Health and Safety Protocols for Early Childhood Classrooms

Before School Starts, Teachers will…

Create a video/photo to share with families of self with no face covering and with a face mask on for children to view before school starts

Let families know about children’s requirements for masks. Children need to bring their own mask for arrival, in class, dismissal, and transitions. If students do not have a mask, the district will provide one. (See below in “Face coverings” section)

Provide health & safety lessons

Safety and Cleaning Supplies Needed for all Early Childhood (EC) Rooms
● Gloves
● Spray disinfectant & Hand sanitizer (will be the same resource)
● Paper towels
● Disinfectant wipes (if available)
● Masks for staff & children
● Clear masks for staff
● Ziplock bags for storing child masks when not in use
● As needed, clear face shields for staff

Health & Safety Lessons

Teachers should use Social Stories and age-appropriate teaching strategies to teach safety within the school:

Social stories for parents and educators
Handwashing
Wearing a mask social story
Wearing a mask – upper level
Visuals for the classroom

Teachers should teach specific strategies for greetings and good-byes that minimize social contact

Protocols

Face coverings (Updated 9/3/20)
All children and staff will wear facial coverings during arrival, dismissal, transitions, and within classrooms. Facial coverings must be worn over the mouth and nose, and the face-covering must be made out of material that adequately blocks the transmission of air and droplets (no valved/vented masks). 

Staff will make a good faith effort to ensure child face masks are worn throughout the day. Knowing this is difficult for some children, we will continue to encourage mask wearing for the safety of all children and staff.

Teachers have a process for storing children’s masks during meals and rest time (for example, individual ziplock bags). 

All face masks must be labeled (either by parents or teachers) prior to the start of the day.
Handwashing
All staff and children wash/sanitize hands after entering the building before entering the classroom.
 
All staff and children wash their hands before and after eating.

All staff and children wash/sanitize hands before and after recess.

All staff and children wash hands after using the restroom.

All children wash/sanitize hands before engaging with shared materials during learning centers (math manipulatives, puzzles, blocks, etc.)

All staff wash hands after assisting children with toileting & diapering.

All staff wash hands after assisting children with feeding.

To ensure children wash hands for 20 seconds, one suggestion is to draw a marker mark or stamp on the child’s hand to have them scrub it off.
Self Help Skills (Blowing nose, wiping face, covering sneezes and coughs)
Teaching independence should be a goal for children and practiced throughout the school day

When needed, wash hands before/after, and wear gloves when helping a child with wiping noses, blowing the nose, etc. When possible teachers can use hand-over-hand or teacher hand to child’s elbow or arm assistance to prompt the child to wipe his or her own face. 

Children should wash their hands immediately after completing self-help skills that involve any bodily fluids. 
Arrival
Follow campus procedures; typically with one staff member in the classroom and the other staff member meets children outside.

Staff wear face-covering and pick up children outside. For example, provide signage for walk-up families at a designated location so children know where to meet.

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE): One staff member (teacher or IA) will be in the classroom with the ELE Extended Day Friends that are dropped off early at 7:10 a.m. These children remain in the classroom with a staff member.

Children put on masks when gathering for arrival or before entering the building 
All staff and children wash hands/sanitize after entering the building before entering the classroom 
Transitions
● Children wear face-covering in the hallway (See above “Face Coverings”)
● Teachers wear face-covering at all times
Inclusion
Attempt to group children with special education needs together in specific PreK classes to limit adults who come in contact with many other classes; limit the mixing of adults or children for health reasons.
Classroom Use (Physical space and Materials)
Provide enough toys in the classroom to rotate through the cleaning process and allow children to stay in active play while maintaining a healthy environment.

All 8 learning centers are open daily for use and appropriate materials are available within each center (See Learning Environment “Centers” section of PreK Foundations document for details).

In-class instruction may require a face shield and/or clear plexi-stand so children can see the teacher’s mouth for specific instruction. 

Classes are encouraged to conduct lessons and learning centers outside as much as possible.

Lockers can be used for children’s items as long as all children do not go to the lockers at the same time OR consider spacing out lockers so one empty locker in between each student.

Limit shared materials as much as possible:
● Individual art supply boxes for markers, crayons, pencils, scissors, glue sticks

Soft items that cannot be disinfected immediately should not be used:
● Stuffed animals, classroom pillows, puppets, bean bags, etc. need to be removed
● Dress-up clothing can be rotated and washed daily, okay to use
● Playdoh can be used if teachers create individual portions for each child

Sensory tub:
● Can use water if individual buckets and emptied and refilled after each child’s use
● Shaving cream for an individual student in marked own space
● Any other sensory materials need to have individual tubs for each child
● Sensory tub can be used for fine motor activities with materials that can be sanitized if not being used for shared sensory materials
Cleaning of Materials
Staff will remove items for immediate cleaning that have been put in a child’s mouth or come in contact with student saliva/bodily fluids:
● Have a separate bucket for toys to be placed in
● When possible staff use gloves before touching an item
● Wash hands after touching an item

Staff will clean shared materials at the end of each day: 
● Clean classroom tables and surfaces.
● Spread outclass shared materials on tables and surfaces (puzzles, math manipulatives, blocks, play kitchen items, etc.) and spray with cleaner. 
● Leave out to disinfect and dry overnight
● Return materials to classroom location at the beginning of the day before students arrive
Meals
All staff and children wash hands before and after eating

Breakfast may be in classroom, cafeteria, or outside for inclusion; physically distanced as possible

For breakfast, if possible reserve tables for EC grade level

Lunch may be in the classroom, cafeteria, or outside; physically distanced as possible

Staff that is directly helping children with feeding should wear a face mask, gloves, and face shield (at the discretion of the teacher) during feeding. 
● Staff must wash hands prior to helping any children with feeding. While assisting the children with feeding, staff must either put on a new pair of disposable gloves; wash their gloved hands, and/or use hand sanitizer on their gloved hands between assisting each child.  
● All feeding spaces and materials should be cleaned prior to and after any feeding takes place. 

Snack time will be in the classroom or outside; physically distanced as possible. Children need to bring their own snacks and cannot share snacks with others.
● If there is a large snack provided by the school, the teacher will wear gloves and distribute them to individual children.
Restrooms & Toileting
All staff and children wash hands after using the restroom

All staff wear gloves and wash hands after assisting children with toileting to include: changing soiled clothes, wiping, and changing diapers. Staff should frequently wash/disinfect hands and/or change gloves. Hands should be washed and gloves changed each time a new child is assisted.

Staff take children who need assistance with cleaning or changing to the ECSE classroom bathroom

Staff sanitize changing tables prior and after all diapering of students

Staff wears gloves and face mask during diapering of students

Diapers should be disposed of properly by placing them in a plastic bag and tied prior to placing them in a trash can. Soiled clothing should be placed in a plastic bag.
Recess (Updated 9/3/20)
All staff and children wash/sanitize hands before and after recess

Classes should be limited to one on the playground equipment at a time
● Other classes can have stations set up with a choice of gross motor and other activity 

Children and staff must wear masks while outside to ensure safety and limit exposure

Schools may establish a supervised area for individual students to remove their masks for a short period.  Please refer to your school’s rules and procedures.

Take extra face coverings and sealable bags when your class goes outside in case a child’s face covering gets dirty from falling on the ground, etc.

Always have hand sanitizer available outside
Rest time
Children should be socially distanced during rest time. (Consider placing children head to toe to further reduce the potential for virus spread.)

Children must remove face-covering during rest time when sleeping; children should wear face-covering if not sleeping.

Rest mats should be assigned to individual children for the same use all year. (For example, label mats with a number and assign each child a number.)

Rest mats should be wiped clean after each use before stacking for storage.

Items from home (blankets, pillows) taken home to be washed weekly
● No stuffed animals allowed at this time

Children’s’ items should be individually stored, must fit within their backpack or a bag a child can carry independently.
Dismissal (Updated 9/3/20)
Children who are car riders wear face-covering until they are inside their parent or guardian’s vehicle with the doors closed (See above “Face Coverings”)

Children who are bus riders must wear face-covering during the transition from the building to the bus AND continue wearing their mask on the bus until they arrive at their home


Teachers wear face-covering at all times

Refer to Leander ISD COVID Health Response Handbook for specifics not covered here.

Updated on September 15, 2020

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