Iris Family Preschool COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

(Revised January 9, 2022)


TSTI’s Iris Family Center Program is licensed by the State of New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF). All COVID-19-related changes are based on the current DCF guidelines, recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), our local South Orange Department of Health (DOH), and TSTI’s Covid Advisory Panel. We will continually adjust our program’s policies and procedures to align with the current guidance from these agencies. Updates to our policies will be provided to families via email from the Early Childhood Director.

We require that all families and staff follow state and local regulations related to COVID-19. This includes but is not limited to quarantine requirements stemming from family travel and any other ordinances.


  • A negative Antigen (aka Rapid) test must be submitted prior to coming back into the building. The tests should be taken no more than 24 hours prior to your child’s return to school on the first day and must be submitted by 3pm on the day before. A photo of your child’s test results must be emailed to with the child’s name in the subject line. The child’s name and test results have to be captured in the photo. Please contact the preschool if this presents a financial hardship for your family. 
  • An unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated student who has traveled outside of NJ, NY, PA, CT or DE  must quarantine upon return. Quarantine may be seven full days if the student tests negative on days 3, 4, or 5 after returning from travel. Quarantine must be ten days if no testing is done.  This policy is in keeping with the South Orange-Maplewood and West Orange school districts. Fully vaccinated students and staff do not need to quarantine after their return from travel.
  • Snacks will be eaten outdoors whenever possible, and if indoors, children will be socially distanced in a well-ventilated area.

We ask that three days prior to their return, your preschool child(ren) wear a mask at all times indoors, and outside when social distancing isn’t possible, around anyone other than members of your household (regardless of anyone’s vaccination status).

IMPORTANT: One of the best ways you can keep yourself, your family and our whole community safe is to limit indoor exposure to people who are not fully vaccinated. Please limit indoor exposure of not fully vaccinated students in our schools to other unvaccinated individuals. If you are gathering indoors where people are not fully vaccinated, please remain masked.

In general, in situations other than returning from break, if there’s a chance that your family may be exposed to COVID (due to being unmasked with a large group of people), we kindly suggest performing a rapid COVID test before returning to school.

We will continue to use a carpool line for drop-off and pick-up to minimize interpersonal contact. Both front and back entrances will be used. In some cases, instead of a car line, teachers may bring the children to designated parking spaces in the parking lot and release the child to their designated pick-up person.

Parents, visitors, vendors, and prospective parents or employees will not be allowed to enter the building during operating hours, unless for emergencies.

  • Prior to arriving at the building each day, you will be required to fill out an online health screening form for your child/ren via Remini.
  • All members in the car over the age of 2 MUST be wearing masks.
  • The driver of the car will roll down the window where the child/ren are located.
  • Your child’s teacher will perform a temperature check for each student using an infrared, no touch thermometer.
  • If child/ren are approved to enter school:
    • For the 2s – K, the parent/caregiver will unload the child (if needed) and one of their teachers will escort them to their class’s designated waiting area where the other teacher will be supervising the group.
    • Families with siblings in school may be asked to drop-off each child at their designated time. 
  • Once all of the children have arrived, they will all immediately wash their hands.
  • If a family is not able to arrive at their child’s scheduled time, they must come no earlier than 9:30am and no later than 11:00am (we have to submit a daily roster to DCF by 11:00am each day). You must notify the office so that a screener can meet you at your car. If your child is approved to enter, his/her teacher will greet the child curbside.
  • If a family walks to school, there will be a clearly designated location (which will be socially distant) where they will wait for the temple “screener”. All family members over 2 must be wearing masks.

All children and staff will be screened daily prior to being admitted into the building. Parents MUST keep their child home if they exhibit any signs of illness and if they are sick or not feeling well. The screening will be for the following symptoms and families must provide their responses honestly in regard to not only their child but for every member of their family including caregivers.

  • There will be designated areas where children in the 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, and K’s will be escorted outside by their teachers and brought to their parent/caregiver’s car either in the car line or to the parking lot. ALL FAMILY MEMBERS over 2 years of age MUST WEAR FACE MASKS ON THE PREMISES AT ALL TIMES. 
  • Families MUST be prompt. 
  • You must notify the school via email or phone call if someone other than the child’s parents/guardians or the people designated on your Approved Pick-Up List will be picking up your child. If there is a last minute emergency, please call (do not email less than an hour before pick-up time) the preschool office in order to ensure the safety of your child. Please limit last minute arrangements to emergency situations.

In order to minimize food handling by staff, each family must pack all food in labeled containers each day. Food should be healthy and balanced, based on USDA guidelines for young children. Please send food in the manner in which you want it served (e.g., cut into small pieces) and limit sugary treats. Food must be properly labeled with your child’s name. Sharing of food is always prohibited. Teachers will wear food gloves when it is necessary to handle children’s food. Parents must provide a labeled water bottle (which will be sent home each day for cleaning and sanitizing). 

Unfortunately, no visitors will be allowed to participate with the class pods. However, through the use of technology, we will develop creative opportunities for family members to virtually play a role in our school.

Parents, visitors, vendors, and prospective parents or employees will not be allowed to enter the building during operating hours, unless for emergencies. There will be an armed security guard on the premises during school hours. The security guard will not enter classrooms except in cases of emergencies.

  • Every classroom will have access to a sink. 
  • Children and staff will follow rigorous hand washing routines.The children will be supervised to ensure they are properly washing their hands.
  • Frequent hand washing procedures include washing hands upon arrival, before meals or snacks, after outside time, after toileting/diapering, and prior to leaving for home. Children will be monitored to ensure proper technique.
  • Hand sanitation stations are located throughout the building and outside of the building. If hand washing is not available, teachers will provide hand sanitizer for those children that they are confident will not put their hands in their mouth.
  • Staff and children are required to have multiple sets of clothing left at school in case they are contaminated with any bodily secretions. 
  • Our building meets or exceeds the State’s Early Childhood standards for air quality, and each classroom is equipped with an Aerus Pure and Clean air purifier. 
  • All TSTI staff are required to be fully vaccinated.
  • All TSTI staff and students are required to wear masks both inside and outside.
  • Definitions: Clean=washing with a soapy water solution. Sanitize=using an EPA-registered disinfectant.
  • Only toys and items that are easily cleaned or sanitized will be used.
  • Staff will adhere to a Daily Cleaning and Sanitation schedule which includes cleaning and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs, tables, toys, etc.) multiple times per day as per the CDC’s Guidance for Cleaning & Disinfecting Public Spaces, et al.
  • If multiple class pods are required to use the same bathroom, the maintenance staff will clean and sanitize the bathroom in between class usages.
  • During the day, the maintenance staff will enter the classroom to clean up vomit, blood, etc. only after the class pod has been removed from the room.
  • After the children and teachers have left for the day, the classrooms will be deep cleaned and sanitized by our maintenance staff using certified, approved products.

QUARANTINE POLICY UPDATE (as of January 9, 2022)

The entire state continues to be considered “HIGH transmission.” Therefore, we are following guidelines of the state, and the South Orange-Maplewood School District and will enforce a seven to ten day quarantine for those who are unvaccinated (or not fully vaccinated) and exposed.  An individual is considered “exposed” if they have been unmasked (for any period of time) and in the presence of someone up to 48 hours prior to that person’s positive test OR, regardless of masking, they have been in a classroom where someone has tested positive. The seven day quarantine applies if a Rapid or PCR laboratory test is taken on day five or six and is negative; return to school on day eight. If a student choses not to text, they must quarantine for a full ten days and will be permitted to return to school on day 11. During a 14-day quarantine, unvaccinated individuals may NOT test out of quarantine. This policy will be revisited and re-evaluated once the state’s transmission level drops to “low” or “moderate.” Fully vaccinated children who are exposed and asymptomatic may return to school without quarantine. 

Response Procedures for COVID-19 Symptoms or Exposure

In the event that a child, their family member, or a staff member exhibits symptoms during the screening process or at any point during the school day:

  1. The child and any siblings and staff member will not be permitted to enter the building.
  2. If a child or person displays symptoms during the school day, the child (and any siblings)/person will be immediately separated from their group into a designated isolation room. The parents will be notified and the child will be cared for by a staff member (maintaining 6’ social distance if possible) until they are able to leave the facility. The child should be picked up within 30 minutes, if possible.
  3. All families will be immediately notified that a child/teacher from a specific class was sent home with a specific symptom. Parents have the choice to pick up their child from school until more information is determined.
  4. All rooms and equipment used by the symptom-exhibiting-person will immediately be cleaned and disinfected according to CDC guidelines.
  5. The symptom-exhibiting-child MUST be seen by their pediatrician within 24 hours and the school must receive written documentation from the pediatrician regarding the child’s diagnosis. The pediatrician must also state if a COVID-19 test is recommended.
  6. All families from a given class will receive this information as soon as the school is notified.
  7. If your unvaccinated child is exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, keep them home from school, and notify the office immediately. The child should be tested immediately, and then again three-five days after exposure. The child may return to school seven days after their last exposure if symptom free and with a negative Rapid or PCR test.

In the event that one of our staff or students has a confirmed case of COVID-19, we will:

  1. Notify all school families when a need to move to virtual learning is required.
  2. Report the incident immediately to the South Orange Department of Health and DCF. Health officials will provide guidance on whether the center will cease operations (if needed) and for how long.
  3. All rooms and equipment used by an infected person will be cleaned and disinfected according to CDC guidelines.

Children with symptoms of COVID-19 who have tested positive should quarantine until at least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared AND be fever free for at least 48 hours (two full days without the use of medicine that reduces fever) AND other symptoms have improved (for example, symptoms of cough or shortness of breath have improved). A doctor’s note will be required to return to school.

Children who have symptoms and have tested negative should stay home and away from others for 48-72 hours, dependent upon current guidance from the Department of Health, after their fever has ended without the use of fever-reducing medications. A doctor’s note will be required to return to school.

According to state law, we will not permit any child who has had the following symptoms or illnesses WITHIN THE PAST 48 HOURS to attend school:

  1. severe pain or discomfort
  2. acute diarrhea, characterized as twice the child’s usual frequency of bowel movements with a change to a looser consistency within a period of 24 hours, or bloody diarrhea
  3. two or more episodes of acute vomiting within a period of 24 hours
  4. elevated axillary temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or over in conjunction with behavior changes
  5. lethargy that is more than expected tiredness
  6. yellow eyes or jaundiced skin
  7. red eyes with discharge
  8. infected, untreated skin patches
  9. difficult rapid breathing or severe coughing
  10. skin rashes in conjunction with fever or behavior changes
  11. weeping or bleeding skin lesions that have not been treated by a health care provider
  12. mouth sores with drooling
  13. stiff neck

Additionally, a child must be FEVER FREE (WITHOUT FEVER-REDUCING MEDICATIONS) FOR 48 HOURS before returning to school. Once the child is symptom-free or a licensed physician has given written indication that the child poses no serious threat, the child may return to school. 

If a child becomes ill in school or exhibits any of these symptoms, the child will be brought to the Director’s office, and the parent or emergency contact will be called immediately to pick up the child (See ILLNESS POLICY above).

If school cannot meet in person because of COVID-19-related safety measures, we will transfer all of our learning experiences to the virtual world. This will reflect the values and philosophy of our school, providing the opportunity for learning and connection in a developmentally appropriate way.

All staff (including substitutes) will receive specific training regarding identifying COVID-19 symptoms and daily procedures for minimizing exposure. When possible, families will be notified in advance if there will be a substitute in the class that day. 

All Preschool policies may be modified or amended, in whole or in part, at any time at TSTI’s sole discretion. The Director of the preschool shall have discretion to construe and interpret all policies. Given the ever-changing nature of the pandemic, we will continually adjust our program’s policies and procedures to align with the current guidance from DCF, the CDC or other regulatory agencies. Updates to our policies will be provided to families via email from the Early Childhood Director.