Updated COVID-19 Operating Policies for OCC Staff and Families

Summary of Enhanced Protocols

We are continually updating our processes and protocols in accordance with the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and the guidance of our medical experts.  OEC regulations state that we can have 51 children in our program. We are maintaining class sizes of no more than 14 preschool aged children and 8 under 3-year-old children per class and practice social distancing to the best of our ability.

 

Common areas such as the Big Room and the Chapel will temporarily not be utilized.

  • Should our preschool aged group exceed 14 children, we will be utilizing the dividing wall within the preschool classroom to split the preschool group in half with Ms. Sharon leading the three-year-old group and Ms. Marsha leading the 4+ year group, and Ms. Catherine supervising both groups.

  • Daily Health Check for Staff and families required before coming into the center.

  • Nonessential visitors are not allowed into the center.

  • Drop-offs/pick-ups taking place at four entry points, with children being brought to the classroom door by their teacher.

  • Cloth face coverings worn by staff, caregivers and accompanying children age 5 and older at all times, as recommended by the CDC.

  • Hygiene/hand washing emphasized daily upon arrival and in and out of the classrooms.

  • Temperature Check Temperatures will be checked before entering the building and after lunch for all children and staff. Staff temperatures will be logged on the staff sign-in sheet which will be located in the office.

  • Reduced class sizes: The preschool classrooms will contain no more than 14 children. Should preschool exceed ten children, the dividing wall will be put up and the children will be split into a group of three-year old children led by Ms. Sharon and four plus year-old children led by Ms. Marsha. Ms. Catherine will supervise both groups. The Infant and Toddler rooms will contain no more than 8 children each.

  • Social distancing being practiced as much as possible, including at meal and nap times.

  • Children and staff will remain in their own classrooms, and no mixing of classroom groups will occur.

  • Staff will not be allowed to visit each other, or the children in each other’s classroom. Social distancing must be maintained between staff, and each staff should only report to their own classroom and interact with the staff in their own classroom.

  • The only time staff will mix across classrooms is if the need for coverage arises. If this occurs, the Director will facilitate the coverage needed per her discretion.

  • We will temporarily suspend the use of the Big Room and the Chapel.

  • The playground equipment and toys will be disinfected in between and after each group has used it.

  • There is absolutely no combining of any classrooms, staff or children under any circumstances unless the Director has to move a staff member to maintain ratio and coverage.

  • OCC Snacks and Supplies: Until further notice, the Director will bring morning and afternoon snacks as well as any needed classroom supplies such as paper goods, disinfectants, art supplies to the classrooms as needed.  

  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high touch surfaces, toys, and laundered items.

  • We will eliminate as many laundered items as possible and ask families to bring home personal laundered items weekly for cleaning. Infants will bring bibs and burp cloths home daily.

  • Outdoor time limited to one group at a time, with back-to-back use of the play area limited, and disinfecting of the entire area to take place between each use. Outdoor play will be shortened to allow for disinfecting between groups and sufficient time for everyone to have a turn on the playground.

  • Until further notice, unfortunately sensory play and watertables will be suspended both indoors and outdoors, unless each child is given their own sensory bin and no sharing occurs.

  • Note: Those who are advised not to wear a face covering for other health reasons MUST provide a medical waiver to the Director. This medical waiver must be from a licensed health facility and cannot be from a medical professional that is a relative. Cloth face coverings are NOT a substitute for social distancing, hand washing or other everyday preventive actions.

 

Drop-Off and Pick-Up:

Until further notice, Our Children’s Center will be implementing the following procedures in order limit the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, to the maximum extent possible:

 

  • Our Center hours will temporarily be 7:30am – 4:30pm. This will eliminate having to mix groups of children and/or staff in the late afternoon hours when opening staff needs to go home, however staff/child ratios have not gone down yet.

  • Children will need to be picked up no later than 4:15pm.

  • All staff will remain at OCC until 4:30pm to thoroughly clean, sanitize and disinfect all surfaces and materials within their classrooms and the center so that it is ready for the next day. Staff must wear gloves during this cleaning.

 

Staff Arrival:

All staff will enter through the green door entrance by the office and will have their temperature taken and logged upon arrival to work.

  • The daily temperature log will become part of the staff sign-in sheet. The staff sign-in clipboard will be kept in the Director’s office. Please stop there first before entering any other part of the building. Afterwards, immediately wash your hands upon entering the classroom.

  • Upon arrival, all staff will be screened for fever (100 F or higher) and other obvious signs of illness before entering the building.

  • Should you or any household member/caregiver have any of the following symptoms, we ask you to remain at home for the day and notify the school:

    • Fever of 100 F or higher, now or in the preceding 72 hours

    • Cough

    • Sore Throat

    • Muscle Aches

    • Difficulty Breathing

    • Rash of unknown origin

  • Any staff member having recently traveled outside the state of Connecticut should communicate this fact to the Director.  OCC reserves the right to deny admission to any staff who has recently traveled to a COVID-19 “hot spot” or who has had direct contact with affected individuals.

  • Per pre-existing policy, any staff who exhibits symptoms, including but not limited to a fever of 100 F or higher, must not report to work until symptom-free without any medication for 24 hours. 

  • Please review our updated health policies.  

 

Visitors at Our Children’s Center:

To prevent the possible spread of COVID-19, the following guidelines and procedures have been set in place:

 

  • No staff visitors, family or otherwise (including staff children that are not currently enrolled at the center) are allowed to visit the center nor the OCC classrooms.

  • All maintenance professionals (including, but not limited to heating, plumbing, pest management, etc.) will be required to wear PPE and will be scheduled during non-business hours whenever possible. 

  • Cleaning protocols and procedures will be strictly adhered to by the staff of OCC.  Please refer to our cleaning section of our updated policies and procedures for more detailed information.

 

Snacks and Lunch:

  • Due to the risk of cross-contamination, until further notice, we will no longer be using the common refrigerators to store the children’s snack, lunch, and beverage containers. The ONLY exception is for Infant 1 whom will continue to refrigerate formula and breastmilk in the classroom refrigerator.

  • All lunch boxes must contain ice packs.  This is a STATE MANDATED regulation.  Licensing will come around and look for the ice pack in each lunchbox. Please check lunchboxes upon arrival.

  • Due to the risk of cross-contamination, until further notice, we will no longer be heating food for snacks or lunches in the microwaves. 

  • Until further notice, we will no longer use the children’s individual refrigerator baskets to store children’s lunches, snacks and/or water bottles.  Please make sure all items fit easily inside the child’s lunch box with an ice pack. 

  •  Lunch Boxes and water bottles must be stored inside the child's cubby.

  • Children will be responsible for handling their lunchboxes and all items inside. We are attempting to minimize the amount of cross contamination by limiting the amount of food handling our staff must conduct.

  • Specific classroom restrictions regarding all allergens will still be enforced.  We are a peanut/tree nut free center so parents have to continue to refrain from bringing in food items that contain peanuts/tree nuts. Please follow the allergy restrictions for each of the children in your care.

  • All tables will be sanitized and disinfected before and after mealtimes.  Tables will be washed with soap and water, and then disinfected with a disinfecting wipe or spray.  Wear gloves.

  • Children and staff will be required to wash hands before and after eating. Staff will assist children at mealtime as needed and according to the CDC guidelines.

  • Per OEC regulations, OCC staff will wear gloves at all times while handling food and/or assisting children during mealtime

  • Children will be spaced accordingly to promote safe social distancing.

  • In keeping with the CDC guidelines, food preparation should not be done by the same staff member who diapers the children.

 

Rest/Nap Time:

  • All children are required to have one crib size fitted sheet and a blanket for rest time.  One stuffed animal or doll is permitted for rest/nap time use only. 

  • Until further notice, pillows will not be permitted for rest/nap time. 

  • All nap/rest items MUST fit inside the child’s designated nap bag or bin.  At no time will any rest/nap items be stored outside the confines of the designated nap bag or bin. 

  • All items must be sent home on a weekly basis to be laundered. 

  • During rest/nap time, children’s cots will be spaced at least six (6) feet apart.  Children will also be asked to rest head to toe to further reduce the potential for viral spread.

  • All cots will be sanitized daily after each use.

  • Until further notice, OCC will not be providing extra sheets, blankets, pillows or stuffed animals for children's use during rest time. 

 

Cleaning and Disinfecting Policies:

(CFOC) provides national standards for cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection of educational facilities for children. Toys that can be put in the mouth should be cleaned and sanitized (see below). Other hard surfaces, including diaper changing stations, doorknobs, and floors can be disinfected.

Intensify cleaning and disinfection efforts:

  • Routinely clean, sanitize, and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, especially toys and games. This may also include cleaning objects/surfaces not ordinarily cleaned daily such as doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops, cots, toilet training potty seats, desks, chairs, cubbies, and playground structures. Using hydrogen peroxide or bleach and water solution.  OCC staff will continue to use disinfecting wipes and spray. We are looking into a hydrogen peroxide solution.

  • Use all cleaning products according to the directions on the label. For disinfection, most common EPA-registered, fragrance-free household disinfectants should be effective. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here. 

  • Dirty surfaces must be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for concentration, application method, and contact time for all cleaning and disinfection products.

  • All cleaning materials should be kept secure and out of reach of children.

  • Cleaning products should not be used near children, and staff should ensure that there is adequate ventilation when using these products to prevent children from inhaling toxic fumes.

 

Clean and Sanitize Toys:

  • Toys that cannot be cleaned and sanitized should not be used.

  • Toys that children have placed in their mouths or that are otherwise contaminated by body secretions or excretions should be set aside until they are cleaned by hand by a person wearing gloves. Clean with water and detergent, rinse, sanitize with an EPA-registered disinfectant, rinse again, and air-dry. Be mindful of items more likely to be placed in a child’s mouth, like play food, dishes, and utensils.

  • Machine washable cloth toys should be used by one individual at a time or should not be used at all. These toys should be laundered before being used by another child. Until further notice, OCC will not be providing machine washable cloth toys.  OCC does not have a Washing Machine readily available at this time and staff will refrain from bringing center items home to launder.

  • OCC will temporarily not supply bibs or burp cloths because a washing machine is not readily available on the OCC premises and staff will temporarily suspend taking these items home to be laundered.

  • Do not share toys with other groups of children, unless they are washed and sanitized before being moved from one group to the other. This includes playground toys.

  • Set aside toys that need to be cleaned. Place in a dish pan with soapy water or put in a separate container marked for “soiled toys.” Keep dish pan and water out of reach from children to prevent risk of drowning. Washing with soapy water is the ideal method for cleaning. Try to have enough toys so that the toys can be rotated through cleanings. OCC will provide each classroom with a dishpan that will be labeled “soiled toys”. These toys can be cleaned and sanitized during naptime, any additional toys after nap will be sanitized at the end of the day.

  • Children’s books, like other paper-based materials such as mail or envelopes, are not considered a high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfection procedures. However, OCC staff will temporarily suspend the use of infant cloth books. OCC staff will wash and disinfect the infant books made of plastic material and will spray disinfect all other books handled by children.

 

Clean and Disinfect Bedding:

  • Keep each child’s bedding separate, and store in individually labeled bins, cubbies, or bags. Bedding needs to be sent home each Friday to be laundered before returning to the center the following week.

  • Cots should be labeled for each child. All classrooms will need to create a cot list so that each child gets the same cot each day. Please label your cots numerically. Then create a numeric list on a sheet of paper, and next to each number write the child’s name that will be assigned to each cot. After nap, staff needs to put on gloves and each cot needs to be disinfected with a wipe or spray.

 

Precautionary Measures - COVID-19 Policy

The health and well-being of our families and staff are our highest priorities. In the interest of limiting the opportunity for transmission to our vulnerable community, we are taking the following precautionary measures:

Staff must remain out of the center if any member of their household has (or has been in close contact with anyone who has):

  •  A suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 (for example – close contact** at school, work, religious service, social gathering).

  • 14 days after the last potential exposure, the individual may return provided these three things have happened:

    • At least 10 school days have passed since the individual or a household member first experienced symptoms: and

    • Symptoms have improved for any household member that experienced symptoms (for example, cough or shortness of breath has improved); and

    • The household has been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.   

Please note, depending on the circumstances we may require the staff member to obtain medical clearance before return to the center will be allowed.

Staff must self-report to the center if any member of their household has (or has been in close contact with anyone who has traveled:

  • Internationally;

  • Domestically, from an area which is experiencing widespread community transmission of COVID-19; or

  • from any area which is the subject of similar travel restrictions under applicable state and local guidance.         

 

HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS*:  include individuals who may not live in the household but may be staying there or are otherwise present in the household on a regular basis (e.g. relatives, nannies, caregivers, home health workers, contractors, etc.).

 

**CLOSE CONTACT:  is defined by the CDC as

  1.  being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time (15 minutes)  and can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case, or

  2. having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on). Considerations when assessing close contact include the duration of exposure and the clinical symptoms of the person with COVID-19.

 

FOR MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS: If contact occurs while wearing recommended personal protective equipment or PPE (e.g., gowns, gloves, NIOSH-certified disposable N95 respirator, eye protection), that contact will NOT be considered close contact for purposes of this policy.

  • If a staff member who has been present in the program is diagnosed with COVID-19, the childcare provider must notify families and staff of the childcare program about the exposure.

  •  In February 2020, COVID-19 was added to the List of Reportable Diseases. Those required to report such diseases must report cases of COVID-19 infection immediately to the Connecticut Department of Public Health and to the local department of health in the town of residence of the case-patient by telephone on the day of recognition or strong suspicion of the disease.

  • The COVID-19 report form is available on the DPH website at https://dphsubmissions.ct.gov/Covid/InitiateCovidReport

  • Additional practices to those below may be recommended to the provider in consultation with the local health department or the CT Department of Public Health.

    •  Contact your local health department of the CT Department of Public Health.

    •  Determine the date of symptom onset for the staff member. 

    • Determine if the staff member worked at the program while symptomatic or during the two days before symptoms began. 

    • Identify what days the staff member worked during that time. 

    • Determine who had close contact with the staff member at the program during those days (staff and children)

    • Exclude the children and staff members who are determined to have had close contact with the affected child/staff member for 14 days after the last day they had contact with the affected staff member. 

    • Conduct appropriate cleaning and disinfection: 

    • Close off areas used by the person who is sick. 

    • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the areas. 

    • Wait up to 24 hours or if possible before cleaning or disinfecting to allow respiratory droplets to settle before cleaning and disinfecting. 

    • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, and common areas.

    •  If more than 7 days have passed since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.  Continue routine cleaning and disinfection.

    • Depending on the size of the program and the number of people affected, closure of a particular room in the program (for larger centers) or the entire program might need to be considered. *

 

Health Check and Illness Policy – Covid-19

All Staff must conduct a daily health check before coming to the center.

  • Should you or any household member have any of the following symptoms, we ask you to remain out that day and notify the center.

  • Fever of 100F or higher, now or in the preceding 72 hours

  • Cough

  • Sore Throat

  • Muscle Aches

  • Difficulty Breathing

  • Consistent with our COVID-19 Policy, the staff member will be required to remain out of the center for 14 days unless medical clearance is provided by a physician indicating that the presenting symptoms are associated with a known non-COVID-19 illness.  The physician’s note must not be from a family member.

 

Health and Hygiene Practices

Our regular health and hygiene practices provide some of the best defenses against the spread of most contagious illnesses.

 

In addition to regular and thorough cleaning of classrooms, surfaces, and toys, we teach children good hand-washing practices and ensure that children and staff take important precautions against the spread of germs.

You can work with your children to practice some of these same steps in the classroom:

  • Wash hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water. Singing the entire alphabet song during handwashing equals approximately 20 seconds.

  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow; or cover mouth and nose with a tissue before sneezing or coughing, then immediately discard the tissue.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are ill

  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces frequently throughout the day.

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