As the six most densely populated counties in California begin to loosen shelter in place rules, child care centers have been given the green light to care for all children. This is according to the San Mateo Health Department Website.
With this change comes modifications to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We want to share with you an overview of how we’re going to keep your family and our staff safe as we adjust to changes and to help parents return to work and children return to preschool.
During the shelter in place, we are now able to support families with childcare for all children. With the guidance of the CDC, SMHD, and Child Care Licensing Dept, we can return to a classroom setting with modifications.
Our program will be offered at all our center sites for everyone beginning May 18, 2020. The program will operate under the health order and as it is modified, we will make changes. These changes will be made by the California Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing (CDSS) regulations for COVID-19, the CDC and the SM County Health Department.
Program hours are 7 AM - 6 PM Monday through Friday.
Program spots are limited and will initially be offered to families who were enrolled ahead of the pandemic and have continued to pay their tuition. Should additional spots be available, we will offer them to those on our wait list and then to whomever is seeking full day care. We do not have any half day or partial week slots available at this time. Drop-in childcare will not be offered.
The program will follow social distancing guidelines for childcare programs as explained in the San Mateo County shelter in place order, including:
- They must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer children (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day and for at least four consecutive weeks).
- Children shall not change from one group to another or attend more than one childcare establishment, summer camp, other educational or recreational instruction or program simultaneously.
- If more than one group of children is at one facility, each group shall be in a separate rooms or spaces that cannot be accessed by children or adults outside the stable group. Groups shall not mix with each other.
- Providers, educators and other staff cannot serve more than one group of children and shall remain solely with that group of children during the duration of the childcare establishment, summer camp, other educational or recreational institution or program.
The program activities will be offered while maintaining as best as possible all social distancing requirements such as maintaining at least a six-foot distance from all individuals; frequently washing hands with soap and water or using hand sanitizer; following proper respiratory etiquette; and excluding children and staff from the program with contagious symptoms such as fever or cough. Please understand that although we will take precautions to limit exposure to COVID-19, we provide no assurances and cannot guarantee that you or your child will not be exposed to the virus or become ill.
The following precautions will be taken to mitigate and limit the spread of infection:
Reinforcing social and physical distancing
- Model social distancing when interacting with children, families, and staff.
- Role-play what social distancing looks like by demonstrating the recommended distance.
- Give frequent verbal reminders to children.
- Read scripted stories and use visual reminders, signage and direct instruction to reinforce social distancing, handwashing, proper etiquette for sneezes, coughs, etc.
Practicing healthy hygiene
- Teach, model, and reinforce healthy habits and social skills.
- Explain to children why it’s not healthy to share drinks or food, particularly when sick.
- Practice frequent handwashing by teaching a popular child-friendly song or counting to 20 (handwashing should last 20 seconds).
- Teach children to use tissue to wipe their nose and to cough inside their elbow.
- Model and practice handwashing before and after eating, after coughing or sneezing, after playing outside, and after using the restroom.
Implementing procedures to frequently clean all touched surfaces
- Have multiple toys and manipulatives accessible that are easy to clean and sanitize throughout the day.
- Limit the amount of sharing.
- Offer more opportunities for individual play and solo activities, such as fine motor activities (i.e., drawing, coloring, cutting, puzzles, and other manipulatives).
- Plan activities that do not require close physical contact between multiple children.
- Stagger indoor and outdoor play and adjust schedules to reduce the number of children in the same area.
- Designate a tub for toys that need to be disinfected after use.
- Sanitize the sink and toilet handles before and after each child’s use.
- Wash hands for 20 seconds and use paper towels (or single use cloth towels) to dry hands thoroughly.
Learning for Preschool-Age Children:
We will continue to work on our play-based STEAM curriculum with an eye on social distancing and heightened cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.
Children should not to bring their personal items to school.
Nap: Children will rest with their mats placed foot to head rather than face-to-face to limit exposure while resting. We will provide a mat which will be cleaned daily. Each child should bring a roll up mat or a small sleeping bag.
Outdoor Play: In order to maintain at least 6-feet distance from each other, children will have access to a variety of toys around the yard to encourage social distancing. The play equipment and play structure will be disinfected after each group of children leaves the yard for the next group of children. There will be a 10-minute wait period between each group to allow for the disinfectant to dry.
Lunch/Snack: Should weather permit, we will rotate eating lunch outside while maintaining distance from each other. We will continue to provide snacks and lunch with your child’s dietary restrictions/arrangement in mind.
Regular Hand Washing: Throughout the day your child will be required to wash their hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol before and after eating, drinking, touching eye/nose/mouth, toileting and physical contact with each other.
Toys and Other Items from Home: Please pack all of your child’s belongings in a clean backpack or grocery bag. Toys from home will not be allowed. All items MUST be labeled with children’s names. To help limit contamination of our facility, you will only be allowed to send your child to our program with limited personal belongings, including:.
- 1-2 changes of clothing, including underwear, socks, shoes, shirts and pants/skirts/dresses
- Small sleeping bag for napping
- Diapers, pull-ups, wipes
- Sippy cup, bottles, extra formula
Facility and Equipment Daily Cleaning and Sanitizing: The facility will be cleaned throughout the day. High-contact areas and surfaces, including counters, toys, telephones, and doorknobs, will also be frequently cleaned using EPA approved disinfectant.
Intake Check-In and Pick up/Sign Out:
Our sign-in and sign out procedures will be modified to limit outside adult to student interaction beyond the entrance of the center.
The following procedures will be followed:
- Upon arrival at our site, you will be greeted by a staff member. Please do not enter the classroom but remain outside until we meet you. If no one is there to retrieve your child, please knock on the door or call our site phone so that a staff member can meet you at the front door.
- Your child’s temperature will be taken by one of our staff members as well as a visual health and safety check.
- Should your child show no signs of illness, your child will be walked to the bathroom to wash their hands before heading to their classroom.
- At pickup, please knock on the door and our staff will meet you at the entrance with your child and ask that you sign out your child using your own pen or the pen from the clean pen cup and to place the pen in the sanitize cup after use.
- Staff may wear a face mask, however, children under 12 are not required. If you would like your child to wear a face mask, we can encourage them, but will not force them.
- We ask that you do not send older people such as grandparents to pick up your child as they are more at risk for serious illness.
- Please adhere to the social distancing of 6 ft while awaiting your turn to sign your child in or out of the program.
- Some Kids Konnect locations have requested a shoeless indoor environment. The director will let you know and give instructions.
- Please also read through our financial agreement and parent handbook as there is additional information that is important for you to know.
- Free testing is now available to anyone who may be experiencing symptoms, or may be concerned they may be asymptomatic and want a test. To find the nearest testing site, go to covid19.ca.gov
Health & Safety Checks: The health and safety check will include taking the temperature of your child and completing a visual inspection of your child for signs of infection.
Please check your child’s temperature before arriving. It is vital that all parents and guardians keep children at home if they are sick or until a fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine. Program staff will plan to check temperatures daily upon check-in. If a child’s temperature is above 100.4F/38C, they will be excluded from participation in the program.
Health Questionnaire at Intake: Staff and parents will be required to respond to the following questionnaire daily upon intake. Should staff or parents respond yes to any of these questions, they or their child will not be allowed to participate in the program.
- Do you or your child live with anyone or have you or your child had close contact with anyone with signs of communicable illness including, but not limited to: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any flu-like symptoms?
- Do you or your child live with anyone or have you or your child had close contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days?
- Do you or your child have a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath? (Fever is 100.4F/ 38C or above measured using a forehead thermometer).
- Has your child taken any fever reducing medications in the prior 24 hours?
- Do you or your child have any other signs of communicable illness such as a cold or flu?
- Have you or your child experienced diarrhea or vomiting within the past 24 hours?
Signs of Illness During Program: Children will be monitored for signs of illness throughout the day. If your child shows signs of illness, we will immediately separate them from the group. To be eligible to return to the program, you will be required to certify that your child’s symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine. By enrolling in this program, you are required to and agree to come pickup your child without delay if they are exhibiting any of the following symptoms:
- Headache or tiredness, unable to participate in routine activities or need more care than staff can provide
- Fever with behavior changes, difficulty breathing, coughing, unusually tired, persistent crying, etc.
- Open sores, rash, signs of infection, etc.
- Runny nose with colored mucus
- Diarrhea or vomiting
Child to Staff Ratio: Each classroom of 12 students will have 2 staff members. The same 2 staff members will be with your child throughout the entire day, with the exception of the first and final hours of our program when the number of children are low. We will try to maintain the same group of children with the same staff members for consecutive days. At least one staff member in each room will have completed 12 or more college level Early Childhood Education Units and have 2 or more years of experience working with children. One of the staff members on site will be a fully qualified childcare director. Please note that this is our plan, however, staffing modifications may be required based on staff health and well-being.
Staff Requirements: To help ensure the health and safety of the group, our staff will be required to be:
- Screened daily for fever or cough at home, before entering the facility, and throughout the day
- Excluded from the facility should they have a fever or cough
- Practice good respiratory hygiene
- Wear a surgical mask and gloves as much as possible throughout the day
- Not be allowed to return to the program until any symptoms of illness have been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine
- Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol before and after eating, drinking, touching eye/nose/mouth, toileting and physical contact with each other.
- Staff required to bring a change of clothes should they become soiled.
Other Precautions We Will Take: The following are additional precautions we will take to help limit exposure of children and staff to COVID-19 and other communicable illnesses:
- Review all updates from CDC, CDSS and local public health on guidance for childcare centers
- Post signage of COVID-19 risk assessment and preventative measures
- Terminate activities and visitors including parent visits and special guests for learning activities
- Implement social distancing best practices including no hugs or shaking hands
- Teach and model social distancing greetings
- Keep emergency contact information up to date
- Tours for new families are now virtual and can be accessed on our website. In some instances, they may be done after hours by appointment with one family and with a max of 4 people from the same family who reside together.
Application, Registration, and Tuition:
To apply for this program, parents/guardians will first be required to complete an online application.
Upon submitting your application, we will review the information you provide in your application including your child’s health, medical, dietary, and request for special assistance.
Should a spot be offered to you, we will inform you via email. You will then have 24 hours to accept the spot by submitting payment of enrollment fees and first month’s tuition.
We have maintained your child’s file and require you to adhere to the new processes and to sign the updated parent handbook. Tuition is due on the first day of attendance and should be paid online to reduce contact with cash/checks.