INTERNATIONAL MONTESSORI SCHOOLS SUMMER CAMP HANDBOOK ADDRESSING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Information contained in this handbook is based on guidelines and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Office of Early Learning and Child Development (OCDEL). Where appropriate there are embedded links for further reading.
Dear IMSchools Families,
This handbook contains important information intended to familiarize you with revised policies following the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic. Our purpose is to help ensure the health and safety of all students, staff and families. There is an inherent risk that viruses will spread among students and staff, including but not limited to COVID-19. While IMSchools cannot eliminate this risk, we have adopted policies to help reduce the risk.
At this time, it is important that we communicate freely and with transparency as we update our policies and procedures and for IMSchools & Families to work in conjunction to keep both our students and teachers in a safe environment. Given the dynamic nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, guidance will evolve as further research, data and resources become available. As best practices are shifted, so will our practice. Staff will be trained to follow the guidelines and will explain and model safety, physical distancing, handwashing and hygiene procedures to students in an age-appropriate manner. In order for this plan to be most effective, IMSchools staff and families with students attending IMSchools must comply with the plan outlined below and any future changes in this plan.
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus which has a wide range of symptoms which may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
As we learn more about this disease the CDC will continue to update this list.
MODE OF TRANSMISSION AND POTENIAL EXPOSURE
Current data suggests person-to-person transmission most commonly happens during close exposure to a person infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, primarily via respiratory droplets produced when the infected person speaks, coughs, or sneezes. Droplets can land in the mouths, noses, or eyes of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs of those within close proximity. Transmission also might occur through contact with contaminated surfaces followed by self-delivery to the eyes, nose, or mouth.
Potential exposure means being a household contact or having close contact within six feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 for at least 10 minutes. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time of 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.
Staff and families are expected to report any known exposure to COVID-19 positive individuals to the school. All information will be treated in confidentiality.
Outlined below are the following policies which will be discussed in further details and which will be implemented in order to limit possible transmission of COVID-19;
- Revised tuition/schedule
- Social Distancing
- Parent Drop off/Pick up/Visitations
- Screening upon arrival
- Cloth Face Coverings or Masks
- Cleaning and Disinfecting
- What happens when a child/staff member becomes sick
- What happens if COVID-19 is confirmed in a sick child/staff member
- Exclusion criteria and return to care guidance
- High risk students
- Reporting Requirements
Revised camp schedule
Due to COVID-19 we have revised the camp schedule which will run for 7 weeks (July 6 until August 21) and from 8am to 4pm. Camp tuition will be pro-rated accordingly.
What happens if the classroom/school shut down due to COVID
IMSchools Summer Camp reserves the right to close at any time if such action is deemed appropriate to minimize the transmission of disease. Camp fees that have been collected will be refunded for closures related to COVID-19. Camp tuition can be paid in full or on a weekly basis.
SOCIAL DISTANCING (within an age-appropriate manner)
- Classes will include the same students and the same teachers, each day, in their assigned room.
- Where possible we will have separate entranceways for each classroom. If we cannot have separate entranceways, drop off/pick up times will be staggered to limit mixing of children.
- If possible, at nap time, children’s naptime mats (or cribs) are spaced out as much as possible and cots will be placed head to toe in order to further reduce the potential for viral spread.
- Lunch tables and chairs will be spaced out as much as possible and there will be no sharing of food.
- Limit direct contact between parents and staff members and adhere to social distancing recommendations – see further information in drop off/pick up policy and guidance on visitors’ section.
- It is important that we still care for the whole child. We will comfort crying, sad, and/or anxious children.
- While encouraging social distancing, we appreciate the challenge social distancing is for children; therefore each group will be treated as an isolated unit.
PARENT DROP OFF/PICK UP/VISITATION
In an attempt to limit the possible transmission of COVID-19 IMSchools staff and licensing personnel will be permitted to enter the building.; A designated teacher will pick-up children from the car line or at each classroom outside door.
- If a separate entrance for each classroom is not possible, staggered arrival and drop off times will be introduced.
- Ideally parents/person who drops off do not enter the building. If a parent is invited to enter the building for any reason, they must wear a mask and will be screened in the same manner as staff and students.
- No support staff, such as but not limited to, speech therapists and reading specialists, should go into the school.
- No other general visitors will be allowed in the school.
- Hand hygiene stations will be set up at the entrance of the facility, so that children can clean their hands before they enter the class. If a sink with soap and water is not available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content will be available.
- Hand sanitizer will be kept out of the reach of children at all times and used with adult supervision on very young children. If this is the case the adult will apply the hand-sanitizer on the child’s palm and fingers and rubs it on the skin until it is completely absorbed or dries (usually less than 10 seconds).
SCREENING UPON ARRIVAL
Persons who have a temperature of 100 degrees within the past 24 hours without anti-fever medication (per our health policy) or above or other signs of illness should not be admitted to the facility. Please be on the alert for signs of illness in children and to keep them home when they are sick.
- Child’s temperature is taken at home
- Parent/Guardian confirms child does not have any fever, cough, shortness of breath, or trouble breathing
- Parents will confirm their child’s health during school drop-off
- Staff will ask parent/guardian about child’s health while making a visual inspection of children for signs of illness, including flushed cheeks, rapid breathing, fatigue, or fussiness
- Staff member will use a hands-free method to take the child’s temperature
- Staff will supervise hand sanitization before entering the school
IMSchools will utilize the PA Code for existing licensing regulations on exclusion and return to care criteria as is standard practice prior to COVID-19. Further information can be found in the ‘Exclusion Criteria and Return to School Guidance’.
CLOTH FACE COVERINGS AND MASKS
- The CDC recommends that all adults and children over two years of age should wear a cloth face covering or mask that covers nose and mouth. However;
- We understand that this may be unrealistic for young children.
- We will remain in our small groups so we limit unintentional contamination.
- Recent communication from Governor Wolf’s Department say that young children do not need to wear face coverings.
- All staff will wear masks within the building with exception to eating and completing activities where children need to see the staff members entire face.
- Any adult entering the building are required to wear a mask.
- We will do our best to accommodate requests from families regarding face masks in accordance with CDC and the state government guidelines.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTING
To help prevent the spread of infection IMSchools will Clean & Disinfect More Often Than Usual as follows.
** CLEAN means to use soap and water and remove visible dirt.
**DISENFECT/SANITIZE means use a product that will kill germs e.g. diluted bleach solution.
We will routinely clean, sanitize and disinfect commonly used areas and items and continue best practices for Hand Washing, Food Serving, and Diapering according to the CDC and OCDEL guidelines - staff are trained in these practices. In addition to these, IMSchools will be implementing additional cleaning/disinfecting activities as follows;
- Upon entry into the facility, all adults and children must hand wash or use hand-sanitizer (> 60% alcohol). Hand sanitizer will be kept out of the reach of children at all times and used with adult supervision on very young children. If this is the case the adult will apply the hand-sanitizer on the child’s palm and fingers and rubs it on the skin until it is completely absorbed or dries (usually less than 10 seconds).
- Be ready to follow CDC guidance on how to disinfect your building or facility if someone is sick.
- Follow recommended respiratory etiquette with the aim being to avoid touching eyes, nose, mouth, or face.
- Meticulous hand washing practices will be adopted https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/pdf/wash-your-hands-poster-english-508.pdf
- Reduce items in classrooms
- No Shared Items i.e. plush toys/cushions/blankets
- Limit Items from Home
- Bedding should be laundered weekly and kept separate from other children’s.
- Small lovey/pillows/blankets are for naptime use.
- Items need to be placed in a large named sealable bag
- Cleaning and disinfecting outdoor areas
- Playgrounds generally require normal routine cleaning, but do not require disinfection.
- High touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings will be cleaned routinely.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CHILD/STAFF MEMBER BECOMES SICK
The main priority of IMSchools is the health and safety of our students and teachers. Therefore, if your child is sick please do not send them to school. Teachers will be trained to identify symptoms of COVID-19 and the same guidelines will be applied to IMSchools staff if they demonstrate symptoms.
- An isolation area (such as a cot in a corner of the classroom) will be used to isolate a sick child.
- Parents need to pick up their child, immediately, once they have been informed they are sick.
- Outside doors and windows will be open, when appropriate and feasible, to increase air circulation in the area.
- The isolation area and surfaces they may have been in contact with will cleaned and disinfected after they have gone home - see further information on ‘cleaning and disinfecting section’ in this handbook.
WHAT HAPPENS IF COVID-19 IS CONFIRMED IN A CHILD/STAFF MEMBER
- If confirmed, immediately, the unit of students and staff members will be dismissed. Children can return to school once the area then children are in has been properly disinfected and the ‘return to school’ criteria has been met. (See below)
- Outside doors and windows will be open to increase air circulation in the area.
- All areas used by the sick person will be cleaned and disinfected after a 24-hour period. This allows time for respiratory droplets to settle.
EXCLUSION CRITERIA AND RETURN TO SCHOOL GUIDANCE
As stated in the ‘Screening Upon Arrival’ section we will exclude all children who have a temperature of ≥ 100 degrees Fahrenheit as well as symptoms consistent with COVID-19 identified earlier in this handbook.
We understand that people often show signs of allergies and the common cold that have symptoms similar to COVID-19. With parent and teacher feedback based on the child’s health history, and the child is behaving normally and has no fever, testing and exclusion is not recommended and is consistent with PA Code and ‘Caring for Our Children (CFOC)’.
RETURN TO SCHOOL GUIDANCE
Children and staff who have NOT been tested for COVID-19 but who have been excluded for fever, or respiratory symptoms AND fever, can return to school once fever has resolved for 24 hours with no fever reducing medications.
Return to care for infants under four months is specific please see information in the link http://pacodeandbulletin.gov/Display/pacode?file=/secure/pacode/data/028/chapter27/s27.76.html
CDC Guidance for returning for those who have been tested for suspected COVID-19
If you have had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can return to school after these three things have happened – all criteria must be met;
- You no longer have a fever (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers)
- Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
- You received two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart.
CDC Guidance for returning for those who have NOT been tested for suspected COVID-19
If you have NOT had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can return to school after these three things have happened – all criteria must be met;
- You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers)
- Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
- At least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
For further information from the CDC on discontinuing home isolation please go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
Healthy Hand Hygiene Behavior
- All children, staff, and volunteers should engage in hand hygiene at the following times:
- Arrival to the facility and after breaks
- Before and after preparing food or drinks
- Before and after eating or handling food, or feeding children
- Before and after administering medication or medical ointment
- Before and after diapering
- After using the toilet or helping a child use the bathroom
- After coming in contact with bodily fluid
- After handling animals or cleaning up animal waste
- After playing outdoors or in sand
- After handling garbage
- Parents can help children adjust to these routines by having children wash hands at home throughout the day.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If hands are not visibly dirty, alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol can be used if soap and water are not readily available.
- Supervise children when they use hand sanitizer to prevent ingestion. With Infants and toddlers’ adults need to make sure all sanitizer is rubbed in and hands have dried.
- Assist children with handwashing, including infants who cannot wash hands alone.
o After assisting children with handwashing, staff should also wash their hands.
HIGH RISK STUDENT
- If any student has serious underlying medical conditions they may be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. To protect those at higher risk, it’s important that everyone practices healthy hygiene behaviors.
- Information about COVID-19 in children is somewhat limited, but the information that is available suggests that many children have mild symptoms. However, a small percentage of children have been reported to have more severe illness. If your child has underlying health conditions such as asthma an asthma action plan can be implemented - however, please talk to your HealthCare Professional to assess if it is suitable for your child to attend school
If a staff member or child presents with confirmed case of COVID-19 they must inform the school who will contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-724-3258 and inform OCDEL by contacting the appropriate Regional Office of Certification.
The teachers and staff are tremendous! They are patient, kind and loving towards their students. In addition, our son has learned and grown so much in the Montessori program. We can't say enough positive things. Highly recommend!
I was i ntroduced to your school last year when my nephew began attending. Love the staff, the philosophy, and the teaching ❤️
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