Looking Forward to a Successful School Year 

Dear Training Station Families,

As we prepare to enter the new school year my staff and I are excited to be back in the classrooms with our students. We know that children learn best when they are able to rely upon their caregivers for stability, when they are able to interact with their peers, and when their environment enables the building of those solid social skills that are invaluable to their development. With that in mind we are starting this year with the hope that we will be able to remain open for the duration of this school year.

The pandemic has affected so many aspects of our lives and changed how we are able to function in our daily lives and routines. The main impact that this pandemic has created is the sense of uncertainty; we do not know from day to day what our world may look like and what may be expected of us. That is doubly true while studying federal and state guidelines that may be changed or updated frequently during the reopening planning process.

We are hopeful for a full school year, however, we have a plan in place should we encounter any disruptions to our school year. We will have new policies for staff and families as we begin the school year and if/when any changes occur we will be quick to keep families informed.

We are praying for a calm and successful year and trust that God has a plan for us and He knows what is in our best interest. We will keep our focus on the positives of being able to be back at school and take each day as it comes.

I am very much looking forward to being back with the children and listening to their observations, sharing their laughter, delighting in their friendships, and reveling in the joys of being an early childhood teacher! Nothing is better than sharing the day with a class of young children as they are learning about their gifts and designing their dreams.

Let the school year begin!

Terri Poloney

Director/Prekindergarten Teacher

Guidelines for Reopening

We are being guided in our reopening by mandates set up by the Maryland State Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control as well as our local Health Department. We intend to be diligent in our efforts to remain in compliance with all of the guidelines for as long as our licensing agency determines that to be the best practice.

Please follow this link for a comprehensive look at the current mandates for child care centers in Maryland.

 

Face Masks

Staff will be required to wear face masks throughout the school day. Adults bringing children to school will also be required to wear face masks. Children will not be required to wear face masks.

Covid-19 Screening and Check In Procedures

Staff will have their temperatures checked upon arrival at the facility and will wear cloth face masks throughout the school day.

Prior to entering the building, children will have their temperatures checked by parents with their own thermometer while being directly observed by a staff member. If a parent does not have a thermometer a staff person will check the child’s temperature with a contactless thermometer. The person dropping off the child will need to give a verbal confirmation that no one in the child’s home is exhibiting signs of Covid-19 or has tested positive for Covid-19. 

Children will go directly to the restroom and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water prior to entering the classroom.

Family members, children, and staff are encouraged to stay home if they are not feeling well or exhibiting any signs of Covid-19.

If a child should become sick while at school they will be removed from the group and wait with a staff person until picked up from school.

 

Drop Off

Drop off and pick up will be modified during the Covid-19 pandemic. MSDE mandates that we limit adults coming into the building. For this reason we will be requiring students in our Prekindergarten, Preschool 3s, and Older First Steps to be dropped off at outside entrances and not brought all the way into their classrooms. Children in our younger First Steps groups will be allowed to drop off inside and will have modified drop off and pick up times.

Children will be able to be checked in by parents on their Hi Mama app. This enables us to have contact-free check-in. Parents/caregivers will be able to check their child into school and also have the ability to leave a note for the teacher through the app during check-in.

Parents will also be able to mark their child as absent through the app if the child will not be attending school for a particular day.

All adults dropping off and picking up will be required to wear a face mask that covers their mouth AND nose. Please have one adult accompany each child to their designated drop off door.

  • Children in our Prekindergarten program come to the front door by and are met by a staff member. Children will undergo a temp check and a Covid-19 free confirmation question before they are escorted into the building by a staff member.
  • Children in our Preschool 3s program and Older First Steps programs will come through the back gate to the playground and be checked in at the backdoor to their classroom.
  • Children in our younger First Steps programs will arrive at school at 9:15 and be allowed into the building to drop off their child directly to the classroom through the backdoor playground entrance in groups of 2. A staff person will be at the door to check in your child and regulate how many people have entered the building.
  • It is required that everyone bringing a child to drop off maintain a 6 foot safe space for social distancing compliance.
Pick Up

At pick up teachers and staff will have children ready with their belongings and will dismiss them to their designated pick up person through the same door through which they arrived.

Children in our younger First Steps classes will be picked up from their classrooms at 11:45. Adults picking up will be allowed entrance to the building in groups of 2. Please remember to wear a face mask and only one adult per child should pick up.

 Please be prompt in exiting so that children waiting for their parent do not have to wait too long.

Children will be checked out for the day by a staff member using the Hi Mama app.

Communication Between Parents and Staff

Typically we have opportunity for staff and parents to engage in short conversations during drop off and pick up times. Due to our limited face to face interactions during this time we will need to rely more heavily on communications through our Hi Mama app or through phone calls and/or texts. Hi Mama has updated some features to help us as we are working through getting back to school during the pandemic. Please become familiar with the app and do not hesitate to ask questions if you are having an issue with using the app.

We have the ability to highlight your child’s day through photos and messages that we will send to you through the app. You also can send messages to your child’s teacher using the app. We understand that communication between staff and parents is extremely important and want to do all that we can to make sure that we remain connected as we work together to ensure that each child is having the best possible experience. Please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or the Director if you have any concerns in this area.

Group Sizes and Use of Space

Currently our state is in Phase 2 of reopening and that sets some limitations on our program as far as group sizes and program logistics. What that will mean for your child is that the class sizes may be smaller than usual. Currently the reduced class size mandate will only affect the Prekindergarten group. That group will be allowed a total of 15 people in the class including teachers. That translates into 13 students and 2 teachers for our Prekindergarten program.

Use of Space relates to how our various classes will interact during the school day. We are encouraged to maintain a class “family” and not interact with other class “families” during our day. That means that we will only be on the playground with our designated group. We will not be able to begin our shared experiences such as Bible Story and Music with Ms. Courtney because those programs introduce a different adult into our class group. Other events such as Book Fairs, Field Trips, and specialized visitors will also not be allowed in our current phase of opening. If and when the guidelines change regarding any of these areas we will be sure to inform you.

 

Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing Routines

Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing all areas in an early childhood program has always been a priority. Our staff is well trained in procedures to keep areas as clean as possible to reduce the spread of disease throughout the school year. We will continue to be diligent in providing the cleanest environments possible. When possible and without risk to our students we will conduct extra sanitizing to shared areas. Classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized at the end of each session to be prepared for the next group.

We will periodically conduct a full building deep cleaning and sanitizing using a professional service or professional equipment approved by the CDC to kill the Coronavirus.

We will follow all mandates from MSDE and the CDC concerning cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing.

We will require frequent hand washing by staff and children using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. We will not use hand sanitizer as that is not the best practice for the safety of young children.

Procedure in the Event of Exposure to a Positive Case of Covid-19

Should a staff member, parent, or child test positive for Covid-19 we will follow the recommendations of the Health Department. For more information on these procedures please refer to the links.
 
 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html

 

 Updates to Our Tuition Payments

  • Due to the uncertainty of reopening during the pandemic we will be suspending the ability for parents to pay for the year in full.
  •  If you paid in full when you registered please see Ms. Terri to discuss a refund and adjustment to your registration deposit.
  • We will be temporarily suspending the discount associated with the full year prepaid option.
  • Your registration deposit will be allocated to May 2021 tuition and your Registration Fee remains non-refundable.
  • You will be responsible for September tuition when school reopens.

In the Event of a Shutdown

If the state of Maryland or MSDE determines that we must close our doors in order to maintain the safety of our staff and students we are prepared to provide a virtual preschool experience for all of our students. Last year we were caught unaware when we were closed and our virtual experiences varied greatly between groups.

This year we are prepared and our outline for virtual preschool will be presented to each class during our first month back to school. We know that young children receive the most benefit from in person learning opportunities; however we have learned that we can continue to provide a familiar structure with continuity through virtual experiences when necessary.

If we are closed at any time during the school year we will be prepared to transition seamlessly into our virtual preschool plan. Parents will have the opportunity to opt-in and remain enrolled in our program at a reduced tuition rate which will be presented along with our outlined plan. If families choose to opt-out of our virtual preschool their child will be considered withdrawn from our program and may be ineligible to return should we be allowed to reopen during the school year, especially if we have our group sizes reduced.

Details and guidelines concerning virtual preschool and shutdown plans will be given to families in September.