Guidelines for Programs During the Covid-19 Pandemic
As we plan on returning to outdoor programming, we would like to share all that we are implementing to minimize the risk of COVID-19. We have put our heads together to write a cautious and mindful plan to maximize health and safety while also weaving in fun and creative activities – providing the kids with new ways to stay healthy and safe while still making connections and reaping the benefits of being outside with their peers. Our plan reflects the guidelines and recommendations of the CDC and the American Camp Association, while also implementing the protocol of each location and their own individual plans.
Please read below where we will attempt to explain ALL the ways and things we will be doing to educate, be aware and respect others – allowing us to move forward in our lives. This will be a team effort – we rely on you – the parents and families – to work with us – with the goal of a safe and healthy experience.
Learning will take place in our outdoor classrooms. There will be small groups of no more than 8 kids and their teacher/guide. All groups will be adequately supervised and will follow safety guidelines and protocol. All staff are screened and trained. All locations are protected and beautiful.
Our goal is to teach and model alternative ways for children to feel loved and to connect to one another. Instead of hugs and hand-holding, we will practice warm fuzzies, virtual hugs, virtual high fives, hand claps without touching, group reactions – the wave, jumping. We will avoid yelling/singing near each other, talking in close proximity, and grouping closely. Children will use hula hoops or their sitting mat to help determine personal space to enforce social distancing.
Families…this is a community endeavor, let’s work together. We ask that when you plan on attending any Take Root programming that you responsibly and voluntarily commit to low or no contact and decide to stay home two weeks prior and while participating.
Before attending, ask yourselves these questions: Have you traveled? Have you had visitors from other countries/areas? Have you been in contact with someone who may have or been exposed to the virus? Have you or anyone in immediate contact with you had the following symptoms: fever, loss of sense of smell, unusual cough, unusual chest pain or difficulty breathing? Consider testing, it is now convenient and free. If you answered yes to any of these questions, please contact Emily & Christy personally to discuss.
- Symptoms – don’t attend.
- Exposure – don’t attend.
- Temperatures will be checked daily.
- Children will be sent home if ill.
Sickness: If any staff or program participants are experiencing symptoms, it is required they stay home. Children or staff who exhibit symptoms of illness during the day will be sent home.
Temperature Monitoring: All participants and staff will have their temperatures checked daily with a non-touch thermometer. If over 100.4, the participant or staff member will be sent home or not permitted to attend. Temperature monitoring will take place during the drop-off procedure (see below).
Drop Off/Pick up: During drop-off and pick-up, do not park your vehicles – pull directly up to the designated drop-off area. All adults must wear a face covering when within 10 feet of other people. One Teacher/Nature Guide (masked), will bring a sign-in sheet to the vehicle, after obtaining the participant’s temperature, the teacher will assist them with their belongings and guide them to the play area. Another Teacher/Nature Guide will be managing the children in a separate play area. There will be no parking or socializing for parents on the premises. All parents must exit grounds after drop-off/pick up.
Small Groups: Groups of participants (students) will be no more than ten people in size (including teachers). All people will maintain distance and will not share objects unless absolutely necessary (if shared, the objects will be disinfected with soap and water, sanitizer or other appropriate cleaner before and after).
The Outdoor Classroom: Take Root programs typically take place outdoors at least 75% of the time, with the remainder of the time in a designated shelter. For upcoming programs this will continue to be true, but with even more time outside while broken into small groups. Unless the weather requires shelter-use, the majority of the day will take place in the fresh air – outdoors. There is plenty of room for physical distancing, running and playing and taking advantage of the outdoor environment to promote health and growth. The outdoor classroom is a healthy and safe option.
Group Areas: All spaces will be modified to maximize social distancing, including installation of barriers, modification of furniture and layouts, and segmentation of common areas to ensure the separation of groups of not more than 10 individuals.
Social/Physical Distancing: All participants and staff will maintain a distance of 10 feet when able. While at any tables or seating areas, distancing and spacing will be implemented using alternate seating. Hula hoops and other fun tools will be used to teach and manage personal space. Games and fun interactive activities will be used to reinforce healthy hygiene skills, such as: limited face touching, connecting without touching others, washing hands frequently, using wipes to clean face and hands, etc.
Masks/Face Covers: It is now mandatory for anyone over the age of 2 to wear a face covering/mask in public – inside or outside and when not able to be socially distant (unless playing, running or participating in other active sports, or eating) (people with respiratory distress are not required to wear a mask, but are required to be physically distant). We encourage, not discourage the idea of masks for protection – a discretionary, cautious, careful, and mindful behavior. Wearing masks is like wearing sunscreen. As a community we are devising ways to continue interacting in a healthy and thoughtful way, masks are a way for us to do that. When children are engaging or in close contact with others, they will readily put their mask over their mouth and nose. When the children are engaged in active play they will not be required to wear masks. It is the job of our staff to maintain social/physical distancing in a positive and healthy manner throughout the day.
Signage – signage with Covid-19 mandates will be posted in multiple, publicly trafficked locations. Staff and families will be educated on new guidelines in advance. Signs to be included…How To: Minimize the spread of COVID-19; properly wash hands; promote everyday protective measures; and properly wear a face covering. DOH and/or CDC guidelines.
Supplies: Each child will have their own set of materials and daily supplies, books, etc. There will be no need to share pencils, books etc. Sharing of items between children will be prohibited as much as possible. If items are shared they will be cleaned and disinfected before and between use. Items will be wiped down with disinfectant wipes.
Toys: Children must leave toys and blankets and their comfort items at home to reduce the introduction of new objects. Accommodations will be made for children with disabilities or special needs, but items will be kept separate and cleaned and never shared.
Sit-Upons: Each participant will have their own fabric sit-upon each day of programming. The sit-upon goes home with the child to be washed, the child must keep the sit-upon with their own belongings, they are not to be shared. The sit-upon will be made with a light-colored pillowcase the student brings from home (washed and ready). Children will decorate their case and use it to sit on when we are in the grass or on the ground.
Placemats: Each child will have their own cloth place-mat to use for their food while at the table or on the ground. The place-mat will be stored in the student’s belongings while at the program, but will be washed and cleaned at home and brought back for use daily.
Table Coverings: Tables will be disinfected between each use. Tables will be covered with a disposable paper cloth when needed.
Hand-Washing: Disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer will be on hand at all times to be used for any necessary wipe-downs of face and hands. Teachers will facilitate frequent hand-washing sessions at the bathrooms. Each teacher will have a set of hand-cleaning supplies – paper towels, disinfectant spray and wipes. We will teach proper hand-washing techniques on the first day. Soap and paper towels will be supplied. Families are permitted to send their own special wipes or hand sanitizer in a small labeled bag that children can carry with them throughout the day.
Bathrooms: Small groups will be guided by one teacher to use restrooms. Social distancing will be enforced. Only one child may use the facility at a time. Children waiting to use restrooms will be physically distanced from one another. Children will always have masks with them and will use them when physical distancing is not maintained. Bathrooms will be monitored at all times. Staff will clean and disinfect the facility before/after each individual use.
Disinfection: All indoor areas will be thoroughly disinfected before/after programs – tables, chairs, toys, objects and supplies. The floor will be cleaned daily.
Cleaning Supplies: Alcohol, Soap, Water, Paper Towels, Disinfecting Wipes, Disinfecting Spray (with alcohol and essential oils).