Keeping Everyone Safe at Tobin
The Tobin Children’s School, as well as our Summer at Tobin programs, reopened on 6/29/20 – meeting, or exceeding, the new MA Dept. of Early Education and Care requirements for health and safety. As of 9/8/20, we opened The Tobin School for school-year early childhood programs and 2 private Kindergarten classes. And finally, as of 9/16/20, we opened our Tobin Afterschool program, offering afterschool care for Natick Public School students on both their in-person and hybrid weeks. During these unprecedented times, we have learned so much and added many new protocols. But as with any new practice, it has all become part of our new routine. We’ve also been amazed by how well the young children have adapted to mask use!
We know that parents have heard many details about their local public schools reopening plans. However, you may not have heard as much about the early childhood and group care programs and how they are responding during this challenging time. As all our programs are not only licensed by the MA Dept. of Early Education and Care, but also nationally accredited (NAEYC for The Tobin School & Tobin Children’s School & COA for Tobin Afterschool), we take our responsibility to keep our students, their families, and our staff healthy and safe very seriously.
We thought we would share just a small portion of our efforts during the pandemic:
- We have limited our class group maximum size and have increased the square footage requirements for children in a classroom (moving from 35 square feet per child to 42).
- These classes are as self-contained and we make extra efforts to avoid mixing children or teachers between any groups.
- We have restricted access to our buildings, allowing only designated teaching staff inside. The state has mandated that parents are not allowed into our building at this time so we have designated drop off stations for each age group. We have increased our online communication efforts and posting of photos as it has become harder for parents to see what is happening at school.
- All parents are required to complete a detailed, daily health Attestation for their child, and their household, each day to ensure their child is safe to attend school.
- All Tobin staff also are required to complete a detailed, daily health Attestation for themselves, ensuring they are also safe to work each day.
- We have updated our campus-wide Cleaning/Sanitizing/Disinfecting Schedule. This schedule includes a strengthened disinfecting solution, increased frequency of cleaning/sanitizing/disinfecting and new systems for disinfecting outside spaces. We continue to utilize the sanitizing dishwashers located in each of Natick buildings to assist in disinfecting toys and equipment.
- We have changed classroom arrangements to encourage more individual and small group play options, while still working to support small group socialization with mask usage for those older than age 2.
- Children have their own individual art tool bins and sensory play tubs. Manipulative toys are divided into smaller sets for individual play.
- We have instituted a new outdoor play rotation to ensure that each class has opportunities for outside play each day without sharing spaces. We also spray down our outdoor play equipment with a disinfecting solution, allowing it to air dry, between each group’s usage.
- Classroom staff are limited in their movement throughout the building to minimize unnecessary exposure, including submitting supply requests to admins instead of having multiple adults accessing shared spaces.
- We purchased Trio Portable Air Purifiers with a four-stage filtration system and UV Lamp system to use in all our classrooms.
- We encourage outside play (including offering new shade structures) and opening of windows to allow more outside air flow into our rooms.
- Bathrooms are assigned to specific groups. Our bathrooms are equipped with touchless soap and paper towel dispensers to avoid these high touch points. We also disinfect bathrooms between each use.
- Children are kept six feet apart when eating or resting. Rest mats, tables and chairs are arranged accordingly and/or children eat in shifts.
- All our staff have had additional training from the state in the new protocols for reopening, as well as infectious disease prevention.
- Mask usage is required of staff at all times on our Natick campus.
- We are complying with the MA Early Education Care policy of encouraging mask usage with young children, age 2 and up, when social distancing is not possible and are seeing amazing compliance amongst the children.
- In order to minimize exposure to our current students, their families and our staff, we are only enrolling 5 day a week students during this time.
This list is not exhaustive, but I hope it helps show our commitment to doing everything possible to ensure a safe and healthy program for all. We’d be happy to share more about our programs, our health and safety protocols, and enrollment options with you. Feel free to contact us to learn more or to arrange a virtual tour.