Our Commitment to Health and Safety

University of Michigan-Dearborn Early Childhood Education Center is committed to protecting the health of our children, families, staff, and community. The following policies were designed in response to guidance from the Michigan Departments of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and Health and Human Services, in accordance with best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wayne County Health Department and with everyone's well-being in mind. To limit the potential spread of COVID-19, we will be making some temporary changes to our programming that include robust cleaning and disinfecting procedures and minimizing opportunities for person-to-person exposure (e.g., an infected person spreading respiratory droplets through actions such as coughing, sneezing, or talking). The following plan outlines the recommended practices and strategies will use to protect the health of our children, staff, and families while at the same time ensuring that children are experiencing developmentally appropriate and responsive interactions and environments.

Changes to Our Physical Spaces

We will use the following strategies in our classrooms and facility to minimize the spread of illness:

  • Where possible, dividing large group spaces to allow more children to safely use the space (e.g., using child- sized furniture, such as rolling shelves and kitchenettes, to divide a room and prevent mixing between groups of children).
  • Where possible, limiting or eliminating use of common spaces in the classrooms/facility. When common spaces must be used, we will rotate use of the space and clean between groups.
  • Rearranging classroom areas to seat children as far apart as reasonably possible and limiting the number of children sitting together.
  • Plexiglass partitions have been installed on tables to allow for children to socialize at meal/snack and play times while still promoting social distancing.
  • Playgrounds will be divided using cones to designate areas for specific classroom use. There will be no intermingling of classes on the playground. Playground equipment will be cleaned after each class.
  • Using touchless trash cans to provide a hands-free way to dispose of tissues and contaminants.
  • Ensuring ventilation systems operate properly and increasing circulation of outdoor air as much as possible (e.g., keeping windows and doors open to the extent that this does not pose safety risks).
  • Water fountains will be temporarily covered and will not be used by any individuals. Water bottles will be used by all children and staff, will be sanitized often and refilled as necessary.

 

Availability of Toys and Classroom Materials

At this time, we will make the following changes to the toys and materials in our classrooms:

  • We will remove toys and objects which cannot be easily cleaned or sanitized between use.
  • Given that cloth toys are not recommended at this time, we will remove these from classrooms.
  • Toys will be washed and sanitized before being moved from one group of children to another.
  • Extra materials such as crayons, markers, paint brushes, playdoh etc. have been purchased so that each child will have their own set of supplies that will be labeled with their name and not shared with other children.
  • Children will have access to individual sensory bins in the classroom for sand and water play.
  • Water tables will be used outside with small amounts of soap added to the water for fun with bubbles and to provide a more hygienic medium.

Mealtimes

To limit opportunities for exposure during mealtimes, we will engage in the following recommended practices:

  • We will space seating as far apart as possible (ideally 6 feet apart), limiting the number of children sitting together and rearranging seating. Plexiglass on tables allows for children to eat together while still promoting social distancing.
  • Picnic tables have been purchased for eating outside.
  • No family style snacks or meals will be served, all snacks (am & pm), lunches and water bottles will be brought from home each day. Lunch boxes, snacks and water bottles will be wiped down daily upon arrival and after use.
  • Children will continue to practice our existing hand washing procedures and wash hands before and immediately after eating.
  • Birthday “treats” (which are optional) should be non food items that can be sanitized by teachers before sharing with the children. We strongly encourage you to refrain from sending in any birthday prizes etc. at this time.

Naptime

To reduce potential for viral spread, we will engage in the following recommended practices:

  • Storing each child's bedding in individually labeled bins, cubbies, or bags.
  • Labeling each child's cot/mat.
  • Ensuring that children’s naptime cots/mats are spaced out as much as possible, ideally 6 feet apart.
  • When possible, children will be placed head-to-toe (i.e., one child with their head at the top of the mat, the next child over with their head at the bottom of the mat).
  • Cots/mats will be cleaned and sanitized every day after use per our existing naptime cleaning policies.

Items Brought From Home

During this time, we are trying to limit the number of items brought into the facility because this can be a way to transmit the virus, so we ask that families refrain from bringing items from home as much as possible. However, we recognize that placing limits on children's comfort items may increase stress for children and staff as they may be especially needed during this time of transition.

We ask that families and staff follow these guidelines with regard to children's comfort items:

  • To avoid these items coming into contact with many children, efforts will be made for these items to be placed in a cubby or bin and be used at naptime or as needed.
  • If possible, comfort items should remain at the ECEC for the week to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Nap items will be sent home weekly to be washed.

Drop Off and Pick Up

We will use the following recommended practices during drop-off and pick-up times to protect the health of children, families, and staff.

Drop Off times are restricted to 8:00-9:30 am

  • Families are not permitted to enter through the gate until 8:00 am unless they have registered for early drop off.
  • Only one adult per family should be present at drop-off/pick-up. Ideally, this would be the same parent or designated person every day, though we recognize this is not always possible.
  • There will be 2 designated screening stations set up outside the gate to the playground each morning. Hand sanitizer will be available at each screening station for parents/children to use.
  • Families may stand in line for either screening station, please follow social distancing guidelines and keep 6 feet between your family and the next family in line. Markers on the pavement have been provided to assist with keeping a 6 foot distance.
  • If there is no space in either line, please wait in your car until a space is available.
  • Children over the age of 2 and the accompanying parent must wear a cloth face covering or mask.
  • Staff will greet families at the screening station, check for symptoms and take each person’s temperature with a touchless thermometer. The ECEC now has a new app: UM-Dearborn ECEC Daily Screening that parents can save on their phone to use every morning before coming to school. Just show your “green dot checkmark” to the person at the screening station. Families that aren’t able to use the app can still answer the screening questions orally.
  • After leaving the screening station, parents may take their child to their classroom through the playground. Doors will be labeled with room numbers. Please knock on the outside classroom door and a teacher will greet you and help your child with the morning routine of putting away items, washing hands etc.
  • Ideally, the same parent or designated person should drop off and pick up the child every day. If possible, older people such as grandparents or those with serious underlying medical conditions should not pick up children, because they are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Please note- the gate is locked promptly at 9:30. Staff are needed in other areas of the building at this time and are unable to remain outside all day to greet families. Additionally, children miss a significant amount of instruction time by arriving later in the morning which disrupts the classroom schedule and routine.
  • If a family happens to experience extraordinary circumstances one day that prohibit them from arriving on time, they must call the front desk upon arrival. DO NOT enter the building. As soon as a staff member is available, they will meet the child and accompanying family member outside for screening and then escort the child to their classroom.

Pick up times are restricted to 3:00-4:00 pm

  • Adults picking up children will enter through the playground gate which will be monitored by a staff member. The gate opens promptly at 3:00 pm.
  • Children can be picked up on the playground if they are outside. Backpacks will be ready to go and please notify the teacher that you are here to pick up your child.
  • If children are not on the playground, please knock on the outside classroom door and the teacher will greet you, gather your child’s belongings and dismiss them.
  • We ask that parents avoid congregating in a single space or a large group.
  • Parents/family members are required to wear a cloth face covering or mask at all times while on the property, including pick up
  • The gate is closed and locked at 4:00 pm

Prearranged Early Drop off (7:30-8:00) and Late Stay (4:00-5:00) are available this fall. Arrangements will be made with individual families who have requested this option.

*At this time Drop Off and Pick Up procedures are the same regardless of weather conditions, please dress yourself and your child appropriately.
 

Staffing

To minimize potential spread of COVID-19, we will engage in the following best practices:

  • Staffing consistency will be maintained as much as possible to limit the number of staff moving from room to room.
  • Staff have been provided with and are required to participate in training to better understand COVID-19 and caring for children safely. Trainings come from many different sources including but not limited to the University of Michigan, Center for Disease Control, Office of Head Start and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Teachers will wear face masks at all times in the classroom and when in close proximity with children or adults on the playground.

Symptom Monitoring Protocols

We will use the following recommended practices, policies and protocols to protect the health of children, families, and staff.

  • The ECEC will follow the guidelines issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as coordinate with University of Michigan protocols.
  • If a staff member, child, or visitor exhibits any of the following symptoms, they cannot enter the facility:
    Adults:
    -Fever of 100.4F or higher, new cough, shortness of breath, and other respiratory symptoms
    -Or two of the following symptoms: Chills, muscle aches, new runny nose/nasal congestion/sore throat, new loss of sense of smell or sense of taste, new headache, diarrhea/vomiting or new rash
    Children:
    -Fever of 100.4F or higher, chills, muscle aches, new runny nose/nasal congestion, sore throat, new loss of sense of smell or sense of taste, new headache, diarrhea/vomiting or new rash
    **Children’s symptoms defined by Michigan Child Care Licensing.

If a child has a fever OR a new cough (but no other symptoms):

  • University of Michigan-Dearborn's policy is that a child with a NEW cough must stay home until the cough diminishes. If a child has a fever they must stay home for 72 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.

If a Child Becomes ill and exhibits multiple symptoms:

  • The child will be isolated and stay in a designated space until someone arrives to pick them up.
  • A staff member will stay with the child until family arrives, and will wear face mask, gloves, face shield and smock for protection.
  • The CDC offers guidance for how to watch for warning signs that symptoms are escalating and how to keep safe when caring for someone who is sick.
  • Children must be picked up as soon as possible after the parent is notified that they have symptoms requiring them to go home.
  • They should not return for at least 10 days after symptoms first started and 72 hours after fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medicines and symptoms have improved, whichever is longer. ** These recommendations come from Michigan Child Care Licensing.
  • Additional guidance will be sought by contacting the Wayne County Health Department, Michigan Child Care Licensing, UM-Dearborn Emergency Management and UM Occupational Health Services.
  • We recommend checking in with a doctor to see if an examination or testing are recommended.

Confirmed Cases

We will use the following recommended practices, policies and protocols to protect the health of children, families, and staff.

  • Staff and families are required to report to the ECEC Academic Director if they become symptomatic or receive positive COVID-19 test results.
  • We will communicate to families that a confirmed case has been identified and be transparent about next steps to mitigate risk.
  • Individual health information will not be disclosed in this process.
  • If there is a confirmed exposure or case, we will follow all recommendations from the Wayne County Health Department, Michigan Child Care Licensing, UM-Dearborn Emergency Management and UM Occupational Health Services.
  • At this time, in accordance with Executive Order No. 2020-166 and University policy, if there is a positive case in a classroom the room will be closed for 14 days to allow for individuals to quarantine. This decision has been made with the health and well-being of everyone at the ECEC and their families in mind.

Reinforce Best Practices to Promote Hygiene

We will reinforce the best practices already used at the ECEC to limit the spread of COVID-19 including but not limited to:

  • We will reinforce regular health and safety practices with children and staff.
  • Continue to implement CDC handwashing guidelines.
  • Use these guidelines from the CDC for cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect toys and materials and deep clean at the end of each day.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect door knobs, handles, light switches and other high-touch surfaces in addition to regular cleaning of floors, bathrooms, rooms etc each evening.
  • Children should bring their own lunch, snacks and water bottles. Lunch boxes, snack containers and water bottles will be sanitized upon arrival if possible and will be sent home daily for cleaning.

Other Measures/Actions
In addition to the above items, we will implement the following strategies in our classrooms and facility to minimize the spread of illness:

  • Limiting group sizes this year to allow for more social distancing
  • In addition to wearing a mask in the morning at screening stations, a mask should be kept in the classroom for each child every day. In accordance with the recent Executive Order No. 2020-164, children are required to wear a mask in common areas and hallways. In the event that your child needs to be in the hallway, go to a common area or becomes ill they will need to have their mask so we are requesting that after screening, you put your child’s mask in their backpack.
  • Temperatures of staff and children will be re-checked mid-day in addition to morning arrival.
  • No parents, visitors or other individuals are allowed inside the building unless extenuating circumstances. Parents who wish to speak to the Academic Director may do so briefly outside during drop off or pick up times. Longer meetings will be scheduled and take place remotely.
  • We will ask parents and other visitors to wear masks while in the building.
  • In accordance with the University of Michigan-Dearborn ECEC policy, any student that has travelled outside the state of Michigan by plane in the past 14 days may not return to school. This policy will be followed to protect the health and well-being of everyone at the ECEC.
  • We ask that families review and sign our Community Commitment to Safety during COVID-19 Pandemic document

 

Early Childhood Education Center

Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC)
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