COVID-19 Response: Policies & Procedures


 5:40 PM CDT May 18, 2020

Thank you to all of our ACA Families and Community for your feedback, patience and continued support.  We are proud to announce, as of May 18th, 

ACA is OPEN for EVERYONE!

Texas has entered Phase 2 of Governor Greg Abbott’s expansion and reopening of businesses across the state. On Monday, May 18th, Governor Abbott announced that more Texas businesses will be allowed to either reopen or open at larger capacity.  As a result, Austin Children’s Academy is now open, not only for essential employees but for all families! There will be new policies and procedures that were determined by the state and ACA will also continue to implement all safety procedures to maintain a healthy learning environment for all of our children and teachers.

We understand that these times are very challenging and we know that not everyone is in the position to re-open their doors to their day care, preschool or Montessori School. So, if your regular childcare center is no longer an option, we’re here to help everyone. Don’t hesitate to contact us so we can assist you and your family during this transition and we would be more than happy to schedule a virtual tour for you

*For New Families, we’ve waived the standard application fee (normally $100). 

 

 


 

Austin Children’s Academy has really stepped up during the COVID-19 Crisis. After temporarily closing, they have been able to reopen with full safety measures in place to keep students, parents and staff safe.

My wife and I are essential workers and have been struggling to find a child care situation until we heard ACA was accepting children of essential workers in the community. The staff is phenomenal and friendly and we are impressed with the level at which our daughter is at with , math , speech and her creativity. She was so happy to go back to school and talked about her day when we picked her up.

If you are in the area and in a similar situation and are looking for a good trustworthy Montessori School we highly recommend Austin Children’s Academy!

-Patrick Vasquez, ACA Parent


 

To Return to ACA:

  1. Please read the following Updated Policies & Procedures advised by the Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) and the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) Child Care Licensing (CCL).
  2. Complete and submit the Student Return Form.
  3. Email the form to info@AustinChildrensAcademy.org.

 

 

Temporary Hours of Operation

In an effort to take every precaution possible, we will continue with our temporary adjusted hours of operation from 8:00am – 5:00pm until further notice. This will allow the same teacher to be present the entire day in each classroom and will eliminate the need to move students for opening and closing hours.

Daily Health Screening

The following individuals will ONLY be permitted to enter ACA: 

  • Authorized operations staff
  • Professionals providing services to children 
  • Children enrolled at ACA
  • State licensing officials 
  • Department of Family and Protective Services staff
  • Law enforcement officers

Due to the severity of this virus, there will be limited access to enter the school and those authorized will undergo a routine health screen including checking body temperature with a non-contact thermometer.

As advised, anyone meeting the following criteria will be denied entry to the school:

  • A temperature of 100.0°F or above; 
  • Signs or symptoms of:
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
    • Chills
    • Repeated shaking with chills
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Diarrhea
    • Feeling feverish 
  • Known close contact with a person who is
    • lab-confirmed to have COVID-19;
    • under investigation for COVID-19;
    • ill with a respiratory illness; or 
    • has travelled internationally to countries with widespread, sustained community transmission.

Stay Home When Sick

We remind everyone – parents, children and faculty alike – to stay home at the first sign of illness.  Contact your health provider if you experience any signs or symptoms listed above, develop a fever above 100°F, or experience discomfort or distress in terms of breathing.  

If a child is sick at school, they will be isolated from everyone else at ACA and will need to be picked up immediately. 

Children need to be fever-free and symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medicine before returning to school.

Our top priority is to keep our entire Austin Children’s Academy Family healthy and safe. We ask you for your continued patience and cooperation as we implement and fine tune our procedures to best serve our children and community.

Classroom Ratios, Group Sizes & Social Distancing

Classroom ratios and group sizes have been modified to a lower count than the existing minimum standards.  For each classroom, we have created a map, designating the areas of the classroom for social distancing.  An “X” will be marked to visually share with our children where they can safely work.  X’s will show approved locations for table seating, circle time, rug work areas and the placement of cots during nap time to encourage and support “social distancing.”
 
We will be spacing out the classroom for our children as much as possible. Students will be split into two groups, each managed by one teacher. This will help with guiding the students throughout the classroom, the materials that they touch and the areas that need disinfecting.  Other measures such as face covering, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, cleanliness, and sanitation will be rigorously practiced. 
 
ACA has opened additional space within the facility to accommodate smaller ratios. We will incorporate more outside activities, when feasible.  Ratios will continue to be maintained below existing state licensing standards to ensure each child is supervised in a safe environment conducive to learning. 

Curbside Drop-off & Pick-up Procedures

As more businesses start to re-open, traffic will also increase. Please allow yourself additional time due to traffic, inclement weather and the following new drop-off and pick-up procedures.  The curbside drop-off and pick-up procedures will occur outside ACA in the parking lot.

-DROP-OFF: To maintain a smooth morning transition, please prepare your child, by communicating to them about the following new drop-off procedures:

  • The parking lot will be one-way only.
  • The entrance will be located adjacent to the neighboring business as you approach ACA directly from RR 620 N.
  • You will notice one designated lane organized with orange cones.
  • Simply follow the cones and please turn off your engines.
  • Please be patient and stay in your vehicle.
  • Wait for our staff to approach to complete your child’s in-take and health screening. 

A member of our staff will perform a personal health screening check for your child(ren). We will assist in helping your child out of your vehicle and escort him/her into ACA.  

-PICK-UP: We will be utilizing the messaging feature on our PreSchool2Me app during the pick-up process. Please be patient with us as our staff will be working very hard to accommodate all of our families during the afternoon rush. To make this pickup process run seamlessly, please complete the following:  

  • Message your child’s classroom at least 10-15 mins prior to your arrival.
  • Provide your estimated time of arrival.
  • Provide the make, model, color and license plate of your vehicle.  
  • Provide the name of the person that will be picking up your child.
  • If this person is anyone outside of the two primary guardians, they will need written authorization via email.
  • Any persons other than the two primary guardians may be asked to provide photo identification.  

Upon your arrival, please remain in your vehicle and provide our teachers and staff ample time to help your child gather their belongings. They will then safely escort your child to your vehicle in the parking lot. 

Enhanced School Cleaning 

In addition to our standard 5-day nightly deep cleaning procedures performed by our professional cleaning company, ACA will also be conducting the following enhanced cleaning measures:

  • We are frequently sanitizing all surfaces including high-touch areas like door handles, light switches, classroom sink handles, countertops, nap cots, tables, chairs, and cubbies. 
  • Learning materials, toys and other frequently used objects are being routinely deep cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected on a rotating basis. 
  • Please bring your child’s bedding in a new, unused, large, white trash bagclearly labeled in large print with your child’s name and classroom using a black marker. This will help keep them isolated and separate from other student’s bedding. Like usual, bedding will be taken home on a weekly basis, each Friday or if any “accidents” occur during the week. 
  • Each student has a designated, separate personal cubby available for storing items from home such as jackets, spare clothing, and lunches prepared at home. 
  • Please be sure to send multiple weather-appropriate changes of clothes for your child. 

Healthy Hand Hygiene

ACA has reviewed and trained proper hand washing procedures with our staff and have performed Quality Assurance checks to ensure proper hand washing policies are being followed.  We also have added hand sanitizer stations in all classrooms and common areas.  

Teachers and staff will supervise children when they use hand sanitizer and assist the children with hand washing. All children, teachers and staff will engage in proper hand hygiene multiple times throughout the day especially at the following times: 

  • Arrival to facility and after breaks
  • After assisting children with hand washing including infants 
  • Before and after preparing food or drinks
  • Before and after eating or handling food, or feeding children
  • Before and after administering medication or medical ointment 
  • Before and after diapering 
  • After using the toilet or helping a child use the bathroom
  • After coming in contact with bodily fluid
  • After being outdoors
  • After handling garbage or waste 

Food & Snack Preparation 

ACA does not provide lunch service but does offer healthy snacks both in the morning and afternoon. Each child will be provided individual snacks not to be shared with one another and served inside their classrooms.  

Often times, parents may have their child bring additional healthy snack options for preference or dietary restrictions. We ask that they be provided in sealed containers inside their insulated lunch bags to avoid spillage and contamination.

Refrigerators are for ACA use only. Sinks used for food preparation will not be used for any other purposes.  

To Return to ACA:

  1. Please read the above Updated Policies & Procedures advised by the Texas Health and Human Services (HHSC) and the Texas Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) Child Care Licensing (CCL).
  2. Complete and submit the Student Return Form.
  3. Email the form to info@AustinChildrensAcademy.org.

 

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