COVID MITIGATION PLAN


Given the COVID-19 crisis that has spread through our country, we want to assure you that we have been monitoring the situation closely. We will be taking these extra steps to support the health and safety of your children, your family and our staff.


Please take note the following changes - where there is overlap - supersedes policies and procedures outlined in our parent handbook:

Adjusted  Hours  of  Operation:
Beginning in the fall of the 2020-21 school year, 3 to 5 Preschool will temporarily change its hours of operation to: 7:45 - 11:30 AM and 12:30 - 4:15 PM. This will give staff time to sanitize between classes and at the end of the day. Late pickups will result in a fee of $5.00 per minute (beginning Nov. 1) and multiple late pickups could result in your child's removal from the program.


Drop-off Procedures:
 

Parents should be prepared for a longer drop off and pick up time frame. One child can be screened at a time. Parents can line up to wait their turn under eaves along classroom windows in the playground area.

 

  • Families will be greeted on the back porch (beyond the playground) where a designated staff member will follow health screening procedures.

  • Only one family will be checked in at a time – adults please wear a mask and practice physical distancing as well as limiting physical interactions between children in line.  

 

  •  Grandparents or parents who are considered "high risk" should not be the adult to do pick-up or drop-off when possible.

 

  • Parents and other family members will not be allowed inside the classroom.

Please limit the number of people at drop off and pick up to prevent crowds and congestion. Those dropping off should be masked.



 

Daily Health Screenings

The following check in procedures will take place:

 

Staff will greet both guardian & child/ren masked and with as much physical distancing as possible. 

You will be asked to affirm the following health screening statements within the Brightwheel App:

  • No one in the household had a temperature of 100.4 or higher in the past 24 hrs. (without the use of fever reducing medication). In addition - Your child/ren’s temperature will be taken on arrival and recorded.

  • No one in the household has any of the following symptoms in the past 24 hrs.? *unless they have a chronic condition

  • Flushed cheeks

  • Excessive dry coughing and/or sneezing

  • Runny nose

  • Seems lethargic or excessively tired

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • Complaining of a headache or sore throat

  • Child has had no contact with COVID-19 in the past 10 days

  • All household members who have had contact with COVID-19 are following 3 to 5 Preschool’s mitigation policy. (Positive COVID Test- Page 5)

  • Child and household members who have traveled in the past 10 days are following 3 to 5 Preschool’s testing/quarantining policy. (Travel-Page 7) 

 

If the adult cannot affirm the screening questions, the child will immediately be sent home.


 

If the parent/guardian can affirm all of the above questions, they will acknowledge they have answered the screening questions honestly and finish signing in via the Brightwheel app. ** All parents/guardians who will be picking up/dropping off will need to download this app.

 

  • Morning Class: Children will be given hand sanitizer and escorted by staff into the classroom where they will be helped to stow belongings for the day in their cubby.  Children will be given the option to wash hands if they did not choose to use hand sanitizer.  

 

  • Afternoon Class: Children will be given hand sanitizer and escorted to the playground. Children will be given the option to wash hands if they do not choose to use hand sanitizer.  The afternoon class will begin their class time on the playground everyday.  It is essential that they arrive in appropriate clothes for the weather EVERYDAY. 


 

Throughout the day staff will also take and record additional temperature readings if staff become concerned with a child’s health based on:

Changes in mood

Looking different from normal

Complaining of not feeling well

Pulling at ear(s)

Runny nose or eyes

Unusually warm skin

Eating or drinking more or less than usual

Vomiting

Having abnormal stools/diarrhea

Cough

 

Absences

 

We should be informed if a child will not be in preschool on a scheduled day. If a child is absent and we have not received a Brightwheel message (preferred) or call from parents, a teacher will call the family for an update on status.

 

  • We will ask how they are doing and if they are coming to school today or when their next day of attendance may be.

  • This will be recorded on the health log.

  • If the family informs us that their child is ill, we will ask what symptoms they are experiencing and document those in the health log and ask that you keep us informed on any updates.

  • We will also ask if other family members are experiencing symptoms and record as well.

  • You will be reminded that the child cannot return until all the screening questions can be answered no.

 

If a child has a fever they must be fever free without the use of medication for 24 hours before returning to school.
 

Pickup Procedures

 

Pickups will be staggered slightly and take place outside the classroom.  Parents and siblings may not enter the classroom, or the Rasmussen Building. The following procedures will occur:

Please limit the number of people at drop off and pick up to prevent crowds and congestion. Those picking up should be masked.

 

  • Morning Class: All children need to be off the playground by 11:35

The morning class will end their class on the playground - pickups will occur from the playground. 

Parents and staff will use the Brightwheel app to check each child out.

Parents and children will be given the option to use hand sanitizer before leaving. 

If outside recess is not an option due to weather, pickup will occur from the back porch and staff will try to alert families through Brightwheel.

 

  • Afternoon Class: 

Teachers are responsible for bringing children out of the classroom in small groups.

The staggered grouping will be set up at the beginning of the school year to allow for the     best possible physical distancing throughout departure routines.

Before bringing out the child/ren the teacher will have him/her use hand sanitizer or wash       hands.

Families with extended care may message staff through the Brightwheel app or use the     wireless doorbell at the back door to signal your arrival for pickup.  

All children must be picked up by 4:15 pm


Pick Ups

Late pickups place a strain on the program, teachers and children. Given the unique circumstances surrounding the pandemic, the strain placed on staff members and children will be even more significant. Once staggered pickup times have been established it is imperative guardians are on time for pickup.  While we are operating under this mitigation plan, the late pickup fee has been increased to $5.00 per minute.  Any extra time incurred beyond the family’s designated pickup time will be charged beginning in November. 

Multiple late pickups could result in your child's removal from the program.

 

Illness and Disease Prevention

 

Anyone who enters the preschool will be immediately screened for signs of illness. This includes staff members and children. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher will be immediately sent home and must be fever free without the use of medication for 24 hours before returning to care/work. In order to keep everyone safe, the illness policy extends to others in the child's home as well. If someone in the home is ill with a fever or displaying symptoms of COVID-19, the child/ren may not return to 3 to 5 Preschool until everyone in the home is symptom and fever free for 24 hours without the use of medication. It is expected that families will respect this policy and be open and honest with the program if a household member is ill. Failure to do so could result in immediate removal from the program.

 

Children or staff who show signs/symptoms of COVID-19 while at the program will compassionately and immediately be moved to a quiet area.  We will contact a family member and /or the emergency contact to pick the child up within 30 minutes.

 

If you’re sick, STAY HOME – Staff and students who have COVID-19 symptoms or cold/flu-like symptoms  (runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache, fever, body aches, vomiting/diarrhea) should NOT attend school. Staff or students exhibiting these symptoms should stay home and obtain a COVID test. PCR testing is available in Sitka at SEARHC (COVID hotline 907-966-8799). 

 

Personal Belongings

 

The staff will be working diligently to minimize cross contamination between daily classes. Some adjustments to the usual flow of items in and out of the classroom need to be made to help with this:

 

  • Items can no longer remain overnight in the coat cubbies as both classes need to use these.  This means weather appropriate outside clothes - including rain/snow pants and coats, boots, hat, and mittens - will need to travel back and forth each day.  We suggest using a canvas bag for this instead of a backpack as it is easier for the children to pack themselves!!

 

  • The following items will remain at school in individual cubbies (formerly called art bins)

1 or 2 complete changes of clothes (including extra mask) 

1 pair of inside shoes - this can be a shoe or hard sole slipper. 

 

Positive COVID Test Protocol

 

If a staff member or child tests positive for COVID-19, the program must be informed immediately. If the individual has been at the center in the last 4 calendar days, the center will immediately close for a minimum of 24 hours. 3 to 5 Preschool will contact the local health department for guidance based on the specific circumstances and will follow all recommendations from the local health department and child care licensing to make an informed decision on when it is safe to reopen. The anonymity of the individual will be protected, however, the parents/guardians of other children in the classroom will be informed there was a potential exposure. The child or staff member will not be allowed back to the center until they have quarantined for a minimum of 10 days and until cleared by a medical professional and are symptom free for a minimum of 24 hours without the use of medication. A doctor's note will not allow a child to return earlier than 10 days after the confirmed positive test date.

If a member of a child’s or staff’s household tests positive for COVID-19, the center must be immediately informed. 3 to 5 Preschool will work with the local health department to discuss steps moving forward and make a decision on whether a closure is appropriate based on the specifics of the case. If the child has been in contact with the person who tested positive and has attended the center in the previous 4 days, the parent's/guardians of other children in the center will be informed there was potential exposure. The child will not be allowed back to the center for a minimum of 10 days AFTER their LAST exposure to the person testing positive or they have received a negative COVID test 4 days after last exposure and are symptom free. If they show any symptoms of COVID-19 during this time, you are required to inform the Director.

 

If a member of a child’s or staff’s household is a known COVID -19 contact, the student or staff member is allowed to attend 3 to 5 Preschool so long as the following mitigations occur:

-Preschool is notified immediately 

-The COVID contact person is monitoring for symptoms of COVID and does not develop any symptoms. 

- The exposed person is tested 4 days after known contact and quarantining until test results are received or if they choose not to test then the child must quarantine for 10 days before returning to school. 

-Results must be sent to 3 to 5 Preschool via email (threeto5preschool@gmail.com) or  Brightwheel. 

 

COVID-LIKE SYMPTOMS

 

Symptoms at home – Staff or students who start experiencing cold- or flu-like symptoms should  remain home from school, isolate as much as possible, and should obtain a COVID test. These tests are available in Sitka through SEARHC. Parents should contact the teachers through brightwheel if a student is out sick. Students and staff can return to in-person instruction with a  negative COVID test result and after being symptom-free for 24 hours. Parents and staff should send a copy  of the negative test result to their director.. 

 

 COVID-like symptoms but NO testing – Staff or students who have COVID-like symptoms and  choose NOT to test will need to quarantine for 10 days and be symptom-free prior to returning to preschool.. 


 

Unexpected Closures

 

The COVID-19 situation in Sitka is looking better. But please be prepared for additional closures in the future. Discuss this possibility with your employer if it applies.

 

If the city of Sitka issues a shelter in place mandate we will close for the duration of the mandate.. 

Also there is potential that 3 to 5 Preschool would be unable to open due to staff members being out sick. If the preschool cannot safely open due to being short-staffed, parents will be notified as soon as possible.

The center will immediately close for a minimum of 24 hours if a child or staff member who has been at the Center in the previous 4 days tests positive for COVID-19. This will provide the Center time to sanitize and disinfect. It will also give us the opportunity to work with licensing and the health department to decide when and how to safely reopen.

 

Staff Wellness and Training

 

  • Staff will receive additional training on infection control and workplace disinfection before the start of the school year.

 

  • Staff will have their temperature checked at the beginning of each day.

 

  • They will self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 and notify the director if any develops.

 

  • Staff will have access to hand sanitizers, disposable gloves and masks or face shields to use as needed.

 

  • Staff will bring extra changes of clothes to the preschool in case their clothes come into contact with any bodily secretions.   Using a scrub type covering or apron over clothes is an option so long as this is changed between sessions and washed after one use.

 

  • Staff will receive 8 additional days of paid sick leave.  Leave can be used to care for a family member or to self-quarantine as required by this plan. 

 

  • Staff are required to be vaccinated for  COVID-19.

 

Snacks

 

In order to comply with state mandates the following procedures will happen:

 

  • Teachers will plate food items and pour water for the children.

 

  • Teachers may still eat with the children; however there will be at least one teacher who is not eating and dedicated to assisting children who need help during meal time.

  • The teacher will wash hands before and after serving additional food to the children.

 

  • If a teacher is eating, they must wash hands before and after eating.

 

  • All children will wash hands before and after every snack.

 

  • For the time being, disposable plates and cups will be used.

 

  • All snacks provided must be store bought and remain sealed. If bringing fruits and vegetables for snack, only those that require a minimum of prep will be accepted at this time. 

 

  • Snacks must be compliant with the current list of allergies.  The current allergy list will be compiled from medical information provided by families and kept up to date by staff.

 

  • At this time children will not have direct access to the drinking fountain in the bathroom hallway.  We will continue to provide a fresh, disposable dixie cup for water. After they are done drinking, it will be disposed of and not saved.

 

Travel

 

Child Travel –   If the child travels commercially (whether out-of-state or within Alaska) the child is required to fulfill one of the following protocols before returning to school:

  • A negative COVID test 4 days after returning (as recommended by the CDC);

  • Quarantine for 10 days after return with no symptoms; 

All residents returning from travel can test for free at the Sitka airport.  A picture or scan of the negative test results must be emailed or sent through the Brightwheel app to the preschool before returning to preschool. Covid symptoms should be monitored for the full 14 days after travel and reported immediately if symptoms should appear.

 

Household Travel ‐ The child may attend 3 to 5 Preschool if a household member has traveled. All residents returning from travel can test for free at the Sitka airport. Covid symptoms should be monitored for the full 10 days after travel and reported immediately if symptoms should appear.  If a positive Covid test is received, 3 to 5 Preschool should be contacted immediately and the child will not be allowed back to the center for a minimum of 10 days AFTER their LAST exposure to the person testing positive (as described in the Positive COVID Test Protocol paragraph).  All other requirements outlined in the  Positive COVID Test Protocol paragraph above apply and should be followed.

 

3 to 5 Preschool respectfully requests that the child, staff and household members practice good judgment and responsible behavior while traveling to prevent the spread of Covid to the preschool and within our community in general.

 

Visitors

 

We have always maintained an open door policy that allows parents to come by and visit. Unfortunately, the preschool cannot safely accommodate this policy under the current circumstances. At the discretion of the Staff and Board of Directors vaccinated adults may be invited to visit the school for educational purposes.

 

Sanitizing Procedures

 

The preschool staff will continue to follow our daily and weekly cleaning schedules., the following procedures will be implemented:

 

  • Toys once soiled or in contact with a known contagion, will be set aside for cleaning and sanitizing prior to reuse.

  • Manipulatives and toys will be kept in self-contained tubs and separated by sessions.

  • All classroom materials that cannot be changed out daily (such as wooden blocks) and were used, but not soiled or in contact with a known contagion will be checked and spot cleaned if necessary. 

  • Whenever possible classroom materials will be on a 72 hour rotation to provide chemical free sanitation.

  • Staff will have access to hand sanitizers, masks, face shields, and disposable gloves and use as needed.


 

Definitions

 

Cleaning- physically removing all dirt and contamination, oftentimes using soap and water. The friction of cleaning removes most germs and exposes any remaining germs to the effects of a sanitizer or disinfectant used later.

Sanitizing - Reducing germs on inanimate surfaces to levels considered safe by public health codes or regulations. 

Disinfecting - destroying or inactivating most germs on any inanimate object. 

3 to 5 Preschool is continually investigating safer cleaning/sanitizing/disinfecting routines and products.

Healthy Hand Hygiene Behavior

All children, staff and visitors will engage in hand hygiene at the following times:

 

  • Arrival to the center and before and after break.

  • Before and after preparing foods or drinks.

  • Before and after eating.

  • After using the toilet or helping a child use the bathroom.

  • After coming in contact with bodily fluid.

  • After playing outdoors.

  • After handling garbage.

  • After assisting children with hand washing, staff will also wash their hands.

  • After blowing noses in tissues or after covering sneezes/coughs in  hands.

  • We will wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If hands are not visibly dirty, alcohol­ based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol can be used if soap and water are not readily available.

  • Parents should apply lotion to their children's hands every night to help combat dry skin caused by frequent handwashing.

Staff will assist children with handwashing as needed.


 

Face Masks and Personal Protection Equipment for staff members and children:

 

In accordance with the American Academy of  Pediatrics Association most recent recommendations, 3 to 5 Preschool will be increasing the use of facemasks in the school setting for the 2021-2022 school year. We recognize the increased vulnerability of our unvaccinated student body and ask the 3 to 5 Preschool community to work together to ensure their safety.  


 

  • Each staff parent and child is required to arrive wearing a mask regardless of city alert level.

  • Expectations for mask wearing during the school day are as follows

        Red: Masks required indoors  

        Orange: Masks required indoors

        Green: Masks encouraged 

  • Parents are requested to provide a clean mask for their child each day, they must agree to the following:

  1. Masks must be clearly labeled with the child's first and last name.

  2. Children will remove the mask during snack times and during mask breaks as provided by staff or as needed.

  3. By providing a mask, parents are agreeing to launder the mask daily.

  4.     If any child is unable to wear the mask effectively, the teachers will continue to support the student through their mask wearing frustrations and continued efforts.

    

  • It is recommended that staff or children, who have long hair, wear their hair up or         pulled back.

  • Staff will help change the child’s clothes and or mask if secretions are present.

  • Children and providers will have multiple changes of clothes including one clean mask on hand at the preschool.

  • Staff will have access to hand sanitizer, disposable gloves and face masks to use as needed.


 

Physical (social) Distancing at 3 to 5 Preschool

We understand social distancing is vital to stopping the spread of COVID-19, but it is important for parents and guardians to recognize social distancing to the extent recommended by the CDC is not possible in a child care/preschool center as safe physical touch and facial observation and interpretation are vital for a child's development. Teachers may need to provide children with safe physical touch in order to support emotional stability and healthy development as well as to provide comfort. Peer to peer social distancing is also difficult to discourage or enforce as the majority of young children do not have the ability to accurately social distance when engaging with other children. However we will attempt to social distance in the following ways:

 

  • Classroom size will follow the State of Alaska mandates.

  • Daily small group sessions will include the same group each week. 

  • Visitors and activities to enrich the curriculum will take place at the Director's discretion. Any such enrichment will only involve fully vaccinated people.

  • Gatherings of the whole center and special events will be postponed or modified until further notice.

  • The fate of fundraisers will be decided on a case by case basis as the event nears.

  • We will increase the number of small group activities and limit the number of children in open indoor play areas at the same time.

 

Tuition policy during COVID-19

 

  • If 3 to 5 Preschool is forced to close for a full week or more due to a COVID-19 case tuition is still required in full.  If this causes financial hardship please reach out to the director for scholarship consideration.

  • Due to the limited number of spots, tuition must be kept current or your spot may be given to another child.

  • If an extended closure occurs the board will reevaluate tuition policies.

 

Communication

 

  • Because of the fluidity of the situation, communication is vital between staff and families.  While, in person communication is always best, it is not feasible or timely in all circumstances.  To streamline communication the Brightwheel app will be utilized first. It is imperative that all families download the app - when asked to do so by staff in August.

  • If the current situation changes and it becomes necessary to update our procedures or close the program temporarily, we will notify families through the Brightwheel app (1st) or phone (2nd).

  • We are here to address your questions and concerns. In person communication is always best for time sensitive concerns. If in person communication is not possible we will respond through the Brightwheel app, phone, or email.




 

As the COVID-19 situation evolves, policies and procedures could change without the typical 30 day notice.

Revised October 2021