This document reflects the COVID plan implemented by our schools, and will continuously be updated as we receive new information and guidance from the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the CDC, and the Department of Child and Family Services. Please note, with the Omicron virus, we continuously have to check and make changes as needed according to CDC. All below is subject to change as the situation evolves.
Remember, there is still community transmission of COVID-19 in NYC. Keep in mind the Core Four actions for preventing COVID-19:
Stay home if sick. Stay home if you are sick unless you are leaving for essential medical care (including testing) or other essential errands.
Physical distancing. Stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
Wear a face covering. Protect those around you. You can be contagious without symptoms and spread the disease when you cough, sneeze or talk. A face covering may help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Practice healthy hand hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; clean frequently touched surfaces regularly; avoid touching your face with unwashed hands; cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve, not your hands.
Summary of New York State (NYS) Requirements and Best Practices implemented by our schools:
- Our teachers and staff that are less than 6 feet from each other or interacting with children must wear a face covering, indoor and outdoor as well.
- Our employee and children groupings are as static as possible by having the same group of children stay with the same staff whenever and wherever possible. Group size must be limited to no more than 15 children (not including employees/staff).
- Our classrooms of up to 15 children have no or minimal contact with one another or utilize common spaces at the same time, to the greatest extent possible.
- We maintain adequate social distancing in small areas, such as restrooms and break rooms, and signage and systems (e.g. flagging when occupied) to restrict occupancy when social distancing cannot be maintained in such areas.
- Classrooms and hallways will be marked with social distancing marker-stickers.
- We do not allow non-essential visitors on site, to the extent possible.
- We established designated areas for pick-ups and deliveries, limiting contact to the extent possible.
- We limit in-person gatherings of employees (e.g. breaks and meetings) to the greatest extent possible.
- Our teachers and staff maintain a distance of at least 6 feet at all times, unless the safety of the core activity requires a shorter distance (e.g. jointly responding to the needs of a child).
- We will keep the same student-teacher ratios but will organize the classroom differently to separate students as much as possible.
- We stagger arrival and drop-times and, when feasible, have staff receive the child from the parent/ guardian at the beginning of the day and bring the child out to the parent/guardian at the end of the day so that parents/guardians do not have to enter the facility or program area at any time.
- At nap/rest time, our children rest at least 6 feet apart (new regulations 3/21 state they can be 3ft apart) when feasible and head-to-toe.
- Our employees and children have multiple changes of clothes on hand.
- We will place contaminated clothes in a plastic bag and send them home for laundry or wash them on premises.
- Our staff wear face coverings any time they are not 6 ft. apart from one another, and at all times when interacting with children, regardless of distance.
- Staff will be handed new masks daily. They will also use a smock for indoor activities.
- We limit the sharing of objects (e.g. electronic equipment, arts and crafts materials, touch screens) and discourage touching of shared surfaces; or when in contact with shared objects or frequently touched areas, we require our employees to wear gloves (trade-appropriate or medical); and require employees and children to practice hand hygiene before and after contact.
- Per CDC request, our children above the age of 2 must wear a face cover indoor and outdoor.
Child Care Program Activities – Indoor and Outdoor
- We keep each classroom separated.
- We focus on activities with little or no physical contact (e.g. running).
- We encourage activities that are lower risk such as skill-building and conditioning.
- We enhance cleaning and disinfection protocols.
- Parks: We will use green areas for guided activities and play.
- Food services: individual portions will be served to children.
- We stagger mealtimes to reduce occupancy/congregation (staff).
Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection
- We adhere to hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NYS Department of Health (DOH) and maintain logs on site that document date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.
- We have hired a professional company specialized in the sanitation/disinfection of schools. They use hospital-grade products and conduct thorough sanitation twice a month.
- Our maintenance staff cleans and disinfects all areas of the school on a daily basis.
- We provide and maintain hand hygiene stations: handwashing with soap, running warm water, and disposable paper towels; alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where hand washing is not available/practical.
- We make hand sanitizer available throughout common areas on site.
- Our employees/staff and children must perform hand hygiene immediately upon entering the program.
- We require staff and children to practice hand hygiene in the following instances:
- Upon arrival at the first program activity.
- Between all program activities.
- After using the restroom.
- Before eating.
- Before departing the last program activity.
- We provide appropriate cleaning/disinfection supplies for shared and frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, multi-seat strollers, toys, art supplies, areas where children eat), and encourage employees to use these supplies before/after use of these surfaces, followed by hand hygiene.
- We regularly clean and disinfect equipment and toys using the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) list of products identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as effective against COVID-19
- Building air filters are changed on a regular basis by our AC company.
- Besides daily maintenance crew cleaning, staff will use sanitizing procedure per DOH guidelines during transitions (before/after snack, lunch, naptime, afternoon snack)
- We limit children from using toys that cannot be cleaned/sanitized (e.g. dress-up clothes, puppets).
- Parents must bring individual clean bed coverings for each child; bedding will be sent home twice a week (Wednesdays and Fridays) for cleaning and beds will be disinfected after each naptime.
- We require frequent and thorough hand hygiene for both staff and children.
- When diapering/helping with toileting, our teachers must wear gloves, wash hands (staff and child), and follow cleaning and disinfection steps between each child.
- We do not allow any kind of toys or items from home at all times.
- Students will work/play in centers and will be given sanitized toys which will then be placed in bins to get sanitized after play. We will rotate toys throughout the day.
- We abide by the NY State and DOH vaccine mandate for daycares and made full vaccination a requirement for 100% of our staff: teachers, employees, and administrators as well. As of now, a majority has also taken or scheduled to take their booster shots as well.
- We instruct staff to stay home if they are sick and remind parents/guardians to keep sick children home.
- We implement mandatory health screening assessment (e.g. questionnaire and temperature check) for employees, visitors, and children, either directly or through their parent/guardian.
- Students and staff will be checked for temperature on a daily basis. We reserve the right to check a parent/guardian’s temperature if we sense that he/she is not feeling well and clearly shows symptoms (coughing, runny nose, and shortness of breath).
Testing and Quarantine Requirements
Per February 2nd, 2022 NYC Department of Health, Bureau of child Care’s exclusion guidance for Child Care Programs:
Children who test positive for COVID-19, or have COVID-19 symptoms but were not tested:
May return to the program when all of the following are met:
- It is after Day 10 (where Day 1 is the day after symptoms began or, if they have no symptoms, the day after their test date).
- Their symptoms have improved.
- They have not had a fever for the prior 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medication.
Children ages 2 to 5 who are close contacts
May return to the childcare program when all of the following are met:
- It is after Day 5 (where Day 1 is the day after their last close contact).
- They have no COVID-19 symptoms. 2
- They test negative for COVID-19 on Day 5 or later (if using at-home tests, they must take two tests at least 24 hours apart on days 4 and 5 or later).
- They are able to consistently wear a well-fitting mask. Children ages 2 to 5 who do not meet these criteria may return to the program after Day 10 after their last close contact.
Children younger than 2 who are close contacts
May return to the program after Day 7 if they test negative for COVID-19 on Day 5, or later with a test administered by a health care provider (at-home tests cannot be used for this purpose). Otherwise, they may return after Day 10.
Childcare staff who test positive for COVID-19, or have COVID-19 symptoms but were not tested
May return to work when all of the following are met:
- It is after Day 5 (where Day 1 is the day after symptoms began or, if they have no symptoms, the day after their test date).
- hey have no COVID-19 symptoms, or their symptoms are improving.
- They have not had a fever for the past 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medicine.
- They are able to wear a well-fitting mask.
Testing is not required for staff to return to work.
Traveling Requirements (please check most updated CDC requirements as they change frequently)
- If the family member or the staff is vaccinated:
- Domestic travel: No quarantine / No testing needed before returning to class.
- International travel: The student or staff member will be admitted to class upon a NEGATIVE test.
- If the family member is not vaccinated:
- International and Domestic travel: The student or staff member will need to provide a NEGATIVE test upon return to school. You can follow the CDC recommendations and requirements after travel on the CDC Travel Planner.
- Although we practice social distancing and take more time during the day to clean and disinfect surfaces, our care, and educational approach remain the same and all efforts are made for all our students to be safe, feel safe, and flourish in a nurturing environment.
- We are committed to serving our community and families. As long as DOH permits, we will stay open during regular school hours, 5 days a week.
- In case there is another COVID lockdown and schools must close, we are dedicated to work remotely in those circumstances and will switch to online mode immediately.
- Parents who wish to leave the program if school closes will have to give one month’s notice as per the regular contract clause (but we hope you stay with us for the long term!).