From Variants to Vowels
School Readiness Tips For Early Learning Providers During COVID-19
Summer 2021 is winding down quickly, however, concerns about COVID-19 variants seem to be ratcheting up. All eyes are turning to schools and early learning centers as they contain the biggest population of unvaccinated people: children.
As you welcome more kids into your program this fall, it’s important to stay on top of the latest COVID-19 recommendations. This guide will help you navigate the best school readiness policies that keep both the children and your staff’s best interests in mind.
Understand the Latest CDC Guidance
As a childcare provider, it’s important to stay on top of the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations, and any federal or state mandates that come out in the next few months.
In late July, the CDC issued the following statement on returning to schools:
"Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place."
The CDC is recommending masks for staff and students in K-12 schools. Additionally, the state of Indiana is recommending all children ages 2 and up wear a mask. Keep these things in mind while updating your program’s COVID-19 policy.
Up Your Sanitization
With more parents returning to work and more children being placed in early learning programs, it’s crucial to keep up with your sanitization.
Make sure to wipe down areas of shared play after every major use. Once the kids leave for the day, give the room a more thorough cleaning with a disinfectant.
Now that the Delta variant is spreading quickly through the United States, it’s a good idea to be ready for new questions regarding your care center.
Parents may ask the vaccination status of your staff. They also might ask about your mask policy and what steps you’re taking to keep kids safe from the virus. Be ready for these questions, and consider drafting an email to families before the new school year begins with answers to these commonly asked questions.
Revamp Your COVID-19 Policy
August is the perfect time to revisit your public-facing COVID-19 policy. This is a policy you can show current and prospective families for the upcoming school year.
This policy should clearly lay out your program’s approach to dealing with COVID-19. In this policy you can talk about sanitizing procedures, vaccination policy and mask policy. Being open and upfront with the community about your program’s COVID-19 policy is a great way to present to the community that you’re invested in high-quality child care.
Implement Temperature and Safety Checks
During this uncertain time, it’s a good idea to start monitoring kids closely for signs of illness. Once one child in your care is sick, they can easily spread the virus to the others.
Consider implementing temperature checks in the morning as the children arrive. If a child has a fever, talk to the parents about keeping them at home. Additionally, you can monitor for physical signs of illness such as coughing, sniffling or unusual fatigue.
Make sure children have access to tissues and hand sanitizer throughout the day at your program. This will help minimize the spread of germs.
Start Using These COVID-19 School Readiness Tips
With the Delta variant cases on the rise, now is the time to implement your best COVID-19 policies. Remember to stay on top of CDC guidelines and cleaning procedures.
Want even more tips on providing care during COVID-19? Check out our full guide on the subject here.
To learn more about Indiana’s COVID-19 recommendations, visit this link and scroll to the “Guidance” section.