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Teachers in danger?

  • 1.  Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-17-2020 11:31 AM
    I've been reading this forum a lot and I'm getting so many good insights for teaching PreK during covid. But I keep feeling like we are getting ahead of ourselves.  Should opening schools, even in hybrid model, be happening??
    My district is allowing for "accommodations" requests for teachers with risk/health factors, but seems to be assuming that most of us are going back.  (We are to open Sept 10.) Sometimes I can see this happening safely, but other times think how can it be safe at all ?!?
    So, I guess I'm looking for some thoughts and opinions on how safe it can be and how not to freak out that I am risking my life for my job...certainly something new in my 24 years of teaching.
    Many thanks.

    Dominic Tejeda
    Beacon City School District
    New Windsor NY

  • 2.  RE: Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-18-2020 06:26 AM
    Hi Dominic,

    While there are definitely many, many factors to consider in opening safely, if I can give a little hope...we have been open since April 1 and so far have not had a case.  As of today we have over 190 students on campus (infants-8th grade).  While we are prepared for and do anticipate having an exposure on campus I can confidently say we have moved forward and helped support many families and staff by being open.  We have implemented different things through each phase, but the big ones are obviously mask wearing, podding (we call it is landing), social distancing, and limiting numbers. We are utilizing our library, art room, conference room, cafeteria, and steam labs all differently to accommodate the changes.  It takes some creativity, but it also takes our whole team following the rules together, respecting the exposure risk and limiting it as much as possible.  So-while I'm not sure how each school may do it, if I can offer any hope that it can be done, know there are a few of us that have been open successfully!

    Good luck!

    Christin Soly
    Executive Director
    Merritt Academy
    Fairfax VA

  • 3.  RE: Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-18-2020 07:39 PM
    Would you mind telling me how you managed the materials with the kindergs (ages 4 & 5)?  Did they bring their own pencils, markers, crayons and not share from the bucket as usual?  We have been told no playdough, water or sand tables.  We're looking for other sensory materials that can be easily cleaned to replace these.  Any advice that has worked would be much appreciated.
    Ottawa Catholic School Board, Ottawa, Ontario

    Colleen MacDonald
    Coordinator, Early Years
    Ottawa Catholic School Board
    Nepean ON

  • 4.  RE: Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-19-2020 09:32 AM
    The preschool students each get a special "bin" of toys that rotates daily.  They have individual art materials (markers etc...).  The toys in the bins are disinfected every night-we use cots to spread them out, wash with soap and water and then use a heavier disinfectant in the evening when all the children are gone.

    For things like play doh, we have made play doh and then send it home same day. So the children have their own space and make it without touching anyone else's materials.  Larger items like the dollhouse or kitchen are used by an individual student for the day and then it rotates the next day.  The children have done surprisingly well with accepting that their turn will be tomorrow with..whatever it is, the dollhouse, the set of dinosaurs, etc...

    Anything that we want to use that is not "bleachable" is used individually, tagged and put away for 72 hours and then it can be used again.

    We also have only 10 children in classroom spaces that had previously help 14-18 so we have materials and toys that we can rotate pretty easily.


  • 5.  RE: Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-20-2020 10:29 AM
    Constructive Playthings has a sensory table divided into 4 separate tubs.  We have them on the way along with storage tubs of the same volume so we can change out the materials and store them in a child's own storage, sanitize the bin and put someone else's sensory materials in.  There is storage under the table for most of the bins of materials.  Sensory play has been sorely missed, we're hoping this resolves the issue.

    Pamela Ramp
    Banana Bunch CLC
    Rapid City SD

  • 6.  RE: Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-19-2020 09:10 AM

  • 7.  RE: Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-18-2020 08:02 AM
    Good Morning,
    I am a Director of a daycare that offers care for children ages 6 weeks- age of 5.  During this crazy time of what is our new norm we only closed down for 1 week.  During the months of March - May we held Emergency Childcare for essential workers.  I will say that my self and my staff were very nervous during this because we were taking care of doctors, nurses, postal carrier and many other essential works children.  As a team we have and counted to worked very hard to insure the safety of our staff and the children that we were taking care of.  The children are not required to wear their mask only the teachers and parents are required to have them on at all times well in the building.  Since June our center has been open as a normal.  All the staff an families have worked very hard on following the new safety procedures that we have put in place at the daycare.  Long story short with the great support of the staff and families we have not had any issues.  I hope that helps to put your mind at ease little.  They key is hand washing and mask.

    Elizabeth Harris
    Daycare Director
    Watertown NY

  • 8.  RE: Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-21-2020 09:49 AM
    Thank you Ms. Harris. Wow.  Along with masks and washing, I can see how important it is for everyone involved to work hard at following new safety procedures.
    It was announced that we are going ahead with our Sept 10 hybrid opening.  Lots of work to do, no more time for worrying.  Thanks again!

    Dominic Tejeda
    Beacon City School District
    New Windsor NY

  • 9.  RE: Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-18-2020 11:37 AM
    Good morning, we at our district are going Virtual Learning until January 2021 due to a high number of cases. Yes, it is scary to even think we would go hybrid too soon. I hear your concern and it would be mine too if I was in this situation. This is for the safety of all involved: families, staff, and especially the children. Our NN president is very conscientious and follows through on plans for safety.

    Heather Natonabah
    Bloomfield NM

  • 10.  RE: Teachers in danger?

    Posted 08-19-2020 11:32 AM
    Hi Dominic

    I work in a daycare in Alberta and it's a different story here than where you are however we have been open since June. We are back at almost max capacity, meaning we have cohorts of 30 people (staff and children). We allow children to use toys as they need to, they are disinfected daily, but children are allowed to play with toys other children played with. Our soft things have been removed from the rooms for now, so that a bit of a change. However our sensory stuff is still ok, we just have to have individual bins, tools, etc for each child. With playdough, we are allowed to make it and have each child have their own bag and we can keep it for a week.

    We are enforcing very strict health and safety guidelines, basically, you can't come if you are sick at all and you must be 24 hours symptom-free with a negative covid test if you want to come back. We screen children every morning with their parents and take their temperature before they enter the rooms. We continuously look for symptoms throughout the day and send home any child that may be sick and we also take a mid-day temperature before nap so ensure that no parent gave their child fever lowering medication like Tylenol or Advil.

    Although we have had sick children we had to send home, we have not had a Covid case yet. Parents are very respectful of the process and the new policies and work with us to keep everyone safe.

    Chantalle Wakelin
    Operations Manager
    Summit Start
    Calgary AB