Information below is accurate as of July 13, 2020:
Eastern Christian School is committed to providing a Christ-centered, developmentally appropriate, and Covid safe learning environment for our preschoolers, staff, and community. Minimizing the spread of illness is of utmost importance! The following routines and practices will be put in place to create a Covid safe school.
Social distancing for preschoolers looks different than it does for adults. Young children are going to play together and interact in the same space. Social distancing at this age is all about reducing the number of contacts. Small classes that have the same group of children and teachers everyday limits the opportunity for exposure. Right now, the best way to keep our preschoolers and staff safe is to limit their contacts.
Therefore, at this point in time, we will be reducing our daily class capacity from 20 preschoolers to 10 preschoolers per class. Each class will be staffed with one teacher and one teaching assistant. Teachers and children will not move between groups. Our preschool classes will visit the preschool playground area one class at a time.
Preschoolers will not be required to wear masks. However, as early childhood educators, we do not want to pass up the opportunity to educate children about this relevant topic. In fun, age-appropriate ways, we plan to teach children about masks to support them when they need to wear a mask at a doctor visit or to the store. Each preschooler will be expected to keep a mask in his/her backpack.
Masks or face coverings will be required for staff. We are currently exploring a variety of options for teachers and staff and that will make masks approachable for little ones such as animal face masks or clear face shields.
Proper handwashing will be instructed and practiced throughout the day. Regular hand washing will occur when children arrive at school, enter the classroom, before meals, after playing outside, and after using the bathroom. Each preschool classroom is equipped with a sink. Understanding that young children learn through play, preschoolers will learn hand washing songs and rhymes. They will also practice washing off washable stamps to practice scrubbing as opposed to rinsing.
Keeping in mind the importance of reducing the number of contacts, parents will not enter the building for drop off or pick up. Families will social distance in their cars for curbside drop off and pick up. Children may be dropped off between 8:10 and 8:30 for all morning classes and 12:10 – 12:15 for afternoon classes. The pick up window is from 2:45 – 3:00. Preschoolers without older elementary school siblings are encouraged to pick up at 2:45 to reduce congestion in the parking lot.
Staff and students will have daily health checks before entering the building. Anyone with a fever or other signs of illness (flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, fatigue, or extreme fussiness) will not be admitted. Staff and students that have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 during the preceding 14 days will not be admitted. Masks or face coverings are required for all able adults during drop off (staff, parents, etc.). If a child becomes ill during the day with a fever (100 degrees or higher), dry cough, and/or shortness of breath, the family will be called and expected to pick up their child right away.
There will be routine disinfecting of frequently touched objects such as toys and bathrooms. (All cleaning supplies are safe for school use.) Children will still play together and share toys. However, formerly shared art supplies, such as scissors, crayons, playdough, etc. will now be kept for students individually, and toys that cannot be cleaned or sanitized will not be used during this time (ie: school pillows, plush toys, etc.)
As we experienced this spring, it is possible that the number of Covid-19 cases may spike in NJ and the governor closes down schools in our state or that the local Board of Health directs us to shut down. If such an event occurs, our preschool teachers will provide remote learning during the period of time that the school is required to close. We are only planning to offer remote learning for preschoolers if the school is unable to remain open as a result of the pandemic.
In order to provide a Covide safe preschool environment, our preschool classes have been restructured to maintain consistent groups of children that are the same day-to-day. The chart below outlines our preschool class offerings for the 20-21 school year.