Will my child have to wear a face mask?
Masks are required by Colorado licensing regulations as well as the State of Colorado for adults in the classroom and parents picking up and dropping off.
For children, at this time, the recommendation from the CDPHE Safer at Home website is: “no face coverings or masks for children 0-3” https://covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home-in-the-vast-great-outdoors/guidance-by-sector/safer-at-home-child-care-facilities
The City of Denver requires masks for ages 3 and up at this time but “…children between the age of 3 and 5 should be supervised if they are wearing a mask. If the mask is creating discomfort or resulting in the child touching their face frequently, reconsider whether a mask is appropriate for that child” https://covid19.colorado.gov/sites/covid19/files/COVID-19%20Face%20Covering%20Guidance%20for%20Child%20Care%20Operations%20%281%29.pdf
Within these guidelines, mask wearing will be modeled by adults in the classroom and strongly encouraged for students, but the guidance does allow for kids (ages 3 and up) who are struggling with wearing a mask.
What will social distancing look like in the classroom?
Social distancing will be one of the tools we use to mitigate the risk of exposure to germs this year. Some of the ways it will be utilized are using small, movable “lily pads” for each kid to sit upon during circle time to help create social distance. We will be pulling some of the chairs from the classroom space so that only a few kids can work on art/projects at a time at the tables rather than accommodating large groups. At snack time, we will be spacing out and using some of our smaller tables in addition to the large round tables so that we will have fewer kids at each of the tables. We will also adjust our picture cues for lining up to account for social distance. In addition, using face masks (per requirements and recommendations) to add an additional barrier between germ spreading and limiting close contact to less than 15 minutes (https://www.cde.state.co.us/planning20-21/healthguidancebycovidphase https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/public-health-recommendations.html) will greater decrease the risk of exposure. Although we cannot guarantee 0% risk, we are hoping that by using these measures collectively it will create as safe a classroom as possible.
What will drop off and pick up look like?
Parents will come up to the porch, where a teacher will be there to greet you and record temperature and symptoms. Parents will sign in, leave your child’s belongings, walk your kiddo to the playground gate, where your teacher (for the 1st few weeks, after that a parent aide will assist with these roles) and then parents will exit through the front gate. There is a gate that opens to the side walk. This way you are not in close proximity to the next family dropping off or picking up. Right now we think the reverse order will happen for pick up.
What role will aides play in the classroom?
We are reviewing how we use our parent aides in each of the classrooms. This year we will be asking families whenever possible, to sign up for two aid days in row. This will further limit the exposure to children and staff. It will be our goal to have aides helping a little more in the background as we look for new/different ways to utilize them within the classroom this year while still maintaining a safe environment for our students and maintaining our strong commitment to providing community. In a normal year, we like for the classroom to feel like an extension of your family. This year we realize that everyone’s health and safety in regards to COVID-19 must be one of our top priorities.
What happens if there is a confirmed or Suspected Covid case in the class?
In terms of reporting cases, yes we would cancel all classes for 24 hrs if we suspect a case. AIso if there is a suspected case, a child or staff member would need a doctor’s note to return to school. This note would need to state that the individual had a negative Covid-19 test, or has/had a confirmed case of something else. So for example, if a morning class has confirmation of a SUSPECTED OR CONFIRMED case, we would cancel the class for the day and the afternoon class of the same day would also be canceled.
What other measures are being taken to keep my child safe?
Handwashing is taught from Day 1 in preschool. Students wash hands on arrival, when coming in from outside, before eating snack, after using the bathroom and any other time they are dirty. This year, hand sanitizer has also been approved for use with children. We will be using this when we are outside and washing hands under running water is not immediately available.
Cleaning procedures at preschools and daycares has not greatly changed with the new rules because we were already required to do so much sanitizing and disinfecting during the day and between classes. Nevertheless, we will be adding a few more things to have an even more rigorous cleaning in-between classes. We are also working on a system to have bins of high touch items specific to each class (items such as cars, animals and kitchen toys are a few examples). This will eliminate even more risk for cross contamination between classes. We will also separate some items, like outside toys, for Tadpoles and AM Polliwogs and another for Frogs and PM Polliwogs. This way these items that are being separated can be thoroughly disinfected and allow for ample sanitation time between another class using them.
We will be spending more time outside and adding more materials to our outside space to encourage more areas of play beside gross motor. Teachers will be incorporating more reading, art and games outside.
Will there be community events this year?
We are working on ways that we can still foster this sense of community while also setting the bar high for keeping everyone healthy and limiting exposure. We will be planning some virtual class zooms to start building connections before school starts, as well as class specific take out or picnic nights. If events are planned it will be done in the safest way we are able to do so and will be at each family’s discretion to join or not. We are hopeful that by asking everyone to start the year by opening your family circle just a little bigger, some beautiful friendships will start to grow-even in these dark, crazy days.
What happens if we withdraw due to Covid concerns?
We will be making the changes to our lottery system for ONLY the 2021/2022 school year.
- Families who withdraw due to Covid-19 fears/ concerns, may reapply for next year (2021/2022 only) and receive Alumni status.
- If a family decides to no longer attend Steele this year and withdraw, they can choose to be placed at the bottom of the waitlist for their child’s class. This way if there are changes during the year and they feel comfortable sending their child later they would possibly have the option if there are spots available. They will have Alumni status for registration next year.
- Parents who feel unsafe to start the school year, but want to continue to pay tuition to hold their spot may do so. Cooperative responsibilities such as committees involvement are still expected. However, teachers & board will evaluate at what point there would be a need to start filling the class to promote an adequate classroom culture or cancel the class if numbers drop too low to be financially viable.
Total Students Enrolled at steele
1:6(or less) adult to child ratio
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Location: 3746 Grove St, Denver, CO 80211
Telephone: (303) 433-0832