TJB policies, protocols, and practices in place to prevent spread of Covid-19 currently in place.
- TJB will be open from 8:00AM-5:00 PM Monday through Friday during this Pandemic.
Hours of Operation
The necessary changes mandated by LA County Health Dept. will create a lot of additional work for staff (disinfecting, setting up materials for individual usage, etc.). Teachers will need some prep time each day before children arrive in the morning and some work time day each day after children leave. The fact that groups of children cannot mix and that teachers must stay with one group only have also created staffing challenges.
- Until the restrictions on social distancing are lifted, we will be unable to operate at our previous full hours of operation. We also have restrictions of 14 children per group, no mixing of groups, and no switching of teachers between groups.
Capacity In August 2020
(until restrictions let up)
- Infant Room will have a maximum of 8 children daily
- Wobbler Room will have a maximum of 9 children daily
- Toddler Room will have a maximum of 14 children daily *These numbers will increase gradually based on LA County Health guidelines, Licensing and the best practice at The Journey Begins.
- Due to the requirements from Licensing, staffing must be done in a different way.
- Teachers are assigned to work with one group of children only. We can use substitute teachers, but each sub should only work with one group, as well. Teachers should not float between groups, helping wherever needed (as we typically do). This may present challenges if any teachers become sick. If a teacher has the symptoms of fever and respiratory illness, she will have to self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days (see illness policy below). Teachers may need to stay home to care for their own children or other family members who become sick. There may be days when we don’t have enough teacher coverage. We would do our best to avoid this, but there may, unfortunately, be days when we reduce the number of hours we are open, ask certain groups to stay home or close the Center per LA County Health Dept.
- The goal is that children remain 6 ft apart from other children as much as possible, it is recommended that children engage in individual play. Rather than offering activities that draw children together in groups, activities will be offered at individual stations throughout the room/yards. We will be changing the classroom and outdoor environments, providing individual learning/activity stations spread throughout the room/yards, with clearly defined spaces for each child. Children can rotate between stations/areas. The tables/chairs will be disinfected, and the toys/materials will be changed out or disinfected between uses. Children will each have their own bins of regularly used materials (e.g. paper and markers), individual portions of sensory materials, etc. When we have children sit down for a story or singing, we will have clearly defined spaces where they can sit 6 feet apart.
- We remain deeply committed to supporting your child’s social, emotional, and mental health, and this has been much on our minds during these weeks of closure. We will be working, in this new mode, to find ways to meet children social and emotional needs, while keeping everyone as safe as possible from COVID-19. Because children’s social development is so important, we will be finding ways for children to continue to interact, talk to each other, share their ideas, experiences and feelings, etc., just from a bit of a distance. We will attempt to have as much social interaction, sharing, togetherness, etc. as possible between children. For example, we can set up two stations near each other, but distanced, with the same materials at each station. The children at these two stations will be encouraged to “play” with each other, show each other their work, ask each other questions, pose challenges to each other (“Can you make one like this?”), etc. There can be dialogue and interaction, just not proximity or sharing of materials.
- Children will be naturally drawn to each other, especially after being apart for so long. This is completely expected, and your children’s feelings will be validated (“You are so happy to see your friend, ___!”). Our role will be to redesign the environment to help with this and/or gently explain that, right now, to keep each other safe and not share our germs, we will be staying a little bit apart from each other. We will help show children the ways that they CAN show their friends how happy they are to see each other and be together (smile, wave, air hug, air high five, say, “I’m so happy to see you!”, etc.).
Acclimating to Group Care
- Even though physical distancing will be observed where possible, we know that children need and deserve nurturing, comforting, warmth, and connection with their caregivers – possibly more now than ever. Please know that any child that needs emotional support, including physical comforting, will receive it.
- We understand that the children may need additional support transitioning into school, we would like to stagger the entry of children in small groups, so that we can give full attention to the integration of small groups of children. The separation from parents is likely to be emotional for children, and we want to have the ability to attend to small groups of incoming children, to support their needs effectively.
- We will have small class sizes, low ratios and ask that drop off be scheduled between 8-9AM daily.
- In addition, and if possible, we’d like to make each child’s first days at school shorter days, to give him/her the chance to readjust to being away from parents and to get acclimated to the new ways that we’ll be running the program while physically distancing and infection control are needed.
- To protect the safety of everyone in our community, we will have a strict illness policy. Based on the CDC’s current list of symptoms of COVID-19 and recommendations from Public Health and Child Care Licensing, we will be asking anyone with COVID-19-related symptoms to stay home. Teachers, children, and parents should stay home, even if they have mild symptoms.
- The most common symptoms are cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, and fever. Anyone with any of these symptoms should stay home. In children, COVID-19 may present through cold symptoms, including a runny nose. Because children can have mild cases, but can carry the virus to others, we will be asking for children with runny noses to stay home. There are other identified symptoms of COVID-19 that may appear, and they should be monitored, especially when they show up in combination: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Vomiting and diarrhea are more common in children. The CDC recommends that parents should also watch for signs of fatigue and/or crankiness in their child, which can indicate that they are not feeling well. One symptom that has come to light as unique to children is purple spots on the toes and fingers. It may be the only COVID-19 symptom that children exhibit, but they can still be carriers of the virus.
- Parents should conduct their own health screening (including a temperature check), on self and on child, at home each morning before leaving for school. Parents should closely monitor, their children and in members of their family (or anyone with whom their child comes into contact).
- Anyone who has fever in addition to cold/respiratory symptoms must stay home for a minimum of 10 days and a full 72 hours after symptoms have stopped (without any medication).
- Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 10-14 days. You are considered to have had close contact if you had contact with the person within 48 hours prior to when they first showed symptoms.
- While the virus may be most contagious when the infected person is clearly ill, some individuals may infect others even when they don’t have obvious symptoms or any symptoms at all. Given that risk, children who have been exposed to someone who has respiratory illness should remain home for 14 days to see if they also develop symptoms of illness. Home quarantine of an exposed child reduces the chance of spread to other children and staff. If no symptoms appear within 14 days, the child may return to TJB.
- Children will have health checks/temperature taken throughout the day at TJB. If your child comes down with any of the symptoms above he/she will need to leave the facility as quickly as possible. To facilitate quick pick up in such cases (or if the Center needs to close quickly due to a COVID-19 case in our population), parents should be reachable at all times, and should be available to get their child (or have a designated alternate pick up person get their child) within 30 minutes of being contacted.
- One concern that some families have expressed is that, when their child returns to the group care setting, their child will be interacting with other children whose families may not be taking the same protective measures that their family is taking (increasing their risk of exposure). It will be important for all families to care for each other’s health by following all of the physical distancing and other health-related requirements set forth by both our state and local governments and the Covid-19 Parent Contract for our program. It will be important to remember that what each of us does can affect the health of many others.
Health Screenings Before Entry
- Each person will receive a health screening before entering the facility. The Centers for Disease Control uses 100.4 degrees as their definition for “fever”. Our experience has shown that children can be sick, contagious, not feeling well, etc. at temperatures below 100.4 degrees. For the period in which we will be monitoring for COVID-19, we will be using 100.0 degrees as the benchmark for when a child/teacher should stay home/be sent home (unless a child has been highly active just prior to having their temperature taken, in which case, we’ll wait for several minutes, let them child cool down, and then retake their temperature).
- As part of the health screening we will be asking parents a series of questions, designed to rule out illness in your child, as well as any risks of exposure to COVID-19.
Drop-off and Pick-up
- Drop-offs and pick-ups will be happening at the front gate only. Drop-off times will be staggered, to facilitate physical distancing. Scheduled times must be made for drop offs and pick ups. You can also call the school at 323-551-5922 to arrange for a teacher to bring your child to you at the end of their day.
- At drop off, each child will have a health screening before entry. The goal is for parents to say goodbye to their child at the gate. If your child needs a bit of transition time (especially during the first couple of weeks back), after the parent receives a health screening the parent and child can find a separate spot on the yard (physically distancing from any others) and sit for a couple of minutes until the child is more ready to say goodbye.
- We will be limiting parents from entering our TJB building. Children’s belongings need to be in a bag/backpack to make things easier to transport and limit germs during this time.
All Food Provided from Home
It has been recommended that all food items come from home during this time. We will discontinue snack service for the time being. We would like each child to bring food from home for the day in a Ziplock bag or brown paper bag (because we need something that is disposable and can be sanitized upon arrival). This will include any food your child needs to eat during the day (lunch and snacks.) TJB will provide whole milk. The bag with food brought from home will be thrown out at the end of each day, so that it is limiting the spread of germs to the home environment. Eating times will be staggered so that children are sitting at least 6 feet from each other. Children may still bring a sippy cup or water bottle, labeled, that will be sent home each day.
- California requires face coverings. It is a public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in addition to physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and other everyday preventive actions.
- TJB staff will wear masks/facial coverings as much as possible while at the Center balancing health and safety and the need for children to see facial expressions and to help with language and communication.
- Parents are required to wear masks/facial coverings during all drop-off and pick-up.
Frequent Hand washing and Disinfecting
- We will be practicing frequent and proper hand washing, ourselves and with the children. Hand washing must be at least 20 seconds long and we will count with the children to help them learn this routine.
- There will be ongoing disinfecting of toys, tables, surfaces, etc. throughout the day, and a disinfection of the whole Center overnight by our cleaning crew daily.
- Because it has been hard to acquire disinfecting supplies, you can help us remain stocked up with supplies that we need to practice infection control by donating things like: disinfecting wipes, alcohol wipes, Lysol spray, rubbing alcohol, bleach, gloves (nitrile, medium), etc.
I know this is a lot of information to process. I continuously research and participate in weekly Public Health Department meetings specific to early child care. I know it can seem foreign and overwhelming. While necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, these policies and protocols will remain in place. With time we hope to have the ability to gradually return to ways of operating that were more typical to the pre-COVID-19 era. There is no way to determine the exact timeline for this, but we will be in close contact with Public Health and Licensing to determine what steps to take, and I will communicate with you along the way.