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COVID-19 Protocols & Procedures

UC Berkeley’s Early Childhood Education Program (ECEP) has worked diligently to develop and adhere to strict protocols as the health and safety of children and staff continues to be our utmost priority. Our program is working under various new protocols and procedures to comply with health and safety guidelines.

We have developed a compilation of information and practices for maintaining a safe environment for our staff. This handbook is updated regularly as new information comes out.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) ECEP Staff Handbook Supplement

 

COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire

We require all individuals to complete a screening questionnaire, complete with temperature checks, each day before they enter the classrooms.

 

Daily Screener for Children

 

COVID-19 Sick Policy

I understand that if my child exhibits one or more of the above listed symptoms at any point in the day my child will not be able to return to the center until:

  1. The child has remained home for at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, AND there have been at least 24 hours with no fever, without the aid of taking medicines to lower the fever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), AND other symptoms (such as cough or shortness of breath, are improving), OR
  2. My child’s symptoms have resolved AND the child has been evaluated by a medical professional (a doctor, a nurse practitioner, or a certified physician assistant), and provides a letter indicating that (1) an alternative diagnosis has been made and (2) the child’s symptoms are most likely NOT due to COVID-19, OR
  3. The child has received a NEGATIVE COVID-19 test, AND the child is feeling better, AND there have been at least 24 hours with no fever, without the aid of taking medicines to lower the fever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), AND the child has consulted a medical professional (a doctor, a nurse practitioner, or a certified physician assistant) to determine the significance of their symptoms. The medical evaluator will need to provide a letter indicating that (1) the child’s symptoms are most likely NOT due to COVID-19, and (2) the COVID-19 test was negative.

 

Updates

April 1st, 2020: ECEP began serving children of essential workers through a waiver establishing Emergency Childcare at our Haste Street location.

July 1st, 2020: ECEP expanded services to provide care for children of non-essential workers who were previously in UC Berkeley’s ECE program.

August 13th, 2020: ECEP’s 2020-21 school year began with limited enrollment based upon the enrollment priorities established by the University.

August 22nd, 2020: ECEP was notified of a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. Affected families and staff were notified, and in accordance with state and local public health requirements the classroom was temporarily closed.

September 3rd, 2020: All classrooms are open for childcare.

December 16, 2020: ECEP was notified of a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. Affected families and staff were notified, and in accordance with state and local public health requirements the classroom was temporarily closed.

January 11, 2021: All classrooms are open for childcare.

February 2, 2021: ECEP was notified of a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. Affected families and staff were notified, and in accordance with state and local public health requirements the classroom was temporarily closed.

February 8, 2021: ECEP staff began to receive COVID-19 vaccinations from University Health Services.

February 16, 2021: All classrooms are open for childcare.

March 3, 2021: ECEP was notified of a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. Affected families and staff were notified, and in accordance with state and local public health requirements the classroom was temporarily closed.

March 8, 2021: ECEP was notified of an additional two (2) staff members and one (1) child who tested positive for COVID-19 in the previously closed classroom. Program families and staff were notified. The classroom remains closed.

March 15, 2021: All classrooms are open for childcare.

July 27, 2021: ECEP was notified of a staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. Affected families and staff were notified, and in accordance with state and local public health requirements the classroom was temporarily closed.

August 16, 2021: All classrooms are open for childcare.

August 29, 2021: ECEP was notified of a child who tested positive for COVID-19. Affected families and staff were notified, and in accordance with state and local public health requirements the classroom is temporarily closed.

September 7, 2021: All classrooms are open for childcare.

 

Fall 2021-22 Protocols

There have been some changes in Community Care Licensing guidelines for COVID-19 and the variants (this includes CalOSHA, CDC, CDPH, and local public health agencies). This information is based on current COVID-19 data and is subject to change. ECEP will be practicing the following protocols for Fall 2021, starting on August 16, 2021:

  • Face coverings will continue to be required indoors.
    • Staff will continue to wear face coverings as children remain an unvaccinated population.
    • Parents may be allowed to enter only with the consent of the Center Director and only one-at-a-time per classroom for short durations. They must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test and wear a face covering at all times while at ECEP facilities.
  • Physical distancing with children will be practiced when possible
    • During play
    • During meals
    • During nap/rest
  • Staff will continue to clean classrooms as best as possible to reduce the spread of disease.
  • Materials can be shared versus individualised, but remember to sanitize regularly and practice plenty of handwashing.
  • Children will have a daily health check done by the teacher at drop-off.
  • Staff will be required to provide a personal daily screening before starting work.
  • Scheduled temperature taking is no longer required. However, teachers will take temperatures on arrival (or each morning).
  • Staff and families will continue to be encouraged to be vaccinated to protect our children from COVID-19. Learn about University Health Services vaccine clinics for students, staff, and faculty.
  • Any exposure to COVID-19 must be reported.

 

COVID-19 Exposure Protocol

While we do everything in our power to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our care centers, we understand that positive cases within our community are possible. We have developed clear protocols and communications for the event of a positive case. We intend to be as transparent as possible with all of our communications regarding potential exposures. Below is a summary of the steps that we take once we are notified of a positive case.

  1. Affected individual notifies University Health Services of a positive case (University Health Services will complete contract tracing for individuals in close contact)
  2. Center Director verbally communicates with staff and families affected by a classroom closure
  3. Center Director verbally communicates with remaining staff at affected center
  4. Center Director communicates with University Health Services to confirm workplace close contact list
  5. Center Director contacts City of Berkeley Health Department for guidance, and to complete School Portal Outbreak Tracking (SPOT) form
  6. University Health Services & City of Berkeley Health Department verifies the date of last exposure, generates a timeline for classroom closure, and notifies Center Director & Executive Director
  7. Executive Director sends an email to affected individuals (with potential exposure), and the larger ECEP community (without potential expsure) (see below for sample communications)
  8. Center Director contacts Community Care Licensing to report an unusual incident
  9. Center Director contacts Admissions Coordinator, who cancels food for the affected classroom
  10. Executive Director contacts UC Berkeley Custodial Services to schedule a deep cleaning of affected classroom/center to remove any potential contaigent
  11. ECEP website is updated with date of classroom closure
  12. Closed classroom reopens after 10 days from date of last exposure
  13. ECEP website is updated with date of classroom reopening

 

Sample Communications

 

Policy for Child Face Coverings

ECEP adheres the recommendations set forth in COVID-19 Update Guidance: Child Care Programs and Providers (July 17, 2020) as follows:

  • Never place face coverings on babies or children under 2 because of danger of suffocation

  • Children aged 2 years and older should wear face coverings, especially when indoors or when a six-foot physical distance from others cannot be maintained

  • Face coverings are strongly encouraged for young children between two years old and second grade, if they can be worn properly. A face shield is an acceptable alternative for children in this cohort

At this time, ECEP does not require children to wear face coverings, although our staff actively encourage children to wear face coverings when possible.

 

Traveling During the Pandemic

Travel during the COVID-19 pandemic increases your chance of catching and spreading COVID-19.

Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others and nonessential travel is not advised. However, if you DO have to travel, it is important to discuss your travel options with your family, friends, and community beforehand.

Things to consider:

  • Be sure to check the entry requirements for the place you are traveling to, which may change at short notice. Good sites to check include the State Department Travel website (for international travel), and individual state websites (for travel within the US). You may also wish to research COVID rates at your exact destination in making your decision. Please note that many countries require documentation of a negative COVID test within 48 hours of travel, which can be challenging to obtain. Non-US citizens/residents should be aware that the U.S. border remains closed to many nationals and could change at any time.
  • Traveling by mass transit (air, train, bus, ferry) is likely to expose you to more people than you are usually around, who may not have been as careful as you, and who may be traveling from areas with higher rates of COVID than the Bay Area. It is difficult to 100% protect yourself when you are sitting in an airplane within 6 feet of 8 people (which is the case with many airlines currently, with every other seat blocked), especially on a long trip where you and others will need to remove your mask to eat or drink. When possible, drive and/or travel with people you live with.
  • Since many people with COVID have no symptoms, you may be infected without being aware and thus unwittingly infect (or be infected by) family members or others you may be around. The more you travel, the higher the risk of infection for you and for others, some of whom may be at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.
  • Since you may become ill while traveling, be sure to double-check your health insurance covers urgent needs wherever you are going, and that your tickets are changeable/refundable. Please do not travel — coming or going — if you have symptoms or have recently (< 2 weeks) been in close contact with a confirmed case.

Whether you travel or not, it is important to continue with regular surveillance testing. For additional information see the CDC COVID travel information website.

For more information please visit University Health Services Travel Guidance.

 

Additional Resources

ECEP Administration refers to a number of resources to develop the protocols and procedures implemented in our centers. For your consideration we have listed these resources below:

  1. UC Berkeley Coronovirus (COVID-19) Updates and Resources
  2. Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, Public Health Department COVID-19 Health Screening in Child Care Programs (November 18th, 2020)
  3. UC Berkeley Environment, Health & Safety COVID-19
  4. California All, Travel
  5. COVID-19 in the City of Berkeley
  6. State of California Department of Social Services, COVID-19 Vaccines for the Child Care Sector (March 9th, 2021)
  7. COVID-19 Update Guidance: Child Care Programs and Providers (July 17, 2020)
  8. State of California Department of Public Health, Guidance Related to Cohorts – UPDATED March 22, 2021 (September 4, 2020)