Dear WCMS Families,
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, we at The Wesley Chapel Montessori School (WCMS) want you to know that we value your family’s safety and wellbeing. The current state of the world has made us re-evaluate how we operate as a child care center. For this reason, we have composed a Pandemic Handbook implementing new policies and procedures. We ask that families take the time to thoroughly read through the following Pandemic Handbook that we have put into place to help keep everyone healthy and safe. This handbook serves as a guide for parents during the Coronavirus pandemic. This handbook will be adjusted based on updated information on the Coronavirus pandemic and as needed with state and federal guidelines.
The policies and procedures listed below were created with guidance with the Governor, Florida Department of Health (FDH), Florida Department of Children and Families (FLDCF), and The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to keep children, families and staff safe and healthy. Due to mandates and licensing requirements, as well as best practices, the policies and procedures listed below are mandatory for all children, staff, and families.
We are committed to taking all precautions toward keeping children, staff, and families safe and healthy as well as to follow all rules, regulations, and recommendations of the local, state and federal government. We ask for our families’ cooperation in following the outlined policies and procedures for not only your family’s safety but ours as well. We encourage families to speak to their child about all of the new changes as it will directly affect their routine and experience at WCMS.
I. Social Distancing – Policy No. 1.1
Keeping in mind that social distancing is difficult to do with young children, we will be implementing the following strategies to help children with social distancing as much as possible.
- Pre-Primary Classrooms (3 – 6 years) will consist of one (1) teacher with no more than ten (10) children per day. Young Children’s Primary Classroom (12 mos. – 3 years) will consist of two (2) teachers with no more than ten (10) children per day.
- The classrooms will be physically rearranged in order to promote more individual work and play.
- Outdoor Play Time will be staggered and each class will have their own designated outdoor space.
- The same small group of children and staff members will be kept together throughout the day to avoid combining children unless necessary. The same staff will remain with the same group of children from day to day and week to week unless a substitute is need. This will help reduce potential exposures.
- Activities that do not require close physical contact between children will be planned.
- No large group activities will be planned. All in-school field trips led by a third party have been suspended. All after school activities led by a third party have also been suspended until further notice.
- Item sharing will be limited and shared items will be disinfected frequently. Students will be reminded not to touch their faces and wash their hands after using these items.
- Children working on the floor will be spaced out as much as possible, ideally six (6) feet if possible, and assigned their own work mat to be kept in their cubby.
- Time standing in lines will be minimized.
- At nap time, mats will be spaced out as much as possible, ideally six (6) feet if possible.
II. Appearance and Attire – Policy No. 1.2
Children are welcome to wear play clothes during Summer Camp and are not required to wear uniforms. Play clothes must follow our Appearance and School Uniform Policy located in the 2019-2020 Parent Handbook. The Appearance and School Uniform Policy can be found below.
Each child is required to provide two (2) sets of change of clothes to be kept at the school in the child’s cubby. Change of clothes will consist of shirts, shorts or pants, underwear, socks, shoes (recommended). On Water Days, children will need to bring a swimsuit, water shoes, towel, and an extra change of clothes. Please bring these items in a Ziploc bag clearly labeled with the child’s first and last name.
All children are required to have a second pair of shoes (indoor shoes) to be kept at the school to be put on when entering the building. We will NOT allow children inside the building with shoes they previously came from outside of the building. Shoes must be clean and easy to put on. We do not recommend shoes with laces for children that do not know how to tie shoe laces.
‘2019 – 2020 Parent Handbook: Appearance and School Uniform – Policy No. 2.1 (page 13)’
Play clothes may NOT be:
Garments which display or suggest sexual, vulgar, drug, gang, weapons, or alcohol-related wording or graphics, or which provoke violence or disruption in the school.
Students must wear closed-toed shoes that are sturdy and comfortable. Sandals and flip-flops are highly discouraged. Excessive jewelry (bracelets, necklaces, rings, watches, sunglasses) and hair accessories including hats/caps are not permitted inside the classroom as they are a distraction to the children in the classroom. Children may bring a hat/cap and sunglasses to wear during outside play.
III. Personal Belongings – Policy No. 1.3
Personal belongings besides what is necessary such as a lunch box and nap backpacks will not be permitted. We will ask parents to take any personal items the child may bring with them to school.
Please clearly label jackets, hats/caps, lunch boxes, water bottles, nap backpacks and any other items brought to school that needs to be returned home. WCMS is not responsible for personal belongings that are lost or damaged.
IV. Food – Policy No. 1.4
WCMS will suspend all family-style snack and meals. Each child will be served individually wrapped snacks to be eaten at the designated table(s). On Pizza Friday, teachers will continue to serve children fresh cheese pizza, juice, and a dessert.
All foods used in cooking activities, will be served by the teacher. Each child will get their own utensils and food portions.
We will continue to only serve single use plastic cups, forks, spoons, and plates.
V. Required Supplies/Items – Policy No. 1.5
All children will need the following supplies for Summer Camp 2020 enrollment:
- Two (2) sets of changes of clothes: shirts, shorts or pants, underwear, socks, shoes (recommended) in a Ziploc bag clearly labeled with the child’s first and last name.
- Clean pair of indoor shoes to be worn (and kept) ONLY at WCMS.
- Pencil box with the following items: (1) pack of coloring pencils (Crayons – YCP), (2) glue sticks, (1) safety Scissors, (1) eraser
- Vinyl or plastic two (2) pocket folder
- Clean lunch box
- Water Cup/Bottle (Water Fountains will only be used to refill water cups/bottles)
- Sunscreen (Medication Form must be filled out)
Your child’s name should be clearly marked on all of your child’s supplies with their first and last name.
VI. Summer Camp Tuition – Policy No. 1.6
This policy is specifically for The Wesley Chapel Montessori School Summer Camp Program. Parents must also follow our Tuition Policy located in the 2019-2020 Parent Handbook. WCMS’s Tuition Policy can be found below.
- A $50 Summer Camp Non-Refundable Registration Fee must be made at the time of enrollment.
- WCMS will no longer accept weekly or biweekly payments for Summer Camp 2020. All Summer Camp 2020 tuition payments will be collected every month at the beginning of the month for the number of weeks children attend in a month. E.g. If your child is attending three (3) of the four (4) weeks in the month of June, you will be sent an invoice for three (3) weeks to be paid at the beginning of June.
- Tuition must be paid at the beginning of the month regardless when children are attending summer camp for the month. E.g. If your child will not be attending until Week Two (2) of Summer Camp 2020, tuition must still be paid at the beginning of June.
- If your child is attending four (4) or fewer weeks of Summer Camp 2020, payment is due in full at the beginning of the month the child is attending.
- Summer Camp 2020 has a total of ten (10) weeks from June 1st to August 5th. For invoicing purposes, the month of June consists of four (4) weeks, the month of July consists of five (5) weeks, and the month of August consists of one (1) week for a total of ten (10) weeks.
- Program type must be the same for all ten (10) weeks. E.g. If your child is attending Five (5) Full Days, it must remain the same for all ten (10) weeks of Summer Camp.
- WCMS will be closed Thursday, August 6th and Friday, August 7th. Irrespective of school closure dates, tuition for that week must be paid in full at the beginning of the month.
- There will be no makeup days due to absences of any reason. If WCMS is closed on a day your child attends, your child may not substitute any days.
- WCMS will NOT pro-rate any weeks/days or offer any tuition credits or refunds if your child does not attend due to absences of any reason. WCMS will NOT offer any tuition credits or refunds if you choose to keep your child at home due to Coronavirus while WCMS is open and operational.
- In the event WCMS is mandated to close for an extended period of time by the state or federal government, your child’s WCMS account will be credited the number of weeks paid for.
- Tuition Rates do not include the $12 monthly charge for pizza on Fridays. Payment for pizza must be included with monthly tuition payment.
- WCMS will NOT be offering Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten or Kindergarten prices during Summer Camp. Please refer to the Summer Camp 2020 Registration Packet for tuition rates.
‘2019 – 2020 Parent Handbook: Tuition – Policy No. 1.3 (page 12)’
The tuition installment payment is due every month irrespective of how many days your child is absent due to sickness, family vacations, or official holidays/breaks observed by the school. WCMS will NOT refund, credit, or pro-rate tuition if a child is absent due to sickness, family vacations, or official holidays and breaks observed by the school under any circumstances. If your child does not plan to attend school for an extended period of time, tuition must continue to be paid to reserve their seat in the classroom. If your child is absent for an extended amount of time and tuition has not been paid for the month, your child will be withdrawn from the school. To re-enroll your child, parents will be responsible for paying the $300 registration fee contingent upon available spots.
Tuition is due by the 3rd business day of the month. Payment is accepted in the form of a personal check, money order, cash or recurring monthly automatic payment through a bank account. Please use your cancelled check and/or monthly invoice in lieu of receipts as receipts will not be given. A late fee of $10 per day will apply for all tuition received after the 3rd business day of the month. A $35 fee will apply on all returned checks. The receipt of two “Insufficient Funds” checks will require that all future tuition payments and penalty fees be paid by money order or cash. For tuition payment made online with a debit or credit card, a 3.5% convenience fee will be applied. Parents also have the option to sign up for monthly recurring automatic payment through their bank account. If you would like to sign up for Auto Pay, please ask a staff member for the “Recurring Payment Authorization Form”.
In the event of an overdue account of more than five school days, the child will not be permitted to attend school until full payment and any accrued late fees has been made or permission has been obtained from the Director. Tuition payment must be given to an office staff member.
VII. Arrival/ Dismissal Procedure – Policy No. 1.7
We ask for our families’ cooperation and patience as the arrival and dismissal procedure will take longer than normal. Please allow up to 5 minutes for daily arrival and dismissal procedures.
Parents will NOT be permitted to enter the building for drop off or pick up. If parents need to speak with a staff member in person they must wear a face mask/covering and wash their hands upon entry. If parents would like to enter the building to see their child’s classroom, they must wear a face mask/covering, wash their hands upon entry as well as remove their shoes. We ask that no parent touch anything or other students during this time. We ask that when in the building, parents respect the personal space of students and staff by standing at least six (6) feet away.
If possible, the same parent or authorized persons should drop off and pick up the child every day. Avoid designating those considered at high risk to pick up the child.
If you meet any of the following criteria and if not necessary, please do not enter the building and do not pick-up/drop-off a child at our center:
- Older than 65 years old
- Have underlying health conditions, including those with compromised immune systems or respiratory conditions like severe asthma
- Have symptoms of Coronavirus (fever, cough, shortness of breath)
- Have been in contact with someone with Coronavirus in the last 14 days
- Have returned from travel from anywhere outside of the US. in the last 14 days
When arriving at school, only one (1) parent or authorized persons should walk the child to the door. Parents or authorized persons are asked to stand six (6) feet from the door. Tape will be placed on the ground to indicate a distance of six (6) feet. We ask that all parents or authorized persons keep a distance of six (6) feet while waiting to drop-off their child. Parents or authorized persons will then help the child remove their shoes. Once the child is inside the lobby, a staff member will take the child’s temperature. Children will have their temperatures checked daily before being permitted to enter the classroom. Any child with a fever of more than 100.4˚ must remain out of school for at least 48 hours without the aid of fever reducing medications. Please see our Coronavirus and Illness Policy on page 8. We will NOT allow a doctor’s note before the 48 hours to return to school.
Parents or authorized persons will complete the child’s ‘Daily Health Log’ and record the child’s temperature, time of arrival, and their signature. Each child will have their own file with a ‘Daily Health Log’ to be completed each day of attendance at WCMS. We ask parents or authorized persons to bring their own pen.
Once the child’s temperature has been taken and recorded, a staff member will assist the child to put on their indoor school shoes that are to remain at WCMS. That staff member will then walk the child to the nearest sink to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. They will then be escorted to their classroom.
Before the child leaves the building, they will wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. We will assist the child to take off their indoor shoes that are to remain at WCMS. Parents or authorized persons to pick up will record the time of dismissal with their signature on the ‘Daily Health Log’. Children in diapers or pullups will be changed and or taken to the restroom before leaving. We ask parents or authorized person to pick up to wait patiently outside for the child to be dismissed.
VIII. Handwashing – Policy No. 1.8
WCMS will take every precaution for children to stay healthy. Frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds will be performed several times throughout the day.
If soap and water are not readily available, they will using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Children will be reminded to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and to cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
All children and staff will engage in hand washing or sanitizing at the following times:
- Arriving at the center
- Before leaving the center
- Before and after preparing food or drinks
- Before and after eating or handling food, or feeding children
- Before and after administering medication or medical ointment
- After diapering
- After using the toilet or helping a child use the restroom
- After coming in contact with bodily fluid
- After playing outdoors
- After handling garbage
- After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Before coming in contact with any sick child
- After touching or cleaning surfaces that may be contaminated
- After using shared equipment
All children and staff must adhere to regular hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds:
- Turn water on and wet hands o
- Add soap to hands and create friction to make bubbles
- Scrub for 20 seconds (sing Happy Birthday or ABC’s)
- Rinse hands under running water
- Dry hands with single use paper towel o
- Turn off faucet with paper towel
IX. Cleaning/ Sanitizing – Policy No. 1.9
WCMS is dedicated to providing a clean and safe center for the children and staff. Frequent and consistent cleaning and disinfecting of the center and materials will be conducted throughout the day by staff and a professional cleaning service.
WCMS will follow a schedule for cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day. Surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, etc. will be routinely cleaned throughout the day. Tables and chairs will be cleaned after every work cycle and meals and patio tables will be cleaned after every meal. All shelves will be cleaned at the end of each day. Our cleaning service will clean the center daily Monday through Friday with strict cleaning and disinfection standards of the bathrooms, sinks, floors including vinyl and carpet areas, windows and blinds, fans, etc.
Each child’s belongings including change of clothes, lunch box, and water cup/bottle will be stored in individual cubbies labeled with children’s first and last name. Nap mats will also be stored in individual cubbies labeled with children’s first and last name. Cubbies will be cleaned at the end of the day. All nap bedding will be sent home to be washed each week. Soiled clothes will be sent home to be washed the same day. Materials will be cleaned and sanitized frequently throughout the day. Works/materials for activities that cannot be cleaned and sanitized will not be used. Children’s books or other paper-based materials are not considered a high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfecting. However, staff will set aside any books that have been placed in a child’s mouth or are otherwise contaminated by bodily fluids until they can be sanitized properly.
X. Coronavirus and Other Illnesses – Policy No. 1.10
We ask for our families’ help in keeping students and staff healthy. The way that families can help is by not sending children to school if they are sick or experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus. It is the responsibility of the parents to be open and honest with staff about any illnesses the child or family member may be experiencing. If we find that this is not the case, students will be asked to not attend school. Parents must also follow our Medication and Illness Policy located in the 2019 – 2020 Parent Handbook. The 2019 – 2020 Parent Handbook Medication and Illness Policy can be found below.
i. Symptoms of Coronavirus according to the CDC:
- Fever (100.4˚ or higher)
- Shortness of breath/wheezing
While symptoms in children are similar to adults, children may have milder symptoms. Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Sore throat, headache, vomiting and diarrhea are less commonly reported.
Children will be monitored for signs or symptoms of Coronavirus daily. Children who develop signs/symptoms of Coronavirus while at WCMS, will be immediately separated from others and parents or emergency contact will be contacted to pick-up the child within one hour of being contacted. The child will be sent home and may not return for at least 48 hours without the aid of fever reducing medications and will be required to be seen by a health care provider with-in 24 hours. Parents will be required to contact the school within 24 hours to report what the illness may be. If a medical professional suspects the child to have Coronavirus, the child will be required to stay home for a minimum of seven (7) days. Please refer to the guidelines below for returning to school.
Please have plans in place to ensure you or a designated person is available if this should occur. Please be sure that we have the most up to date contact information as well as the most up to date emergency contact information.
ii. Please keep children home if any of the following applies:
- Have a fever of 100.4˚ or higher or other potential symptoms of Coronavirus, such as shortness of breath or persistent dry cough within the last 72 hours. Please call your health care provider if you believe your child is experiencing Coronavirus related symptoms.
- Have come in contact with others who have or is being tested for Coronavirus.
- Has traveled outside of the U.S. in the last fourteen (14) days.
If a child has a fever, cough, or shortness of breath and has NOT been around anyone who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus, they can return to the center no sooner than 48 hours after the fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and symptoms get better. If the child’s symptoms worsen, parents should contact their healthcare provider to determine if they should be tested for Coronavirus. Children sent home with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath cannot return before 48 hours even with a doctor’s note.
If an enrolled child or staff member tests positive for Coronavirus, WCMS will contact FDH and FLDCF to report confirmed cases. Important relative information will be reported to those departments. WCMS will follow their guidance for next steps. WCMS will also post and notify all families of any confirmed cases (child or staff) of Coronavirus. Any child or staff member that tests positive for Coronavirus must remain home for at least seven (7) days following the first signs/symptoms of Coronavirus. Please refer to the guidelines below for returning to school.
If there is a case of Coronavirus among children or staff, we will temporarily close the school to allow for sufficient cleaning and disinfection. Our decision to stay open or to close will be based on recommendations from our local health department and licensing agency.
iii. Returning to school:
Any persons that tested positive with Coronavirus who have stayed home (home isolated) can return to school under the following conditions:
- If you HAVE NOT had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three (3) things have happened:
- You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications) AND
- other symptoms have improved (cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
- at least 10 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
- If you HAVE had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three (3) things have happened:
- You no longer have a fever (without the use of fever reducing medications) AND
- other symptoms have improved (cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND
- You received two (2) negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.
Any persons who DID NOT have Coronavirus symptoms, but tested positive and have stayed home (home isolated) can return to school under the following conditions.
- If you HAVE NOT had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can return to school after these two (2) things have happened:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of your first positive test AND
- You continue to have no symptoms (fever, no cough, or shortness of breath) since the test.
- If you HAVE had a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after:
- You received two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart. Your doctor will follow CDC guidelines.
‘2019 – 2020 Parent Handbook: Medication and Illness – Policy 3.8 (page 20-21)’
*Our Illness policy remains in effect for symptoms and illnesses not related to Coronavirus. Please refer to the policy above for symptoms related to Coronavirus*
Parents are requested to notify the school when a child is going to be absent due to an illness. Communicable diseases must be reported to the school immediately.
If your child exhibits any of the following conditions in the past 24 hours, your child must be kept home. Also, children will be sent home if they exhibit any signs of the following:
- Fever of 100.4˚ or above (See above)
- Shortness of breath (See above)
- Cough (See above)
- Excessive yellow/ green mucus discharge from the nose
- Stiff neck or headache
- Pink eye
- Untreated skin patches/rashes
Children exhibiting any of the above symptoms will be removed from the classroom immediately to avoid spreading illness to the other children and employees. The child will remain in the care of a staff member in the front office until a parent or emergency contact arrives to pick-up the child. Children may not return to school for a minimum of 1 full business day contingent upon the child being symptom free without medication for at least 24 hours.
The Director will only dispense medicine if prescribed by a physician. The state requires an ‘Authorization of Medication Dispensing’ form to be filled out by the parent in order for medicine to be dispensed at the school. Dosage and instructions must be clearly labeled. However, we strongly recommend that you request from your child’s physician a medication that can be administered at home in the morning or evening.
Do not send cough drops, sun screen or any other over the counter medication unless accompanied by a doctor’s prescription or note. Parents must complete the ‘Authorization of Medication Dispensing’ form in order to keep any doctor prescribed or over the counter medication at the school. Do not send any medication in your child’s lunch box. All medicine must be handed to the Director. In the event that any side effects are noticed from any doctor-prescribed medications, parents will be notified immediately.
Parents are asked to use extreme caution when returning their child to school. Children diagnosed with Strep Throat or other contagious illnesses must be on antibiotics for a minimum of 48 hours before returning. Severe coughing and runny noses that are thick with mucus are conditions that require at-home care.
XI. Communication – Policy No. 1.11
Communication between WCMS and families is vital especially during these times. WCMS will continue to communicate with parents via phone, email, Facebook, and ClassDojo. WCMS will post any updates, notices, and reminders on the front door of the building as well as on our website, by email, Facebook, and ClassDojo. Parents can keep in direct contact with their child’s teacher via ClassDojo. In the event WCMS is mandated to close, parents will be notified immediately.
XII. Coronavirus Resources – Policy No. 1.12
For more information on Coronavirus, you may visit the following websites.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019nCoV/index.html
- Florida Department of Health: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/
- Florida Department of Children and Families: https://www.myflfamilies.com/covid19/
XIII. Face Mask/Covering: Policy No. 1.13
The CDC recommends children two (2) years and older to wear a cloth face mask/covering over their nose and mouth when in public settings where it’s difficult to practice social distancing. A cloth face mask/covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but may prevent the spread of the virus from the wearer to others in the event that someone is infected but does not have symptoms.
WCMS does not require children to wear a face mask/covering while at school. Should parents choose for their child to wear a face mask/covering while at school, parents do so at their own accord. All face masks/coverings should be clearly labeled with the child’s first and last name.
WCMS is not responsible for face mask/covering on children including but not limited to:
- Keeping face masks/coverings on the child
- Maintaining the condition of the face mask/covering
- Lost or damaged face masks/coverings
Children will not wear face masks/coverings while napping, during outdoor play, and eating. Face masks/coverings should be replaced and/or washed daily. WCMS will NOT permit children under three (3) years old to wear a face mask/covering.
XIV. School Closure: Policy No. 1.14
In the event that The Wesley Chapel Montessori School is mandated to close or the owner of The Wesley Chapel Montessori School deems necessary the extended closure of the school, parents will be immediately notified via email, phone, and/or social media.
Plans for distance learning will be in place including ‘At Home Montessori Work Packets’ with supplies, weekly Zoom Class Calls, educational resources via private Facebook group and ClassDojo, continued teacher communication through ClassDojo, and weekly parent communication.