In Response to Covid 19
We have implemented a number of changes to comply with the guidelines released by the CDC to slow the spread of Covid19. We are open for well child care only until all restrictions due to Covid19 are lifted. Children with any symptoms of cold (that would have previously been allowed) and flu will be excluded from care. They must be symptom free for 48 hours before being able to return.
It is our expectation that families who are enrolled at Great Beginnings Early Learning Center during this time are following the guidelines and restrictions laid out by the CDC and the Monterey County Health Department.
Any guideline that is mandated by the state or county, will be strictly followed by Great Beginnings.
Hours of Operation
At this time we will be offering care between the hours of 8AM and 5PM. In order to comply with the additional cleaning protocols and the stable group provision (keeping consistent teachers and children within each group) we are, logistically, not able to be open for more than 9 hours per day.
Arrivals and Departures
In order to reduce the number of people who come in contact with our physical space, we are altering our arrival and departure procedures.
Families will check-in at the check-in table, located at the far end of the school, closest to the garden. A teacher will be stationed at the table to do a heath check, including a temperature check, and a short list of questions regarding any possible symptoms within the family or exposure to anyone with Covid19.
We will be staggering arrivals as best as we can so that we don’t have everyone arriving at the same time. There will be marked spaces, socially distanced, for families to line up at as they wait to check in. Parents are expected to be wearing face coverings during drop off and pick up. The city of Monterey is handing out violations for individuals and businesses who are not in compliance with the indoor and outdoor mandate, within all business districts in Monterey. You will not be allowed to line up for check-in without a mask.
The check-in table will be staffed from 8:00 to 9:30 each day. Children must arrive at school by 9:30 each day. If a special circumstance occurs, such as a doctor or dentist visit, where you are not able to arrive by 9:30, you will need to contact the school so we can arrange a check- in.
Families will need to provide a pair of shoes that will be kept at school and changed into upon arrival. At the end of the day, they will change out of their school shoes before departing. Shoes will be stored in ziplock baggies and placed in the classroom box for the next day.
After the health check, and shoe change, children will use hand sanitizer and a teacher will accompany them through the side gate and into their designated classroom. Once in the classroom they will be greeted by their classroom teacher who will help them put their lunch box into the cubby and assist them in washing their hands at the sink.
Many families have developed wonderful goodbye routines that really helped the children transition into the day at school. We encourage families to find ways to transition into the school day even though you aren’t allowed to accompany your child into the classroom. For example, previously, many parents chose to sit in the classroom and read a story before leaving for the day. Perhaps now they might consider reading a story in the car each day before lining up to check-in. The benefits of routines during transitions for children can not be overstated, and it is important that we find ways to still honor those needs. Teachers will be creating morning arrival routines for individual children once they are in the classroom.
We are still working out the best and most efficient way of handing departures. Please bear with us while we figure out what will work best. When parents arrive for pickup, you will notify the teachers through Brightwheel. A classroom teacher will have your child wash their hands and will bring them out the side gate to meet you. We ask that you help them change out of their school shoes and place them into their bag. Please remember to remain socially distanced from other families during pick-up as well.
Please make sure that you give yourself ample time during arrivals and departures, as things will likely be a little slow going until we work out the details
In order to comply with the stable group guideline, we have created three separate classrooms. Each classroom will have between 10 and 12 children and two teachers. These three rooms will each have their own outside area that is accessible directly from the classroom. This will allow each class to utilize their indoor or outdoor space freely throughout the day. As the CDC recommends, we will be spending as much time outside as possible throughout the day. These three groups will not have interaction with each other. Our two smaller rooms will be designated for 3 to 5 year olds. Our larger room will be designated for 2 and 3 year olds. Due to bathroom logistics, only children who are fully potty trained will be able to participate in the 3 to 5 year old classes. Siblings will be placed together to the greatest extent possible, except when it would be developmentally inappropriate to place them in the same classroom.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures
In addition to the already comprehensive cleaning procedures previously in place, we will be adding additional disinfecting procedures. Teachers will be using hydrogen peroxide to disinfect throughout the day. Hydrogen peroxide of 3% is approved by the CDC for disinfecting for Covid19. The main benefit, in addition to being a powerful disinfectant, is that it does not contain compounds that can trigger asthma, and it is not harmful on the skin. With the increased need for disinfecting, we feel this is the best solution for teachers to be using throughout the day on surfaces that are commonly touched. We will continue to use a bleach solution for the diaper changing station and the food areas prior to meals. A bleach solution will also be used for disinfecting plastic toys at the end of the day. Outside toys will be disinfected with a bleach solution as well.
Hand sanitizer will be placed throughout the school for teachers to use as needed throughout the day. It may be used with children when the sink is not readily available, such as occasionally outside, but our main focus with the children will be frequent hand washing.
We have also increased the number of times per week that our janitorial service cleans and sanitizes the school.
Items From Home
In order to minimize potential exposure to Covid19, we will not be allowing children to bring personal items or toys from home. We will be providing all bedding that will be laundered at the end of the week or replaced if soiled before the end of the week.
We are asking that all families provide three full changes of clothes that will be kept in each child’s cubby drawer.
At this time we are asking that families do not bring sippy cups or water bottles from home. We will make sure that water is readily available throughout the day, and will be using single use paper cups. If you want your child to drink milk with lunch you may provide that.
We are asking that families provide a morning snack and afternoon snack, in addition to lunch, during this time. Please package and label snacks separately from lunch items. Teachers will assist children in gathering their snacks if needed. We will not be able to store lunch boxes in the refrigerator so please be sure to include an ice pack if the lunch contains items that need to be kept cold.
Please make sure that your child brings a sweatshirt every day. We will be leaving windows open to increase air flow into all of the classrooms and sweatshirts may be necessary, even while inside.
Masks and Social Distancing Procedures
In compliance with state and local mandates, and CDC recommendations, all teachers will be wearing masks or face shields throughout the day. They will also maintain social distancing from each other within their classrooms and outside areas. When providing care to young children it is not possible or appropriate to remain socially distant from them at all times. Hugs and elbow bumps will remain a part of our day.
The CDC does not require children under the age of 10 to wear face masks. We will not be requiring or recommending that children wear face masks throughout the day. This is an individual decision that will be left up to the families to follow whatever protocol feels best for your family. If you do choose to have your child wear a mask, we ask that you send multiple, 3 or 4, clean masks per day, so that we are able to have the children change them when they become soiled or damp from breath.
We have set up our classrooms in ways that allow and encourage the children to engage in activities by themselves. We have a variety of tables set up for children to engage in solitary activities. We will not be providing any large group activities that would encourage children to not respect social distancing guidelines. However, we recognize that children are social beings and will not be creating separate areas that individual children must remain in throughout the day. We will talk to children in developmentally appropriate ways and teach them fun ideas to encourage social distancing, such as playing airplane arms.
During lunch and group activities that involve sitting at a table, children will be seated with spaces in between them.
Procedures for Covid19 Exposure
If a family member, or other individual with close contact to your child, tests positive for Covid19, your child will need to be excluded for the two week quarantine period. In this event, all families enrolled in that child’s group cohort will be notified. If a child enrolled at the school tests positive, we will contact the Monterey County Department of Health to seek guidance on the appropriate action to take. It is possible that the classroom they are enrolled in will need to be closed so that all children and the teachers in that room can complete their 10-14 day quarantine. Any closures or disruptions of less than two weeks will require payment in full. Any closures or disruptions of greater that two weeks will be required to pay 25% tuition to hold a spot.
We are fortunate that our physical set up allows us to create 3 separate groups that do not mix with the other groups. This allows us the ability to shut down a single room if an exposure occurs, as opposed to shutting down the entire school.
As we have all seen, this whole experience has the ability to morph and change at a moments notice. We will be diligent in staying on top of new information and will revise our policies as necessary. We thank you so much for helping us by following our procedures, so we can remain open and continue to provide your children with the safe and loving environment that you have come to expect from Great Beginnings. Please reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have moving forward.
"The environment at Great Beginnings is very creative and nurturing. I genuinely feel that the staff members care about teaching little ones and take pride in what they do."