More Information about COVID-19 and TESTING
We will try our best to keep this page up to date on our progress towards reopening. If you ever have questions, please email us at Admissions@RobotsAndMudPiesPreschool.com
We have not made many changes to our program and our COVID precautions since October but the following is a list of precautions we are taking:
- New this month! Our teachers are getting vaccinated! As of this moment, most of us have had two doses of the vaccine and the others are still in the process.
- Small class sizes in self-contained classrooms. (No interactions with children in the other class.).
- Parents and other adults do not enter the building.*
- No contact sign-in and sign-out process for families.
- Increased emphasis on morning health checks for children and teachers, including temperature checks.
- Increased emphasis on keeping children and teachers at home if they are ill.
- Emphasis on keeping children and teachers at home if they may have been exposed to someone with COVID (or more often for us so far, if they have been exposed to someone who may have been exposed.)
- Air purifiers in each classroom.
- Increased time outside for fresh air and because outside play is so important even without COVID.
- Mask wearing: Adults must wear masks inside and preferably outside too. Children strongly encouraged to wear them inside and outside. (Most current children are awesome at wearing them. Some younger children are still learning.)
- Social distancing: Adults are good at staying distant from adults. Children are not....that is why masks are so important.
- Handwashing: We have always had children and teachers wash hands frequently. We now have hand sanitizer available to use in between hand washing times as needed.
- Cleaning: We have always cleaned and disinfected most surfaces in the school on a regular basis. We have increased the frequency of this cleaning and are using disinfectants that are EPA approved to use to kill COVID-19. We clean and disinfect tables, chairs, floors, shelves, bathrooms, light switches, door handles, toys and other materials used by multiple children at least daily.
- Separation of Supplies: We have created art boxes for the children so they have their own play dough, markers, scissors, glue, etc that does not have to be disinfected constantly. We also have separate containers for some other items like small Legos, water play and other sensory play (materials that are harder to disinfect.)
See below for more details on some of these precautions. And definitely ask us about anything that might not be clear to you or that perhaps we have missed.
*We do allow limited visits for potential families or maintenance personnel in areas where there are no children present. The visitors must wear masks, maintain social distancing and be symptom free.
October 23, 2020
Phew! It's been a busy but fun start to the school year. Right now, we have 2 classrooms in use with 3 separate class groups based on their schedules. One classroom has a MWF morning class and a separate TTh morning class. And the other room has children who have full day schedules and/or 4 or 5 mornings/week schedules. We keep the children in their own bubbles so the classes do not intermingle, even outside. We teachers are getting use to all the new routines we have to follow to keep everyone healthy and safe, and the children are following the new routines. We are still washing our hands frequently as we did last year to keep a child with severe allergies safe. We are taking temperatures of teachers and children each morning (and whenever we feel we should check during the day) and we are asking staff and parents about possible COVID symptoms or exposures (and about other contagious symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.) We are spending more time outside this year, partly because we love to be outside and partly because being outside is safer than inside with other people these days. We are also wearing masks while we are inside and sometimes outside too. Most of the children have adjusted to wearing masks very well. So well that they try to eat snack with them on! A few children are reluctant to wear masks but we are working on that with them. We are cleaning and disinfecting toys and surfaces more often than we did in the past. Our biggest news right now is that our awesome families (present and past) have raise money for us to buy air purifiers! We are hoping to get 2 or 3 of them soon so we can increase the air quality and decrease the chance of spreading coronavirus inside.
August 23, 2020
Our plans and classrooms are coming along! There are so many little details that need to be changed due to COVID-19 but we are getting there and will be ready to open on Tues, Sept 8th. We still have spaces for children in our Tues/Thurs morning class and our Mon/Wed/Fri morning class. We have also decided to do a virtual classroom for families who are not ready to send their children back to school. Learn more here.
July 31, 2020:
We have created new policies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illness at RAMPP. The full set of policies can be found here in our Parent Handbook.
Here are some of the highlights:
Carpool Procedures (Arrivals and Departures)
Each classroom will have different arrival and departure procedures. Your teacher will give you a description of how carpool/arrivals & departures will work for your child. Families will check their child in upon arrival through the Brightwheel app. We will have staggered arrival times and different classrooms will use different doors. We prefer that you limit the number of people bringing your child and picking up to 1 or 2 people. (i.e. perhaps Mom drops off and Dad picks up….EVERY day). If you do need someone else to help out on occasion, let them know what the procedures are for your class. Tell us who it will be, AND have them bring their ID to show us if they will be picking up.
We will be implementing a stricter illness policy and morning health check. Each morning, we will take your child’s temperature before they join their classmates. We will do a visual check of the child (do they look sick to us?) and will ask you about symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath. We will also ask if anyone in the family (which for this purpose means anyone living in your house) has any of the symptoms. Please be honest with us about this. We know you are putting your trust in us by allowing us to teach your child so we want to know we can trust you to keep everyone safe.
We will continue to exclude children and staff who have the symptoms listed in our illness policy. As long as COVID-19 is a problem in our area, we will put our emphasis on the following symptoms: fever (100 degrees or over), coughing, shortness of breath and undiagnosed rash. Parents must not bring a child to school with any of these symptoms or the symptoms in the illness policy. Parents must NOT give a child fever reducing medication within the last 48 hours of arrival at school.
If anyone in your household is diagnosed with COVID-19 or exposed to a diagnosed case, we ask that you inform us as soon as possible. We will ask that you keep your child home for at least 14 days and ask that you and the household members follow the CDC guidelines regarding testing and self-isolating.
- Visitors inside the school will be limited. Any adults entering the school or interacting with staff or children on school property will have a temperature check and must wear masks. At times parents might be admitted into the school for drop off or pick up or other situations, but for the most part, parents will need to stay outside the door.
- All family members in the car during carpool drop off or pick up should wear mask to help protect our staff.
- Teachers and staff will be required to check temperature upon arrival, wear masks at all times inside and when social distancing is not possible outside. There will be times when a teacher may need to take the mask off in order to talk to a child who may have speech and language delays or in similar situations. Adults will maintain social distance from each other.
- Children will be encouraged to wear a mask inside the school. We ask that the parent provide 2 clean masks every day (in case 1 gets dirty).
- Children will be encouraged to maintain some distance while playing. We cannot promise they will maintain 6 feet distance, but they will be discouraged from sitting on top of their friends. (This is why we feel masks are important.)
- Children will be provided with individual activity boxes with items such as play dough, markers, crayons, glue and scissors to limit the sharing of items.
- Class sizes will remain small in order to allow for more social distancing.
- Each classroom will be its own pod or bubble. They will not interact with the other classes. They will not play in other classrooms. This will limit the number of contacts for each child to no more than 7 other children throughout the week.
- Snacks and lunches will be eaten in the separate classrooms.
- Teachers will work on ways to increase the time children can be outside safely. Each classroom will have an assigned time on the playground, but if we can do so safely, we may find ways to read stories on the front lawn or play games in the parking lot. The specifics of this will depend on the makeup of each class and the children’s behavior.
- Teachers will be cleaning and disinfecting even more than in the past.
- Frequent hand washing will continue to be required for children and teachers. Children who cannot wash hands alone will be helped by a teacher. Occasionally, we may need to use hand sanitizer if we cannot get to a sink easily.
RAMPP may be directed by the Virginia Department of Health and/or the Virginia Department of Social Services (our licensing agency) to close a classroom or the whole school for some time period. If a child or teacher tests positive for COVID-19, we must contact both VDH and VDSS. At that time, we will be told what steps to take next. And it is likely people who have been in contact with that person will have to self-isolate for 14 days. With that in mind, we are adding a section to the contracts as described below:
“If RAMPP must close due to COVID-19 or another emergency situation, I will pay the regular tuition rate for 2 weeks. If the school does not reopen after 2 weeks, I will have the option of enrolling my child in a Connected Learning Program.”
During these two weeks, we will offer a Connected Learning Program to families who are interested. This will include a video meeting component (ie Zoom), activity bags sent home with children, books with related activity suggestions sent home with children, and other activities. This two week program will be included in the regular tuition.
After the two weeks is up, we should be able to reopen the school/classroom. However if we are not able to open, parents who wish to continue enrollment in the Connected Learning Program will pay some tuition for this program and to ensure that their child’s space at RAMPP is secured when we reopen. We will be able to give more information about all of this as the program is developed
June 22, 2020:
We have started creating three, distinct classrooms. For now, we are calling them classroom 1, 2 and 3. In the fall, we will have the children in each class help name the rooms. In addition to the plans described below, we are now researching other steps we can make to limit the spread of COVID-19 (and other illnesses). We will be sending out a survey in August to ask for your input. Some steps we are considering are having teachers wear masks and having children wear masks (we will never REQUIRE this for all children but are considering encouraging it). We are looking at limiting the people in the building to enrolled students and teachers, which would mean that parents will not be volunteering in the classrooms during the school day. We will be changing the way we handle the August open house when families bring in paperwork, extra clothes and other items so we can allow for social distancing. We will probably set up appointments for families as part of this process. There are many other, less complicated procedures that will be put into place in the fall and we will finalize these plans in mid-August. We are also researching what types of situations might require us to close the school for a day, a week or longer and then how we will continue teaching the children remotely. All of this is so new to us to please be patient while we try to figure it out! Stay safe and stay home!!!
May 19, 2020:
How can you help now?
You can help your child prepare for school by working with them on becoming independent with many skills but especially with hand washing, for 20 seconds, when they enter your house, before eating, and after toileting or having a diaper change. You can also help them learn how to use hand sanitizer properly, how to use a tissue to blow their nose and how to dispose of used tissues. (Back into the tissue box is NOT where it goes!)