As we all know now, the coronavirus COVID-19 has started to affect us deeply in North Carolina since March 3rd, to which Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency. On May 5th, Governor Cooper modified North Carolina’s Stay At Home Executive Order, transitioning the state to Phase 1 of slowly easing COVID-19 restrictions. Executive Order 138 goes into on Friday, May 8 at 5 pm. In accordance with Executive Order 138, child care facilities may be open only if they operate in full compliance with Executive Order 130 and all guidelines issued by NCDHHS. As North Carolina moves into Phase I, flexibility with some child care requirements will continue to be available; however, there are some requirements that will be reinstated effective May 11, 2020.

At this time, child care centers are operating again for all our families; either essential workers or non essential workers. Sff! is following all the recommendations, rules and regulations from the DCDEE (Division of Child Development and Early Education), Center for Disease Control (CDC) and DHHS (NC Department of Health and Human Services.) For this reason, we have updated our plan that revises and improves our procedures in many areas, so that we can help prevent the spread of this and other viruses that are transmitted by contact with other people.

Sff! Updated Policies and Regulations:

  1. Operation Hours – Starting June 1st we will be extending our operational hours from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. After June, we will be evaluating our operational hours according to the transition of phase II and phase III. Parents should expect some waiting time for check-in and check-out procedures.
  2. Building Entrance – Sff! will not allow any person inside the facility, other than the staff, or in case of an emergency, any maintenance or public assistance needed. Parents, contractors, clients, etc., will be received outside the building. We will conduct a daily health screening on all individuals who are entering the building. The person doing screenings should maintain a six-foot distance while asking questions, and this person needs to wear a mask.

          We will ask each staff person and person dropping off children the following questions. Exclude anyone who answers YES to the following questions:

    1. Do you or do any of the children you are dropping off have a fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, new loss of taste or smell (vomiting or diarrhea, children only)?
    2. Have you or any of the children you are dropping off: had any of these symptoms since last time you were last here? Or been in contact with anyone with fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, and new loss of taste or smell (vomiting or diarrhea, children only) since the last time you were here? Or potentially been exposed** to COVID-19 or have reason to believe you/they have COVID-19?
  1. Pick-up and Drop-off. – A staff member will pick up all children at the entrance door starting at 8:30 a.m. All children will be checked and screened by staff before entrance, following the DCDEE guidelines. At pick-up time, please ring the bell and the staff will take your child to the main door, so that you can pick your child up.
    1. ***If possible, the same parent or designated person should drop off and pick up the child every day. Avoid designating those considered at high risk such as elderly grandparents who are over 65 years of age.
    2. **Please keep the social distance recommendation of 6 feet away from one another.
  2. Late Pick-up Fee Policy – Pick-up fee policy will apply after 5:30 p.m., in the same way we have our regular late pick-up fee policy, we are adding to that the following:. In the event that this policy is repeatedly unfollowed, or if the child is picked up after 10 minutes, we will proceed to talk to the parents/guardians. After the third incident, the child unfortunately will not be able to continue attending our program. If the time exceeds more than 30 minutes, we will not be able to receive the child in our program after the first incident. With this change, what we really want to accomplish and enforce is that our staff can return home safe and on time, for which we ask for your cooperation and count on your understanding. Again, everyone’s safety is important and we count on you to keep everyone safe.
  3. Sick Policy – We are adding to our sick policy the following:
    1. Every day at drop-off time, Sff! will screen all children and employees for fever, cough, nasal congestion, and/or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

      *** Additional symptoms include chills, new loss of taste or smell, and vomiting/diarrhea (children only). While symptoms in children are similar to adults, children may have milder symptoms.
      *** Fever is determined by a thermometer reading 100.4 or higher or by subjective signs such as flushed cheeks, fatigue, extreme fussiness, chills, shivering, sweating, achiness, headache, not eating or drinking.

    2. If your child shows any flu symptoms, he/she will not be allowed in the building, or if we notice flu symptoms during the day, we will call you and ask you to pick your child, who will be able to return to school when his/her symptoms subside, or with a doctor’s note stating it’s OK for them to come back. If a child is not feeling well and is not able to follow the routine, we will also call you to pick him/her up.
    3. Keep your children home if they are not feeling well, or have some flu or COVID-19 symptoms.
    4. Children and staff must remain home if sick (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and diarrhea).
    5. If a child or staff member develops the following symptoms, they will be sent home as soon as possible:
      • Fever
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    6. While waiting for a sick child to be picked up, a staff member will stay with the child in a room isolated from others. If the child has symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath), the staff will remain as far away as safely possible from the child (preferably, 6 feet).

      *** The caregiver should wear a cloth face covering. If tolerated, the child should wear a cloth face covering also.

    7. We are flexible for staff members to take sick leave, and be absent so that they do not come to school sick until they are fully recovered.
    8. Staff members and/or children with a temperature greater than 100.4 F (and no known COVID-19 exposure) will be sent home until they have had no fever for 3 days without the use of fever-reducing medications (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen) or anyone suspected to have or diagnosed with COVID-19 will remain isolated at home until at least 7 days after symptom onset AND ≥72 hours after symptom resolution (absence of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication and improvement in respiratory symptoms), whichever is longer. Doctor’s notes will be requested.

Exclusion Criteria:

Exclude if directed to do so in the chart below or if:

  • The child’s health care professional recommends exclusion.
  • The child is unable to participate in activities as normal.
  • The child needs more care than staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of other children.
  • The child has a fever (taken at armpit or orally).
  • A child older than two months has a temperature of 101 F or higher
  • An infant younger than two months has a temperature of 100.4 F or higher
  • The child has two or more episodes of vomiting within a 12-hour period.
  • The child has two or more episodes of diarrhea.
  • Additionally, a child or staff member will be excluded:

Additionally, a child or staff member will be excluded:

  • Exclude children and staff who share a home (including siblings) or who have been in close contact with anyone in the four categories below:1.
      • Person is showing any of the symptoms of COVID-19
      • Person thinks they could have COVID-19
      • Person has tested positive for COVID-19
      • Person is awaiting the results of testing for COVID-19
  • Individuals or children who have had close contact (e.g., household members) with a person with respiratory illness are encouraged to stay at home and monitor themselves for symptoms (i.e. fever, cough, shortness of breath).
  • If someone in the household has respiratory illness or is suspected/confirmed to have COVID-19, the child or staff member should stay home, self-monitor, limit outside interaction as much as possible, and self-isolate if he/she develops symptoms. Staff/children should self-monitor for 14 days following the last date of exposure to the ill person while that person was sick.
  • Children or staff who are considered high-risk or
  • People aged 65 years and older
    • People with high-risk conditions:
    • Heart Disease
    • Chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have heart disease with complications
    • People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)≥40)
    • Certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk.
    • People who are pregnant are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk

The safety and health of our children and our staff is our top priority and for this reason, we will be making the best decision, always, thinking in the safety of our children and staff.