Hello, our NAEYC accredited center in New Jersey is planning to reopen in late July. We maintain ratios of 1:3 for infants, 1:4 for toddlers, and 1:6 for preschool. NJ Division of Children and Families is mandating a maximum of 10 children per class. This is only impacting our preschool rooms which normally have an enrollment of 18 children each. NJ has also mandated parents are not allowed entry to the centers as well as the elimination of floaters, as staff must remain with the same group the entire day with no mixing of staff nor children. Our staff currently work 37.5 hour weeks.
The situations I am wondering if any of you have faced are:
I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Thank you.
Hi JenWe are very similar it sounds, as we have 15 classrooms currently, and my faculty also work the same hours. We are a large (245 students) Catholic preschool age 1-5, and are blessed with a full enrollment and waitlist. With the new Emergency Regs I was 100 students over for the upcoming school year. We made a lot of temporary adjustments first to maintain as many students as possible. Since we cannot use common spaces, we are adding 2 temporary classrooms in our indoor playrooms, one for the toddlers and one for the PreK. We are also setting up room dividers in a large classrooms that will allow 8 children on each side, based on the new square footage.
1. I still will have to cut some students, so I followed our enrollment protocol. Our current students and incoming siblings, current employees (we are part of a campus of elementary, high school and a school of arts), legacies, and then order the contracts were received in the office.2. I considered the many options I heard about regarding staggering days, morning and afternoon sessions, etc, but realistically I find that would be extremely challenging for our families, as most of them are dual working parents. Not to mention the added stress on my faculty and our children.
3. Our faculty used to come in at 7 or 7:30. We used to have a gathering room for the early morning children and will not be able to do that. We will shift our faculty schedules slightly. Our Floaters will now help with carpool and getting the child to his classroom, where at least one teacher will be there waiting. Carpool is new for us, so that may get tweaked along the way.4. We are setting specific carpool window times, and instructing our families they must arrive during those windows. We are giving them 3 30 minute windows that they can arrive in. If they arrive after the carpool time they will need to call, and we will come out as soon as we can, but they may have to wait, as we may be tied up attending to children.
I am still trying to figure out our afterschool program, which runs from 2:30-6 pm. We cannot combine classrooms, as we typically do, but I can't afford to hire teachers for 15 classrooms! We have informed our families that we may have to phase that part in. We are trying to rearrange the children so those staying for afterschool would already be together. Not my ideal setup either!
All of it's a big headache!
Hope this is helpful.Lisa Houghlin
This isn't the ideal situation, of course, but such are the times. It sounds like you'll need to move things around to create two classrooms. The MA protocols do count these as two separate classrooms so each will need to have tables, cubbies or alternative, etc.in each one. Children from 2 rooms can't share space. I assume you also need 1 certified teacher in each room as adults can't move between classrooms. I would urge your director to call your licensor for more specific guidance.Best of luck!