Our Savior Preschool will follow MISD in determining the first day of school for students which is projected to be Thursday, August 13th. Regardless of the stage of COVID-19, the preschool will implement the strictest protocol as it seeks to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The Preschool has been open for Summer Camps this summer, using emergency protocol. Thus far, even the two-year- olds have shown amazing resilience, emotional stability and independence as some of them have joined us for the very first time this summer.
Parents have checked their children in from outside the building, wearing masks and using social distancing. Children have their temperature taken, have their hands sanitized and wear their backpacks into the building. Anything that cannot be accommodated in the backpack is placed in a plastic bag labeled with the child’s first and last name. The plastic bags are quickly transported by rolling carts to the classrooms. All staff wear masks throughout the day. The staff escorts each child to his class. After arriving in the class, the children have adjusted remarkably well to their new learning environment.
The children are now used to frequent handwashing, sanitizing and sitting farther apart than normal. After playing with the toys, the toys are immediately washed with soap and water, rinsed and sanitized. The toys are organized in sets of toys so there is always something clean to play with. Each child uses only his set of crayolas, his own scissors, his own personal art items. During circle time the children sit much further apart, but they can still hear the story and so far, all the children have adjusted well and seem very happy. Many times, we adults, underestimate the children’s ability to adjust to new situations and new friends. We as a staff were expecting more crying, but the children have been very happy!
We have found that after two or three days have passed, the children have learned the routine and joyfully enter the building. Since no child is allowed to enter who has a temperature over what is considered normal or who has any symptoms of illness, the delightful byproduct of all of this sanitation and hand-washing is that we have had no one who has had to visit the nurses’ office, other than one minor playground injury of a skinned knee.
However, the hardest thing for any parent is to trust the staff, whom they do not know, to take care of his/her child. As a young parent, it was my greatest joy to accompany my child into the building and see the other children and the child’s teacher.
We want you to be able to accompany your child inside the building in the fall because we know how important it is to you as parents, but not at the risk of the spread of the virus. We cannot anticipate what phase of the virus we will be in within six weeks. If we are still in the emergency phase of the virus, parents may need to stay outside of the building because of the risk of inevitable social interaction and the resultant respiratory droplets that are emitted in enclosed spaces. Even wearing masks does not fully contain these respiratory droplets.
If, within six weeks, when we begin school, community spread is beginning to decrease and scientific data substantiates that it is safe enough for parents to enter the building, then masks will be required for all adults entering the building. Before any person enters the building, he/she will have his temperature taken and a brief health screening, involving answering questions about travel, direct exposure and or any symptoms of COVID-19.
Parents or authorized individuals will check in their children by scanning a touchless QR on your own phone, so there is no need to touch any machine or pen. Only authorized individuals will be able to connect to the QR scan. Anyone entering the building will be required to wear a mask when delivering or picking up children. All adults entering the building will also be screened, as well as children. We will ask you to drop off or pick up your child wearing a mask and also practice social distancing, with a minimum of conversational exchange and exit at a designated exit point.
In addition to many other precautionary measures, we have expanded our security system to have security cameras at 18 strategic points in our facility. Because we know how important communication is to each parent and how important it is to know how and what your child is doing, especially since you cannot accompany your child into the classroom, each teacher will connect with you via a FACEBOOK class page, See-Saw, Zoom, or our new Procare App. This is not the protocol that we would want to have if mitigating the spread of COVID-19 did not have to be our first priority, but because the health and safety of each child is our number 1 priority, it is imperative that the appropriate protocol be in place for whatever phase has evolved by August 13th.
In addition to added security, sanitizing hands before anyone enters the building, using a sanitizing mat for soles of shoes, observing social distancing, all staff wearing masks, utilizing touchless check-in and check-out, we also have a special chemical vapor cleaning system which sanitizes everything daily and bathrooms are cleaned thoroughly 3 times a day.
We also have continual washing of hands, toys, hand rails, equipment, educational materials and containment of classes so that classes are not commingling with other so that each child has limited exposure to sources of infection.
As we approach the exciting time when school will begin, now scheduled for August 13th, we look forward to being a part of your children’s lives and guiding them in discovering new adventures in learning. Even though this time is very challenging, it is reassuring to know that the byproducts of times like these are independence, resilience, adaptability and resourcefulness It is our goal to prepare your children academically while modeling and teaching Christian values.