Reopening South Boston Neighborhood House – WHAT WE KNOW
There are many challenges to reopening Post COVID-19 and we have done our best to outline the program changes below. Despite these changes, all of which are designed to help keep children and staff healthy and safe, SBNH is committed to creating the most nurturing, playful, engaging environment possible. The summer programs at SBNH will be compassionate and loving for the children we serve, where children can play and have fun as safely as possible. SBNH has been serving children and families in South Boston since 1901, and, with your support, cooperation, patience and flexibility, this challenge will not derail us.
Understanding the new regulations issued by Department of Early Education and Care (EEC):
Group Size and Ratio
School Age 1:10/classroom – SBNH will have 2 classrooms – 20 children total
Preschool 2:10/classroom – SBNH will have 2 classrooms – 20 children total
*Groups (children and staff) are not allowed to combine in any way or at any point during the day
Drop Off and Pick Up
Sign In and Screenings will take place at the front entrance of the building(s)
Adult caregiver is required to wear a face covering
Only children will be permitted to pass the health screening point
Pick up will take place at the back entrance of the 136 H street building (School Age Program) and at the side door (to the right of the main entrance) at 1187 Columbia Road building (Preschool).
We are discussing staggered/scheduled pick-up and drop-off times
Daily Health Screenings and handling of ill children during the day
All SBNH employees, parents and participants are required to self-screen and attest prior to coming to SBNH each day.
Children who appear ill or are exhibiting signs of illness will be separated from the larger group and isolated until they can be picked up.
Children in that classroom will be moved so that classroom can be cleaned and disinfected before others return to that classroom.
Classroom furniture will be rearranged to allow for social distancing
Nap/rest areas will be arranged to allow for social distancing
Children will have their own individual art supplies
Sand, play-doh, soft toys and communal toys will be removed from the classrooms
All snacks and meals will be pre-packaged and individually portioned
Thorough handwashing immediately prior to and following all meals
SBNH staff will continue to wear gloves when handling food and throughout meal times
We will provide physical distancing at tables
Thorough sanitizing of tables immediately prior to and following all meals
Outdoor play is being planned – no use of public playgrounds or field trips that require transportation will be scheduled
Procedures for Sick Children or Staff
Designated isolation room(s) for sick children (children will never be left alone)
Emergency backup coverage plan for sick staff members
If a staff member becomes symptomatic: Staff must cease childcare duties immediately and leave the building
If your child becomes sick – you’ll need to pick them up right away.
Children who develop symptoms will be cared for in a safe space away from others until a caregiver picks them up.
If a child or staff member in your child’s classroom becomes sick, all families in that class will be called immediately
If parents cannot be reached by phone, Emergency Contacts will be called
Parents will be asked + encouraged to pick up their children early should this situation arise
It will be important for everyone to remain calm, as COVID symptoms are very similar to many typical viruses and bugs common in childcare settings
Families will be notified as soon as possible if a COVID diagnosis is made, in which case all children and staff in or exposed to that class will need to quarantine at home for 14 days
If a Child or Staff Contracts COVID-19:
Sick children or employees who are COVID-19 positive or symptomatic and presumed to have COVID-19 must not return until they have met the criteria for discontinuing home isolation and have consulted with a health care provider. Exposed individuals must be directed to stay home for at least 14 days after the last day of contact with the person who is sick.
Intensified routine cleaning and disinfecting practices, with extra attention to frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, bathrooms and sinks, keyboards, and bannisters.
Toys and activity items will be frequently cleaned and disinfected, and staff will ensure all objects that children put in their mouths are removed from circulation, cleaned, and sanitized before another child is allowed to use it.
While cleaning and disinfecting, staff will wear gloves as much as possible.
Handwashing or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after these procedures is always required, whether or not gloves are used.
If a program suspects a potential exposure, they must conduct cleaning and disinfecting as follows:
Close off areas visited by the ill persons. Open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before cleaning and disinfection. SBNH must plan for availability of alternative space while areas are out of use.
Cleaning staff must clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
Program staff are required to wear masks when physical distancing is not possible
Caregivers must wear masks at pick-up and drop-off and whenever on SBNH property
Children over the age of two are encouraged, but not required, to wear masks – Children will not wear masks when eating or sleeping
SBNH will provide face coverings for all participants daily
Family Check List
3 changes of labeled, clean clothes in a sealed, clearly labeled plastic bag
No plush toys, but lovies and blankets are allowed
Children who experience symptomatic allergies (or any condition that causes symptoms of illness when they are not sick) will need a doctor’s note on their first day back or as soon as the symptoms occur.
A doctor’s visit is not required, but a recent note from the doctor is.
Financial Impact of COVID on SBNH
The financial impact is significant – and we are working hard to bridge the gap
Tuition revenue decreases (due to serving fewer children)
Expense increases (cleaning supplies, PPE, additional staff to handle new protocols)
Fundraising more challenging and limited due to the economy