COVID-19 RELATED 

HANDBOOK ADDENDUM

updated:  July 31, 2020

This is an amendment to the 2020-2021 Smarty Pants Preschool Handbook.

All other provisions of the Handbook shall remain in full force and effect

unless they contradict this COVID-19 RELATED HANDBOOK ADDENDUM.  

We will be opening on 9/8 as planned for preschool!   Our procedures will not be the same as in the past but we are still 100% dedicated to meeting  the students' needs and keeping everyone safe!    We have been closed since March 13th and the REOPENING PLAN has been an evolving process that may continue to change as NEW rules and regulations are introduced.  ​


In light of the unique and difficult challenges and concerns posed by the recent COVID-19 public health crisis,these policies are effective immediately.

We understand that this is a concerning time for our community and we will be making reasonable efforts to ensure the safety of our staff, children and families, including through the introduction and enforcement of these new policies, most of which are required protocols by our licensing agency, the Maryland Department of Education (MSDE). We will continue to monitor the situation and may add to, or modify, any policies, including these, as may be necessary and appropriate.

ENROLLMENT OPTIONS
We will be offering a FULL DAY “in person” program from 9am-3pm every day.  We have three enrollment options, based on availability.  You can choose to register for M-F (5 days), M/W/F (3 days) and T/Th (2 days). 

OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

We will be primarily outside the whole day with access to the indoor classroom.   We are SUPER excited about our NEW outdoor classroom! We have always had a NATURE TRAIL, but it has now been converted into an FULLY OPERATING OUTDOOR CLASSROOM! It has all the same components of a GREAT preschool classroom, but in a beautifully wooded area steps behind our adorable schoolhouse.  We, of course, will have access to the main schoolhouse at any time! But we are hopeful that we will be able to spend MOST of our day outside. Research is suggesting that being outside decreases the exposure risks of the virus and allows for "natural" social distancing! PLUS... learning in nature has so many early childhood benefits! 

 

KINDERGARTEN PREP

The students will continue to get prepared for kindergarten! We will offer literacy, math, science, reading, art, music, etc... every single day! We will deliver this learning in a natural setting, which will likely make it much more engaging and interesting. We will FOCUS a lot on social emotional skills all year, along with the academic skills, because the most important part of being ready for kindergarten is working with peers, controlling impulses, being able to express feelings, being able to attend, etc. These are skills that are impossible to learn virtually... so we want to make sure that while they are with us. As always, we will continue to have high standards for our students and offer them everything they need to be able to transition to kindergarten. 

EMERGENCY CLOSING PLAN

We do have a plan for learning to continue to occur if the school needs to close due to exposure and recommendations from the health department. Those activities will be accessed through the google classroom but will be HANDS ON learning activities that will engage your child at their developmental level. And there may be LIVE "zoom type" short interactions with the teachers; like story time, circle time, show and tell, etc... offered if we must close for longer than a couple days... in order for the students and teachers to stay connected. 

COVID-19 SYMPTOMS

The COVID-19 symptoms that will exclude you from attending Smarty Pants include:

  • *New onset cough or shortness of breath* 

 

OR at least 2 of the following:

  • fever (100.4ºF or higher)

  • chills

  • muscle pain

  • sore throat

  • loss of sense of smell or taste

  • gastrointestinal symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea

 

If a person has a new symptom (for example, new loss of smell only) with no other diagnosis to explain it, they should stay home and talk to their health care provider about testing for COVID-19, even if it is the only symptom they are experiencing.

BECOMING ILL AT SCHOOL

If your child becomes ill at school.  You will be required to pick your child up within  30 minutes of the time we called you.  If a student or school staff member develops symptoms of COVID-19-like illness during the school day,  we will:

  • Safely isolate the person in the designated isolation area and place a disposable surgical mask on the person

  • Staff will wear appropriate PPE and conduct the appropriate determination of the student’s condition based on presenting symptoms

  • The person to vacate the school, as soon as possible

HEALTH EMERGENCY CLOSURES
While we certainly hope that it will not be the case, there may be future instances when it will be necessary for the school to close as the result of a public health emergency, such as a resurgence of COVID-19 in our area. This may include, but will not necessarily be limited to, instances when schools are required to close in compliance with a federal, state or local government order or when the school is required or advised to close to address a confirmed or suspected outbreak among staff or children.


Please be advised that, in the event that SMARTY PANTS must close for any period of time due to a public health emergency OR for temporary shutdowns due to sick symptoms that resulted in a call to the Health Department, no refunds will be issued for those periods when the school is closed. 

CHILD/FAMILY MEMBER TRAVEL
Until further notice, families must promptly notify the Director in the event that a child or any member of the child’s household(s) will be traveling out of the United States or to any location with a large number of cases.   Depending on the means and destination of travel, Smarty Pants may require that the child be kept home for a reasonable period after the child or a member of the household has returned from travel. As this is a constantly evolving situation, we encourage families to discuss contemplated travel and any stay at home period that may be required thereafter, with Smarty Pants prior to finalizing their travel plans.

REPORTING

Families must promptly notify the Director in the event that any member of a child’s household(s) (1) has tested positive for COVID-19, (2) is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or (3) is known to have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. In such an event, under no circumstances should the child or any other member of the household enter the school until the recommended period of self-isolation has been completed or it has been otherwise confirmed that no members of the household are infected with COVID-19. Smarty Pants Preschool management will work directly with any affected or potentially affected families to provide direction and guidance as when the child may return to the school. Such requirements may change based on the most recent guidance from the CDC and other authorities.

INCREASED CLEANING PROTOCOL

SMARTY PANTS has always maintained excellent cleaning protocols, but increased protocols will include:

  • Disinfecting major surfaces and touch points in and nearby the classroom, such as door handles, light switches, bathroom faucets, and handles routinely throughout the day and in between groups using a combination of MSDE and CDC approved cleaning solution.

  • Disinfecting the outdoor classroom and playground touch surfaces several times a day.

MASKS FOR CHILDREN

At this time, students are not required to wear masks indoors or outdoors. If you would like your child to wear a mask, we will accommodate that. We are asking that every student purchases the sun hat that has a visor attached (see supply list)... it will work like a face shield and protect the children from sun/bugs etc.  This hat with the visor will be worn outside. If your child is comfortable wearing a mask, we suggest that you send a mask to school to wear if we have to spend time indoors.  Again, this is not required but if you want them to wear one while inside, please send one everyday.

DAILY HEALTH SCREENING & TEMPERATURE CHECKING

You will be required to complete a DAILY health survey and  report your child's temperature at DROP OFF.  You will need to take your child temperature with your own thermometer, and document it to a staff member.

COVID-19 EXPOSURE

In the event that someone in the school community shows any signs of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell) or receives a positive test result, SMARTY PANTS is required by the Maryland Department of Education licensing agency to call the County Health Department and the MSDE Office of Child Care. The Health Department will review the situation and advise us about procedures to follow, and if necessary, the length of closure of the facility and any quarantine requirements for staff, children and families. Parents will be notified of any such directives. Please be advised that closures due to any COVID symptoms (as noted above) could result in the closure of Smarty Pants  Preschool for 2-14 days depending on if the Health Department requires COVID testing, how long test results take and if a positive case is confirmed. Therefore, we are urging parents to be vigilant in observing their children and keeping them home if they display ANY sick symptoms so that our program is not shut  down temporarily for everyone.

In addition, children may not come to school if they or any member of the household are experiencing fever or symptoms of any contagious illness. Children may return when they (or the member of their household) are fever and symptom free without medication for 72 hours. In certain cases, a child may be able to return sooner than 72 hours if they can provide satisfactory medical evidence that they have no risk of being contagious.  Smarty Pants Preschool staff reserves the right to ask a parent, grandparent, child or guardian to leave the premises or be removed from the preschool program at any time if they suspect that person or persons could put any person within the school community at risk in any way, including not cooperating with these guidelines.

STAFF REQUIREMENTS

Teachers are currently required by Maryland Department of Education licensing mandates to wear face coverings indoors and any time a 6-foot distance is not possible.    Per MSDE guidelines, all staff must take and record their body temperature in the morning prior to class
starting.  Staff will also be required to follow the travel protocols enforced for families.

PICK UP AND DROP OFF TIMES
DROP OFF:  8:50 – 9:00
PICK UP:  2:45-3:00

Please do your best to adhere to these times.  Our staff has important places to be after work and lots of preparation to do before the students arrive.  This time without students is a very critical part of our planning and preparation time
 

BEFORE  SCHOOL 

Parents/caregivers will not be allowed to walk their child past the safety cones, or allowed to enter into the building at all this year. Drop off will be done completely outside, as we have done in years past.  Students will start each day outside on the playground. We will have a drop-off car line each morning beginning at 8:50am. 

 

At drop-off, per MSDE licensing requirements, parents must wear a face covering and take their child's temperature (with their own thermometer) in front of a staff member so that it can be recorded by a staff member each day. To avoid temperature mis-readings due to weather, the child should remain in the car for their temperature taking. Any child with a temperature of 99.9 or higher or any sick symptoms will not be permitted into preschool that day. Children may return when they are fever and symptom free without medication for 72 hours. In certain cases, a child may be able to return sooner than 72 hours if they can provide satisfactory medical evidence that they have no risk of being contagious.  

Parents are required to complete a health screening questionnaire everyday at arrival as well.  You will indicate that your child has not had any of these situations:

Since last at school (or in the past 14 days if new or returning from an absence);  

  • Has the child or anyone in the household experienced any of these symptoms:  sore throat, nasal congestion or runny nose, new or worsening cough (even if it's due to allergies), shortness of breath,   fatigue/malaise  (tiredness),   headaches, body aches, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, fever

  • Has the child been in close, prolonged contact with anyone who has had these symptoms?

  • Has the child been in close, prolonged contact with anyone known to have COVID-19?
     

 

DROP OFF              PLEASE SEE THIS GRAPHIC FOR A VISUAL OF THE PROCESS!

  • Follow yellow arrows for “LOOP” drop off. 

  • Stop and let your child out at the RED square area.

  • Do not let your child out without the help of a staff member.  

  • Be patient!

  • We will need to have a temperature reported to staff at drop off.  When you arrive, you will be asked to take your child's temperature (you need to do it yourself, so bring a thermometer with you) and you will tell the teacher the temp when you drop off you will take your child’s temp before they leave the car.

  • Children will place their lunch in the cooler, place their bucket on the bucket rack. 

  • Students will wash hands.

  • The students will go to the playground.  

  • You will not be allowed to walk your child to the playground or in the building at all.

  • NEVER drive in front of the entry door and playground area.

  • DO NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC ON MUSSETTER!

  • Be careful, Mussetter is a busy road!
     

PICK UP

Pick up will be the same as drop off…  you will wait in the car...as we see you pull up we will get your child and prepare them to be picked up. Your child will be at the playground and a teacher will call them over the loop.  

To pick up in the “loop” please follow directions, attached!

  • The students will be on the playground.  

  • The teacher will call them over when they see you in the pick up line.

  • The child will wash their hands and get their items.  

  • Follow yellow arrows for “LOOP” pick up. 

  • Stop and wait for your child, they will “load” at RED square area.

  • Do not get out of your car until your child is there.  

  • Be patient!

  • You cannot come onto the playground or in the school to get your child.  I

  • NEVER drive in front of entry door and playground area.

  • DO NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC ON MUSSETTER!

  • Be careful, Mussetter is a busy road!
     

ITEMS BROUGHT TO AND FROM SCHOOL

Items going back and forth between school and home should be limited as much as possible.

NO TOTE BAGS OR BACKPACKS!  We will be using and providing a black plastic 5 gallon bucket for the students to use to carry their materials back and forth to school.  All of your child's items should be kept inside the bucket. 

 

Please make sure that each day they have these items in their bucket:   

  • Complete change of weather appropriate clothing including socks, please include at least two pair of extra underwear 

  • Sneakers that can get dirty/wet

  • Rain Bib Overalls- we have decided to do overalls instead of full body suits.  They are more able to be independent with potty break in the overalls (see amazon list) 

  • Rain Coat (preferably with elastic at hands/arms )

  • A waterproof pair of mittens 

  • A waterproof winter hat

  • Sun Hat (bucket style) with Removable Face Visor Shield 

  • Thermos Type Refillable 12-14 Ounce Water Bottle filled with water

  • Bug Spray

  • Sunscreen


THESE ITEMS WILL BE KEPT AT SCHOOL, but you will need to provide them:

RAIN BOOTS

LUNCH

Lunchboxes will not be allowed this year.  Lunch should be packed in a gallon size zip lock bag (no paper bags).  The entire lunch needs to be disposable .  The lunches will be kept in a cooler with ice packs.  Please write your child's name on the outside of the Ziploc bag.


You will need to provide a drink (juice box, milk box, etc) with their lunch unless they will drink the water in their water bottle.​

“IN HOUSE” FIELD TRIPS
ALL FIELD TRIPS ARE ON HOLD DUE TO COVID-19.  But when we can get these going again we will let you know.  

NO PLAYGROUND OR OUTDOOR CLASSROOM USE USE AFTER SCHOOL HOURS
We will not be allowing anyone to use the playground after school.  There are very strict guidelines for cleaning and we will want to make sure that it is not being used when those protocols are not being followed.  THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING!

 

INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY
We will close Smarty Pants if there is inclement weather that will prevent us from performing a typical school day (ice storm, Snow storm, unsafely cold weather, etc).  There will be NO REDUCTION OF TUITION.   We will notify parents via email and Brightwheel by 6:00am.

 

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SMARTY PANTS PRESCHOOL

Est. 1999