On September 10th, Chickpeas reopened its doors after 6 months of closure. Reopening the school safely was not an easy task and took many weeks of preparation. Our successful reopening was made possible by the collective effort of our wonderful parents and teachers. Below is a summary of some of the policies and procedures we have implemented.
Our teachers were trained prior to reopening on all things related to COVID-19. They have a working knowledge of the origins, progression, testing, prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Staff were educated on the CDC guidelines for social distancing, cleaning and disinfecting protocols and response protocols.
CLEANING & HYGIENE PROTOCOLS
Hand washing is required multiple times a day, including upon entering the facility, before and after eating, between program activities, after using the toilet, after touching garbage, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, etc. Hand sanitizer is available to adults throughout common areas and kept out of children's reach.
Cleaning protocols have been enhanced, with all surfaces disinfected at the end of each day. Toys are utilized on a rotating basis and sanitized between usage. Toys that cannot be cleaned (soft toys, dress up clothing) are not being used this year.
SCHEDULE & DAILY HEALTH SCREENINGS
Staggered drop offs have been implemented for all families to minimize congregation inside and outside the facility. Teachers perform daily health screenings upon a child's entrance into the school, with a temperature check and parent questionnaire about potential exposure to COVID-19. Parents are required to wear masks at drop-off and pick-up. Parents do not enter the school beyond the entrance door at drop-off. The only adults within the facility during school hours are the teachers.
New classroom procedures have been put in place to minimize exposure to COVID-19. The class size has been limited to one stable pod of 15 children and 3 teachers. Each family has the opportunity to attend school in-person between three and five days a week. Full-time care (five days a week) is available to all families who need it, thereby eliminating the need for families to have supplemental childcare at other facilities and further strengthening the sanctity of one stable pod.
Teachers are required to wear masks throughout the school day. Children are encouraged to wear masks with positive reinforcement. Children spend a significant amount of time outside in the school's private yard, with as much learning and play taking place outdoors (weather permitting). The class also spends Friday mornings at Prospect Park. Improved ventilation procedures have been put in place, with more improvements on the way for the colder winter months.
While we love enrichment classes at Chickpeas (weekly music, drumming and movement), we moved to eliminate extra adults within the classroom to mitigate risks of COVID-19. We have retained our music teacher to lead virtual music classes twice a week with our in-person and virtual learners.
All families have aligned on abiding by local and national safety recommendations, travel restrictions / quarantine requirements when returning from high risk areas and self reporting systems as recommended by CDC guidelines.
HERE'S HOW OUR TEACHERS PREPARED THE CHILDREN FOR A NEW SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
Chickpeas is offering both in-person and remote learning to families this year. A sample weekly schedule for our remote learners is below.