What has preschool been like during the pandemic?

  Genesis Preschool at Saint John's marks one-year of the pandemic.

In this slideshow, Jen Kovalchick tells a story of resilience, joy, and hope for our preschool program. 

COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan

Genesis Preschool

4125 Penn Avenue Sinking Spring, PA 19605

Rough Draft: July 21, 2020

Date to Reopen: Monday, September 28

Goal/Objective To ensure a safe return for children and staff to Genesis Preschool for the 2020-2021 preschool year. Implementing this plan will not eliminate transmission, but will hopefully reduce the risk. 

This document will define additional policies and procedures (above those already in place and available in the 2020-2021 Family Handbook), that are necessary in order to provide for the safest preschool environment possible. Procedures will remain in effect unless we are notified by our governing agencies that we no longer need to adhere to these procedures, or that a change to current procedures becomes necessary. If any changes occur, families will be notified. The PA Department of Education has requested all non-public schools and private academic preschools to create a plan tailored to the unique needs of each school. This plan will be publicly posted once it is approved by Saint John’s Executive Council. Please note, as health conditions change in our community, additional actions may need to be added to this plan. Families will be notified either in writing or via email, if and when this occurs. These changes may occur in the form of more to less restrictive policies, or it may need to move in the other direction.


Procedures for Reopening our Building

Staff Training:

• All staff members will receive a copy of this plan and will also attend a training session which will detail how to implement each procedure.

• Staff members will understand their role, which is to model health and safety practices so children can become successful at learning these new practices. The date for this training has not yet been established.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Intensified:

• The director of Genesis will develop a detailed cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing chart to clearly communicate the necessary requirements to the current janitorial team. This list will describe what tasks are required and the necessary frequency.

• An initial meeting will take place between the janitorial team and the director (prior to the opening of the preschool) in order to clearly communicate these requirements.

• This janitorial team will also be instrumental in deciding which cleaning products are best to clean, sanitize and disinfect. A rigorous cleaning session will take place prior to the return of staff and children to the building.

• Thorough cleaning and disinfecting protocols will continue throughout the school year.

• The cleaning chart will document the date, time and initials of those performing each task.

• Cleaning will take place daily, weekly and monthly, depending on the tasks involved.

• The director will inspect the preschool wing every day for the first few weeks, to ensure that all new cleaning procedures are understood and being followed.

• The director and janitorial team will meet to discuss any concerns as often as necessary, and at least once a month.

Ensure Ventilation Systems are Operating Properly:

• The heating, ventilation, air conditioning and water systems will be inspected and remedial action taken to avoid any negative effects from the prolonged shutdown of our building.

What to Expect on the First Day

• Unfortunately, the Meet the Teacher, session (usually held on the first day of preschool), will not be held since adults in the preschool wing will be limited to staff members only.

• Families will be able to access an orientation video (prepared by your child’s teacher), prior to the first day of school. The video will provide lots of important information regarding your child’s first day and the class as a whole. Any question will be answered by teachers via email.• You and your child will be greeted with smiling faces (even though you won’t be able to see them) because all staff members will be so happy and excited to welcome you back! And for our new children and families, staff will be thrilled to meet you!

• Your willingness to be extra patient throughout the first few days will be necessary as everyone adjusts to the procedures highlighted in this Health and Safety Plan.

• Please remember that this plan is in place to keep children, families and staff healthy and safe while here at Genesis. Thank you in advance for your cooperation as we navigate our way through this challenging and unprecedented time!!

Arrival Procedures


• Each class will have a staggered drop-off and pick-up time. You will receive a designated time frame prior to the start of the school year.

• You will park in the upper preschool lot upon arrival. Please remember to exercise caution while driving through the parking lot area.

• Use the designated cross walk from the parking lot to the pavement and walk down the hill to the fellowship hall entrance.

Entering the Building:

• It is preferred (not mandated) that the same parent (or designated adult) bring and pick up your child each day.

• There will be a designated entrance and exit door to promote social distancing. Please wait outside if you see that a family is already inside checking in. This outdoor space is partially covered in case of inclement weather. You may enter the building once you see the parent exit the building.

• Once you enter the building, you should sanitize your hands and assist your child with this task.

• You and your child will be greeted by a staff member. Your child will have their temperature checked (using a no-touch temporal thermometer) each morning.

• We will ask you to answer a few health questions before you leave the building. If it is determined that your child has any symptoms on the list attached to this document, they will not be permitted into the preschool. You will then receive assistance from the director, regarding what to do and when your child may return.

• Once the check-in procedure is complete, your child’s teacher will walk your child to their classroom.

• We are asking all families to be prompt with arrivals and departures. If you arrive after your arrival time frame, you will need to wait in your car or outside the building, until all other children have been checked in. You can make your way to the door close to the end of all check in times.

• Only one restroom will be open for use in the lobby area, if needed.

• Congregating outside with other parents is discouraged unless you are following the six foot distancing rule and wearing a mask.

Pick-Up Procedures

• Each class will have a staggered pick-up time. One parent or designated pick-up individual will need to arrive to the school and park in the upper lot. Please do not come earlier or later since this may interfere with other class dismissals.

• Please wait outside of the fellowship hall. Each class will be brought to the fellowship hall lobby (which is also the designated drop-off area) and will be dismissed (one at a time, through the exit door), with the assistance of their teacher.

Health/Safety/Educational Program

Educating and Supporting Children:

• We will do all we can to help children adjust to preschool. We want them to feel safe, happy and secure. Verbal reassurance and comforting words will be provided by all; staff members.

• Teachers will be prepared with stories and audio/visual programs to assist children with any worries or concerns regarding all the changes being implemented.

• Staff members will model health and safety practices while at preschool.

• Staff members will do their very best to provide a developmentally appropriate environment, where children can play, learn, explore, and enjoy childhood!

Hand Sanitizers:

• Every adult should sanitize their hands upon entering the building.

• Please assist your child with this task as well, prior to coming to the check-in table.

• We will have hand sanitizers available in every room. However, they will be kept out of the reach of children. Children are required to have adult assistance when using this product.

Facial Coverings:

• We are complying with the order set forth by the Secretary of Health, “Requiring all adults (including staff members) and children (two and up), to wear a face mask (covering the nose and mouth) when leaving their homes.” We are included on this list as a private preschool, and therefore will abide by this policy.

• There is a copy of this recommendation (in it’s entirety), in the preschool office. You can also search for, Public Health Guidance Regarding COVID-19 for Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools (DOH and PDE), July 16, 2020, OCDEL Interim Guidance for Child Care During The Novel Coronavirus Pandemic, July 8, 2020 or The Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings (PDE), July 6, 2020, for more detailed information.

• Children in the Toddler Class, will not need to wear a face mask during class time. However, children who are two and above, should wear a face mask upon arrival/departure, if able.

• Face coverings must be worn by all other adults and children, when arriving and departing.

• Staff will continue to wear masks (or face shields) throughout the morning. We will supply a face shield or two washable face masks for each staff member.

• Children should come to preschool wearing their own mask (one that is comfortable for them).

• Children will be allowed to have their mask on a lanyard, if it is the break away type.

• Children may remove masks during the activities listed below and anytime they are engaged in an activity that provides for a six foot distance from others. We will have a small plastic bag labeled with children’s names, to store masks. We will do our best to provide activities where social distancing is attainable, so mask wearing is limited.

Snack time                    Circle/Story Time                   Table Activity Time                 Gross Motor Time (in and out)

Exception…Anyone with a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Accommodations for such students should be made in partnership with the student’s health care provider and IEP/504 team. Families are not required to show documentation for the exemption to apply.

Items from Home:

• Except for a change of clothing and any necessary outerwear, please keep all other items at home (including back packs).

• If your child is enrolled in our Stay and Play Class, place their lunch in a disposable bag with their name clearly marked.

Outdoor Play:

• Children will continue to play out doors whenever possible.

• Class times will be staggered to prevent overlapping of classes on the playground or in the halls.

• Children will wash hands before returning to their classrooms.

• Cleaning and disinfecting will occur in between classes. The same procedure will take place when using the gross motor room, when inclement weather prevents outdoor play.

Snack and Table Activities:

• Children will use hand sanitizer right before sitting down for snack time.

• We will only have two children at each table since our tables are small.

• We will have two snack times in order to accommodate all children. While one group of children are having snack, the other group will be involved in a small group activity.

• Snacks will be provided in individual packages.

• Tables will be wiped down and disinfected between each group.

Circle/Story Time:

• Children will sit upon heavy duty plastic shapes placed six feet apart. These will be placed around the edges of a large oval shaped rug. We will use this procedure for shared reading, music (moving but not singing), and other large group experiences.

• If we reach our maximum enrollment for any classroom, we will split this activity time in half and offer another activity. All children will have a chance to participate in both.

Social Distancing:

• During these structured activities above, designated seating will assist children with the 6 feet

distancing rule.

• Children will be distanced from all other groups of children within the preschool.

• The assigned teacher and assistant will be the only adults with each group of children. The only exception to this rule will be in the case of an emergency (requiring assistance from the director or another adult) or if the need arises for a substitute teacher/assistant.

• We will use a rope (marked with balls of tape set six feet apart) to assist with maintaining the six feet recommendation, with all transitions including; lining up, walking to go outside or to the check out area, and when an evacuation drill occurs.

• The Toddler Class staff will do their best to distance the children as much as possible.

Hand Washing:

• Children and staff members must wash their hands after they use restroom facilities. Only one child will use the restroom at any given time (with staff supervision). Staff members and children must wash hands for 20 seconds (while singing the ABC song), using warm water and soap.

• Hand sanitizers will be available in every classroom. Staff will assist children in using hand sanitizers after using a tissue, before snack, or any other time a child’s hands may have been exposed to a possible germ source.

• Hand sanitizers will always be kept out of children’s reach.

• Hands will be washed after returning from outdoor play or the gross motor area.

Prohibiting Non-Essential Visitors:

• We are limiting individuals in the preschool wing to staff members and children.

• We are temporarily placing a hold on any BCIU staff (or any other support agencies), photographers, or community visitors. Parents will be asked to refrain from going to the classroom. If an emergency arises or a separation anxiety issue occurs, we will deal with these incidents on a case by case basis.

Daily Health Monitoring (Staff and Children):

• All staff members and children will have their temperature checked upon arrival.

• The director will visually assess staff, and teachers and support staff will assess children. Parents will be asked to answer a few questions each morning. A copy of these questions is attached to this plan.

Sensory Play:

• Sensory activities will be limited. Children will need to use hand sanitizer before and after participation.


• Each child will have their own personal supply container (with their name clearly marked) to store items such as scissors, glue stick, colored pencils, crayons, etc.

Learning Materials and Toys:

• Toys and learning materials will be limited.

• We will not provide any toys that cannot be washed and disinfected at school such as stuffed animals, doll clothing, dress up clothing, etc.

Special Events and Field Trips:

• All special events that require children to be out of their classroom (with the exception of the playground or gross motor room) will be temporarily on hold.

• Birthday celebrations are encouraged, but treats must be store-bought and individually wrapped.

Holiday parties will be held for children only! With the help of Class Dojo, staff members will capture photos of daily happenings, as well as special events, to share with families.


Frequently touched items and surfaces will be cleaned throughout the morning, as staff are able.

Tables will be cleaned and disinfected before and after each activity (fine motor activities, art and snack) by classroom staff. Staff members will vacuum and clean and disinfect toys/learning materials daily, (after class). The cleaning team will do the following daily, after everyone leaves the building.

• Empty trash, replace disposable bag and clean and disinfect the outside of the can.

• Clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, doors, coat hooks, hand rails, light switches, chairs, window sills, etc.)

• Bathrooms will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected daily.

• Clean and disinfect the check-in area, including all frequently touched surfaces.

• Clean the restroom outside of the fellowship hall area.

• Vacuum and wipe down halls and stairwells

• Clean the gross motor room, if used.

A more detailed cleaning plan will be added to this area, when complete.


The following list of supplies will be needed prior to the start of the preschool year in order to comply with the guidance's set forth by PDH/PDE

• No touch trash cans (Some need to be replaced)

• Disposable gloves and disposable masks (if needed for children or staff)

• Face shields for staff

• Hand sanitizers

• Cleaning solutions

• Laundry bags for cleaning toys

• Educational charts and videos to provide education for staff, children and families.


Please do not send your child to preschool if they are sick!

Monitoring Children and Staff for symptoms or History of Possible Exposure:

• We will keep an accurate attendance record for staff, children and drop off individuals. This information will be needed if contact tracing becomes necessary.

• All staff members and children will have their temperature checked daily. Teachers will assist with checking in children and will visually screen each child as they arrive.

• The parent (or alternate adult) who is bringing the child to preschool will have their name recorded on the, Individual Daily Health Check Form.

• If a child has any of the symptoms listed on this form, parents should keep their child at home. If symptoms are noticed at drop-off, the child will not be admitted into the preschool.

Isolating a Sick Child and Staff While at Preschool:

• If your child becomes ill while at preschool, we will call you immediately.

• Your child will wait for you in a designated room that will provide comfort, isolation, and staff supervision until you arrive.

• You should call the preschool office when you are at the door of the designated drop off/Pick-up

area and a staff member will bring your child to you.

• Your child may return according to the instructions below.

Responding to confirmed, probable cases, or exposure to COVID-19 (child or staff):

• Staff members and children with a fever or symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19, but no known direct exposure to a person with COVID-19 exists, may return to preschool when they are asymptomatic and fever free (without fever reducing medications) for 72 hours, or have confirmation or an alternative diagnosis from a medical professional (in writing).

• Staff members and children with a fever or symptoms that are associated with COVID-19, should seek medical attention for further evaluation and instructions before returning to preschool. A written release from a medical provider will be necessary for return to preschool.

• Staff members and children with symptoms who have had a direct exposure to a person with COVID-19, will be considered probable cases and should remain excluded from school or work until criteria for isolation has been met. Seek the assistance of a medical professional for assistance. A written release from a medical provider will be necessary for return to preschool.

• Staff members or children who are quarantined following close contact with a confirmed case may not return to preschool until cleared to do so by the DOH or a Community Medical Health Director. A negative test obtained prior to the end of the quarantine does not clear an individual for return. The entire quarantine period must be completed. A written release from a medical provider will be necessary for return to preschool.

• Staff members or children diagnosed with a confirmed COVID-19 case, must seek medical attention immediately. They will need to quarantine and will not be able to return to preschool until they obtain a written release from a medical provider, permitting a return to preschool.

• The Director of the preschool must be notified with any of the scenarios above (except the first one). She will need to notify parents, staff, church leadership and local health authorities. They will provide guidance regarding facility closure, cleaning and disinfecting, and a plan for the child or staff member regarding return to preschool. Confidentiality will be a priority if this occurs.

Alternate Plans if Closure of Genesis Preschool Becomes Necessary

If a temporary closure is mandated by our State Governor, tuition will need to be paid for the month that the closure occurs. After that, tuition will be suspended until we are cleared to re-open. In the case of a closure, we may be able to offer an alternative program using some of the options below for interested families. A partial tuition fee would be implemented.

Videos or Zoom for Child/Teacher Connection

Activity Pack/Supply Distribution

Parenting Assistance via the Use of Pre-Recorded Videos


Church Council Approval

The legal entity of Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church reviewed and approved this plan for Genesis Preschool Health and Safety Plan on Tuesday July 21, 2020.

The plan was approved _X YES_____NO

Signature of Legal Entity or Legal Representative___________________________________

Please note, a decision to open for the 2020-2021 preschool year will be the next step, following the distribution of this Health and Safety Plan, to currently enrolled families. Obtaining a verbal commitment of intent for preschool attendance in the fall (to the best of your ability), is a necessary component to making a final decision for the the 2020-2021 preschool year. If a family makes the choice to not have their child attend for the upcoming school year, they should notify the director so an official withdrawal procedure can take place. It is understood that this is a very challenging time and decision making is not an easy task for preschool leadership, as well as for families.

Genesis Preschool Daily Health Check

1. Child’s Name_________________________________Date_________________Time_____________

Drop Off Parent/Adult Name_________________________________________

2. Is the child taking any medication to treat or reduce a fever such as

Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)? YES NO

3. Today’s Temperature__________(If higher than 100.4, the child may not remain in school)

4. Has the child or family traveled outside of PA in the last two weeks? YES NO

5. Has the child been exposed to anyone with a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case? YES NO

6. Is the child currently under voluntary/involuntary quarantine or within the last two weeks? YES NO

7. Is the child experiencing any of the following symptoms?

(If the child has one or more symptoms in Group A, or two or more symptoms in Group B, they will need to stay at home. The director will advise you on the plan for return to preschool.)

Group A (One or more Symptoms) 

Fever (100.4 or higher)


Shortness of Breath

Difficulty Breathing

Group B (Two or More Symptoms)

Sore Throat Muscle Pain

Runny Nose Diarrhea

Congestion Headache

Nausea Vomiting

Diarrhea Chills

New Lack of Smell or Taste

We will also do a daily health check for each staff Member