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COVID-19 Important News and Policy Update

IMPORTANT HEALTH INFORMATION 

PLEASE READ THOROUGHLY 

Dear Parents,

We are writing to let you know that we are closely monitoring information from our local officials, the Department of Health, and the CDC to ensure that we are doing our part to help minimize the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and keep our students, families and staff safe. 

At this time we are NOT aware of any confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in our community. Should we become aware of any such cases we will promptly communicate with all members of our community and, in consultation with health officials, take appropriate actions.

Our teachers, staff, and maintenance teams have always been diligent about taking the necessary steps to help lower the risk of spreading infections. They are being even more diligent in the consideration of the current situation.

Here are some of our cleaning, disinfection, and hygiene strategies:

  • We are disinfecting the classroom surfaces, sinks, water spouts, door handles and chairs multiple times a day.

  • Toys, art supplies, and manipulates are disinfected daily.

  • Children are washing their hands frequently throughout the day and are taught not to touch their eyes, nose and mouth.  They wash their hands upon arrival into a room, before they eat, after they eat, after diapering or bathrooming, after coming in from the gym or outside, and after nap time.  They also wash their hands regularly before/after class activities.

  • Children are taught to sneeze into their elbows, armpit or tissues and to immediately dispose of tissues.

  • Our maintenance team, staff, and instructors our sanitizing arm rails, mats, desks and seating areas daily.

  • The entire building is thoroughly cleaned by a cleaning crew at the end of each day.

  • Every single classroom has multiple sinks and soap dispensers.

  • We have 6 hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the building, and we will be installing additional dispensers in the coming days.

  • Our staff and teachers have always performed daily health checks for each child upon  arrival at Sunshine Starts. 

  • As an extra precaution, we have temporarily shut off all drinking fountains in the building.  We ask that you pack your child a filled water bottle each day. We will let you know once we have reopened the water fountains.

  • Beginning last week, in anticipation of possible shortages, we have worked with our vendors to secure an adequate supply of hand soap, cleaning products, disinfectant, and hand sanitizer.

At this time we need to come together as a community and help keep everyone healthy. If your child is feeling ill, please keep them home. Additionally, if anyone in the household is experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please stay home, consider seeing a healthcare professional, and keep your child at home. 

We also ask that if you are called because your child is sick here at school, please pick them up promptly.  If you are unable to pick them up within an hour, please make arrangements for someone local to be able to pick your child up within an hour. We understand that this can be a major inconvenience, but we ask for your patience and cooperation as we work to help keep all members of our community safe & healthy. As a reminder, children who are ill must be medicine and symptom free for 24 hours before coming back to school. Additionally, as a temporary measure to help limit the spread of COVID-19, we ask that children experiencing flu-like symptoms be cleared by a doctor before returning to school.

According to the latest information from the CDC the elderly, immuno-compromised, and those with underlying health conditions are particularly at risk for COVID-19 infections. While thankfully it appears that young children are relatively less likely to be affected than adults, nonetheless it does appear that young children can become infected and therefore spread the infection to others. Therefore, if there are members of your household that are elderly, immuno-compromised, or have underlying health conditions, please consider taking extra precautions such as staying home and keeping your children home if you are able.

We also need our parents to be diligent and follow the same preventive measures and follow the CDC recommendations for travel and handwashing. Please see the attachment regarding proper hand washing and how you can help.

Please know that keeping our students healthy is always a priority. With these protocols in place, and with your help, we will do our best to prevent the spread of this virus.

Thank you for your support.

 

Information on Novel Coronavirus-19

How does 2019 Novel (New) Coronavirus spread?

Health experts believe the virus probably spreads from animals to humans and from person to person. 

Outbreaks of novel virus infections among people are always of public health concern. The potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States. However, individual risk is dependent on exposure. For the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low. Therefore, health experts have advised that there is no need to cancel school or social events, and there is no need for students or school staff to wear surgical masks at school.

 

Prevention

There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay home when you are sick.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow/sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.

  • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Symptoms

For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. 

What to do if you have symptoms

Individuals who are experiencing symptoms and may have traveled to areas of concern or have been in contact with persons who have traveled to these areas or believe they have been exposed to the virus should call ahead to their healthcare provider before presenting for treatment.

New York State Department of Health has set up a web page (click here) as well as a Hotline Phone Numbers to call for more information:

  • People under self-quarantine or exposure to known case, call (866) 588-0195

  • NYS Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline (888) 364-3065

  • Westchester County COVID-19 Information dial 211 from your mobile

Handwashing & Coughing Etiquette

Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children healthy habits. We encourage all families to take some time to remind children about handwashing and respiratory etiquette. We also remind families to have their child stay home when they are sick.

We are teaching children the right way to wash hands. Please reinforce these steps at home.  Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs.

Follow these steps every time:

  1. Wet your hands with warm running water.

  2. Lather with soap by rubbing hands together. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between fingers, and under your nails. (for details, see the image below)

  3. Wash for at least 20 seconds. That is about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.

  4. Rinse hands well under clean, running water.

  5. Dry your hands with a paper towel.

  6. Use paper towel to turn off the tap/sink.

  7. Dispose of paper towels in garbage pail.

Please see recommended hand washing technique video from the WHO here

 

Respiratory/Cough Etiquette:

• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

• If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.

• Put your used tissues in a garbage can.

• Always keep hands away from your face. Avoiding touching mouth, nose, or rubbing eyes with hands. 

 We care about the health of our children. When we work together, we help keep children healthy

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