When will my school reopen?
The date our schools will reopen is dependent on many factors, and these factors are different across states. These include stay-at-home expiration dates, whether childcare is allowed to be open, new operating requirements, the number of families who will attend our schools and other factors. We consider each of these when considering whether to reopen a school and plan to reopen as soon as possible.
How will we be notified that our school is going to reopen, and much notice will we receive?
When we determine that a school will reopen, we will contact you via email and phone to inform you. We hope to be able to notify you up to a week prior to our reopen date, but it may be closer to the reopen date in some instances.
Is it possible you will reopen before the stay-at-home mandate is lifted?
Stay-at-home mandates are one of a number of factors we are considering when determining to re-open. Our decisions will not be made solely based on this consideration.
Can you reopen for essential workers? We are struggling to find care and juggle work schedules.
We want to do everything we can to support our families with first responders, healthcare workers, and other essential employees. In some instances, we have been able to remain open. In other instances, we have not been able to remain open due to other factors such as government mandates, additional requirements, and/or family and staff interest.
How are you making decisions regarding your health and safety protocols?
We are following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), guidance from our medical advisor, Bishara J. Freij, M.D. and local state childcare licensing authorities. Our company policies are derived from best practices and expert guidance.
What are you doing to keep your schools safe?
Health Screening & Temperature Checks
In order to ensure that our school community stays healthy, we must screen everyone who enters the building. We ask that anyone exhibiting any signs of illness stay home and not enter our school at all. Those who come to the door will be asked a few simple health questions such as:
- Do you have any of the following symptoms? Cough, lethargy, drainage from the eyes or nose, wheezing or shortness of breath, loss of your sense of taste or smell, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, a recent fever within the past 24 hours, or headache?
- Has any medication been taken (or given to your child) within the past 24 hours?
- Have you had any interaction with anyone known to be COVID-19 positive in the last 14 days? For healthcare professionals, have you interacted with anyone known to be COVID-19 positive within the last 14 days when you were NOT wearing the appropriate personal protective gear?
- Is there anyone in your home showing signs of illness or who have any of the symptoms listed above?
- Has any household member been told to quarantine or are you or any household member waiting on a COVID-19 test result?
- If your state has domestic or international travel restriction in place: Have you or any household member returned from a restricted area in the past 14 days?
Slightly different or additional questions may be added over time or as required by local licensing and health departments. A member of our staff will also visually inspect for any signs of illness such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, tiredness, flushed cheeks, rash, runny nose, etc.
Finally, a member of our staff will take your temperature with a touchless thermometer. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 degrees (F) (or the state mandated screening temperature, if different) will be asked to leave and stay home for 72 hours.
“Curbside” Drop-off and Pick-up
A member of our staff will greet families outside the front entrance where possible or in the lobby/front entrance. After the Health Screening described above, he or she will escort your child to their classroom. Currently, we are requesting that parents do not go beyond the lobby or main entrance and always wear a face covering when approaching the building to minimize the spread of germs. We have found that this practice will further protect the health and safety of all our children, teachers, and families by limiting the number of people to which your child is exposed. If possible, to further limit exposure, we ask that you identify one parent, guardian or other individual to be the authorized person to always drop-off and pick-up your child. Finally, we recommend that you refrain from having any individual who is at high risk for COVID-19 participate in pick-up or drop-off.
Limited Visitors to the School
For the duration of the current health crisis, we must limit visitors to our school. Classroom visitors are limited to teachers/school staff and certain pre-approved essential service providers like early intervention specialists and social workers providing services to children and licensing specialists as required. Breastfeeding mothers are welcome, as always, too. These approved visitors will have to successfully clear the Health and Temperature Screenings before entering. Members of our School Support Center team and your school’s Regional Director will visit and support the school virtually for the most part, with occasional in person visits as needed while following all health and safety protocols All vendors and deliveries are not allowed past the school front lobby.
Adults: The CDC and AAP have both issued guidance regarding wearing face coverings in public when there is concern of community spread of COVID-19. Unless required by state, local, or licensing authority to wear them at all times, we require that our staff wear face coverings at all times whenever they are not able to socially distance from another person (adult or child).
Children: If mandated by federal, state, local, or licensing authority, staff will assist children as required with wearing masks while in our care. If the child touches their face frequently, regularly removes the mask or cannot remove the mask independently, or any other safety concerns arise, our teachers will document this and immediately discontinue mask usage for that child. If mask usage for children is not mandated, children between the ages of 3 and 5 in our care are permitted to wear a mask or face covering while inside the school if requested by the parent, and if the School Director and parent have a mutually agreed upon plan for both mask usage and conditions for termination of mask usage. Children age 5 and older (unless mandated) may choose to wear masks or face coverings as tolerated, when unable to maintain social distancing inside the school. Children ages 5 and older will wear a cloth face covering as tolerated while being transported in a school vehicle. For safety reasons, children under the age of 3 years old are prohibited from wearing masks or cloth face coverings.
Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitizing Protocols
Teachers and school staff clean and sanitize throughout the day, paying particular attention to high-touch areas such as doorknobs, toilet flushers, faucets, countertops, phone handles, and tablets. Toys such as sensory bins and sand play have been removed for the time being, and we ask that home toys be left at home. Toys are carefully sanitized at the end of every day and all bedding is kept separate, individually stored, and washed at least weekly. Professional cleaning occurs nightly using EPA approved disinfecting products.
Let’s face it – it’s not easy to provide a loving and caring environment for children from 6 feet away, nor is it easy for kids to understand social distancing! Despite those challenges we are committed to creating the safest possible childcare environment and have changed some of our practices to reduce contact and promote safe distancing between children. We follow local and CDC guidance on the maximum number of persons (children and teachers) allowed in one group or classroom so you may see smaller class sizes. We maintain consistent groupings of children and teachers whenever possible to reduce movement around the school and unnecessary exposure to different individuals. At nap time, cots or mats will be arranged so that children are sleeping 6 feet apart and in “head to toe” or “toe to toe” configurations whenever possible. Only one group at a time will use the playground or any common enrichment areas in the school to reduce contact among groups of children. Additionally, individual meals are served instead of “family style” meal service. Unfortunately, we have also had to postpone or reschedule any upcoming community or school events to limit group gatherings.
Meticulous Attention to Hand Hygiene
Everyone who enters the building will have access to hand sanitizer at the entrance and is asked to wash their hands immediately upon arrival into a classroom (teachers help the children!). Hand washing occurs before and after preparing food or beverages, before and after eating or handling food or feeding children, before and after administering medication, before and after diapering, after using the toilet or helping a child use the toilet, after coming in contact with any bodily fluid, after handling any school pets, after playing outdoors and of course, after handling any garbage. We ensure that hand washing procedures are thorough and consistently followed.
Enhanced Exclusion and Isolation Practices
In addition to our general health guidelines and exclusion practices for illness, we complete a health assessment and temperature check of all students and staff at lunchtime each day. Any symptom related to COVID-19 (as listed above) or fever requires the student or staff member to be symptom and fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medication (acetaminophen or Ibuprofen) before returning to school. Any child who becomes ill during the day will be isolated from other children and will be required to be picked up within one hour of notification. The child’s bedding, toothbrush, and any other personal items will be sent home for cleaning at that time.
If there are cases of COVID-19 at the school, what will you do?
In the event that there is a known or suspected case of COVID-19 within our school, we will notify local health officials and follow their guidance. The school will notify families of any cases as well, and share the guidance given by local health officials. The school is prepared to close classrooms or the building entirely if necessary, to limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The duration of closure will be at the guidance of local health officials.
If my child’s classroom, or the school closes entirely, is tuition still charged?
If our school informs you of your child’s classroom or of the school closing, we will not charge tuition for the days the school or classroom is closed.
Will we be charged a registration fee when we return?
Annual registration fees are typically charged only once a year in August or September in conjunction with back to school. If you already paid your registration fee you will not be charged again.
Will my spot be held if we paid a deposit and were unable to start because your school was closed?
Yes, your spot will be held if you paid a deposit and were unable to start, although this may be impacted by temporary changes in state requirements that in some cases limit the number of children allowed in the school. When the school reopens you will need to contact the School Director to schedule your new start date.
Will there be an option of day-to-day drop-in instead of full-time enrollment?
Most of our schools will have part-time options for you to consider upon your return. We will not always be able to guarantee that day-to-day drop in spots are available, both because we need to be sure staff are available and because occasional or intermittent attendance is not always compatible with our educational programs.
Do you plan to bring back your teachers? Will they return all at once? Will class size ratios be impacted as you reopen?
Our intent is to bring our teachers back when our families have decided to return to school and when our teachers are comfortable returning themselves. We will follow the state ratio guidelines as well as the CDC childcare guidelines for health, safety and class sizes.
If you open and public schools are still closed are you able to offer assistance for my school-age child who is doing distance learning? Does your school have internet access so they can access their coursework?
YES! Our in-person elementary school virtual learning support program, available at most school locations, will help your child Thrive! As elementary schools are altering schedules, we are here to serve your needs and the needs of your school-aged children with enhanced programs to help with virtual learning sessions and more.
A boost of confidence, virtual learning support, help with homework, fun activities, and time with friends — your child has it all in our school age program. In our safe, secure environment, our skilled teachers help your child set goals at the start of each day, and then prime them to continue learning, growing and laughing long after the school bell has rung. Click here to learn more about our Thrive School Age Program
My child will likely be asked to transition to a new classroom when we return. I am nervous about that process with such a long break. Can we postpone that transition until they re-acclimate to school?
Classroom transitions will be based on licensing regulations, the individual child and spaces available in the classrooms, although we will certainly try to provide as much consistency for children as possible. As we approach your first day back, we will share transition activities and guidance to support you and your student during the transition back to school. School Directors will connect with families regarding their return to school and discuss individual transition plans.