COVID-19 Response

ENHANCED HEALTH AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS FOR COVID-19

COVID-19 is a highly contagious illness that spreads easily among groups, especially when prevention protocols are not in place and carefully adhered to. Experts advise that the best way to protect our community against Covid-19 is to establish and strictly follow a detailed safety plan, implementing layers of safety procedures such as getting vaccinated when eligible, enhancing ventilation systems, ensuring proper mask wearing, washing hands frequently, increasing the frequency of cleaning protocols, and ensuring that individuals stay home when not feeling well.

First Church Preschool has always maintained stringent health safety protocols with our children and staff and encouraged proper handwashing and cleaning protocols. With the onset of Covid-19 last year, we enhanced our health safety measures and introduced several new practices. The Preschool is very fortunate to have large classrooms with ample space for distancing, and many windows that we keep open throughout the school year to provide fresh air circulation. We have installed a new filtering mechanism in our ventilation system, and each classroom is cleaned several times throughout the day and fogged every night. We also have the luxury of utilizing our extensive outdoor learning space every day … whether in the Nature Classroom or other areas within our vast campus. All these actions, combined with the conscientious adherence of our safety protocols by our families, teachers, and staff, enabled First Church Preschool to operate, in-person, last year without having any in-school Covid transmissions … and we plan to do the same again this year!

Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements
With the goal of ensuring the best learning experience for our children while maintaining the safety of our entire First Church Preschool community, FCP will require all teachers and staff to be fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized Covid-19 vaccine. This decision was made in consultation with our expert advisors and based upon guidance from many sources including the CDC, American Academy of Pediatricians, state and local Departments of Health, and the CT Office of Early Childhood (our licensing agency).

Our policy is compliant with Governor Ned Lamont’s Executive Order #13D signed August 19, 2021. Per the terms of the Executive Order, if not fully vaccinated by September 27, the first dose must have been administered (for those that require two doses), with the second dose scheduled. As advised by outside counsel and required by the Executive Order, we will grant exemptions for those who are unable to receive a Covid-19 vaccination due to medical reasons or sincerely held religious or spiritual beliefs. Any staff member who is granted an exemption will be required to submit to weekly Covid testing and will be required to adhere to stricter Covid protocols than their vaccinated counterparts as outlined below.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we must maintain the confidentiality of employee medical information, such as documentation or other confirmation of COVID-19 vaccination. Consistent with these obligations of confidentiality, we are not permitted to disclose the vaccination status of any staff member, including whether staff members have received a medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. We ask that our parents and other community members respect the medical privacy of our staff and refrain from asking teachers if they are vaccinated.

Covid-19 Screening Test Requirements
When schools implement testing combined with other prevention strategies, they can detect new cases to prevent outbreaks, reduce the risk of further transmission, and protect students, teachers, and staff from Covid-19. To help ensure our entire community stays safe, FCP will require the following screening tests:
Weekly testing: any staff member who has received an exemption from the mandatory vaccination requirement must complete weekly PCR testing with results submitted to the Preschool Director
Periodic testing: Before School Starts: All children and staff must take a PCR test prior to starting school. Children should test no earlier than September 5th, 2021 and submit negative results via Brightwheel by the evening of September 8th to attend school on September 9th. Teachers should test no earlier than August 28th, 2021. After December Holiday Break: We will again require PCR testing of all staff and children following the December holiday break. Individuals must submit a negative test by the evening of January 3rd, 2022 (but test no earlier than December 30, 2021) to return to school on January 4th, 2022. Other Holiday Breaks: FCP will reevaluate the need for “return to school testing” for the second half of the year after January 4th, 2022 based on current Covid-19 trends. We will share testing requirements, if any, for the February and April breaks once we assess the need.

Covid-19 Quarantine Protocols
The following protocols stipulate the quarantine and testing requirements that First Church Preschool has established to ensure the safest learning environment for all.

An unvaccinated child or staff member who….

has tested positive for Covid-19 can return to school after:
o the individual isolates for 10 days (return on day 11) from the date symptoms first appeared or
the date of the test if no symptoms and
o the individual is at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
o the individual is symptom free and
o the individual is well and energetic enough to fully participate in all areas of the program day,
including outdoor times

has been in Close Contact* with someone who has Covid-19 (suspected or confirmed) (including
household members such as parents, children, siblings) can return to school after:

o the individual quarantines for 14 days after the last exposure to that person (return on day 15;
last date of exposure being day 0) and
o the individual is at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
o the individual is symptoms free and
o the individual is well and energetic enough to fully participate in all areas of the program day,
including outdoor times
o Please Note: while some schools may be allowing for an earlier return with interim negative
testing, FCP will be following the CDC’s more conservative guidelines requiring a 14-day
quarantine. When the currently elevated Covid infection rates return to lower levels, FCP may,
in consultation with its advisors, reconsider this requirement.

has symptoms of Covid-19 can return to school after:
o the individual receives a negative PCR test and submits a copy of the test results to the
Preschool Director prior to the child’s return and
o the individual is at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
o the individual is symptom free and
o the individual is well and energetic enough to fully participate in all areas of the program day,
including outdoor times

  • Close Contact is defined as being within six feet of a Covid-19 positive person for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, within two days prior to that person developing symptoms.

A vaccinated staff member who….


has tested positive for Covid-19 can return to school after:
o the individual isolates for 10 days (return on day 11) from the date symptoms first appeared or
the date of the test if no symptoms and
o the individual is at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and
o the individual is symptoms free

has been in Close Contact* with someone who has Covid-19 (suspected or confirmed) (including
household members such as parents, children, siblings) shall:

o take PCR test 5 days following contact and isolate per protocols if test positive
o no quarantine required

has symptoms of Covid-19
o take PCR test; if negative, no need to quarantine, if positive, follow Covid positive protocols
Covid-19 Reporting Protocols

It is important that all members of our community are aware and conscientious about our individual and collective responsibility to do all that we can to protect ourselves and others. Communication is an important piece of a prevention plan, and especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Open communication between families and our administration for reporting COVID-19 is vitally important for helping us maintain a safe and healthy environment for us all.

Please report the following to the office as soon as possible upon learning:
• A member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19
• A member of your household has developed symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and/or is
presumed positive
• Travel is planned for your child
• A member of your household has been advised to self-quarantine

If we receive a report that a suspected sick child or staff member is confirmed to have COVID-19, we will:
• Immediately notify the Greenwich Department of Public Health. The officials within this department will help us to determine the best course of action for our preschool.
• Notify families of the confirmed case and continue to maintain open communications regarding follow-up procedures at an appropriate time based on the situation and discretion of the office and under the guidance of the Greenwich Department of Public Health.
o All Close Contacts (defined as someone who was within six feet of the person for at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, within two days prior to the individual developing symptoms) will need to quarantine for 14 days
• Initiate a short-term closure of the classroom(s) and/or school for 2 – 5 days to allow a thorough
cleaning and disinfecting of the facility and allow the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the Preschool.
• Continue to work with the local health officials to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal is needed; communicate next steps to all families.

If local health officials have determined there is substantial transmission of COVID-19 within the community, they will provide guidance to administrators on the best course of action for our Preschool.

Covid-19 Closure Policy
In the event of a classroom or school closure, teachers and children will continue learning remotely, including large group, small group and individual interactions between children and teachers. An on-line schedule will be distributed to families at that time.

Classroom Closure: In the event of a child or teacher testing positive for Covid-19, that entire class must quarantine at home for 14 days and that class will convert to remote learning 48 hours after the first day of closure. The entire school will close for at least 48 hours for deep cleaning, but classrooms with students not required to quarantine will reopen following cleaning.
School-wide Closure: In the event of a school-wide public health decision to shut down due to Covid-19, we will revert to remote learning, beginning 48 hours after the first day of closure.

Covid-19 Travel Policy
The following CDC Travel Guidelines as of August 19, 2021 have been adopted by First Church
Preschool. The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated. As our preschool children do not yet have the opportunity for vaccination, the following policy is in place until further notice.

Domestic and International Travel for Children and Unvaccinated Staff:
Children and unvaccinated staff traveling domestically and internationally via plane, bus, train, or other forms of public transportation must:
Prior to travel:
• Report the travel plans via email to the Preschool Director PRIOR to travel.
After travel:
• Take a PCR test no sooner than 5 days after return (date of return is considered day 0); negative test results must be emailed to Preschool Director prior to return to school. AND
• Stay home and quarantine for a full 7 days (back to school return on day 8) after travel, even with a negative test result OR
• If individual doesn’t get PCR tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days (back to school return on day 11) after return (date of return is considered day 0).

Domestic Travel for Vaccinated Staff:
• After travel, monitor symptoms and get tested if indicated
• No quarantine or testing required

International Travel for Vaccinated Staff:
• Get PCR test 5 days following return and isolate per protocols if test positive
• No quarantine required
Additional information and traveler guidance issued by the CDC can be found on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

Covid-19 Policy / Protocols are Subject to Change
First Church Preschool reserves the right to revise, supplement, rescind or deviate from any policies or portion herein from time to time as it deems appropriate, in its sole and absolute discretion, and with or without advanced written notice. Notifications of any changes will be provided to families and employees of our program, and the most recently revised document will be in effect