In order to ensure the safest possible experience for our students, families, and staff at The J in this current public health climate, we are making the following adjustments to our current policies and daily procedures. In making these adjustments, The J was guided by recommendations and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), The El Paso Health Department, The Texas Department of Health, The Jewish Community Center Association and local physicians and health officials. The J’s health and safety protocols are based on an intentional focus on the health and safety of every individual and family in our preschool. Before school begins every member of our team will be tested for COVID-19. When these policies conflict with others in our Parent Handbook, these policies are the ones that will be followed.
Drop off/Pick up Safety Protocols
How will we drop off or pick up our children safely?
All adults are required to wear masks/face coverings as they depart their cars and social distancing will be maintained. We have set up our spaces so that as you enter The J to drop off or pick up your child, you can maintain safe physical distances using markings on the sidewalks. Families will be assigned an entrance that is closest to their child’s classroom utilizing all three entrance gates. Everyone will enter in a single-file line, 6 feet apart. If needed, we will stagger entrance and departure times. We strongly encourage the same adult drop off and/or pick up the student each day. If possible, try to avoid having grandparents, or any adult who is highly vulnerable, dropping off and/or picking up.
Will we still be able to use the car-pool lane upstairs?
Yes. Some of you will be assigned to drop off or pick up at the car-pool lane upstairs. All adults in the car are required to wear masks and will have their temperature taken. Should you prefer to walk your child in, just let us know.
Will any health screenings be performed?
Yes. Upon entry, all children and adults, including our staff, will be given a brief health screening each morning and temperature check. These screenings will be performed by your teachers or administrators who will wear masks or face shields. The children and staff will have their temperature checked once again mid-day. In accordance with Texas Childcare Licensing requirements, children will not be permitted into the building if they, or their adult, or anyone in their vehicle has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above, or has relevant symptoms visible to the screener or disclosed by parent/guardian (e.g., trouble breathing, coughing, sore throat, etc.).
Who can I expect to see at the drop off/pick up/screening each day?
Your teachers and/or administrators.
Classroom and Campus Protocols
Every effort will be made to physically distance classes and keep children with the same group of peers and educators throughout the school day.
Who will log the children in or out?
In an effort to limit multiple people touching the same device Curacubby has created a contactless kiosk. Parents, or other authorized parties, will log the children in or out. You will use the camera on your phone to scan the QR code on the kiosk which will enable you to log in or out on your own device. A new QR code will be generated every 15 minutes.
How will The J be cleaned and sanitized?
Our protocols meet and exceed the current CDC guidelines. Cleaning agents used to sanitize the facilities and equipment are EPA approved to kill viruses including Covid-19. High touch areas (such as doorknobs, light switches, handles) will be disinfected often throughout the day, including at the beginning and end of each day.
Will masks be required?
All adults will be required to wear face coverings. We are currently assessing the efficacy of masks and shields and will use whichever provide the best protection.
Is my child required to wear a mask?
The guidance from national and local health authorities advises against children under the age of two years wearing a face mask. While the recommendation is for older children to wear a face mask, we know that children are likely to have great difficulty in doing so. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and CDC recommend washing your hands after each time an individual touches their face mask, which we do not believe to be feasible in our early childhood environment.
Can I send my child, who is two years old or older, with a face mask to wear?
For those who wish to send a mask we will make every effort to ensure proper use. We reserve the right to request that the face mask be removed if proper wear is not happening.
How often will the children be washing and or sanitizing their hands?
Children and staff will sanitize hands upon arrival into the classroom. There are hand sanitizing stations at the doorway of each classroom. Hands will also be washed and/or sanitized between activities, before and after eating, after using the bathroom, after blowing their nose and again at the end of the day.
Will hot lunches still be offered this semester?
Yes. Hot lunches will be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, as usual, and will be prepared by our caterer, La Vianda Catering. We have assured that La Vianda is following all government required safety standards. Family style dining will be suspended for this semester and all lunches will be served in individual presentations.
Will snacks still be assigned to families each week?
No. Each family should provide snacks for their child/children.
Will classroom occupancy be reduced?
Our classroom occupancy is already so low that we meet or exceed the state and federal guidelines for reduced capacity. For certain parts of the day, such as during naptime, separate nap rooms that group children by ages will be in place. The cots that the children use for naptime will be placed to maintain proper social distancing and set up head to foot so the children will not be face to face.
Will the students get to spend time outside?
Yes! Physical distancing will be strictly enforced between classes. A schedule will ensure children have time on our playground and in the front courtyard, with enough time in between for cleaning and disinfecting equipment.
Will mixed use spaces (like the playground or atelier) still be used?
Yes. Toys and equipment will be limited to items that can be easily disinfected. Daily schedules will be adjusted to allow for thorough cleaning and disinfecting in between each group and again at the end of the day. Surfaces, such as countertops and tables, will be cleaned and disinfected after each use and will be left wet after disinfecting to accommodate the disinfectant’s stated dwell or contact time.
Will other staff be present inside The J throughout the day?
Children will be with the same educators as much as possible. Our maintenance team (Michael and Ana) will be at The J each day but will not be in the classrooms until they are unoccupied. Our caterer will be in the kitchen on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Our specialists, who teach yoga, art, music and Judaics will go from room to room but will sanitize their hands when leaving one room and again when entering the next and they will not carry any materials from room to room.
Will we still get photos during the day?
We are accustomed to providing photos of experiences happening throughout our day to our families. Our commitment to sharing our journey with you through those photos continues, but as we shift to ensure our ability to focus fully on health and safety, and on the interactions with and between children, photos may be less frequent. We ask for your understanding.
Protocols regarding illness of children/parents or staff
What if my child gets sick at school?
An isolation room has been set up to allow children who are sick to wait for their parents. If a child develops a fever, shortness of breath, a new cough or rash during the day, the child will be immediately removed from their group and moved to the designated sick room. The parent will be contacted by the Director or Office Manager. If a parent is not available immediately an emergency contact will be used. Parents must pick up within an hour of receiving a phone call from the school.
What if a teacher or child has a fever over 100.4?
Anyone (staff member or child) with a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above must be isolated for a minimum of seven days after symptom onset, and 72 hours after their fever resolves, without fever-reducing medication. For example, if the fever and symptoms resolve on day seven, the staff member or child can return on day 10.
What if a teacher or family has contact with someone with COVID-19?
If a staff member, student or student’s family member comes into contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19, that person is required to notify the Director and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and to consult with a healthcare professional. If a student’s family member is exposed, the child must remain at home for 14 days.
What happens if someone who was at The J tests positive for COVID-19?
In the event that either a staff member, or a student, who has been present at The J tests positive for COVID-19, we will immediately contact the Department of Health (DOH) for guidance and that staff member or student will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. We also will promptly communicate the information regarding any positive cases to all families and staff.
What if my child needs medicine for a non-communicable illness?
If a child needs medication during the day our usual policy applies, i.e., we require a physician’s note to dispense and the medicine must be in its original packaging with dosage amount. Medication will be dispensed to a child only by the Office Manager or Director.
Is travel an issue?
The J must be notified if any family member or other person living with a JCEL child travels outside of the El Paso region. The J then will assess the risks associated with such travel, taking into account the region traveled to and the form of transportation used during that trip, to determine whether the child is required to wait at least 14 days after their return, or the return of their family member or housemate, to El Paso before returning to The J.
Communication Protocols with Parents
How will The J communicate with us?
Communication will occur between our Director and parents via emails (using Tadpoles and/or MailChimp) and phone calls. We will communicate with parents regularly and clearly regarding any changes to our program or policies and will provide updates regarding health information in a timely manner (i.e., illness or virus diagnosis in The J).
Will these plans change if the situation changes?
Our staff and board leadership will keep abreast of all issues, advice, and developments from health officials at the local, regional, and national levels. We will update our policies and procedures as often as necessary to keep our students, families, and team as safe as possible.
Will The J’s hours of operation be any different?
We will be operating during our normal hours of operation: Early Einstein’s will open at 7 am; classes will begin at 8:30 am; classes will end for our 1 and 2 year-old students at noon; classes will end for ages 3-5 at 2:30; and Afternoon Adventurers will close at 6 pm.
Before school starts a One-time Mandatory Waiver must be signed. This form can be found in the signups section of your Curacubby account.