Coastal Kids Preschool health and safety guidelines for COVID-19

Updated 8/28/20

Coastal Kids Preschool uses the following health and safety protocols drawn from Maine Department of Education (DOE), Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and LincolnHealth guidance. The intent of these protocols is to mitigate risk and to keep our students, staff, and community as healthy and safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to current conditions, please be aware that inherent risk is still present, even with abundant precautions, and that we will rely on all families and staff to do their parts in regularly washing hands, distancing and wearing face coverings when possible, minimizing travel, and avoiding exposure to large crowds; these individual measures will help to keep our school community healthy. Coastal Kids Preschool’s health and safety protocols are effective immediately, will continue until further notice, and will be regularly reviewed and updated according to local, state, and federal guidance.

Quick links

Physical health & safety considerations

Emotional wellbeing considerations

Policies & procedures – what parents need to know

Further information

Physical health and safety considerations

Coastal Kids’ programming is driven by the fact that childcare is essential for many parents who are returning to work, and that our mission of educating preschool children of all incomes and abilities is critical to the growth, wellbeing, and happiness of our 100 students. Coastal Kids is a vital and vibrant part of our larger Lincoln County and midcoast Maine communities.

That said, Coastal Kids’ ability to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic depends on the following local, state, and national public health markers and safety criteria:

  • A downward trend of flu-like viral symptoms, with particular focus on a downward trajectory of COVID-19 hospitalizations and documented cases in the midcoast region
  • Increased availability of COVID-19 testing
  • Appropriate capacity at local and regional hospitals to treat all COVID-19 cases
  • Compliance with local, state, and federal orders
  • PPE readily available and used as needed
  • Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing agents readily available, with clear guidelines in place for their use both during and after each school day
  • Communication of COVID-19 policies and procedures to all families and staff, including collaboration and guidance from local medical professionals
  • Robust staff training re: disease transmission and mitigation, illness signs and symptoms, PPE use and disposal, school COVID-19 policies and procedures
  • Regular monitoring, updating, and evaluating of school policies and procedures per local, state, and federal COVID-19 developments regarding cases, exposures, and best practices
  • Logistical planning for outdoor classroom spaces, building entry and check-in/out, increased distancing in classrooms, maximized ventilation, snack and mealtime precautions, etc.
  • Daily screening of all students and staff for health and wellness
  • Illness procedures including isolation space at school for those exhibiting signs of illness, cleaning protocols, staff sick leave, quarantine policies, etc.
  • A downward trend of flu-like viral symptoms, with particular focus on a downward trajectory of COVID-19 hospitalizations and documented cases in the midcoast region
  • Increased availability of COVID-19 testing
  • Appropriate capacity at local and regional hospitals to treat all COVID-19 cases
  • Compliance with local, state, and federal orders
  • PPE readily available and used as needed
  • Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing agents readily available, with clear guidelines in place for their use both during and after each school day
  • Communication of COVID-19 policies and procedures to all families and staff, including collaboration and guidance from local medical professionals
  • Robust staff training re: disease transmission and mitigation, illness signs and symptoms, PPE use and disposal, school COVID-19 policies and procedures
  • Regular monitoring, updating, and evaluating of school policies and procedures per local, state, and federal COVID-19 developments regarding cases, exposures, and best practices
  • Logistical planning for outdoor classroom spaces, building entry and check-in/out, increased distancing in classrooms, maximized ventilation, snack and mealtime precautions, etc.
  • Daily screening of all students and staff for health and wellness
  • Illness procedures including isolation space at school for those exhibiting signs of illness, cleaning protocols, staff sick leave, quarantine policies, etc.

These criteria were met for the reopening of school on June 29, 2020. Should local, state, or national circumstances change, criteria will be actively reevaluated in order to keep our school community as safe and healthy as possible.

Emotional wellbeing considerations

We recognize that this can feel like a scary time with many changes for our students and staff! That said, we are acting with the greatest possible attention to the physical health of our community AND to the emotional wellbeing of everyone who comes to Coastal Kids. We believe that our staff and students are resilient, and we know that they are eager to be at school. Those who attended the summer session quickly grew accustomed to our new check-in procedures, teachers and older students wearing face coverings, more sprinklers and fewer wading pools in the playground, snacks from home instead of shared at school, and the many other small changes we’ve made to keep everyone healthy. Thank you for supporting them (and us!) as these changes continue to be used.

We also recognize that COVID-19 precautions can be daunting to parents! Please discuss any questions or concerns with your kids’ teachers and/or with our administrative staff; we’re all happy to listen and to provide help. The main number at school is 207-563-5335; our common email for inquiries is info@coastalkidsme.org; and all teachers and administrative staff members may also be reached individually at “firstname.lastname@coastalkidsme.org.”

Policies & procedures – what parents need to know

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment (PPE) may include face coverings (masks and/or shields), gowns or smocks, non-latex disposable exam gloves, closed-toe shoes, etc. PPE is available to staff and to students over the age of two. Staff members will wear face coverings at all times when six-foot distancing cannot be maintained (hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, classrooms, offices…and outdoors when needed). Per current state mandate, children ages 5+ are required to wear face coverings, children ages 2-4 are encouraged to wear face coverings by parents’ request, and children under age 2 may not wear face coverings. Masks are not worn during snack and lunch and at times when distancing can be observed, including rest time and outdoor play time.

Personal hygiene

Regular hand washing is key to staying healthy! All students and staff members will wash their hands immediately upon entering the school building and regularly throughout the day. We do now request TWO changes of clothes (instead of one) so that children may change if their clothing becomes dirty. We also request that parents thoroughly apply sunscreen to their children before school, and will confirm at morning check-in that this has been done. (We will reapply later in the day as needed.)

School cleaning and disinfection

Our building will be cleaned and surfaces will be disinfected throughout the school day. Our nightly cleaning crew will follow rigorous sanitization guidelines using hospital-grade cleaning products.

Student gear

We request that students limit the items they bring to school each day to one small bag or backpack containing snacks and lunches (see below), two changes of clothes in Ziploc bags, a crib sheet and light blanket for rest (to be laundered regularly at school), and any other necessary items. Please leave toys, stuffies, and other personal items at home.

Student snacks and lunches

Students’ lunches may be packed in lunchboxes. Contents should be packed in easy-open containers or Ziploc bags. Parents should also label and send along a daily Ziploc bag of snacks. The school will not be preparing/sharing any snacks at this time, nor will teachers be able to reheat student lunches brought from home. Please note that students will be distanced as much as is feasible during mealtimes and that meals may sometimes be served picnic-style, outdoors or in classrooms. All students should bring their own full, clean, labeled water bottles to school each day.

Building occupancy

Class sizes are being kept slightly smaller than usual in order to maximize our ability to provide appropriate distancing. Classes will be treated as individual units and each will interact only with one other class – Periwinkles/Minnows, Starfish/Puffins, and Blue/Gray Dolphins. Generally, while there is no community transmission, these class pairs may combine for end of day and playground time; the playground will then be cleaned between each group. Teachers will not move between rooms, and spaces are kept as separate as possible. Rest time will happen in individual classrooms instead of in the Studio, which will be used only for special programming, therapies, and the after-school Sea Turtles class. Older students (Starfish, Puffins, Blue/Gray Dolphins, Sea Turtles) will use the building’s main entrance. Younger students (Periwinkles, Minnows) will use only the playground entrance to access the building.

Student check-in

Coastal Kids’ student check-in procedure includes a daily screening for health and wellness. Green entry cards will be distributed to each family on the first day of school and include our screening questions and a space for parent signature; these should be filled out in advance and will be reviewed and collected daily by the teachers who greet families at their cars. We’ll then take temperatures (100.4° is max), help kids get out of the car, and take them directly to their classrooms. We ask that you please keep sick children and those with known COVID-19 exposure at home, and we reserve the right to deny school entry to children who exhibit signs of illness. We also request that parents remain in their cars in order to expedite the check-in process, and please allow a few extra minutes for drop off.

Student check-out

Green papers will also be distributed to each family on the first day of school; please print your child(ren)’s first name(s) and classroom(s) in large block letters and display your card so that staff can easily see who you’ll be picking up! Teachers will then bring students from their classrooms to cars, where parents will buckle them into car seats and head home for the day.

Illness at school

If a student or staff member falls ill during the school day, they will be moved with a teacher to a safe and isolated location until they can be picked up – which we request within 30 minutes. During times of warmer weather, this location will be under the awnings at either our front entrance (older kids) or playground entrance (younger kids). Once the weather turns colder, this location will be the landing just inside the older, gray building’s front door.

Illness at home

If a student or staff member exhibits signs of any illness, we request that they remain home until 72 symptom-free hours have passed without fever-reducing medications. If symptoms include those of COVID-19 (cough, fever, chills, loss of smell or taste), or if there has been a known exposure to COVID-19, then students or staff members should seek medical advice (and COVID-19 testing, if advised) or quarantine at home for 14 days. If COVID-19 is diagnosed in a student, staff member, and/or their immediate families, then please notify the school and follow all applicable healthcare and quarantine guidelines.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Personal protective equipment (PPE) may include face coverings (masks and/or shields), gowns or smocks, non-latex disposable exam gloves, closed-toe shoes, etc. PPE is available to staff and to students over the age of two. Staff members will wear face coverings at all times when six-foot distancing cannot be maintained (hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, classrooms, offices…and outdoors when needed). Per current state mandate, children ages 5+ are required to wear face coverings, children ages 2-4 are encouraged to wear face coverings by parents’ request, and children under age 2 may not wear face coverings. Masks are not worn during snack and lunch and at times when distancing can be observed, including rest time and outdoor play time.

Personal hygiene

Regular hand washing is key to staying healthy! All students and staff members will wash their hands immediately upon entering the school building and regularly throughout the day. We do now request TWO changes of clothes (instead of one) so that children may change if their clothing becomes dirty. We also request that parents thoroughly apply sunscreen to their children before school, and will confirm at morning check-in that this has been done. (We will reapply later in the day as needed.)

School cleaning and disinfection

Our building will be cleaned and surfaces will be disinfected throughout the school day. Our nightly cleaning crew will follow rigorous sanitization guidelines using hospital-grade cleaning products.

Student gear

We request that students limit the items they bring to school each day to one small bag or backpack containing snacks and lunches (see below), two changes of clothes in Ziploc bags, a crib sheet and light blanket for rest (to be laundered regularly at school), and any other necessary items. Please leave toys, stuffies, and other personal items at home.

Student snacks and lunches

Students’ lunches may be packed in lunchboxes. Contents should be packed in easy-open containers or Ziploc bags. Parents should also label and send along a daily Ziploc bag of snacks. The school will not be preparing/sharing any snacks at this time, nor will teachers be able to reheat student lunches brought from home. Please note that students will be distanced as much as is feasible during mealtimes and that meals may sometimes be served picnic-style, outdoors or in classrooms. All students should bring their own full, clean, labeled water bottles to school each day.

Building occupancy

Class sizes are being kept slightly smaller than usual in order to maximize our ability to provide appropriate distancing. Classes will be treated as individual units and each will interact only with one other class – Periwinkles/Minnows, Starfish/Puffins, and Blue/Gray Dolphins. Generally, while there is no community transmission, these class pairs may combine for end of day and playground time; the playground will then be cleaned between each group. Teachers will not move between rooms, and spaces are kept as separate as possible. Rest time will happen in individual classrooms instead of in the Studio, which will be used only for special programming, therapies, and the after-school Sea Turtles class. Older students (Starfish, Puffins, Blue/Gray Dolphins, Sea Turtles) will use the building’s main entrance. Younger students (Periwinkles, Minnows) will use only the playground entrance to access the building.

Student check-in

Coastal Kids’ student check-in procedure includes a daily screening for health and wellness. Green entry cards will be distributed to each family on the first day of school and include our screening questions and a space for parent signature; these should be filled out in advance and will be reviewed and collected daily by the teachers who greet families at their cars. We’ll then take temperatures (100.4° is max), help kids get out of the car, and take them directly to their classrooms. We ask that you please keep sick children and those with known COVID-19 exposure at home, and we reserve the right to deny school entry to children who exhibit signs of illness. We also request that parents remain in their cars in order to expedite the check-in process, and please allow a few extra minutes for drop off.

Student check-out

Green papers will also be distributed to each family on the first day of school; please print your child(ren)’s first name(s) and classroom(s) in large block letters and display your card so that staff can easily see who you’ll be picking up! Teachers will then bring students from their classrooms to cars, where parents will buckle them into car seats and head home for the day.

Illness at school

If a student or staff member falls ill during the school day, they will be moved with a teacher to a safe and isolated location until they can be picked up – which we request within 30 minutes. During times of warmer weather, this location will be under the awnings at either our front entrance (older kids) or playground entrance (younger kids). Once the weather turns colder, this location will be the landing just inside the older, gray building’s front door.

Illness at home

If a student or staff member exhibits signs of any illness, we request that they remain home until 72 symptom-free hours have passed without fever-reducing medications. If symptoms include those of COVID-19 (cough, fever, chills, loss of smell or taste), or if there has been a known exposure to COVID-19, then students or staff members should seek medical advice (and COVID-19 testing, if advised) or quarantine at home for 14 days. If COVID-19 is diagnosed in a student, staff member, and/or their immediate families, then please notify the school and follow all applicable healthcare and quarantine guidelines.

Questions, updates, & further information

Please check email regularly for updates to these guidelines and direct all inquiries to Coastal Kids’ administrative team at 207-563-5335 or info@coastalkidsme.org. Our goal is to keep all of us as safe and healthy as possible!