Dear Sunshine Families,
We will be open tomorrow, Thursday March 19th. As we mentioned yesterday, one of our staff members was in close quarters on Sunday with an individual who possibly tested positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately, we still don’t have definitive confirmation whether the individual our staff was in contact with has tested positive — therefore we are operating under the assumption that it was in fact positive. We have reached out to all families who’s children were in contact with the staff member. To be clear, none of our staff have been contacted by the department of health, none of the staff have been asked to quarantine, and of course none of our staff have tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member in question was seen by a doctor and is not exhibiting any symptoms. Nonetheless, out of an abundance of caution that staff member will remain at home. We will provide additional updates as we get them.
We spoke at length with both the New York State Department of Health and Office of Family and Child Services. Both agencies recommended that out of an abundance of caution we reopen after we disinfect the building — which was done today. They also recommended that the staff member in question stay home, again out of an abundance of caution. As you know we have split out staff into Team A and Team B. Only Team A was in the building on Monday and Tuesday, Team B was home. Tomorrow we will reopen with Team B, again out of an abundance of caution. I also wanted to share with you the following except from a March 17th public letter from the New York State Office of Family and Child Services which regulates all childcare facilities in New York State.
“In these uncertain times, it can be difficult to manage the influx of information we hear from many sources. Please be aware that child care programs are NOT being ordered to close. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Governor Cuomo and his administration consider child care to be an essential function critical to enabling parents to go to work.” Janice Molnar, Ph.D., Deputy Commissioner, Division of Child Care Services
If you are planing on bringing your child to Sunshine Starts tomorrow, Thursday March 19, Please fill out this form by 10PM. As we did on Monday and Tuesday we will continue to do curb-side drop-off and pick-up. When you pull up please text us at 914 245 2864 with the name of your child(ren). Their teachers will come out to meet you.
A number of families have reached out with questions regarding tuition. We ask for your patience as we work through that question. We have focused all our efforts on making sure we stay as safe as possible as we remain open for those families that have no other options. While we have decided to use any and all available funds to support our families (tuition) and staff (payroll), exactly what that means is something we need a bit of time to figure out. We promise to be fully transparent on this issue.
I know we have sent a lot of information your way over the past few days, so I wanted to summarize in one place all the procedures we have implemented to make Sunshine Starts as safe as possible.
1. We shortened our operating hours (7:30-5:30) and have asked the staff to work that full 10-hour shift. This allows us to keep the same teachers in the room for the full day. No other staff is coming into the room during the day. This limits the number of people that the children come in contact with. It also isolates each room. Supplies and materials are brought to the door by administrative staff limiting any traffic in the hallways.
2. We have split the staff into two Teams A and B. Each team works 4 10-hour shifts. This provides a degree of social distance and also allows us to take extra precautions.
3. We have closed the teacher’s lounge and have instructed all staff not to congregate in any other area of the building. Staff enter the building and head straight to their rooms.
4. We have instituted curb-side drop-off and pick-up. This again limits the number of individual that are coming into the building on any given day.
5. We have significantly stepped up our already rigorous disinfection procedures. The teachers disinfect within the room multiple times throughout the day, the entire building is cleaned each evening, and we use a fine-mist sprayer with an EPA/FDA approved disinfection agent weekly.
6. The teachers are stressing, more than ever, hand-washing with the kids, reminding them not to touch the face, and to sneeze into their elbow.
7. We have added the number of hand sanitizer dispensers in the building, including an automatic dispenser at the entrance. I can tell you that they are all getting quite a bit of use.
8. We remain on high-alert for any respiratory symptoms, any child or staff experiencing respiratory symptoms are sent home and can only return when cleared by a doctor. If a child or adult exhibits any symptoms, we isolate them in another room until they leave the building.
We continue to the grateful for your support and understanding