiene practices will be taught, emphasized and this includes coughing and sneezing into a tissue or arm/elbow and then properly disposing of the tissue.
Sharing of items shall be extremely limited and shall be limited to items that can be cleaned and sanitized. Sand and water tables shall not be in use. Each child shall have their own individual supply of crayons, markers, watercolors, glue, scissors, pencils, play-doh, and bubbles to be for their exclusive use.
All staff shall undergo continuous COVID-19 testing and must test negative in order to begin and continue working.
SOCIAL DISTANCING STRATEGIES
Children shall be assigned to static groups of no more than 15 children and shall have staff dedicated exclusively to care for each group of children. There shall be no intermixing of groups or sharing of staff between groups.
Close person to person contact (hugging, wrestling, games involving touching or tagging) shall be strictly limited, but staff will respond to children’s emotional needs with physical comfort when necessary. Staff will not discipline otherwise age-appropriate behavior, but will gently encourage and make clear that extra caution is necessary at this time.
All meals will be unitized and served individually (no family-style service).
ENHANCED CLEANING AND SANITATION
Our Center will implement and maintain a daily cleaning and sanitization schedule for all toys and materials in use for each small group. Toys shall not be shared between groups unless they are cleaned and sanitized first. Toys should be cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis using a commercial dishwasher and appropriate cleaning agents and being left out to air dry. Toys which cannot be cleaned in the sanitizer shall be sprayed with an approved disinfectant spray and allowed to air dry or laundered, depending upon the type of toy. This schedule shall be posted in each classroom.
Playground equipment shall be disinfected using an approved disinfectant after each small group finishes using the equipment.
High-touch surfaces, including classroom door handles/push bars, shall be wiped at regular intervals (5am/9am/11am/1pm/4pm); and any time in between these times when the surfaces are visibly dirty.
COVID-19 SYMPTOM AND EXPOSURE RESPONSE PROCEDURES
Isolation means keeping sick people away from healthy people as much as possible. Quarantine means keeping people who are not sick yet, but who were (or may have been) exposed to a sick person, away from others until it can be confirmed that they do not pose a danger to spread the virus to others. Please refer to our Quarantine and Isolation Policy and/or our COVID How Long to Quarantine/Isolate Infographic for information about Quarantine and Isolation
In accordance with NJ DOH guidance, if any staff or child exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 (or any other illness) after they have been admitted for the day, they shall be immediately removed from their group and masked (if they are older than 2 years) to be sent home as quickly as possible.
If any staff, child, or a household member of a staff or child, are confirmed to have COVID-19 or exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19, the Director shall contact the Department of Health for guidance as to how to proceed. Guidance will be provided by the Department of Health on a case-by-case basis. The Department of Child Care Licensing will also be notified.
Following a confirmed case of COVID-19 or exposure, all rooms and equipment used by the infected person, and persons potentially exposed to that person, shall be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with current CDC guidance. Centers uncertain about the extent of potential exposure shall clean and sanitize all rooms.
If a staff member or child contracts or is exposed to COVID-19, they cannot be admitted to a center again until the criteria for lifting transmission based precautions and home isolation have been met. Those criteria are included in the Department of Health’s guidance available using the link below. Medical clearance from a health care provider must be presented upon return. https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/topics/NCOV/COVID-QuickRef_Discont_Isolation_and_TBP.pdf