Health and safety information for Pre-K studentsUpdates
This message was distributed to Pre-K families ahead of the first day of classes for students. To see of all DCPS’ health and safety measures for the 2021-2022 School Year, visit https://dcpsstrong.com/health/.
Dear Pre-K Parents,
Welcome to DC Public Schools and to School Year 2021-2022! We are very much looking forward to welcoming your children into our classrooms on Thursday, September 2.
As you may know, DCPS has a long history as a leader in early childhood education, and we recognize and greatly value the importance of early learning. Although this school year will be different from a typical year, we are committed to ensuring that our Pre-K classrooms are safe, supportive, fun, and robust learning environments. As you prepare for your child’s first day, we want to share with you more details on the health and safety measures you can expect in the classroom.
- Like all DCPS students and staff, our Pre-K learners will wear masks throughout the day, with the exception of lunch and naptimes. Teachers will use positive and affirming language and developmentally appropriate instruction for supporting children in wearing their masks. For example, they will read preschool-appropriate stories about mask-wearing, watch preschool-appropriate videos about masks, and engage children in lessons using dolls and stuffed animals.
- If a child has difficulty adhering to the mask requirement, teachers will work closely with the child’s parents/caregivers to develop a supportive plan.
Social Distancing & General Classroom Routines
- Learning Centers: We know our students are busy and learn best from being active with lessons that involve hands-on materials and activities. As such, our Pre-K children will be able to move about the classroom and work and play in classroom “learning centers” (block area, library area, art area, science and discovery area, etc.). Students will wear masks and wash their hands before entering each learning center and after leaving each center.
- Social Distancing: To support social distancing, teachers will set up the classroom environment and daily routines in a way that allows for at least three feet of distancing between children; plan activities that do not require close physical contact between children; and lead preschool-appropriate lessons and activities to help children understand and follow the distancing guidance.
- Distancing Supports: Teachers will also use developmentally appropriate strategies and tools for helping children to understand and maintain appropriate distancing, such as the use of hula-hoops, carpet squares, or cardboard butterfly or airplane “wings” that children can wear on their backs to help them to remember and maintain distance from their friends.
- Because children will not wear masks during lunch times, teachers will ensure additional distancing between children when removing their masks to eat.
- Where and when possible, students will eat lunch outside.
- Teachers will ensure additional distancing between during nap time by either placing mats at least 6 feet apart, or if 6 foot distancing is not possible, teachers will place children head-to-toe to ensure that their faces are at least six feet apart.
- Mats or cots will be labeled with the children’s names and used by the same child each day. Mats or cots will be wiped down with a disinfectant wipe after each use by classroom staff.
- Children can bring blankets, sheets, pillows, etc., from home, and these will be stored individually (within a child’s cubby or backpack) and sent home for washing weekly.
- Consistent with the guidance from the CDC and DC Health, all students in the Pre-K classroom would be considered close contacts in the event that a student tests positive for COVID-19, and all students in the class would be instructed to quarantine.
- In the event of positive case in a classroom that would require students to quarantine, impacted Pre-K teachers will quickly shift to virtual instruction. During virtual instruction, children will participate in regular live whole-class, small-group, and individual virtual lessons, and they will also have access to a variety of online learning resources to support learning from home.
The health and well-being of your child is our priority. We will continue to update you on the health and safety measures that are in place throughout the year. You can also learn more about the enhancements made to HVAC and air filtration, our enhanced cleaning protocols, and the robust, layered mitigation strategy in place at all of our schools at dcpsreopenstrong.com/health/.
We look forward to seeing your child on September 2 for the first day of Pre-K.