Iris Family Preschool COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

(Revised November 19, 2021)

Licensing and COVID-19 Related Regulations

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), and our local South Orange Department of Health (DOH). 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.

Mandatory COVID-19 Testing

Before the start of the school year, each child needs to submit a negative Antigen (aka Rapid) test taken 24 hours prior to the first day of school. Testing will also be required after the fall break (November 1st-November 5th) and after Thanksgiving Break (November 25th-November 26th) with more details coming closer to those dates. Please take a photo of your child’s test results and email it to testing4preschool@gmail.com with your child’s name in the subject line. Please ensure that your child’s name and test results are captured in the photo that you send. Please contact us if this presents a financial hardship for your family.

Note (11/21/21): This policy applies to the Thanksgiving 2021 break and will be reviewed (and potentially updated) based on the latest COVID-19 situation after students return to school. Please be sure to check back for updated guidance pertaining to travel for Winter Break and beyond.

  • All students and staff returning to school after a school break must submit a negative Antigen (aka Rapid) test taken 24 hours prior to their return to school. Please take a photo of your child’s test results and email it to testing4preschool@gmail.com with your child’s name in the subject line. Please ensure that your child’s name and test results are captured in the photo that you send. All tests for children returning on Monday, November 29th should be submitted by 8pm on Sunday, November 28th. Please contact us if this presents a financial hardship for your family.
  • For domestic or international travel by plane: children must quarantine for 7 days (with the day after your return counting as day one) with a PCR test taken between days 3-5 of the quarantine period.
  • Domestic travel by car is permitted without quarantine. Please watch for any symptoms of COVID-19 in your entire household, and exercise caution when sending your child back to school.
  • Visitors from out-of-state are permitted in your home without quarantine. Please watch for any symptoms of COVID-19 in your entire household, and exercise caution when sending your child back to school.
  • In general, in situations other than returning from break, if there’s a chance that your family may be exposed to COVID-19 (due to being unmasked with a large group of people), we kindly suggest performing a rapid COVID-19 test before returning to school.

It is up to each of us to continue to do everything within our power to protect ourselves and others. We urge you to:

  • Wear high quality, well-fitting masks when spending time outside your home.
  • Be considerate of the health and well-being of your community when choosing to send your child to school each day. If you notice any possible symptom of COVID-19 in your child, yourself, or someone in your household (congestion, cough, fever, upset stomach, etc.) please keep your child home.
  • Maintain a firm commitment to physical distancing and to limiting travel to areas with high community spread.
  • Please continue to follow the below health guidelines that address how to manage the emergence of any possible symptoms in your child or those in your household.

We will continue to use a carpool line or 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.

If a child, family member, or caregiver meets the following criteria or exhibits any of the symptoms, then that child and his/her siblings will not be allowed to enter the building:

  • Anyone in the household has been in close contact with someone that has been positively diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
  • The child has received any fever-reducing medication and/or has:
    • Fever of 100.4 or above
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
    • Headache, muscle pain, chills, repeated shaking with chills, new loss of taste or smell
  • 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. The procedure for each class will be confirmed prior to the start of school.
  • 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.

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:

  • The child and any siblings and staff member will not be permitted to enter the building.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • All rooms and equipment used by the symptom-exhibiting-person will immediately be cleaned and disinfected according to CDC guidelines.
  • 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.
  • All families from a given class will receive this information as soon as the school is notified.
  • If ANY member of a child’s household has a confirmed case of COVID-19, they must notify the school immediately so that it can be shared with the families in the affected class (confidentially, not mentioning specific names).
  • If your child is exposed to a COVID-19 positive person, keep them home from school. The child should be tested immediately, and then again 3-5 days after exposure. The child may return to school 7 days after their last exposure if symptom free and with a negative PCR test.

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

  • Notify all of the families and staff in our preschool.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • Severe pain or discomfort
  • 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
  • Two or more episodes of acute vomiting within a period of 24 hours
  • Elevated axillary temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or over in conjunction with behavior changes
  • Lethargy that is more than expected tiredness
  • Yellow eyes or jaundiced skin
  • Red eyes with discharge
  • Infected, untreated skin patches
  • Difficult rapid breathing or severe coughing
  • Skin rashes in conjunction with fever or behavior changes
  • Weeping or bleeding skin lesions that have not been treated by a health care provider
  • Mouth sores with drooling
  • 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 immediately 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.

  • 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.