Overview of DCFS Restore Illinois Guidance & Hobson School Prevention Measures
Additional Information Regarding Face Coverings and Social Distancing
HOBSON SCHOOL STATEMENT
Hobson School is a private, Illinois-based not-for-profit corporation licensed by the State of Illinois and complies with the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) licensing regulations for child care centers. Many of our existing school policies have been developed to meet DCFS regulations. As a licensed child care center, Hobson School must abide by new licensing regulations as well as the Guidance published by the Department of Child and Family Services for all child care centers.
The regulations and guidance provided by DCFS are based on information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Health (IDPH), and Illinois Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Education. DCFS recognizes It is critical that health and safety protocols are in alignment with the latest guidance from public health experts and informed by data. Prior to any changes in Guidance or rule, DCFS will evaluate recommendations of the CDC and IDPH to ensure a safe transition in restrictions.
As all schools are developing plans for reopening, please note that public schools operate under the State Board of Education which is a separate entity from the Department of Child and Family Services. Moving forward, Hobson School will continue to align with Naperville District 203 for inclement weather closures, but please note that Hobson will also continue to follow the regulations and guidance of our licensing body (DCFS and IDPH) for all other program operations. Working within current regulations and guidelines, we have determined that Hobson School will be able to confidently:
Operate safely and in compliance with all of the required COVID-19 rules and procedures,
Continue to provide Hobson’s high-quality preschool experience and remain steadfast in our philosophy, and
Maintain Hobson’s current enrollment, have the opportunity to operate at full capacity, and as such retain staff.
The following document provides a high-level overview of what Hobson’s program will look like in 2021- 2022 given DCFS Restore Illinois regulations and guidelines, and outlines how these changes impact the daily structure experienced by our staff, families and students. Hobson School Parent Board of Directors, with the input of the Director, COVID-19 Task Force and Advisory Board, will continue to provide updated COVID-19 Policies and Procedures to better outline all of the changes the School must adopt in meeting the requirements made by DCFS. Please note: Hobson School reserves the right to modify this document, and any other COVID-19 measures, per DCFS Guidance and/or Health Department regulation updates. It is critical that health and safety protocols are in alignment with the latest guidance from public health experts and informed by data.
Covid-19 Task Force In June 2020, Hobson's Advisory and Parent Boards provided consent for the formation and mission of the COVID-19 Task Force. The COVID-19 Task Force will be responsible for reporting up-to-date information, soliciting feedback, and making recommendations to Hobson's Boards. The COVID-19 Task Force will always make recommendations that are in the best interest of the School and will incorporate feedback from anyone with expert knowledge and/or advice. To learn more about this Task Force or for any questions, please contact Beth Wilson at Director@hobsonschool.org.
OVERVIEW OF OUTDOOR CLASSROOM USE
Research has shown that being outside significantly reduces the risk of infection by COVID-19. To promote the health and safety of Hobson families, Hobson School is enhancing and redesigning our outdoor classroom to offer a preschool experience that immerses children in nature! Hobson students will be brought indoors to access the bathrooms and in the event of severe weather, such as heavy rain, thunder and lightning, heavy winds, and extreme temperatures. The Director and Teachers reserve the right to adjust outdoor time using weather conditions and their own experience as their guide.
OVERVIEW OF PARENT AND CHILD CLASS
Because parents attend with their children and are responsible for the care of their children during the Parent and Child class, the class is not a part of Hobson’s licensed program. As such the Department of Child and Family Services has directed Hobson to align the PC class with the guidelines for gathering sizes as indicated in Restore Illinois, and adopt the health and safety procedures established for the school. Illinois is currently in Phase 5 of Restore Illinois and as such all sectors of the economy have reopened with businesses, schools, and recreation resuming normal operations with new safety guidance and procedures. Gatherings and events of all sizes are allowed.
OVERVIEW OF PRESCHOOL OF PRESCHOOL CLASSES (ages 3-5)
Hobson’s preschool program is fully licensed, and will operate under DCFS regulations and guidance. The School is licensed for classes of 20 children (ages 3-5) with two teachers. As a parent cooperative 1 - 2 parents volunteer in each class every day. The current COVID-19 recommendations allow Hobson School to operate at full capacity, and within our cooperative structure. Qualified substitute teachers may be utilized as needed.
OVERVIEW OF DCFS RESTORE ILLINOIS GUIDANCE & HOBSON SCHOOL PREVENTION MEASURES:
“Because children younger than 12 years of age are not yet eligible for vaccination, there is a need to continue prevention measures for the foreseeable future. Even after child care providers and staff are vaccinated, everyone in a childcare setting should continue to practice prevention measures including wearing face coverings, physical distancing, and using other prevention strategies.” (DCFS Restore Illinois Guidance, June 2021) Per DCFS’s Restore Illinois Guidance Hobson School will:
Require Symptom Screenings:
All families and staff will be required to complete self-certification and verification every day prior to entering Hobson School.
All individuals will be required to follow the Return to School Guidance as indicated on the IDPH Exclusion or Post-Vaccination Guidance and provide proof of COVID-19 testing or medical evaluation.
Track and Monitor Illnesses and Comply with Contact Tracing:
Hobson School will track and monitor individuals excluded from care because they have COVID-19-like symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and are in Quarantine.
All children, teachers and parents will be required to wear masks while inside the school building.
Masks may be removed indoors to allow for eating and drinking during snack time.
Teachers may remove masks when alone in classrooms or offices with the doors closed.
Masks may be removed while outdoors.
Should our local area reach substantial to high levels of transmission (as defined by the CDC, and as listed on the IDPH website) masks will be required outdoors.
Follow Hygiene and Health Practices:
Handwashing will take place upon arrival, after using the bathroom, before and after snack, cooking, and water play.
Hand-sanitizer may be used between required hand-washing activities.
Complete Enhanced Cleaning and Sanitization Procedures:
All areas will be cleaned and sanitized between use by different groups of children.
Sanitizing practices will also be increased, especially for high-touch surfaces including, but not limited to: doorknobs, toilet flush handles and sink handles.
All areas, equipment and materials (indoors and outdoors) will be cleaned and disinfected between use by different groups, and at the end of each class session, and at the end of the day.
Hobson School will ensure the required cleaning solutions will be well stocked and available in all areas of the school.
Enhanced Ventilation Indoors: In an effort to provide a safer indoor environment at Hobson, in August 2020 an iWave air purification system was installed. According to iWave, “ This patented technology, called needlepoint bipolar ionization, uses carbon fiber brushes to produce a refined electrical charge to proactively clean the air in residential and commercial buildings. The iWave approach produces equal amounts of positive and negative ions (combined charge neutral) that react and reduce certain viruses and bacteria.” If you’d like to learn more about the system and how it works please visit the iWave website.
Hobson is also increasing ventilation through the use of ceiling fans and opening windows when weather permits.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING FACE COVERINGS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING
In alignment with DCFS regulations and guidelines, children will be required to wear face masks while indoors. Face coverings are not to be worn while children are eating / drinking and physical distancing will be practiced to the greatest extent possible during indoor snack time. Children will bring their own clean face masks to Hobson each day. Hobson School will also provide disposable personal protective equipment (PPE) for children, parents and staff, when needed to ensure PPE is worn during the required times. Hobson will use developmentally appropriate language to explain to children that wearing masks is a way to take care of others and take care of ourselves. We will use a sensitive approach to encouraging children to wear masks while indoors and outdoors. Additionally, the staff will take into account each child’s individual needs and make decisions and modifications, as appropriate, for each individual child. Hobson School will provide resources for families so parents and caregivers can help children understand why covering our faces is important at this time, and support children’s adjustment to wearing face masks and/or coverings.