STAYING SAFE IN CHILD CARE DURING COVID – 19
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the mandated government shutdown, all FELS’ Centers closed on Friday March 13th, 2020. Over the course of three+ months, our staff worked tirelessly to prepare our centers to re-open safely. In late June, our six Centers opened. FELS is, and has always been, committed to the health and safety of our children, parents, and staff. Below you will see some of the protocols that we have in place as we navigate COVID-19.
Please Click Here to review the FELS Family Covid – 19 Handbook. For more information, contact the Director of the Center you are interested in or call our Central Office 215-676-7550 ext. 101 for assistance. Our Paley ELC worked with the City of Phila. Dept of Public Health to create a training video for the early childhood community on best practices for re-opening. Click Here to view
Upon entering the building, every employee, child, and parent is screened for COVID-19 symptoms. This includes temperature checks using a no touch thermometer and a brief questionnaire.
Drop off and Pick up:
Drop off: Parents bring their children to the designated area at each Center where they are screened. After a successful screening, a staff member walks each child to their classroom.
Pick up: Parents/Guardians, wearing a mask, should arrive at their pre-arranged time at the designated pick up location outside of the Center. Designated staff bring each child to their escort.
Taking precautionary measures to avoid the spread of COVID – 19 is now part of our culture. All staff wear appropriate face coverings while at our Centers. The State is now requiring children to wear masks in child care centers. Although this is a requirement, FELS understands the difficulty that comes along with this order and will not be “disciplining” children for not wearing their mask. We are working with children individually helping them to wear masks. Our teachers look for signs of discomfort and suggest a child take a “mask break” if they feel that is necessary.
Family style meals have been replaced with individual plating of food. For Centers where children bring lunch, disposable packaging is required. The number of children eating together is limited.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
FELS follows the national standard recommended for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting in child care centers. Frequently touched surfaces including door handles, sinks, toilet handles, etc. are cleaned multiple times a day. Shared objects are cleaned and disinfected after they are used. Toys that children have placed in their mouths are put in a separate container labeled for sanitizing and disinfecting which happens 2 times a day.
All children and staff will wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (length of singing Happy Birthday twice). This is the preferred method, but an alternative is to use 60 percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This practice will be provided at key points throughout the day (e.g.upon arrival, before and after eating, after toileting, after playing outdoors, etc.)
Parent Testimonials during COVID-19
Kehillah Early Learning Center – Lauren S: “Due to COVID, I was very nervous about sending my daughter back to daycare. Kehillah walked the parents through all of the new safety policies and procedures prior to reopening, which made me feel better. The center strictly complies with the new safety procedures in place (temp checks, no parents in the building, staggered arrival/ pickup times, etc.). I feel comfortable dropping her off there every day. The teachers and staff do a really great job to make the kids feel safe and happy during these uncertain times.”
Gutman Early Learning Center – Nicole C: Gutman ELC is doing a great job during Covid protecting children, staff, and families while still creating a feeling of normalcy for the children. Shortly after my daughter returned to school in July masks were mandated; I was immediately stricken with fear that it would be an impossible hurdle. The resiliency and willingness to take this challenge on was immediately embraced by the staff. Our family is very grateful to have such a wonderful accredited school in our community– the staff are truly our heroes.
K’tonton Early Learning Center – Genna B: “I belong to a mom’s group…Most of us have a child or two in daycare now. We were talking about how each place is handling everything. After hearing other’s experiences, I am so thankful and grateful for all that K’tonton is doing related to COVID precautions. I was in shock to hear how relaxed a lot of the places are with safety.”
Gutman Early Learning Center – Jordan M: “Gutman has gone above and beyond regarding safety in this time of pandemic. I feel confident that they are taking every precaution to ensure the health of my children and our family. The staff has been very open about their procedures, which gives me peace of mind. I was worried about not seeing the teachers every day, but I feel like the communication is still there through the tadpole app. The whole experience has made us feel safe, and happy to have friends and teachers back in our children’s lives.”
Kehillah Early Learning Center – Jessica P: “Before Kehillah reopened, they made an extremely detailed plan, communicated that plan effectively with families, and then implemented it to the letter. Even 3 months later, the safety measures are being followed as stringently as they were on Day 1. They have somehow managed to get kids under 3 wearing masks consistently, which I thought would be impossible.”