COVID-19 Preparedness Plan – 8/12/20
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s, a ministry of St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi, Minnesota is required to have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that protects staff, children, families and the community we serve. This plan recognizes the health and safety requirements already required of The Preschools of St. Andrew’s, and is designed to assist our program in meeting the unique needs of our staff and children in care during this peacetime emergency.
According to Executive Order 20-48, child care programs, are required to follow guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Updated guidance and helpful tools can be found on mn.gov/childcare. Executive Order 20-74, signed by Gov. Walz on June 5, 2020 requires The Preschools of St. Andrew’s to develop and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that outlines how we will implement MDH and CDC guidelines. The health and safety of the children in our care, our staff, and all families, particularly during this pandemic is our number one priority. The guidance provides specific steps we can take to continue to keep everyone safe while operating during this unique public health crisis.
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan describes how our program will implement the following components, in compliance with MDH and CDC guidelines for child care programs:
- frequent handwashing
- cleaning and disinfecting
- arrival and departure
- social distancing throughout the day
- plans for identifying and excluding sick staff, volunteers and children
- source control and cloth face coverings
- workplace ventilation
- playground use
- meals and snacks
- field trips and event
- communication and training
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will evaluate, monitor, and update our plan as necessary. Our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan will be posted in readily accessible, prominent locations that will allow for the plan to be readily reviewed by the preschool team. Enrolled families of The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will be informed of the plan and is available to them upon request. All staff, substitutes, andvolunteers will be trained ontheplanarecapableofimplementingit.
1. Frequent Handwashing
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will continue to implement our handwashing policies and procedures as outlined by our health consultant.
Frequent and thorough handwashing is required by all staff, volunteers, and children to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases. Handwashing will occur several times during the day, including, but not limited to: upon arrival for the day; after staff breaks; after diapering, assisting a child with toileting, or using the toilet; after handling body fluids (e.g. blowing or wiping a nose, coughing, touching any mucus, blood, or vomit); before and after meals and snacks; before, during, and after preparing/serving food; before and after playing in sensory tables/water that is shared by two or more people; after handling any materials such as sand, dirt, or touching surfaces that might be contaminated by contact with animals; when moving between classrooms; before and after administering medication; after handling garbage or cleaning; before assisting children with sunscreen and between each child; and if hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
All staff and children are taught proper handwashing procedures. Staff will monitor and assist children who are unable to perform thorough handwashing on their own. Proper handwashing procedures are as follows: Wet hands with clean, running water and apply liquid soap. Lather hands (back of hands, between fingers, and under nails) by vigorously rubbing them together for at least 20 seconds with the soap. It may be helpful to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.) Rinse hands under clean, running water. Dry hands using a clean single-use paper towel. Avoid touching the faucet with clean hands; use a paper towel to turn off the water.
If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol may be used. Children are supervised when using hand sanitizer. It is inaccessible to children when not in use. Proper hand sanitizing procedure is as follows: Place enough hand sanitizer on hands to cover all surfaces. Rub hands together until they feel dry – approximately 20 seconds. Do not rinse or wipe off the hand sanitizer before it is dry.
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s also asks that children, families, and staff wash hands before leaving home. Upon arrival to the Preschools, staff and children will wash hands again.
2. Cleaning and Disinfecting
Routine cleaning and disinfecting is key to maintaining a safe environment for children and staff. Protocols related to cleaning and disinfection of programs are detailed so that staff know what is expected of them. Additional hours are dedicated by staff for cleaning and disinfecting. The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will continue to follow our Health and Safety Policies and Procedures developed by our health consultant (Health Consultants for Child Care), along with guidance from MDH and CDC. High-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, classroom sink handles, counters, tables and chairs, shared toys, playground structures, program equipment and other items are regularly cleaned and disinfected. For other items, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will use designated bins for clean and used items. If surfaces are dirty, they will be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. Families are requested to bring in individual school supplies for their child to ensure that children are not sharing materials. All cleaning materials will be kept secure and out of reach of children. Cleaning products will not be used near children, and staff will ensure that there is adequate ventilation when using these products to prevent children from inhaling toxic fumes.
Additional cleaning and disinfecting policies include:
- Toys that cannot be cleaned and sanitized will not be used.
- Toys that children have placed in children’s mouths or that are otherwise contaminated by body secretions or excretions will be set aside until they are cleaned by hand by a person wearing gloves. Clean with water and soap, rinse, sanitize, and air-dry. At times, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s may also use our dishwasher to clean toys.
- Machine washable cloth toys will be used by one individual at a time or may not be used at all. If used, these toys will belaundered before being used by another child.
- Toys will not be shared with other classrooms unless they are washed and sanitized before being moved from one group to the other.
- Per CDC guidance, children’s books, like other paper-based materials such as mail or envelopes, are not considered a high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfection procedures.
- Bedding (sheets, pillows, and blankets) will be sent home daily to be laundered. Each child’s bedding will be kept separate and stored in individually labeled lockers. Cots are labeled for each child.
- Each preschool program has their own dedicated isolation room if a child or staff member become ill (Half Day Preschool – 1st Responder’s Room in Sanctuary; Full Day Preschool – Large Muscle Room in Village Preschool.) The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will clean and disinfect surfaces in our isolation rooms after the sick child or staff member has gone home.
- If COVID-19 is confirmed in a child or staff member, we will follow these steps:
- Close off areas used by the person who is sick.
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the areas.
- Wait up to 24 hours or as long as possible before you clean or disinfect to allow respiratory droplets to settle before cleaning and disinfecting.
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as classrooms, bathrooms, and common areas.
- If more than 7 days have passed since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary.
- Continue routine cleaning and disinfection.
3. Arrival and Departure
Each morning, parents will sign-in children with staff in the lobby. Parent must wear masks during arrival time. Staff will stand behind a plexiglass, physical barrier to protect their face and mucous membranes from respiratory droplets. Parents will answer some health screening questions upon arrival. A visual inspection of the child for signs of illness which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness will be assessed. Staff will take the children’s temperature with the preschools’ no-touch thermometers. Children who have a fever of 100.40 (38.00C) or above or other signs of illness will not be admitted to the classrooms. If a child is fever-free, they will be escorted to their classroom. To minimize potential exposure, we ask that families do not walk children to their classroom. Per CDC recommendations, if non-contact (temporal) thermometers are used and if staff do not have physical contact with a child, they are not required to change gloves before doing the next check. The Preschools of St. Andrew’s encourages parents to be on the alert for signs of illness in their children and to keep them home when they are sick. Families will assign one family member for drop off and pick up to minimize exposure to multiple people. We ask that self-assessment, for both children and families, become part of a daily routine before heading to St. Andrew’s.
All staff will be asked to take their own temperature each day upon arrival and must be fever-free before entering The Preschools of St. Andrew’s. Staff have been informed of and are responsible for their own health checks to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will monitor staff and children throughout the day.
Upon picking up children, parents are asked to enter the lobby, wearing a mask and social distancing. Staff will escort the children to their families. Children may be picked up while on the playground, if their class is enjoying recess. Teachers will bring sign-out sheets outside. Children will carry their backpacks with them to the playground, so parents will not need to enter the building. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-childcare.html#ScreenChildren
4. Plans for sick children and staff
The following policies and procedures are being implemented to assess our staff’s health status prior to entering The Preschools of St. Andrew’s and for staff to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms. Staff have been directed to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church has sent a COVID-19 health screen questionnaire to all staff. Staff planning on visiting or working from The Preschools of St. Andrew’s should refer to this questionnaire and review the questions prior to leaving their home. If staff answer “yes” to any of the questions, they should stay home. A staff member who may be experiencing symptoms should notify their supervisor as soon as possible that they are not feeling well and will not be reporting to work. Their supervisor will notify Human Resources if a staff member is out sick.
Human Resources will work with the staff member, their supervisor, and/or Campus Security to determine if the staff member has recently been onsite. If the staff member has recently been onsite, Human Resources will reach out to the staff member to determine if the staff member is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and encourage the staff member to contact their medical provider. If the staff member is believed to have had COVID-19 symptoms, they will be allowed to return to work 10 days after the onset of the symptoms and only if their fever resolves without the use of fever reducing medication and they have been fever-free with significant improvement of their other symptoms for at least 3 days (72 hours), or after receiving two negative COVID-19 tests per CDC Guidelines.
- The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will follow exclusion guidance and ensure children, staff, and volunteers stay home when sick: http://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/exguide.pdf
- If a child, staff member, or volunteer is diagnosed with COVID-19 or if there are questions about a child, staff member, or volunteer who is exhibiting symptoms, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will reach out to MDH at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow their direction.
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will have isolation rooms (Half Day Preschool – 1st Responder’s Room in Sanctuary; Full Day Preschool – Large Muscle Room in Village Preschool) where staff can care for sick children while being separated from others until a family member can pick up the child. The designated space will accommodate social distancing of at least 6 feet for multiple people if needed. The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will ensure that symptomatic children who are waiting to be picked up remain under the visual supervision of a staff member who is at least 6 feet away. The supervising adult will wear a face covering or surgical mask; however, face coverings or surgical masks will not be placed on anyone who is unconscious or has trouble breathing, anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance, or anyone who cannot tolerate a face covering due to developmental, medical, or behavioral health needs.
The Preschools will implement cleaning and disinfecting procedures in compliance with The Department of Human Services, CDC, and MDH. If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed amongst children and staff, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will notify MDH. Families and staff will also be notified if a person with COVID-19 was on the premises while infectious. This will be done in coordination with the assistance of local health officials and our health consultant while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with state and federal laws.
5. Social distancing throughout the day
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s has established a procedure for arrivals and departures that avoids or minimizes group interactions. We will practice social distancing as much as possible to reduce risk, recognizing that it is not always feasible to have 6 feet of social distancing during primary instructional time. The Preschools of St. Andrew’s encourages our classrooms to continue to use playground facilities and the outdoors to limit possible exposure. To minimize interaction amongst the classes while going outside at the Full Day Program, classrooms 1 and 2 will exit through the front door; the toddler room and classrooms 4 and 5 will exit through the playground door; the same doors will be used upon reentering the preschool. Getting outside for fresh air and movement is important to support physical and mental health on a daily basis.
We are in the process of researching best practices for our music classes and singing in the classrooms during COVID-19, keeping in mind our three key points: Duration, Proximity, and Predictability. Whenever possible, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will hold music classes (including music and movement activities) outside with children social distanced, in a single row. Children in music classes will all face the same direction rather than facing each other.
Class sizes will be limited as much as possible. The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will make our best effort to maintain consistent groups of children and staff who stay together throughout the day. The goal is to limit any staff or child who could potentially be infected and expose multiple groups. We ask that staff who are in different classrooms social distance themselves in common spaces and during breaks.
Visual cues or barriers to direct traffic flow and distancing will be used. Staff will use taped “Xs” on the floor to let children know where they should sit to promote social distancing.
If it becomes absolutely necessary to use different staff in a classroom or intermix children from various classrooms, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will maintain records and track this information.
At nap/rest time, children’s cots will be spaced out as much as possible. Children will be placed head to toe in order to further reduce the potential for viral spread. Bedding, stuffed toys, and personal items will be sent home nightly for laundering.
6. Source control and cloth face coverings
According to Emergency Executive Order 20-81 signed by Gov. Walz on July 22, 2020, preschools have unique needs that do not always permit universal face covering when indoors. Preschools require additional flexibility surrounding the use of face shields, which increase visibility of facial expressions and lip movements to aid in speech perception and child development and learning. To provide for an effective developmental and educational environment, and to ensure safety for children, staff, and families, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will comply with the following specific requirements on the use of face coverings and face shields. Child care centers, such as The Preschools of St. Andrew’s (licensed under Minnesota Rules 2019, Chapter 9503), serving children five years old and under are required to comply with face covering and face shield guidance available at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/schools/masks.html. Basic requirements are detailed below:
- Children five years old and under are not required to wear a face shield or face covering, and children under two should never wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation. A child between the ages of two and five who can reliably wear a face covering or face shield in compliance with the CDC guidance on How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings (https://cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-cloth-face-coverings.html) (i.e., without frequently touching or removing the covering) may do so. Children who are sleeping, unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face cover or face shield without assistance or who cannot tolerate a shield without assistance or who cannot tolerate a shield or covering due to a developmental, medical, or behavioral health conditions should not wear a face covering or face shield. If The Preschools of St. Andrew’s has a child enrolled who has not entered kindergarten, but is older than 5, this child will be exempt from face covering and face shield requirements. This exemption is communicated in writing with all enrolled families.
- Staff meeting exemption criteria described in paragraph 8 of Executive Order 20-81 (staff with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for them to wear a face covering, this includes, but is not limited to, people who have a medical condition that compromises their ability to breathe, and people who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance) should consider using alternatives to face coverings, including clear face shields. Please refer to paragraph 8 of Executive Order 20-81 for further details.
- To reduce the risk of exposure, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will maintain consistent groups and related staff. Steps will be taken to avoid intermixing groups and staff to the extent possible.
- All staff working in an indoor care setting must wear a face covering in communal areas (e.g., center or building hallways, lobbies, restrooms, breakrooms, etc.) where groups may intermix. Alternatively, staff may wear a face shield (clear plastic shield that covers the forehead, extends below the chin, and wraps around the sides of the face) when wearing a face covering is problematic (for example, when young children would benefit from viewing staff facial expressions and lip movements to understand what is being said and how words are formed.)
- Staff who are required to wear a face covering or face shield may remove their face covering or shield temporarily to engage in certain activities listed below that make wearing a face covering or shield difficult, provided that social distancing is maintained to the extent feasible: eating or drinking; communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing or has a disability, medical condition, or mental health condition that makes communication with a face covering difficult; participating in physical activity or when engaged in other activities (e.g., presenting, performing, or playing an instrument) that would make it difficult or impractical to wear a face covering or face shield. Face coverings should cover the nose and mouth completely, should not be overly tight or restrictive, and should feel comfortable to wear.
- Staff in any outdoor space where it is difficult or not possible to maintain social distancing should wear a face covering or shield.
- People who are entering the preschool during the day are required by staff to briefly remove their face covering for the purposes of checking identification.
- Key messages about face coverings: Be careful not to touch eyes, nose, and mouth while wearing face coverings or face shields to prevent potential contamination. Wash hands thoroughly before putting on a face covering or face shield. Remove face covering or face shield carefully and wash your hands thoroughly after removing. Wash the face covering or face shield after each use. Wearing a face covering or face shield does not replace the need to continue frequent handwashing, avoiding touching the face, and practicing social distancing, which are our best tools to help prevent the spread of illness. Continue to use typical systems and processes for cleaning toys, keeping sick children home, washing hands, and other practices that are used every day. These actions help to keep the community healthy and safe. Face coverings and face shields do not provide adequate protection for others if a person has symptoms compatible with COVID-19. Ill persons should stay at home.
7. Workplace ventilation
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and allow for the maximum amount of a fresh air to be brought into our buildings and limit air recirculation. We will take steps to minimize air from blowing from one person directly at another person to reduce the potential spread of any airborne or aerosolized viruses and encourage outdoor time. The Full Day Program has a separate ventilation unit than St. Andrew’s Village.
8. Playground use
Children of all ages need to move their bodies and stay physically active. Getting outside for fresh air and movement is important to support physical and mental health on a daily basis. This plan was developed to assist The Preschools of St. Andrew’s in implementing infection prevention measures to protect children and staff health during playground and outdoor time during community transmission of COVID-19.
To promote health, The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will do the following: offer outdoor play in staggered shifts
(If multiple groups are outside at the same time, they should have a minimum of 6 feet of open space between outdoor play areas or areas will be used in shifts so that the children are not congregating. Classrooms will not be able to intermix.); handwashing will take place immediately before and after outdoor playground time. This will help reduce potential exposures and may prevent the entire program from shutting down if exposure occurs; teachers will clean high touch areas of the playground in between classes.
Guidance from the CDC states that outdoor areas, like playgrounds, generally require routine cleaning, but do not require disinfection. Cleaning efforts will focus on plastic or metal high-touch surfaces where hands frequently make direct contact, like grab bars and railings, between groups of children. According to the CDC, it is not practical to disinfect entire large playground structures, and it is not proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces or ground covers (mulch, sand) is not recommended.
Each classroom will have their own large, plastic container designated for outdoor toys that will be cleaned and sanitized daily. Engaging children in active recess is another way for The Preschools of St. Andrew’s to create opportunities for physical activity and time outdoors that is not dependent on shared equipment. Staff will introduce games such as relays, red light/green light, obstacle courses based on activities rather than equipment.
9. Meals and snacks
Meals at The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will be served in individual classrooms. All meals must be brought from home daily and meet the required USDA guidelines. Children’s lunches will not be reheated. St. Andrew’s will provide 1% milk for lunches and snacks. In accordance with our health and safety policies and procedures, eating surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized before and after lunch and snacks. Chairs will be cleaned and sanitized after lunch and snacks. Floors will be swept. Hands will be washed before and after eating.
10. Field trips and events
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will not plan large group activities, such as field trips and family events during the COVID-19 pandemic. Group special events, such as weekly chapel and Color Day will move to a virtual format. When it is deemed safe to have an in-house field trip, the presenter will be screened. Social distancing will be maintained, groups will not be mixed, and cleaning and sanitizing will occur between groups.
11. Communications and training
This COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will be available to the Commissioner and offered to families. Communication to families will be in plain language, with the expectations stated for parents and children in the implementation of this plan. If/when The Preschools of St. Andrew’s receives notification about a positive COVID-19 case in our preschool, we will work with MDH on the notification process. MDH will recommend a course of action.
The plan must be posted in a prominent place and readily accessible to all employees, substitutes, and volunteers who need to review it. Training will be provided to ensure everyone is following the plan and will be updated on any changes to the plan.
St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church communicated their Preparedness Plan via email and Zoom meeting to all staff on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 and necessary training was provided. Additional communication and training will be ongoing through email and Zoom updates and provided to all staff members who did not receive the initial training. Leadership and supervisors are to monitor how effective the program has been implemented by observing trends and seeking input from staff. The St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church COVID-19 Preparedness Plan was approved on Wednesday, June 17, 2020 by the St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church COVID-19 Response Team.
The Preschools of St. Andrew’s will additionally train all staff on this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Health Consultants for Child Care, our health consultant, will also provide additional COVID-19 training, along with OSHA/Bloodborne Pathogens, Abusive Head Trauma, and Allergy training on Wednesday, September 2, 2020. Staff will sign a document stating that they have read and understand this COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. All plans will be updated as necessary.
Staff with concerns about The Preschools of St. Andrew’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan or questions about their rights should contact MNOSHA Compliance at email@example.com, 651-284-5050 or 877-470-6742.