Program Approach and Guidance
for COVID-19

Our planning and development of COVID policies and procedures follow all of the guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Health, Office of Head Start, OCDEL/DHS, state and local mandates, State Health Consultants, and knowledge gained from other Head Start programs that have been open and operating following CDC guidance. We are continually keeping up with the most stringent guidelines to keep everyone safe and healthy.

A COVID Policies and Procedures Manual includes more specifics of actual policies and procedures.

Use of masks/face coverings

  • All staff will be required to wear a mask/face covering. (Mandatory) If staff have a personal preference of a face covering they may wear it for their own comfort. Those who have no face covering will be supplied with a mask by the agency. 
  • ALL adults must wear mask/face covering upon entering the building and during the work day whenever they are in the presence of others and in hallways and common areas.
  • I/T are not required to wear a mask; preschoolers and SA children must wear masks while indoors in PSFC’s buildings when feasible.
  • Children will be provided with a cloth mask that will be identified with their name and laundered by classroom staff at the end of the day ready for the next day
  • Consideration will be given to children who cannot tolerate the mask, who have health concerns, or whose parent objects to their child(ren) wearing a mask
  • Staff who wear masks/face coverings for long periods of time will have an opportunity to take short “breathing” break

 

Parents in the building; limiting traffic in facilities

  • Parents and other guests/visitors will not be allowed in the building (at TMC this means PSFC related guests and visitors using the PSFC designated entrance – the Partnership side will use the main entrance and stay on their side of the building.)
  • If parents want to use the services on the partnership side of the building they would need to enter the building at the Main Entrance of TMC and be re-screened to use those services
  • All entry areas in all buildings will follow the same screening procedures

 

Parent drop off and pick up

  • Only one child and one adult in the screening area at a time
  • Parent will arrive at their designated time slot which will be staggered to avoid back up in the screening area
  • Signage will ask parent questions to which they have to answer no to all or take their child home
  • A health staff person will conduct the screening for each child following a visual wellness check, taking temperatures, and asking the parent key questions. Parents will sign in using a tablet that sends information directly to Child Plus. The screener will follow all cleaning and disinfecting procedures outlined in the COVID Policies and Procedures book for entering a PSFC building
  • Child will be given a scant amount of sanitizer to walk to the classroom
  • A runner from the classroom will walk the child to the classroom and lead them to wash their hands before joining the classroom group

 

Social distancing

  • All adults must practice social (physical) distancing of 6 feet.
  • The classroom teams are working on visuals for the classroom to designate to children where their “space” is in relation to other children. Each child will have their own mat to define their “sitting space” on the floor.
  • All staff will receive training on what is appropriate physical distancing of teaching staff to children and how to interact with children in developmentally appropriate ways.
  • Each room will have a capacity sign that designates how many individuals can be present in each room practicing physical distancing of 6 feet.
  • Recruitment and reception areas will have plexiglass screens for protection of one-on-one contact with clients and public.

 

IU Collaboration

  • SS and DB have been meeting with IU20 with discussions about how to proceed with some form of collaboration while keeping children safe and limiting the number of IU children in a classroom – at this point we are planning on only having the returning IU children that were enrolled last year with no new until we can accommodate more children in a classroom.
  • Plans are underway for safe distancing for therapy sessions either in or out of the classroom.

 

Child COVID symptoms/other  illnesses during class day/ COVID quarantine procedures 

  • There are very strict policies and procedures to assure every child is screened for symptoms and has a temperature check prior to daily entry into the building and at least one more time during the classroom day by a staff trained in temperature taking and screening for symptoms.
  • of Health recommendations are that the adult bringing the child into the center does not need a temperature check unless they will be entering the building for any length of time beyond the screening area.
  • There are policies in place that includes specific requirements if a child turns ill during the classroom day. (contact parent, setting up an isolation room at each site, how to disinfect appropriately after child leaves, documentation, doctor note to return, etc.)
  • There are also strict policies should a child/family member or staff test positive for COVID or are being tested for COVID– refer to PSFC Checklist for Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 Cases.
  • Parents and staff will be informed of these policies and sign off that they understand them will follow them.
  • A health staff will routinely monitor staff and children for signs of illness throughout the day; send home a child or adult with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, cough, or other COVID symptoms after isolating them from the classroom and notify parents; or in the case of a staff member send them home.
  • Each facility has a van to safely transport children home or health care facility if a parent is unable to do so (all vehicles must follow cleaning and disinfecting procedures after each use)

 

Home visits and P/T Conferences

  • Will continue virtually as we are doing presently – documentation into child plus
  • I/T and preschool will meet requirements of 2 home visits and 2 parent/teacher conferences per year by classroom staff
  • FA and health staff home visits will also be virtual
  • Individual contacts with parents may occur in the center if the protective screen and all safety protocols are in place including the screening of temperatures
  • Home Base will conduct 32 home visits per year; socialization days will be planned with fewer families and social distancing and/or virtual community visits

 

Napping cots

  • Guidance says 6 feet if feasible – DHS is flexible on this but at the very least our usual 3 feet with heads at different ends of cots (feet to feet positioning) Classroom staff will work this out in their individual classrooms – make a diagram and place children in consistent locations every day as far apart as possible. 
  • Cots will be stored in the classroom with a covering to prevent contact when not in use.

 

Using tablets to sign in and out

  • Tablets will be available to parents to sign in and out at drop off/pick up – disinfected after each use.

 

Meal times for children

  • Can no longer do family style meals. Teaching staff with gloves must set the table with utensils, napkin, etc. and disinfect after each meal. 
  • Menus will be planned for ease in preparation using the usual USDA guidelines for nutrition. Food will be placed on individual plates using the portion size as specified for their age.  Each plate will have a lid to keep temperatures at acceptable levels and to avoid contamination of food during travel from the kitchen to meal table. 
  • Extra food will be available on the carts for teaching staff to place on the child’s place should seconds be desired.
  • All other usual procedures are to be followed, ie. No forcing of food, no limiting food, utensils in a container after use, etc.
  • Training will be provided to classroom staff.
  • children at a meal time table – 4 preschool children/1 adult at a table x 3 tables. Each classroom will be working this out for as much distance as possible.
  • SA will follow all of PMSD protocols that are feasible in our setting.

 

Group size and staffing

  • Class sizes will 10 children – preschool; 8 children toddlers;
  • Ideally 2 teachers for instruction/social/emotional development being a priority focus and one aide to clean, take children to the bathroom, disinfect etc. throughout the time children are in the classroom/outdoors/on walks, etc.
  • Additional staff will relieve classroom staff for breaks.
  • Children have contracted times – staff hours are scheduled for a half hour before and an hour after the first and last child’s contracted times. 

 

Program closing due to COVID-19

  • We have a closing plan in place should this occur
  • We will do exactly what we are doing now very successfully – follow our governor’s guidelines, align with school districts closing and opening, pick up on more virtual home experiences, review our policies and procedures and follow procedural guidance from CDC and Dept of Health.
  • Surveying families for child care needs.
  • Provide support and guidance for staff to work remotely from home
  • We are stockpiling our protective equipment/materials so that we will have adequate supplies to increase precautionary measures in case of a relapse.

 

Concern for vulnerable populations/people with high health risks; bringing the virus home to family members

  • This will be handled case by case with individuals due to confidentiality. We are asking all staff to share with their supervisors any health concerns for themselves that they have, any family members with COVID, any COVID testing that they or a family member are having done, etc. 
  • The new Families First Act provides for employees who test positive for COVID or who have family member they must care for.
  • Would like to assure all staff if everyone follows all of the COVID procedures and policies you will be far more protected here at work then you would be if you went to the grocery store or out into the community.
  • All employees have signed a Work at Home Guidance and if feasible for the position working remotely from home could be considered

 

Care of infants/toddlers – risk of one on one care greater

  • All I/T staff must wear masks and long sleeved smocks or outer clothing that can easily be removed after each feeding, diapering or any other time when body fluids could get on clothing.
  • At no time is it okay not to comfort a crying baby or toddler with one on one contact. This is very clear in all of the guidelines.  It is the responsibility of the staff to follow all of the I/T precautions and procedures re: handwashing, disinfecting, etc.
  • All smocks/outer clothing will be laundered daily

 

Staff with school age children finding child care during summer

  • Again this is an individual problem solving task between staff and supervisor.
  • We are in the process of getting a list of child care centers that would take preschool or school age children on a temporary basis; and when PSFC re-opens they can come back to PSFC. Their CCIS follows them to the new center and back to PSFC. 
  • There are other ways to problem solve – just reach out.  So far that has not been voiced as a concern as staff are coming back into centers part time.

 

Preventing I/T from mouthing toys

  • Won’t happen – this is typical development – we will be following our usual procedure – after child who mouthed the toy is done with it it goes into the “appropriate bin” with a lid for disinfecting later.
  • We can purchase more duplicates of toys to have enough for all children if this becomes a concern.

 

No visitors in classrooms includes staff who have their children enrolled – right?

  • YES absolutely, no exceptions for staff with children in the program – even FA’s, Leads, etc. will not be allowed in classrooms. Only CWBS at scheduled and essential times and supervisors for the purpose of monitoring but all must do social distancing, hygiene, etc.
  • All “essential” TSS workers and interns must follow all of the same safety and health procedures and policies as staff

 

Regular cleaning of common areas, hallways, and bathrooms

  • Cleaning staff have a schedule of daily/weekly cleaning tasks with a check list they will initial – cleaning will be increased significantly throughout the day
  • Daily classroom cleaning still remains the responsibility of classroom team which is why we plan on one person to just do cleaning/disinfecting.
  • Deep cleaning will be scheduled with building cleaning staff as well on a weekly basis.

 

Quality of air/ventilation

  • All of our facilities meet the recommended requirements for safe and health air quality.
  • Children should be outdoors as much as possible learning in their outdoor classrooms.
  • Buildings are regularly inspected for mold

 

Job security with less children in a classroom

  • There will be plenty of extra things that will need to be done to assure for health and safety that no one should be fearful of losing their job or not receiving a pay check due to less children in a classroom.
  • All staff received and signed off on a Work at Home Guidance during this remote work at home phase specifically for their position.
  • We will be developing ongoing teams and tasks that will be needed to give quality services.

 

Monitoring of traffic in and out of the partner agencies at TMC

  • Partner side of the building is following all of CDC and Dept of Health recommendations for service buildings opening up
  • Currently the food pantry continues their curb side food pick up on Thursdays
  • Most other agencies are still working remotely or provide services by appointment only
  • Will have one janitor dedicated to each side of the building so there is no traffic going back and forth
  • Parking for all PSFC staff will resume to the side parking lot; can no longer park in the front of the building

 

Staff’s emotional and mental well being; preparing for changes

  • Staff is considered high priority!
  • Ongoing communication from Executive Director
  • Daily communication from Program Director
  • Support of Mental Health Consultant
  • Staff survey feedback being responded to
  • Supervisors one-on-one connections daily/weekly
  • Communicating changes as they are known
  • Many resources are shared on a regular basis regarding resiliency, self care, and social-emotional well-being
  • Opportunities to serve on COVID Task Force
  • Staff wellness activities will be included in all preservice and inservice trainings

 

Staff that work in several classrooms, sites

  • All staff must follow all of PSFC’s safe guards and procedures for hygiene and COVID prevention in every classroom and every building (exception is school district buildings – must follow school districts procedures)
  • Classroom teams will remain as consistent as possible – providing the same sub for each classroom should a classroom staff be absent

 

Monitoring that policies and procedures are being followed

  • Procedures for monitoring to assure that all procedures are in place at all times
  • Documentation forms will be used to assure for compliance
  • Training for staff on new policies and procedures will include consequences for non-compliance.

 

Staff talking to children about procedures, pandemic, their fears, etc.

  • Staff have received many resources about how to foster social-emotional development during this time, how to talk to children, resiliency skills for children, grief, etc.
  • Staff will be trained on how to teach children new procedures, how to talk to children, how to develop social-emotional skills while practicing physical distancing.
  • A video will be developed as well as visuals for parents to understand what will happen in classrooms for children’s safety, health, and learning

 

On site Health staff 

  • Full time Health Associate for TMC and Health Aides at both sites to cover all classroom hours
  • CDC, State Health Consultant, and Dept. of Health contacts will be used on a regular basis for any questions or guidance we need
  • Health Advisory Committee is available for guidance as needed

 

In person recruitments

  • An on-line system for completing applications and recruitment is provided to families
  • Recruitment/enrollment visits – Only 1 adult and 1 child at a pre-agreed date/time to have an in person contact to get to know the child and parent better
  • Protective screen, masks, entry screening enforced
  • Disinfecting area in between appointments

 

Toothbrushing

  • No longer allowed
  • Every child will be given a toothbrush and toothpaste to use at home
  • Flyer re: proper dental hygiene will go home to parents when toothbrushes are distributed.
  • New toothbrushes/tooth paste sent out mid year to all enrolled children

 

Recruitment and Enrollment 

  • The COVIS Policies & Procedures Manual includes all steps for recruitment and enrollment that minimizes the risk of contacting COVID.
  • The initial application and recruitment process can be completed on line through PSFC’s web site.
  • Individual recruitment/enrollment stations are set up for safety with protective screens, limit of 1 child and 1 adult, and all must follow all of the entry screening, social distancing, sanitizing, and protective face coverings as per PSFC’s policies.

 

Health Screenings

  • All health screenings will be completed on all enrolled children meeting the 45 or 90 day requirements based on Program Performance Standards
  • The reasons for screenings not able to be completed will be documented in Child Plus

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