MSA COVID-19 INFORMATION
At MSA, the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority. Prior to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, MSA already had many systems in place that prevented the spread of contagious diseases, however, we recognize that COVID-19 presents new challenges that we must address. As the situation has continued to evolve and new information has been received, we have adjusted our policies in response to requirements set forth by Governor Abbott, Texas Health and Human Services Child Care Licensing Department, the Texas Education Agency, and CDC guidance.
The use of partitions will be used to separate children in areas where social distancing is not possible including between computers.
While social distancing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, there are times when this is not feasible in a school setting including when walking students down the hall to go to recess, lunch, etc. During these times students 2 and up (as directed by the CDC and DHHS) will be required to wear a face mask, gaiter, or shield to contain respiratory droplets during these transitions. This practice will also aid in containing the spread from one group of children to another in common areas in order to reduce the need to shut down large groups of students in the event of a positive case.
Employee and child wellness screenings are conducted prior to entering the building. This screening includes a brief questionnaire, physical observation, and temperature check by trained MSA personnel. Employees and children who display symptoms of contagious disease, have had known exposure to COVID-19, who have a temperature above 100 degrees, or have traveled to an area requiring a self-quarantine period are not permitted in the building.
Children who become ill during the school day are isolated and the parent notified to promptly pick them up. Children may not return to school or care until they are symptom free for 72 hours without the assistance of medication or have a doctor’s note indicating an alternate diagnosis.
Group Size and Ratios
One of the many highlights of our program is our lower than average student to teacher ratio. In many cases, MSA’s group sizes and ratios are already lower than the Minimum Standards outlined by Childcare Licensing and the student teacher ratio established by the Texas Education Agency. At this time, we are closely adhering to the even lower ratios established by the Governor’s Minimum Standard Health Protocols.
In addition to lower group sizes, we are rearranging rooms to accommodate more independent play. While it is not realistic to expect children to play independently all day, we know that using the entire room to divide up play areas will limit the amount of close contact they have and can help prevent young children from accidentally sneezing or coughing on classmates. In some cases, we are repurposing rooms that once accommodated multiple groups (such as the cafeteria and gym) to allow groups of older children more room to spread out.
As an increased measure, we have designated outdoor areas for each group of children. These areas include picnic tables for open air dining and outdoor learning as well as, play structures and equipment such as, balls, hula hoops, and jump ropes. Shared equipment and play structures are sanitized twice daily. As always, children also enjoy designated splash days in our spray ground.
To decrease the risk of exposure to COVID-19 visitors are not permitted in the building at this time.
Meals and Snacks
As recommended by the CDC, our cafeterias are closed to group dining. All meals are served in the classroom or in multiple outside dining locations. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks are prepared, individually plated/packaged, and delivered to each group of children by our kitchen staff.
In addition to our regular disinfecting and sanitizing routine, as recommended by the CDC, we have increased the frequency of disinfecting and sanitizing frequently touched surfaces, such as, but not limited to, tables, door pulls, facets, keypads, toys, etc. Outside play structures and equipment are sanitized with a bleach solution twice daily.
In accordance with CDC guidelines all field trips are cancelled at this time. Families and staff who travel must inform MSA in writing of their travel destinations and check the Texas Department of Public Safety website (https://www.dps.texas.gov/COVIDtravel/) for updated travel restrictions for roadways and air travel both before departure and return. If mandated self-quarantine is required upon return.
Additional Measure Being Taken to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
As recommended by the CDC and Governor Abbott’s Minimum Standard Health Protocols, all MSA staff are wearing face masks until the Governor deems it no longer necessary. In addition, staff working with children in infant through transition classes, as well as those doing health screenings, will wear smocks to cover their clothing and make it easy for them to change in the event that a child sneezes, coughs, or spits up on them.