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First Steps School Covid-19 Guidelines

First Steps takes pride in being transparent with our families regarding all matters and addressing COVID-19 concerns is no exception. The following guidelines focus on 7 key points that address COVID-19. They will help in prevention and protection for all staff and families.

Wellness CDC Policies for Staff

  • All staff have the opportunity to receive health and safety training.
  • All staff must abide by enhanced health and safety practices outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Each staff member commits to social distancing at work & outside the school.
  • All students are taught how to follow proper hygienic practices to keep them healthy.
  • Accommodations have been made for staff vaccinations and most have received both shots.
  • Use of rapid test kit is available on site.

Advanced Facility Cleaning Procedures

  • Nightly cleaning and UV light usage per classroom continues.
  • Daily disinfecting and sanitizing of furniture, toys in classrooms using CDC approved products are practiced by staff & cleaning crew.
  • Limiting items brought to school.
  • Disinfectant Fogger Unit is used on the playgrounds and field.

Enhanced Hygiene Procedures

  • Added outdoor sinks for students to wash their hands.
  • Proper handwashing with soap and water, the simplest solution to combat infection. Reminding staff and students to avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Staff increase hand washing frequency and use of masks/shields.
  • All students must wash their hands upon entering their room at the start of each day and all recommended times thereafter in addition to following standard handwashing procedures.

Monitoring Symptoms & Screening Procedures

  • Tracking symptoms of COVID-19 using CDC approved guidelines.
  • Daily temperature monitoring at the school’s entrance for both students, parents and staff.
  • Screening visual wellness of the students upon arrival to the school. The facility fallows DPH guidance on Decision Pathways for persons who screen positive for symptoms prior to entry to the school or while in school.
  • Any person showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection is excluded from the site. Sent home or medical facility rather than home if necessary.
  • Persons with positive COVID-19 test results are educated about how long they should isolate and when they can return to school. Staff and students who have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19 are actively encouraged to stay home and isolate.
  • Staff and families are educated about the risk of outbreaks and the importance of maintaining safe practices including avoiding gatherings outside a single household, outside of work and travel. Students receive age-appropriate education about risks and best practices to avoid the risk as well.

Pick Up & Drop Off Procedures

  • No adult (parent) enters the classrooms when dropping off or picking up the students.
  • Daily agreement is signed by parents to follow all school/CDC policies of screening questionnaires.
  • Restrictions have been placed on nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving multiple groups at the same time.

Classroom Space & Individual Supply Procedures

  • All personal items should be labelled and kept in separate bags. Personal toys, blankets, etc. should be sent home to wash weekly.
  • Every child is assigned their chair & classroom supply box to minimize sharing.
  • Restrictions have been placed on nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving multiple groups at the same time.
  • Staff have developed instructions that are easy for children to understand and are developmentally appropriate through the use of aids such as floor markings, signs, songs, and games to maximize spacing.
  • Activities have been designed & furniture arranged to maintain separation between individuals & cohorts.
  • Childcare activities, indoor and out, are carried out in stable groups. “Stable” means the same children and staff are in the same group each day. If a student must leave the facility to quarantine and/or be tested due to possible exposure, siblings/other students from the same household who share the same exposure also leave the facility to quarantine and/or be tested.
  • Students and staff do not move from one group to another.

Food Handling Procedures

  • Wash hands before and after eating.
  • Spread children as far apart as possible while having food.
  • No sharing food.
  • Clean area immediately before and after eating.
  • Staff must wear gloves/masks/shields at all times.
  • Individual portions should be provided in disposable plates using disposable utensils.
  • Eat outside whenever possible – e.g. afternoon snacks & picnic.
  • Mealtimes are arranged so that each cohort of children eats apart from other cohorts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the sick child policy at First Steps School?

An isolation room or area has been identified to permit immediate separation of anyone who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19.

Cloth masks or surgical masks are worn by students if they are over the age of 24 months and do not have problems putting on or removing the mask or have issues breathing with the mask on.

Any child or staff exhibiting symptoms is cared for in the isolation room until they can be transported home or to a healthcare facility.

Procedures for safely transporting anyone sick to their home or to a healthcare facility have been established as appropriate. Call 9-1-1 without delay if the individual develops persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face.

The site ensures that it has at least one, but preferably more, emergency contact numbers for each student and staff person to ensure prompt notification if an adult or child develops signs of illness.

Sick staff members and parents of sick children have been advised not to return to the site until the sick person has met criteria to return to the facility as outlined in the Decision Pathways for symptomatic persons at an educational institution.

Staff, children or parents who have had close contact with the ill individual are instructed to stay at home until they have met the criteria to return to the facility as outlined in the Decision Pathways for contacts of a potentially infected child at an education institution.

Upon being informed that a staff member or child tests positive for COVID-19, the facility instructs the infected person to isolate themselves at home and instructs all persons exposed to the infected person to quarantine.  Exposures will be reviewed to assess which persons need quarantine including the possibility of quarantining all individuals in the same cohort of classroom as an infected person if exposures cannot be ruled out for the entire group.  See public health guidance on isolation (ph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation) and quarantine (ph.lacounty.gov/covidquarantine) for additional details.  Facilities are required to notify the local Child Care Licensing Regional Office and the Department of Public Health of all children with confirmed COVID-19 who had been at the site at any point within the 14 days prior to becoming ill.

Secure, online reporting is the preferred method for notifying the Department of Public Health of all COVID-19 exposures at the facility and can be done on a computer or mobile device with access to the secure web application: http://www.redcap.link/lacdph.educationsector.covidreport. If online reporting is not possible, reporting can be done manually by downloading and completing the COVID-19 Case and Contact Line List for the Education Sector and sending it to ACDC-Education@ph.lacounty.gov. All case notifications should be submitted within 1 business day of being notified of the case.

In the event that 3 or more COVID-19 cases are identified within the facility in a span of 14 days, the site should immediately report this cluster to the Department of Public Health.  This can be done using the same reporting method described above.

Areas used by any sick person are closed off and are not used before cleaning and disinfecting.  The site waits 24 hours before cleaning or disinfecting.  If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.

The site ensures a safe and correct application of disinfectants using personal protective equipment and ventilation recommended for cleaning.  Cleaning and disinfectant products are kept away from reach of children.

The site is aware that during an outbreak or a large exposure, in consultation with the local public health department, the appropriate childcare administrator may consider if closure is warranted and length of time based on the risk level within the specific community:  If the program is closed, staff, students and their families may NOT plan alternative arrangements for gathering.

How does First Steps make decisions surrounding COVID-19?

First Steps is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. We are actively following guidelines from the CDC and partnering with local Health departments to make the best and safest decisions for our families and communities.

Can you tell me if my child’s teacher chose to receive the vaccination? Can you tell me which teachers have been vaccinated?

Because this is considered private medical information and very much a personal choice, First Steps is not able to share details on which teachers have chosen to receive the vaccine. However, we remain committed to supporting and encouraging teachers and staff to receive the vaccine when they are ready to do so. All staff remain committed to implementing the Health Essentials procedures to help stop the spread.

Will First Steps require children to be vaccinated?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, children under 16 are not authorized to get vaccinated for COVID-19 yet. Until we have more information on this topic, we are not requiring children to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Are you still following the same health and safety procedures even if teachers are getting vaccinated?

Yes. There will be no change in the school’s safety protocols, unless CDC changes existing procedures. Social distancing and masks are still required for everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Because there is no data yet available demonstrating the ability of the vaccines to prevent viral transmission. It is important to continue to wear a mask, socially distance and practice proper hygiene even after getting vaccinated.

What is the policy at First Steps regarding Domestic Travel?

We follow all CDC, local, state and licensing guidelines.

See attached links for updated information on Domestic and International travel.

Domestic link | International link

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