Below are frequently asked questions related to our COVID-19 safety protocols.
What programs are you offering at this time for children?
Our Full Day Early Childhood Program is open for children 6 weeks to 5 years old at our main location 1420 Maple Avenue. Our Head Start Program for children 3 to 5 years old is also open at 2010 Dewey Avenue. We are also offering school-age Remote Plus Programs at both of our locations, which include support for K-8 virtual learning and School’s Out enrichments.
What are the group sizes in each classroom? Are children being combined with other classes?
Children are kept in the same group with consistent staff every day including meal, snack, rest, and play periods. Our program has additional teaching staff assigned to each classroom to assure safe care and supervision of all children. While we maintain smaller group sizes than regulated, the maximum group sizes are determined by DCFS and may be subject to change based on further DCFS regulations. The following group sizes are maintained at this time:
- Infants: maximum of 8 children
- Toddlers: maximum of 12 children
- Two year olds: maximum of 12 children
- Three to five year olds: maximum of 15 children
- School age: maximum of 12 children
Are there new hours of operation?
Yes, our program’s temporary hours of operation are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, to allow for proper teacher-child ratio coverage as well as enhanced cleaning protocols before and after our hours of operation.
What are the drop-off and pick-up protocols?
Each family must sign up for a drop-off time in advance using an online system to assure a staggering schedule for families’ arrival and departure. Only one family member will be allowed to enter the building for not more than 10 minutes to drop off or pick up their child(ren).
The family member must clean their own and their child(ren)’s hands with hand sanitizer and must wear a face covering and assure that their child(ren) over the age of 3 and wear a face covering. The parent/guardian must also complete a Health Check Slip.
When the parent/guardian brings their child(ren) to the classroom door, parents sign in on the classroom daily Sign-in Sheet. The parent/guardian will assist their child(ren) with changing their outdoor shoes with indoor shoes before entering the classroom.
Parents/guardians will not be allowed to enter the classrooms.
What are Health Checks?
All staff, family members, and children entering the buildings will receive a mandatory Health Check prior to entering our facility, which includes a touchless temperature check and health screening questions. Any individual who displays any symptom of an illness, or who has had exposure to COVID-19, or who has recently traveled to a hot spot may not enter the building. Teachers will conduct additional Health Checks for all children three times a day or as needed.
What is the shoe protocol?
Our classrooms are indoor shoe only environments. We ask that children and teachers change their shoes when entering or leaving the classroom. We ask that each family provides an indoor pair of shoes for their child(ren) to wear in the classroom.
Does my child need to wear a mask?
All staff, family members, and children (ages 3 and up) are required to wear a face mask that covers the mouth and nose at all times in all areas inside and outside of our buildings. Children are not required to wear masks when eating or during rest time (their cots are spaced 6 feet apart).
What if I forget my mask? Do you have masks available?
The McGaw YMCA will provide masks to both children and adults upon request.
What are the handwashing protocols?
We follow DCFS guidelines on handwashing protocols. Hand washing is required for all staff, children, family members, and visitors. Children are assisted and monitored by staff while washing their hands to learn personal hygiene. Hand sanitizer is provided in spaces where hand washing is not available.
What are we allowed to bring from home?
Families provide a photo of the family for the classroom’s family board, 3 sets of extra change of weather-appropriate clothing, a pair of indoors shoes to change into, diapers (if needed), wipes (if needed), infant bottles (if applicable), and any needed lotion or sunscreen. We provide rest time blankets or sleeping sacks, individualized art, play and rest time materials for each child.
How are rest time and meal times handled?
Our Infant classrooms offer children nap times on individual bases. Our Toddlers through Pre-Kindergarten classrooms have scheduled 1:00-3:00 PM rest time. We provide sleeping sacks to our infants and sleeping blankets to all children 12 months and older. All rest time sheets, sleeping sacks and blankets are washed daily and all cribs and cots are assigned to individual children and disinfected daily. Cribs and cots are spaced 6 feet apart and children do not wear masks during that time. For children who are not able to sleep during the designated rest time, we provide individualized art materials and quiet toys.
We offer breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack, Infant formula, cereal and jar food. During meal times children are spaced apart or sneeze guards are used. Children are allowed to remove their mask during meals. All meals are pre-plated by staff wearing gloves.
What cleaning protocols are followed?
Enhanced cleaning protocols are in place throughout our facilities. All classroom equipment is cleaned throughout the day and after closing each day. Each classroom utilizes a sanitation bin for used toys and materials will be individualized and rotated. Frequently touched surfaces (examples: stair handrails and door handles) will be cleaned every two hours or as needed each day with disinfectant. Laundry of all soft items (examples: blankets, sleeping sacks, sheets, bibs, etc.) is completed for all classrooms daily. Playground equipment is sanitized after each use.
What should we do if my child becomes ill?
Stay home if you feel sick. Children and staff must stay home if they don’t feel well. Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, congestion or runny nose, headache, fatigue of unknown cause, muscle or body aches. If your temperature is 100.4 degrees or above or you answer yes to any of the screening questions, a doctor’s note that includes when your child can safely return to school/care is required. Any sibling enrolled in our program must also stay home until the return to school/care date. If your child’s physician determines your child should be tested for COVID-19, and your child’s test results come back negative, a doctor’s note with a safe return date is still required to return to the program since most medical providers also stipulate a quarantine period based on the test that is administered.
What would happen if my child shows signs of illness while at the Children’s Center, Head Start, or Remote+?
If a child in our care shows signs of a communicable illness, the child will be isolated in a designated isolation room immediately. While in isolation, the child will be made comfortable and remain with a familiar caregiver wearing PPE until the parent or legal guardian picks up the child. The parent/guardian is expected to pick up the child from care within one hour. The parent will be asked to sign the Childcare Exclusion Form detailing the observed symptoms of illness as well as information on required follow up steps. This form might be shared with the Evanston Health Department.
What should we do if exposed to COVID-19?
Stay home if you have had exposure to COVID-19. Children and staff must stay home if they have had known exposure to a person infected with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days.
What would be done if there is a positive COVID-19 case in the Children’s Center, Head Start, or Remote+?
If a child or a staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the child or the staff member will be excluded from the program until written documentation is provided by the staff/child’s physician that the staff/child is no longer communicable and may return to the program. Both DCFS and the Evanston Health Department will be notified of the positive COVID-19 case immediately. The program will work with the Evanston Health Department to determine a course of action for the program.
Will I know if there is a positive COVID-19 case at the Children’s Center, Head Start, or Remote+?
A close contact illness letter will be distributed via email to all families and staff members who may have been exposed to COVID-19 while also maintaining the confidentiality of the infected person. The letter will also include any guidelines as prescribed by the Evanston Health Department regarding any need for closure. A letter to all staff and families will be distributed in a timely fashion.
Will the Children’s Center, Head Start, or Remote+ close if there is a positive COVID-19 case reported?
In the event that there is a reported child or staff positive COVID-19 test, the programs will follow the Evanston Health Department guidance regarding any protocols to implement, including closure, cleaning, and sanitation.
In the event of an emergency closure occurring before opening, you will be contacted via the Constant Contact email system. Emergency closures will also be posted on the Emergency Closing Center. Please sign up for email notifications through the website http://www.emergencyclosingcenter.com/ . You may also contact the front desk at the main McGaw YMCA building, 847-475-7400, for information.
Will the Children’s Center, Head Start, or Remote+ close due to a high number of COVID-19 cases in the community?
We will only close our programs if a governing body orders childcare programs to close due to the Pandemic.
What should we do if we travel to a hot spot?
Stay home if you’ve recently traveled to a Hot Spot. Families and staff who have traveled will be asked to comply with all CDC, local and McGaw YMCA travel guidelines. If you have recently traveled to any international or domestic destination with 20+ cases per 100K as listed in the COVID-19 Risk Levels Dashboard, we ask that you stay home for 14 days following your travel.
What enrichments are offered to children at this time?
Due to our licensing regulations, we are not able to conduct our swim lessons and Explorers program at this time. We have substituted an indoor gym class with an outdoor children’s yoga class (weather permitting) for all children 2 – 4. Our music program will resume in January via a virtual platform for children 2 and older. We continue to offer our Art Appreciation class to our Pre-Kindergarteners virtually. As we continue to look for ways to enrich the children’s learning experiences, we have partnered with the University of Chicago to implement their math program, Getting on Track Early for School Success (GoT).
How will parent-teacher conferences be conducted this year?
We will continue to offer parent-teacher conferences to all families. A child’s progress note will be shared with all families via TeachingStrategies.com and meetings will take place will take place using Zoom video conferencing software.
Are parents allowed in the classrooms?
Unfortunately, parents are not allowed to enter the classrooms at this time.
How can parents communicate with teachers?
Our teachers can be reached via phone or email during our hours of operation, the best time to reach a teacher via phone would be during rest time, 1:00-3:00 PM. In addition to Teaching Strategies.com where lesson plans and children’s progress notes are shared, we have implemented the Class Dojo app for regular updates and messages to go home. Daily Chart Forms will continue to be used in our Infant, Toddler, and Two’s classrooms.
Are you currently offering tours for prospective families?
The Children’s Center is offering both in-person and virtual tours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM. We do accommodate alternate time slots on an as-needed basis. Tours must be scheduled in advance, and in-person tour groups are limited to 2 adults and 2 children per tour. To schedule a tour, please call 847-475-8580 or email email@example.com.
Who should I contact if I have further questions?
For further questions, please reach out to us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 847-475-8580.