Arts and Athletics has gradually increased its range of offerings over the past several months, always paying close attention to CDC and New York State health guidelines. Below is a summary of the precautions that we have developed and put in place based on best public health practices.
While no single measure is able to guarantee safety, our careful adherence to public health guidelines significantly reduces the risk to our teachers and our participating families. Below are a number of steps we’ve taken to keep everyone safe.
Groupings: While we aim to serve our three schools and children throughout the Upper West Side, we have implemented groupings that seperate children from each school. This allows us to respond to the needs of each school without impacting another. Also, our small ratios and small class size ensure that if there is an infection, it isn’t spread to large groups, or from school to school, by our programs.
Social Distancing: We have selected activities that allow children to socialize and work cooperatively with their friends, while still operating in their own space. CDC statement on social distancing.
Screening: Monitoring each participant’s health is central to our safety plan. Each day when children and staff arrive, we take their temperature with a non-contact thermometer and ask them generally if they are experiencing any symptoms. We ask them how they are doing and we check for any observable symptoms. Symptoms we are watching for include:
- Fever or chill
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Hygiene: Of course a central feature of any gathering these days is to observe prescribed routines, including social distancing, mask-wearing, and regular hand washing. We have also designed our program around activities that allow children to maintain distance and not share equipment or materials. E.g. we are offering soccer skills, but each child has his or her own ball.
Hand-washing: We encourage children to wash their hands with soap and water. At times when soap and water are not available, we have hand sanitize available. Approved sanitizer has at least 60% alcohol. CDC statement on hand-washing.
Cleaning and Disinfecting Equipment: We have carefully selected activities that don’t require shared materials. When equipment is required for an activity (soccer balls, pens/pencils, yoga mats, binoculars, etc) children have their own to use, and our staff disinfects them after class. CDC statement on cleaning and disinfecting.
Testing, Isolation, and Vaccination: Arts and Athletics staff are tested weekly to add to the reassurance for them in their workplace and for families entrusting their children to us. If staff have an exposure or travel by plane, they are required to isolate in compliance with CDC guidelines. As members of the 1B vaccinate priority group, teachers and childcare providers are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination. A number of our staff have already been vaccinated and others are seeking appointments.
Self-Reporting: We ask that everyone in the community be candid with us about their status, actual positive tests, or any concerns due to possible exposure. We will work with families to manage these issues, and provide credits or make-up classes to lessen the financial factor in making the decision to stay home. Ultimately, we want to have a healthy program that children can come back to!
Communication: Our managers maintain contact with representatives of each of our schools, so we are aware whenever there is a case or suspected infection in our community. If we become aware of any issues, we share those with our participating families.