Our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

BNS will be taking the following steps to ensure that we are doing everything we can do to prevent the spread of germs during the 2020-2021 school year.

We will:

  • Stagger arrival and dismissal times
  • Ensure children and adults wash hands and have their temperature taken when entering the building
  • Limit the number of adults in the building and require all adults to wear masks in the building
  • Limit each classroom to, no more, than 15 students a day
  • Keep groups separate during the school day and after-school events
  • Create an environment and routines that encourage children to physically distance
  • Have the school professionally cleaned 3 times a week
  • Disinfect “high touch” areas during the school day (when children are not present) and at the end of the school day, using CDC approved cleaners for killing COVID-19 germs
  • Run Air Purifiers in each classroom
  • Conduct meetings by Zoom when possible and appropriate
  • Require families to stay home for 14 days after visiting a place where COVID-19 cases are on the rise
  • Get fresh air and play outside as much as possible
  • Do our absolute best to keep your children safe…. physically and psychologically!

For this year to be a success, we need your help and cooperation more than ever. We are asking all families to read our Parent Handbook extra carefully this year. We need all of you to commit to keeping our BNS family safe, by keeping children home when sick, making smart choices when outside of school, and maintaining an open line of communication with the teachers. It is critical that you let us know right away if anyone in your family is directly exposed, or tests positive, for COVID-19.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can BNS operate, even if the public schools are closed?

We are considered “child care” but not a “child care center” or a “day care center” (simply because of the fact that we run for less than 3 hours a day)

From the NY State Regulations, “Child care means care for a child on a regular basis provided away from the child’s residence for less than 24 hours per day by someone other than the parent, stepparent, guardian or relative.”

As such, we are considered “essential” and have been, technically, able to operate at all times.

In addition, we are a small school with less than 55 families and we spend a lot of time outside each day. This puts us in a very different position than public schools with hundreds of children, a variety of people in and out of the schools, and very little time outside.

 

How will you ensure that sick children do not come to school?

Every family will be given a Daily Screening Protocol and will be asked to keep children home if they demonstrate any of the symptoms of Covid-19 or any other communicable disease.

Temperatures will be taken every day at arrival. No child or adult will be allowed in with a temperature greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

If during the school day, a child exhibits any concerning symptoms, he or she will be separated from the group and parents will be called to pick up that child.

Families will also be given clear instructions on when children can return to school after an illness. We need to work together as a team to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy.

 

Are children required to wear masks?

As of right now, children are not required to wear masks in the “private space” of school/child care. In fact, early childhood education experts recommend that children do not wear masks for a variety of reasons, one of which is that children tend to touch their faces more frequently when wearing masks.

If you want your child to wear a mask, please reach out to the school director, Lisa Beck, to discuss possibilities. We are required to get written permission from parents who wish to send their children in masks.

 

Will children be prevented from touching each other or sitting/standing too close?

It is very unlikely/improbable that we will be able to completely prevent children from touching each other or getting close to each other. However, we have been brainstorming different strategies for encouraging more space between children.

From our current understanding, “exposure” to Covid-19 means being within 6 ft. of another person for 10 minutes. Luckily for us, young children have pretty short attention spans and are very rarely with the same person in the same space for 10 minutes!

We will do our best to space children out in line and when sitting on the rug or in the classroom. We will also do our best to ensure that children are rarely directly across from each other for extended periods of time. This and frequent hand washing should make the most difference in terms of germ reduction.

 

How will you handle snacks in the Fall? Will families still be supplying snacks?

For the time being, we will be asking families to provide individual snacks daily. The snacks must be healthy and nut-free.

 

Spending outside seems to be a safe way to play, but what will you do if it is too rainy or cold to go outside?

 BNS is unique in that we try to take advantage of our amazing outdoor play space every day – even in less than ideal weather. We will encourage families to provide their children with appropriate outerwear so they can go out as much as possible.

In addition, we are thinking through possibilities of offering a covered space outside. Stay tuned!

 

What will be the response if someone at the school (child, staff, family member) test positive for COVID-19? 

If someone in the BNS family tests positive, we will alert everyone in the school and we will close the school down for a minimum of 2 days. This will enable us to get specific response guidance from the CDC and DOH and get a deep cleaning of the school. Based on the guidance we receive from NY State DOH, we will may have to close the school (or a specific classroom) for up to 2 weeks.

 

If you do have to close the school for a week or longer, will you do Zoom sessions with the kids?

If we have to close for a week or longer, the teachers will be in touch with you to set up one or more Zoom sessions. It is up to you and your child whether you want to participate in the Zoom sessions. We at BNS do not believe children learn best in front of screens, so our Zoom sessions will be largely used as a method of staying connected and introducing activity ideas for children to do at home.

 

What is the protocol if a child or a family member travel to another state? 

There is currently a list of “quarantine” states, which require you to be under a strict quarantine upon return to New York soil. By definition, quarantine means to be within one’s home with NO contact with other family members. If the traveler must leave the room in which they are quarantining, they must be masked and wipe down all areas, including (but not limited to) doorknobs, sinks, toilets, and light switches. Meals must be consumed within the four walls of the room where they are quarantining and should be delivered to the door. If the traveler does not follow this protocol in their home, the family is expected to also follow quarantine rules. If a child is exposed to a traveler that should be quarantining, that child should not return to school until after the quarantine period.