Local Childcare Center Leading the Way to Bring Healthy Childcare Back to CNY
Preschool demands new rules around sharing, hugging and sneezing. Daily changes in routine are becoming the new normal for children in daycare and their families. At Little Lukes Preschool & Childcare Center the most visible change is the quiet hallways due to a temporary 50% cut in enrollment.
Parents must wear a mask during drop off and pickup, and masked daycare staff come to the car for curbside pickup. Each child has a health screening right at the car including a questionnaire, temperature check and assessment for signs of illness. Criteria for excluding a child from care now include a 100.0 degree fever and cough or shortness of breath.
“Educators at Little Lukes undergo the same screening procedure each day when arriving at work,” according to Nora Lesnau, Program Director at Little Lukes Radisson. Staff use hand sanitizer in the car before putting on a clean mask and approaching the daycare building. A temperature screening and questionnaire follow to screen for any signs of illness or contact with a Covid-19 infected individual.
Little Lukes buildings undergo weekly sanitation using a Clorox 360 electrostatic machine or Xyfection electrostatic disinfection sprayer. The electrostatically charged mist sprayer evenly coats all surfaces for a more complete disinfection. The positive electrical charge helps the droplets cover the underside and backside of each surface with the sanitizing spray, even if the mist is only sprayed from one side.
Little Lukes has installed Super V air purifiers from Pulaski’s Healthway Family of Brands. These systems provide the most comprehensive protection against the most dangerous lung penetrating ultrafine particles including virus. The medical grade air cleaners have been in place for over 12 months and are being continuously monitored to provide up-to-the-minute air quality readings. Vinny Lobdell, Global President of Healthway Family of Brands stated, “ Little Lukes is a pioneer in early childhood development and we are excited to be a small part of their success as they continue to innovate to bring the healthiest childcare centers to the local CNY community.”
Staff and children wash hands when arriving at the daycare building, every hour, before and after eating and when in contact with any bodily secretions or nasal drainage. “In addition to hourly hand washing, staff sanitize common surfaces each hour with an approved bleach water solution. Countertops, tables, door handles, light switches, sink handles and soap dispenser handles are sprayed with bleach water and stay wet for 3 minutes dwell time before being wiped dry. A digital timer helps our staff maintain the 3-minute requirement,” said Lindsey Hermann, Program Director at Little Lukes Pulaski.
Although most of the daycare playgrounds are closed temporarily, Little Lukes staff are working to get children outdoors for the fresh air and a bit more freedom for spaced out interactions with their peers. “While indoors, our teachers work to plan activities that keep the children physically distanced from one another while still allowing them to interact and have fun - to still be kids. Oftentimes we give children the same activity but spaced apart so that they are able to enjoy something together but at a safe distance,” said Meg Kellogg, Program Director at Little Lukes Oswego.
Sanitizable toys are placed in a bin of bleach water solution after each use. Soft toys and Playdoh have been removed from the classrooms until more guidelines are released about shared toys and the Covid-19 virus surviving on surfaces. Daycare payments by credit card and ACH are encouraged, and plexiglass barriers hang at the front desk. Parent tours are paused, and delivery staff are restricted from entering the buildings.
A school-readiness curriculum led by certified teachers will continue this summer for preschoolers in the daycare program, with a focus on early literacy, math and science. Preschool children in the inclusion SCIS program are learning from home through teletherapy and receive their special education, speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy visits via telehealth video sessions.
Four Little Lukes locations reopened May 18th after a short closure during Covid-19. As enrollment returns to the licensed number of spots this summer, children enrolled previous to Covid-19 will be offered spots prior to new families. Care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school age children is offered at all 5 Little Lukes locations including Oswego, Fulton, Pulaski, Radisson and Dewitt. Visit www.littlelukes.com or call for enrollment information and a virtual tour.