updated: July 3, 2021
This is an amendment to the 2021-2022 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.
Our procedures have changed for COVID but things will slowly be returning to "normal". You will need to be flexible and stay on top of the most current updates from us to make sure you are following all the procedures and protocols as they get updated. As always, we are 100% dedicated to meeting the students' needs and keeping everyone safe!
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.
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).
We will spending a lot of time outside. We have an amazing outdoor classroom area that provides lots of nature exploration! It is conveniently located 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 when the weather is nice. 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!
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.
The COVID-19 symptoms that will exclude you from attending Smarty Pants include:
Fever of 100.4 or higher (or temperature taken upon arrival is 100.4 or higher)
Diarrhea or vomiting
New onset of severe headache (especially with fever)
New loss of taste or smell
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.
EXCLUDED FROM ATTENDING SMARTY PANTS:
The child hade close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period) with anyone diagnosed with COVID19 or suspected of having COVID-19
The child is waiting for a COVID-19 test result?
The child has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and not released from isolation?
ISOLATION/RELEASE FROM ISOLATION
For all children under 5 years of age, MDH continues to recommend that a full quarantine period of 14 days be implemented prior to return to the program due to the challenges in implementing correct and consistent face covering use and physical distancing in child care settings for young children.
A child with confirmed COVID-19 may return to the child care program when he or she has met the CDC criteria for discontinuation of home isolation:
At least 14 days have passed since symptom onset, and
At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
Other symptoms have improved.
If the child with confirmed COVID-19 has never had any symptoms, he or she may return to the child care program when at least 14 days have passed since the date of the person’s first positive test for the COVID-19 virus.
QUARANTINE OF CLOSE CONTACTS
Fully vaccinated persons who have no COVID-19 symptoms do not need to quarantine following exposure to a person with confirmed COVID-19. These persons do not need to be excluded from the program. Fully vaccinated people who do not quarantine should still monitor for symptoms of
COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If they experience symptoms, they will isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, including SARS-CoV-2 testing, if indicated. This applies for asymptomatic people who have tested positive in the past 3 months and recovered.
Close contacts who are NOT fully vaccinated will be excluded from the program until completing quarantine. A quarantine period of 14 days remains the safest option for close contacts of persons with confirmed or probable COVID-19. The child must start their quarantine AFTER the household
member is released from isolation. The person must undergo this additional time for quarantine because they could have been infected on the final day of the household member’s isolation. The family will provide evidence (e.g., a note from the health department or health care provider) that their household member has been released from isolation at the time the person returns to the program.
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 contact 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.
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.
Face coverings will be worn indoors and outdoors by all children while in attendance. Mask breaks will be permitted when outdoors and physical distancing can be maintained.
Masks are not required for fully vaccinated staff members. Staff may choose to wear masks but are not required at Smarty Pants if they are fully vaccinated.
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.
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.
Parents will need to inform staff of travel and/or provide COVID-19 test results after travel when it is recommended.
We will follow the Maryland Department of Health and CDC guidance for for recommendations and/or requirements for domestic and international travel.
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
Drop off will be done 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 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?
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.
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 and tote bag in the box.
Students will wash hands.
The students will go to the playground.
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 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 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.
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.
We will be using and providing a TOTE BAG 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 TOTE BAG.
Make sure your child's lunchbox is labeled with their name! The lunches will be kept in the fridge until lunchtime. There will be no way to heat up or reheat any parts of the meal. 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. We hope to start that back up again this school year with new guidance from MSDE.
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.