Category Archives: COVID

COVID19 for Child Care Programs

During COVID, parents have FAQ (frequently asked questions) surrounding how this illness influences child care programs and family access to care.  When will the program be closed for COVID?  For how long?  What is quarantine and how long does it last?  So here is the best we can do with the information up to this moment, Tuesday, December 1, 2020;

Q:  If I test positive for COVID19 can my child attend school?
A:  NO, your child will be in quarantine and at home with you for 14 days from your test date.  You watch for symptoms from the child and other household members during this time.

Q:  If I test positive for COVID19 does the preschool close?
A:  NO.  As long as you practice social distancing drop-off prior to the diagnosis and did not enter the building, the school will remain open.

Q:  If I test positive for COVID19 does my child need to get tested?
A:  NO, you child will be in mandatory quarantine with you for the entire time (14 days, plus 48 hours past the last symptom).  A test is not necessary.

Q:  If I test my child for COVID19 and they test positive, what happens next?
A:  Contact the Preschool.  We have to report this to many different agencies and close the classroom your child was in.  Teachers, students and anyone in contact with your student’s class will now go into a 2 week quarantine (14 days).   There will not be school for this class.

Q:  If I was positive for COVID and my child test negative can they come to school?
A:  NO.  Someone who has come into contact with a COVID infected person must quarantine for 14 days, despite a negative test result.

Q:  What if I came in contact with someone who has a positive COVID19 test result?
A:  You will be in quarantine for 14 days.  We ask you do not pick up or drop off during this time.  If you develop symptoms, please keep your child at home for 14 days from your first symptom and 48 hours past your last symptom.  School will not close for this, permitting parent has followed social distancing protocols (6 ft from other students and families) and stayed outside of the building.  At Bend Preschool our policy is your child can attend if they are socially distancing from the infected family member.  If that is not possible, the child will need to remain at home during quarantine.

Q:  My child has a fever, cough, upset stomach (diarrhea, vomiting), chest congestion, wheezing, etc.  When can I return to school?
A:  You child can return in 10 days from onset of symptoms.

Q:  What if I then want to return sooner than the 10 days?
A:  If your child gets tested and the test is COVID19 negative you still have to wait until 48 hours past symptom resolution and the child must be Tylenol/Motrin/Fever Reducer FREE.  If the test comes back COVID19 positive, the school will need to be notified and the class will close for 14 days.  All Teachers, students and any others exposed will go into quarantine for 14 days.

Q:  My child is asymptomatic with COVID, can they still attend?
A:  No, a positive COVID19 test for your child means the class closes, the teachers are off of work and anyone who has contact with this class (cook, licensing specialist, etc) is in quarantine.

Q:  If the school closes with COVID19, will I get a refund?
A:  No, tuition remains the same (don’t forget the 4% increase for January) and school will reopen at the end of the quarantine.  We are proud to have NOT raised our rates for COVID.  Our increase is just the normal annual cost of living increase.

Q:  I’m going to be traveling out of the country, how long do I quarantine when I return?
A:  If it is just you, 14 days and we ask you don’t pick up or drop off during your quarantine.  If the child is also going out of the country, they will also need to quarantine 14 days after.

Q:  What special practices has the school put into place to minimize risk?
A:

WHAT WE ARE DOING:

No shoes inside of the schools.  Hand washing immediately after shoe removal.  Wash/rinse/sanitize of every toy that is touched or played with, as soon as the child puts it down.  Tables and chairs are scrubbed with soap, washed off with water and then sanitized.

Teachers wear masks and do not work when they are ill.  Parents and all visitors are kept out of the building (except our mandatory inspections, or a repair that is required to allow the school to remain open).  Playground equipment is sanitized after each use.  Deep cleaning upon end of the day, of all floors and surfaces (handles, knobs).  Water and soap is moving over to touch less systems (for hand washing) in each place where it is possible.  Teachers are not shared between schools, classes and group sizes are kept to 10 students or less.  This last measure helps if we must close due to exposure, allowing the unexposed class to still attend school.

 

THANK YOU TO OUR COMMUNITY

We rely heavily on the kindness of our families.  Thank you to all of you who push through this new frontier with us (and with all the new regulations we are following).  We appreciate your encouragement, especially when the time comes to be forced to temporarily close a class due to exposure.

New information is expected out from the CDC tomorrow, December 2, 2020 about new quarantine periods after being exposed to an infected person.  Child Care programs in Oregon have a massive amount of rules governing everything from sanitation, food prep, naps to bottle feeding in regards to COVID19.

While these rules change frequently, OHA and other government agencies are quick to get out the newest information and make sure providers are in the know.  Those who have been open since March, are operating under an Emergency Child Care license.  Without this, child care through out Oregon is closed.

Here are some links to the CDC page for updates on COVID19 studies.  I find this useful when trying to sort out what the media or social media is saying and what the facts are as of this moment in time.

****UPDATE 12/3/2020*****

The CDC has announced today the quarantine will reduce to 7 days if you test negative and were exposed to a COVID positive person (but have ZERO symptoms).  The quarantine time for COVID exposure without a test is dropping to 10 days.  This has NOT YET been adopted by OHA (Oregon Health Authority).  Here is a link to the transcript with the CDC interview with the new guidelines (Oregon has yet to follow this change).

Why Should Parents Place Their Children in Child Care?

Recently I was on a Facebook group for Child Care providers in Oregon.  Preschool teachers, classroom teachers and Child Care owners all participate here.  “Why should parents place their children in care?  Does anyone have any articles on this?”  For real, there are no mommy blogs on this.  So here is my “Child Care Provider Blog,” on the subject.

During the pandemic, it was crystal clear why children need an outside source, a teacher outside of the home.  Let’s start as children began to come back slowly after the pandemic.  Children who came back had clear signs of experiencing trauma.  In our program we watched as children experienced crisis of housing, food scarcity, job loss for one of both parents, adults under stress because of all these reasons and they felt alone and isolated as they never left the home.  As students came back to school, they would ask about their friends.  “Where is Molly?”  The forlorn look of sadness in their faces was heartbreaking, like they had lost them forever.

Children crave the learning experiences their peers provide.  The stability of the constant flow of information from peers and teachers.  The safety friends bring who are growing and making mistakes along side them.  It is like a four year journey of Survivor where students hope they don’t get removed from their island, lol.  They have the same partners in learning for each day and they joyfully look forward to those experiences.  Our children are learning social skills at an early age and are falling in love with learning and budding friendships.  So how do children do this?

Playing in the dirt, making mud pies with a friend, climbing the highest “castle” to yell and see if their voice will reach to the farthest part of the play yard, poking a friend with a stick just to watch the reaction, taking a book from the shelf or from a friend- these experiences grow the minds and give stability and comfort their young hearts crave.  Preschool students love being able to stretch their limits, try out new boundaries all within the comfort of those doing the same things.

During my digging I found some amazing articles on how these early experiences actually reduce the need for special education classes as children age.  This makes sense to me as an educator.  The early building blocks are laid down quickly with peers around to challenge and engage with.  Like, “Iron sharpens iron,” so our preschoolers sharpen each others experiences.  With quality teachers, these enriching activities fill in gaps they might have otherwise not filled in as quickly.  Students love to compete with each other and conflicts do arise.  But conflict is a GOOD THING!  It provides opportunity to learn and fill in those vital gaps children are born with but need filled in to be a successful adult.

My other half of 25 years recalled days where he had special education classes for reading.  He remembers getting pulled out of class, walking by the tables of boys who were laughing and engaging with each other.  He felt so isolated and alone.  Preschool, at least at Bend Preschool, is a time when letters, colors and numbers are introduced.  Children learn to recognize letters, produce sounds and begin pre-reading activities.  These simple pieces help students avoid pull out classes and the repercussions that reverberate into adulthood.  By investing in Child Care, you are putting early learning in place to avoid possible pull out classes later.

One of my favorite resources, chalked full of data helps family explore the science behind Child Care.  No matter what scientific study you are seeking, chances are you will find it there.  There is a great quick quiz parents can take to learn a little more about your knowledge of ECE.  Inside this resource there are many additional links to studies and articles surrounding our field and the strengths you are building into your child by choosing a quality Early Childhood program.

While the pandemic has produced many challenges for us as Child Care providers, businesses shuttering their doors (some of my favorite colleagues that were decades old have closed), finances being tight, not having materials readily available that we need, it is clear – we have chosen the right profession.  One that leaves our “finger prints,” on the world.  One that will help the future generation of our City build strong leaders, who are willing to explore our world and not be afraid of conflict.  May the kids of this generation be a blessing to the next generation because of educators who were not afraid to carry the torch of play and let kids explore within the boundaries.

If you have questions about enrollment for your student, please reach out to us.

 

Being a Early Childhood Educator or teacher in the middle of a pandemic, is an entirely different beast.  Public school teachers are the new hero’s and zero’s of our communities.  Some families are angry for not having in person classes available while others see the struggle public school teachers daily face trying to manage a new corner of learning.  Classroom management through a computer screen isn’t something Elementary, Junior High and High School teachers went to college to learn about.  As Preschool and Early Educators, we are partnering with our school teachers to offer a small POD for school age kids at one of our locations.

Our teachers are learning the delicate balance between the daily changing public school meetings/schedules and the needs of school age children to be active during a pandemic.  The need to participate in art.  To go outside and jump around.  The online classrooms have many different requirements but all the students are on different schedules.  This makes managing a “one room school house” a real challenge for the ECE teacher now turned Elementary Educator.  What does this look like at Bend Preschool?

Students are having an outrageous amount of fun, enjoying being in a small class.  Having freedom’s they have never dreamed of experiencing.  Being able to stop and play with lego’s when their brains are full and they need a break.  Having a “reading buddy” be a classmate and friend.  Teachers who love and embrace art and silliness.  Teachers likewise are enjoying the in-depth conversations about life, reading clubs and not needing to help with toileting.  This is some of the positive parts of teaching during a pandemic.

The laughter that roars out of the classroom in between video sessions, I often have to giggle.  Kids that pass by and want a hug or tell me a funny story from the day.  I think, “wow, this is such a special time these kids are so enjoying.  Who would have thought something as horrible as COVID could produce such great memories for these children?

The teachers all deserve our thanks and gratitude.  The Washington Post recently had a great story about the struggles of teachers who are behind our computers.  For rising to the challenge.  Taking on something new.  Being bold and fearless in the face of something there is no road map for.  I simply have to say, you all are the best.  Thank you for stepping up and stepping into the gap.  For families and for the kids, I say thank you!!

What has this year looked like?  Challenging, so many challenges for us in teaching, yet our cup of joy is full… no overflowing.  The laughter and excitement of our students brings new joy each day of this “pandemic.”  We choose to celebrate the life we are getting to live each day in these unique times.  Who would have ever thought a preschool could have a one room school house?!  To this we say, “L’Chaim,” to life!

If you are looking to join a wild team of teachers in the middle of the pandemic, please reach out to us.