We want to share highlights from CentroNía’s reopening process and report that, thanks to our diligent staff and amazing families, it has been a very effective and successful effort so far. Last month, CentroNía reopened its doors to children and families in DC and Maryland with a modified schedule. As you can imagine, this effort required a significant amount of preparation! Teachers and staff were trained on the new health and safety protocols developed to respond to the COVID-19 health emergency, and families participated in virtual town halls to learn about the new protocols, provide feedback, and ask questions regarding the reopening process. As we celebrate a successful reopening, we continue to learn and refine our procedures in preparation for the new school year.
CentroNía’s amazing early learners are a major highlight from this experience! The children have shown their resiliency to adapt to these changes, even faster than all of us adults. We see every day how excited they are to be with their beloved teachers and friends! In response to the new “normal”, the children changed their behaviors by playing together while keeping a safe distance, washing their hands frequently, and trying to not touch their faces. Also, teachers are using hula-hoops and colorful ribbons to emphasize safe spaces and physical distance between the children, creating visual separation at tables during group activities, and keeping individual boxes for classroom material. If a child or staff member shows symptoms during the day, we can quickly implement response protocols to ensure everyone is safe, limiting exposure, and scheduling deep cleanings while we wait for their health care providers’ recommendations. We are pleased to share CentroNía has not had any COVID-19 cases since reopening!
Teachers at CentroNía are working very hard to stay safe and healthy to protect themselves and your children (like in an airplane – you must put on your mask first, then help others). These are some of the measures they are taking to keep clean and healthy environments:
CentroNía is providing counseling services to support our staff in their transition to center-based work and mitigate anxiety and/or stress that may rise from this health emergency.
- Every day, teachers and staff complete a self-check survey to evaluate symptoms prior to reporting to work; there are visual reminders throughout our facilities to promote their wellbeing; and teachers and staff are always required to wear protective face coverings.
- There is a fixed number of teachers assigned to each classroom, within the group size determined by the states’ guidance: 10 individuals in DC and 15 individuals in MD. Teachers stay with the same group for the day, as possible; they change their clothing before entering; and we will provide them uniforms and inside shoes to keep the classrooms as clean as possible.
- Teachers disinfect and sanitize toys and surfaces before the children arrive and after they leave; during the day teachers may remove toys as the children stop playing with them for cleaning later.
As you know, CentroNía is limiting access to its facilities, which is a critical method to control exposure and keep the indoors environment as sanitized as possible. Below are some of the operational protocols in place at all CentroNía sites to maintain a healthy learning environment:
- Pandemic Response Team (PRT): CentroNía’s multidisciplinary team responsible for enforcing and maintaining CentroNía’s Pandemic Safety Protocols.
- Health Screenings: All staff, children, parents, visitors, contractors, and others are required to do the health check prior to entering the building which assesses individual’s symptoms, travel patterns, exposure history, and temperature. The individual cannot present a risk based on the health check and must be wearing a mask to be allowed entry.
- Entrances/Exits: The PRT assigned entry/exit points and drop-off/pick-up times based on classroom location to avoid gatherings of large groups of people at once. Children must be signed-in in the morning and signed-out in the afternoon; teachers will only release children to authorized individuals. Parents may contact the site’s coordinators/supervisors to plan for early pick-up since the doors will be locked during the day.
- Temperature Monitoring: Children’s temperatures are taken in class at lunch time and after nap time to ensure there is no onset of fever throughout the day.
- Isolation Room and Protocol: Any adult or child who presents symptoms during the day are safely moved to a designated isolation room.
- Adults are referred to their primary care provider/or testing to determine returning date; in the case of children, parents are contacted to pick up the child and determine the following steps and returning date.
- The parents of the other children in the classroom are notified to pick up their children. The classroom is closed for deep-cleaning, and the appropriate agencies are notified.
- Reopening the classroom is determined in accordance with the health care providers’ recommendations; COVID-19 test results (if applicable); recommendations from regulatory agency; or related CentroNía policies (72 hours or 14 days quarantine).
- Enhanced Sanitation and Disinfection: All sites are disinfected daily from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM by janitorial staff. Teachers sanitize and disinfect classrooms and toys before and after the school day.
- Physical Distancing: Furniture in classrooms and common areas were rearranged to increase space and promote social distancing.
CentroNía continues to be vigilant of the ever-changing coronavirus pandemic in our region, and we are prepared to adapt operating procedures however necessary to ensure the health and safety of our entire community. Once again, we are incredibly humbled by and grateful for the staff, children, families, and supporters throughout the process of reopening our centers.