COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY POLICY
Updated October 7, 2020
At Brooklyn Wild, we’ve been carefully tracking the latest research around COVID-19 prevention. Below is our current COVID-19 health and safety policy, based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Camp Association, the governor's re-opening guidelines and best practices from nature and forest schools across the country.
Though it is not possible to eliminate all risk—whether from COVID-19 or regular outdoor play—weighing risks is a regular part of our playwork model. Our analysis indicates that we can significantly mitigate risk related to the pandemic while providing the benefits of playing outdoors with peers. We will enforce these safety policies to the best of our ability even as we prioritize meeting children's social, emotional and physical needs. We will also continue to watch the latest medical research and government guidelines and update these policies according to recommended best practices.
REMAIN OPEN DURING ORANGE ZONE RESTRICTIONS
According to New York State’s current COVID Cluster Initiative, Brooklyn Wild’s classes take place in an Orange Zone. In this zone, high risk non-essential businesses must close and all gatherings, indoors and outdoors, are limited to 10 people. These restrictions begin Thursday, October 8th, 2020, and will continue until at least Monday, October 26th.
At this time, we are considered an essential business and our classes remain open. Brooklyn Wild is a multi-disciplinary program that combines an outdoor recreational class with a child care service, and we already maintain small class sizes.
In the category of recreational classes, we are a moderate risk program because during play there are some shared materials and children are not always socially distanced. To mitigate this moderate risk, we require masks of all staff and students, screen staff and students for COVID symptoms, discourage physical contact play such as wrestling and tag and have implemented enhanced disinfecting and hand washing protocols. We provide separate, marked areas for children to remove their masks for a short time, and these are six feet apart.
In the category of child care, our classes are considered an essential service, and are lower risk than many other afterschool and day camp options because our classes take place outside in all weather.
HAVE SMALL GROUP SIZES FOR CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 10 AND NO CO-MINGLING WITH NEIGHBORS
Fall class sizes will be small. Remote day classes will have no more than six children with two playworkers/volunteers. After school classes will be divided into two groups of no more than eight children and three playworkers. After school groups will be separated during snack times and mask breaks, and will mix only when all parties are wearing masks. Registration is limited to children under the age of 10, due to the research around higher viral loads in older children. Though classes will take place in a public park, our group will not co-mingle with other park visitors. People not in our class--even if our students know them personally--will be asked to move away from our group, or we will move to another area if necessary.
PLAY OUTSIDE AND LIMIT OUR SHELTER INDOORS
We remain a program that takes place outdoors in all weather. The ventilation outside is a much lower risk for contagion than being indoors. If the weather is forecast to be dangerous, such as thunderstorms or high winds, remote day classes will move indoors and after school classes will be cancelled. For cancelled classes, make-ups will be offered at a date and time selected by Brooklyn Wild.
REQUIRE FACE MASKS FOR EVERYONE
Staff will wear masks during pick up, drop off and during class. Adults picking up and dropping off children are also required to wear masks. All children two and older are required to bring a mask to class and wear it during play and when indoors. Children will have a socially distanced, designated spot where they can take a mask break, eat and drink. We know it's hard for children to keep masks on at all times, so we will not remove a child from play if they have a hard time keeping the mask on, but we will remind them, help them stay socially distant and encourage them to keep themselves and their friends safe by wearing a mask. We also strongly encourage parents to remind children about the importance of wearing a mask during class.
REQUIRE SOCIAL DISTANCING DURING SNACK, STORIES AND PHYSICAL PLAY
Children will eat their own individual snacks and lunches brought from home, with no shared snack available. While eating, reading books or taking a mask break—or during any other sit-down activity on the mat—children will be asked to maintain a distance of six feet from each other. In addition, we will discourage close physical play such as wrestling and tag.
MINIMIZE AND SANITIZE SHARED MATERIALS
Our open-ended materials will be limited to natural and porous materials; those that can be easily sanitized; and those that are disposable after one class. All materials will be sanitized between classes and/or rotated out for more than 72 hours to ensure they are safe to re-use.
INCREASE HAND WASHING AND THE USE OF HAND SANITIZERS
Hand washing with soap remains a key way to reduce the risk of COVID-19. We will have portable hand washing stations available at every class. Students will wash hands before class begins, before snack, at regular intervals during class and after using the bathroom. If hand washing with water is not available, we will use hand sanitizer.
AVOID USING SHARED PUBLIC FACILITIES, SUCH AS BATHROOMS AND WATER FOUNTAINS
To avoid shared public spaces, we will have a private pop-up camping bathroom available for children to use during class. The toilet will be sanitized after each use. In addition, we ask that children come to class with a full water bottle, as we will not refill bottles from the public water fountain.
SCREEN THE HEALTH OF STUDENTS AND STAFF BEFORE EACH CLASS
Temperatures will be taken via a touchless thermometer as children and staff arrive at class. In addition, parents will be asked several questions regarding symptoms, exposure to COVID-19, and travel to restricted states/countries for their child and their families. Children exhibiting symptoms such as a fever of 100.4 or higher, coughing, shortness of breath or fatigue will not be allowed to attend class. If children develop symptoms, parents will be called to pick up their child, and staff will follow up with protocols for contact tracing and potential class closures. Staff will be subject to the same screenings and will not attend class if they are unwell. Staff absences, and students’ or families’ exposure, may lead to cancelled classes, and make-up classes will be offered.
ASK PARENTS TO KEEP CHILDREN AT HOME IF THEY ARE ILL
Parents are expected to assess the health of their child before coming to class. You should keep your child at home if:
Your child has a fever. Fever reducing medication may not be used when determining a child’s health. Children must be fever-free for 72 hours (three days) before returning to class, per the recommendation of the CDC.
Your child is experiencing recognizable symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, dry cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Your child has been exposed to someone who has had COVID-19 (by testing or medical diagnosis) within the past 14 days.
Your child has had sustained contact (within six feet for 15 minutes or more) with a person showing symptoms of COVID-19 within the previous 14 days.
Your child is under a 14-day self-quarantine or self-monitoring guidance for any reason.
Your child has traveled out of the state or out of the country within the previous 14 days to a location on New York State’s list of restricted areas.
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