Little School FAQ for COVID-19 Response Updated August 20, 2020
When will Little School Open? Little School will be opening, as scheduled, on August 24th and August 25th. Teacher assignments were released via email on August 12th. This was later than our projected date of August 10th to accommodate our teachers affected by the cohort changes with their own families.
Will students meet their teachers before the first day? Yes! Students will meet their teacher face-to-face on August 21st. Teachers will send out a sign-up after August 12th along with more information. Small groups of students will meet their teacher and see their classrooms. If possible, please leave siblings and additional adults at home to help us ensure proper ratios in each classroom. Feel free to FaceTime with other adults who want to meet the teacher or take photos of the classroom during your time. Will Parent Back to School night still occur? Yes! Parent Back to School Night will occur virtually this year on August 20th from 6:00-8:00pm. Our director/lead administrator, Kelly Amadeo, will send a link to join her online. She will go over Little School policies from 6:00-7:00pm. Following the online meeting with Kelly, you will join an online meeting with your child’s teacher from 7:00-8:00pm so they can go over specific policies and procedures that pertain to their classroom. Will students be required to have masks at school? Yes. Students will be required to have a mask at school. We will have back-up masks if you forget your child’s mask. This will help us in situations where children are close together such as fire drills, evacuations, and in hallways, etc. Will students be required to wear masks? We have done extensive research on masks at the preschool level including witnessing what works in nearby schools. All adults will wear masks because it is a licensing requirement at this time. We will use masks as a teaching tool and they will be used age appropriately. For example, multiple studies demonstrate the spread of aerosol droplets when people sing. If proper social distancing is not achievable when children are singing, we will encourage them to wear a mask. When students pass through the hallways or common areas, we will encourage students to wear masks to cut back on spreading of illnesses in the common areas. These procedures will help us to reduce the need to close the entire school as opposed to just one classroom in the event someone tests positive for Covid.
What if my child does not like wearing masks? No child will be punished, shamed, embarrassed, or forced to wear a mask. As we have noticed through our research, when mask wearing is made fun and explained at an age appropriate level, many students are happy to wear their masks. If your child has a medical reason for not being able to wear a mask, please let his or her teacher know.
How will bathrooms be cleaned and maintained? Students will continue to go to the bathroom with their classes and also at any time with their assistant teacher when they need to. After each class goes to the bathroom, an adult will wipe down the handles, faucets, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers with the appropriate disinfectant. This will help prevent the spread of any illnesses between classrooms.
How will social distancing occur in the hallways and shared spaces? Only one class will be allowed in the hallway or common areas at a time.
How will social distancing occur inside and outside? Students will be encouraged to social distance inside and outside as appropriate, and still able to play freely and socialize with their friends.
Will students be sharing toys and materials? We will be significantly reducing the sharing of toys and materials. Each child will have their own pencil box, provided by the school, that will hold markers, crayons, scissors, etc. for that child only. Those will be disinfected weekly. Students will share some toys, but will wash hands before and after toy use. Toys will be disinfected daily. Children will also have their own sensory boxes so they will get to play with their own water bin, sand bin, bird seed bin, etc while sitting near their friend and able to still interact.
What if the surrounding school districts shut down again like they did in March? Will Little School close? Not necessarily. Preschools are considered essential businesses and are not required to close if a school district nearby closes. That being said, a decision to close will be made with the church and based on the requirements and recommendations from our licensing department and what we feel is safest for our staff and students.
What is Little School doing to help increase ventilation in the classrooms to reduce the spread of Covid? We have purchased commercial HEPA filtration units that will filter the air multiple times an hour to help reduce the spread of the illness in each classroom. Furnace filters are being changed out throughout the church building as well.
What happens if a child tests positive for Covid? While each situation is unique and will be handled accordingly, it is likely we will close the classroom where the child tested positive until the appropriate time has passed since exposure. By reducing the spread of Covid by keeping classes socially distanced, we hope that we only have to close the classrooms with immediate contact to the child or staff member who is suspected of being exposed.
What happens if a staff member tests positive for Covid? The classrooms with immediate contact to that staff member will likely close for a period of time recommended by Tri-County Health based on time of exposure. Again, each situation is different and will be handled on a case-by-case basis to ensure the safety of all of Little School. We will work hard to communicate with parents at all times.
What happens if a student’s family member tests positive for Covid? There is an exposure model called the ABC model that will help us determine the correct course of action. The model essentially helps us determine if someone is a primary contact (someone who needs to self-quarantine), or a secondary contact (someone who needs to be aware but does not need to self-quarantine). In the event a parent tests positive, their child would be a primary contact, and the students in the classroom would be secondary contacts. We will also consult with our school nurse, Tri-County Health, the church, and our licensing department in each Covid exposure situation. Again, we will work hard to communicate situations with families while maintaining confidentiality.
If one of our family members is asked to quarantine from their school or business, does my preschooler need to quarantine as well? No. According to the health department, siblings or children of someone with potential exposure do not need to quarantine, but please notify Little School so we can watch for symptoms. If someone at home does start to develop symptoms, then the child does need to quarantine.
Will I be notified if someone at Little School tests positive for Covid? In the event someone at Little School tests positive for Covid, we will notify Tri-County Health, our school nurse consultant, and the church. We will follow the advice of Tri-County Health on who needs to be notified. A student or family member’s personal information and name will never be shared. We will respect confidentiality and HIPPA laws.
Will students have their temperatures taken during the day? Yes. This is a guideline of the Mountain Sky Conference of the United Methodist Church for preschools. Each teacher will have a touchless thermometer at check-in.
What happens if my child gets sick at school? We have created a health office that allows us to properly care for any sick children while quarantining them from their peers. We understand that not all illnesses will be Covid related, but we need to provide a safe place to handle illnesses. Two adults will be with the child in the health office at all times. We will call the parents when a child becomes ill, and if we have not heard from a parent or guardian within 30 minutes, we will begin to call the emergency contacts listed in the registration paperwork.
What if my child or another child has a fever not related to Covid? Can he or she return to school? Yes. In most cases, a written doctor’s note will be required for children to return to school following a fever. Again, each case is different and will be handled accordingly. Your doctor can fax us or email us.
What will drop-off look like in the morning? Each class will have a location assigned to them outside for drop off. You will park your car, walk your child to their class line-up location, and use SmartCare’s new touchless check-in option to check them in. They will check your child’s temperature and take the class inside. In the event you are late, ring our video doorbell and we will come let your child in. We will train you how to use the check-in option at the parent back to school night virtual meeting. All adults and siblings over the age of three will need to wear masks during check-in and pick-up.
What will pick-up look like in the afternoon? Approved pick-up people will park their cars, walk to their child’s classroom line-up location (same as the morning), use the SmartCare touchless check out app, and then take their child back to their car. Again, masks will be required for all adults and children over the age of three at pick-up time.
Since parents won’t be entering the building, what if I need to speak to the office staff about billing? For the first few weeks of school, we will set up a table outside of the NORTH doors of the preschool to help answer your questions and offer assistance. This is the side opposite of the playground where the gazebo is. We will re-evaluate the situation after the first few weeks to see if it is best to continue to have an office table outside.
What happens if I need to pick my child up early, or drop something off. Can I enter the church? Please ring one of two doorbells of the preschool. We have video doorbells installed both at the north and south doors entering the preschool. We can see you from our office and will come greet you at the door to further assist you.
How will SmartCare check-in happen? Please download the SmartCare for Parents app before school begins. This will save you a lot of trouble later. We will help train you on how to check in and out at our Parent Back to School Night. Each adult will have a unique code associated with the child they are allowed to pick up. You will practice checking in at Meet the Teacher Day.
As a tuition paying parent/guardian, how will I be compensated in the event my child’s classroom or the school needs to close for a short period of time? We will offer elearning to any student who is quarantined. Supplies will be provided for you to use at home as needed along with an excellent elearning experience directly related to our curriculum and taught by your child’s teachers.
What is the policy for withdrawing my child? We have a 30 day withdraw policy. If you want to withdraw your child, you must send the director a written notice stating the date of withdraw. At that time, you will be responsible for 30 days of tuition regardless if your child continues to attend during that 30 days or not. The 30 days of tuition begins from the date of your cancelation notice, not your withdraw date. Most families who need to withdraw, notify us a month before they move and their child continues to attend for the 30 days they have paid for.
Do you have a 100% e-learning option available now? Yes, we do! Please email us for more information if this is something you are interested in. Children who go the e-learning route, can join in person at any time throughout the year subject to availability.
How many children will be in each class? While exact enrollment numbers fluctuate, we maintain the legal requirements for teacher student ratios. Our 2.5-year-old classes will not have more than six children per one adult, our 3-year-old classes will not have more than 10 children per one adult, and our 4 and 5-year-old classes will not have more than 12 children per one adult.
How will music class work? In the past, two classes attended music at the same time. This year, due to Covid, only one class will attend music at a time. We have an outdoor stage they will utilize during warm weather, and a large classroom they will utilize during cooler weather. Since singing puts out more droplets, students will be socially distanced when singing. If that is not a possibility, students will learn instruments, music theory, and dances instead of singing.
How will snack time work? In the past, parents took turns bringing in snacks for the whole class. This year, due to Covid, parents will provide their own child with a snack each day.
How will lunchtime work? Parents will provide their child with a lunch each day. Lunch boxes and bags will not touch other children’s items. Children will wash hands before eating and after eating. During eating, children will be spaced in a way that reduces the spread of illness, but allows for the important socialization to take place. With warm weather, we plan to have outdoor picnics often.
Will students be required to socially distance in the classroom? Given our classroom sizes and age of students we serve, this is difficult. During circle time and eating time, we will do our best to socially distance the students. However, we will work hard to make sure social distancing does not hinder the development of social skills. Our goal is to keep our students safe while not making them feel fearful or nervous to socialize with others.
What cleaning protocols are in place to ensure the safety of the children and staff? We use a line of cleaning products that have been approved by Tri-County Health called Buckeye. Buckeye provides us both a sanitizer and disinfectant that are used properly according to their labels. We have a professional cleaning company who cleans every night. In addition, teachers will be disinfecting toys, materials, and surfaces as necessary daily.
Is hand sanitizer going to be used in the classrooms? In previous years, we have not been allowed to use hand sanitizer. However, due to Covid, our licensing department is allowing us to use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available. Hand sanitizer will be locked up when not in use, and will never be easily accessible to children. If you do not want hand sanitizer used on your child, please let your child’s teacher know.
Are you altering any activities such as obstacle course, chapel, Thanksgiving Feasts, parades, etc? Yes, however, we will address each activity based on what is happening with Covid at the time. For the start of school, chapel will be live streamed or recorded for students to watch. Obstacle course will be canceled until further notice. Other events will be decided upon as they get closer.
Is the church opening to outside groups? At this time, all church groups are meeting outside including outside church services on Sunday. The church has protocols and a committee in place to handle outside groups’ use of the building as deemed safe. As of right now, Little School is the only group utilizing the inside of the church.
How many church staff will be in the building during the day and will they be in the preschool area? Between two-ten church staff members will be utilizing their offices which are located upstairs above the preschool. Very rarely do they come to the preschool area.
When does registration open and close? We accept new registration all year! Who are the governing bodies who have influenced these policies? Little School administration, St. Luke’s staff, The Mountain Sky Conference of the United Methodist Church, Tri-County Health, and the Office of Early Childhood of the State of Colorado.
If your child has a unique situation or requirement, please reach out to your child’s teacher. We are here to help make your child’s preschool experience the best it can be.