Dear Families of First Church Preschool,
Over these last weeks during our school closure, our teachers, Melanie, members of our Preschool Board, and I have worked hard toward responding to the sudden, complex, and ever-evolving challenges that have emerged as a result of the pandemic. While we have focused on delivering the best possible distance learning experience for the children, we are also working diligently with state and local licensing agencies to prepare for our return to the physical classroom.
Today, Governor Lamont has announced that in-person classes at all K-12 public school facilities in Connecticut are to remain canceled for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year and will continue providing distance learning during this period. We have been anticipating this decision, as it will certainly have bearing on our plans for reopening the preschool. While my colleagues and I consider all we need to put into place in order to open again and provide a safe environment for all of our preschool community, one thing becomes abundantly clear – life at the preschool will be very different from what it was before the pandemic.
While most of the details must still be worked out, whenever we are able to open, it is evident that there will be some changes relevant to physical distancing that will be necessary so we can do all we can to run the program while minimizing the types of interactions that could cause the virus to spread. I want to share them with you so you have an understanding of how the school will look moving forward.
Listed below are the new operating requirements currently being put forth by the CT Office of Early Childhood (OEC), which is our licensing agency. The OEC has set these requirements based on the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH). Please understand that circumstances surrounding the pandemic are rapidly evolving, however, these are the current expectations being enforced for any programs that are or will plan to be re-opening in the near future:
- All preschool employees must use a cloth face covering at all times while in the workplace.
- Group sizes are limited to no more than 10 children in one space.
- Any program caring for more than thirty children in one facility must obtain approval from the OEC and demonstrate sufficient separation of groups within the facility.
- All children and staff must be checked prior to entering the program for any observable illness, including cough or respiratory distress, and to confirm temperature below 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfection practices shall be implemented.
- All staff and children must adhere to regular hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- All staff must cover coughs and sneezes with tissue or the corner of the elbow. All staff must also encourage children, when appropriate, to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or the corner of the elbow. All soiled tissues must be disposed immediately after each use.
Please be assured that as we extrapolate plans for a reopening of our preschool, whenever that will be, we will be keeping the safety and wellbeing of our children, families, and staff as the highest priority. We will communicate more specific plans as soon as possible.
Please take good care and be well,
Darla Steiner, Director