We have taken extensive precautions to protect our children and staff against Covid-19.
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Our Covid-19 protection plans are informed by guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the LA County Department of Public Health and the LA County Department of Social Services. A few of these measures are required by law. Most others are not required. Still, they are things we feel strongly will further enhance hygiene and safety. Though our plans continue to evolve as additional information and guidance becomes available, many of the modifications, specialized equipment and even construction that we have undertaken to address the pandemic are enumerated below. A comprehensive description of them will also be included in an addendum to our Parent Handbook which will be provided upon enrollment.
Upon arrival, all children's footwear will be sanitized by simply stepping on a disinfecting mat we have acquired that is designed to prevent bacteria or virus from entering the school on the soles of shoes.
Classroom capacity is reduced from 20+ to no more than 10 children. This will facilitate efforts to encourage as much space between children as possible.
Each child will be assigned his or her own table and work materials (so there is no sharing of pencils, scissors and other implements).
Napping will be organized to ensure six-feet of distance.
Teachers will only interact with one group of the same 10 children each week.
The 10 children in each group will not mix with any other children or adults (other than their own dedicated teachers) at any time between their morning arrival and afternoon departure. This includes time spent on the playground, which will be similarly restricted by group.
The 10 children in each group will use the same toilet and sink all day. We are having additional sinks installed in several classrooms in order to facilitate more frequent hand washing.
Children will wash their hands thoroughly at every activity transition (ie, arrival, transition to playground, transition back into classroom, before eating, etc.) Proper hand washing will be encouraged in the following fashion. Teachers will draw a "smiley face" on the children's palms with non-toxic, water-based marker at the onset of each activity. Children will be required to wash their hands thoroughly enough to make the "smiley face" disappear completely.
Masks (provided by parents) are optional for children.
The playground will be partitioned such that each classroom is assigned its own area and play equipment. We have added portable fencing to delineate these separate areas.
After each use, Montessori classroom materials will be disinfected before being made available to another child.
All Montessori "food jobs," have been removed from our curriculum until further notice.
Snack shelves will be removed for the duration of the public health emergency.
Where we typically advocate against disposable3 utensils and napkins, during the public health emergency we are requiring their use (if and when we need to provide a child with them).
We have purchased medical-grade Hepa filtration devices for every classroom. We will also open windows whenever possible in order to increase air circulation.
We have added a full-time, dedicated janitor to our staff (where previously the position was part-time). Custodial services including disinfecting of bathrooms, classrooms and supplies will occur throughout the day rather than after school as is usually the case. When children are on the playground, our caretaker will disinfect their classroom thoroughly. We have purchased a commercial disinfecting fogger for this purpose. (As the devices are in very high demand and may not arrive until October, we will perform the task manually until then.)
We have constructed a fifth bathroom located on our upper playground in order to minimize the number of children using each bathroom.
Teachers and staff will be provided and required to wear protective aprons, face masks and/or transparent visors. Their break facilities have been modified to permit physical distancing of at least six feet.
Teachers will be provided with hand sanitizer that they can carry in their apron pocket for repeated applications during the day.
Upon arrival, all children will have their temperatures taken with contactless, forehead thermometers before getting out of the car. Children with temperatures above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or exhibiting any symptoms consistent with Covid-19 will not be permitted to enter school.
Any child who misses school due to illness of any kind will not be permitted to return to school until he or she has been symptom-free for at least 72 hours.
Upon arrival, all teachers will have their temperatures taken with contactless, forehead thermometers. Any teacher with a low-grade fever or exhibiting any symptoms consistent with Covid-19 will be given paid time off.
Any teacher who misses school due to illness of any kind will be given paid time off until she has been symptom free for at least 48 hours.
If a child or teacher is diagnosed with Covid-19, we will immediately notify all parents. Further, we will close the affected classroom for three days for disinfecting and monitoring.
Parents will not handle our ipads for sign-in and sign-out. Instead, a staff member will perform that function on behalf of each parent.
Parent-teacher conferences will be conducted virtually on Zoom.
Adult entry into our facility will be severely restricted. Parents will be discouraged from entering the building except in rare circumstances and we will instead escort the children to and from their classrooms. Any adult that is granted permission to enter the building will be required to wear a face mask.
Tours of our facility to prospective parents will not include entry into the classroom buildings. Tour guests will be invited to observe through exterior windows.
Some of our after school activities will be suspended until the pandemic has passed, including yoga and dance. Singing will occur out of doors during the school day, using creative means of physical distancing.
Our daily program calendar will be modified to maximize the amount of time the children are outdoors where virus transmission is less likely.