Earthplace Preschool Policies & Procedures
Health & Wellness Policies
Outdoor play safety
Children have a daily opportunity for outdoor play when weather, air quality, or environmental safety conditions do not pose a health risk.
Based on the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Public Health Association as printed in the book Caring for Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards: Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs, weather poses a significant health risk at 15° or below, including wind chill factor, and at a heat index at or above 90°. Therefore, as long as the temperature falls within those parameters, and in the winter months, the ground is not dangerously icy, our students play outdoors. We are able to check the exact temperature including the wind chill at our own weather station.
As previously mentioned in the curriculum area, when outdoor opportunities for large-motor activities are not possible because of the conditions then we are able to set up activities in the Auditorium.
Although we encourage your children to be trained in the Hummingbirds, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Falcons classes, this is not a requirement for attendance at Earthplace. This is in accordance with our understanding of the Americans with Disabilities Act. We believe that we need to work with children at their level of development in all areas, including toilet training. We expect to help children in the Chickadees class transition to using the toilet and collaborate with families in terms of the timing.
Illness and injury
Illness or injury at school
Staff members are knowledgeable about the signs and symptoms of childhood illnesses, and they are responsible for the initial observation of each child upon arrival and continued observation throughout the day.
If an illness prevents the child from participating comfortably in activities or creates a greater need for care than the staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of other children, or if a child’s condition is suspected to be contagious and requires exclusion as identified by public health authorities, then the child is made comfortable in the nursery school office, where new individuals will not be exposed, on a cot where she or he is supervised by a familiar caregiver.
The program immediately attempts to notify the parent or legal guardian or other person authorized by the parent when a child has any sign or symptom that requires exclusion from the program. If the parent or legal guardian cannot be reached then a person authorized by the parent or legal guardian to pick up the child is contacted.
Some of the symptoms that would indicate to us that a child was contagious or did not feel well enough to stay in school would be: a fever of 100.3° or greater, diarrhea , severe and persistent cough, vomiting, unexplained rash, or a cold that seems to be keeping the child from benefiting from school. Parents are asked to keep children home when they have these symptoms.
Illness or Injury Report
We send home a description of any first aid that we give to your child at school. We ask that you sign this form to indicate that you received it. A copy of this form is kept in the Child's File and Log Book. When we send your child home because of an illness we send an Illness/Injury Form along.
Illness at home
Please call in when your child will miss school.
Please let us know the reason for your child’s absence. We are then able to let other parents know what diseases their children may have been exposed. There may be some health situations such as impetigo and/or lice where a doctor's note is required for the child to return to class. Illnesses on the list with a * require a note from the doctor.
Exposure to a contagious disease information
When your child has been exposed to a contagious disease at school we will send an email to let you know the name of the disease and its signs and symptoms, mode of transmission, period of communicability, and control measures that are being implemented at school and that families should implement at home. We will also announce this information at dismissal time.
Staying Home Until Well Policy
Children who have a fever must remain at home for 24 hours after the child’s temperature returns to normal without the aid of fever-reducing medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Children who have diarrhea or are vomiting must also remain at home for at least 24 hours after diarrhea and vomiting have completely stopped. Keeping a child at home for this 24-hour period helps to ensure that the illness has passed. This is for the protection of all of the children and staff.
The exclusion period for children with a communicable disease and the return policy is stated in the following list:
Disease and time child is excluded from school
Chicken Pox (Varicella): Until all sores have dried and crusted (usually six days)
Conjunctivitis*: Exclude for conjunctivitis (redness and swelling of eyes, yellow discharge); return after three treatments with medication prescribed by a physician for this occurrence and completely asymptomatic for 24 hours. You must provide a note from the health care provider to certify that child is not infectious.
Diarrhea: Until 24 hours have passed with no diarrhea.
Diphtheria*: Until two negative cultures collected 24 hours after completion of medication
Difficult or rapid breathing*: Until cleared by a health care provider
Fever 100.3° F orally: Excluded when accompanied by behavior changes, signs, and symptoms of illness. May return when fever- free (without medication) for 24 hours.
Fungus or ringworm*: Excluded at end of the school day. May return when certified by health care provider that patient is under adequate treatment and no longer infectious.
Hepatitis A*: Until one week after onset of illness, jaundice, or as directed by health care dept. when passive immunoprophylaxis has been administered to appropriate children and staff.
Impetigo*: Until 24 hours after treatment began.
Influenza*: Until clinically well and cleared by a health care provider
Measles: Four days after the rash appears and the child is well
Meningitis* (all forms): Until certified by a physician as cured and not infectious
Mumps: Until nine days after onset of parotid gland swelling
Pediculosis (Head Lice)*: From the end of the day until after first treatment
Pertussis (Whooping Cough): After five days of appropriate antibiotic therapy
Poison Ivy, Oak, Sumac: No exclusion
Poliomyelitis*: Ten days from the onset and certified as not infectious by a physician
Rash*: Until diagnosed by a physician plus certification that patient is under adequate treatment or is not infectious
Rubella (German Measles): Until six days after onset of rash.
Scabies*: Until certified by health care provider that adequate treatment has been given to prevent transmission.
Strep Throat or other strep infections: Until 24 hours after initial antibiotic therapy and cessation of fever without fever suppressant medications for 24 hours
Tuberculosis (active)*: Until health care provider states that child is on appropriate therapy and can attend childcare
* These illnesses require a doctor's note in order for your child to come back to school.
Return Policy after a Hospital Stay
If your child has been admitted to the hospital for any reason, we require a doctor’s note which states:
- that the child may return to school
- whether or not there are any restrictions to the child’s activities.
Medicals and Health Concerns
Connecticut State Law requires that children who attend our school must have had a physical examination by the family doctor within one year. The results of the current medical exam must be on a completed, state-approved Health Assessment Record Form. We recommend that parents keep a copy of the current, completed medical form at home for their records. As per state licensing regulations, if a current, completed medical form is not in our files on the first day of school; your child CANNOT be permitted to start school. Children must be current for routine screening tests and immunizations according to the schedule listed on the State of Connecticut Early Childhood Health Assessment Record.
Your child’s medical form may expire during the school year. We will contact you a month in advance so that you will have time to make an appointment for a physical. In accordance with Connecticut State Law you now have a 30-day allowance from the date that it expires. Please help us by scheduling an appointment in advance for the needed physical. When a child is overdue for any routine health services, parents/legal guardians must provide evidence of an appointment for those services before the child may attend school.
The Connecticut State Department of Health requires that all children enrolled in childcare programs have a flu shot. The shot needs to be given before December in the school year the child is attending. A record of the shot needs to be on the Health Record or on a separate form.
Religious or medical exemption
If you have a religious or medical exemption from immunizations your child must still have an annual physical indicated on the medical form, and you must fill out a State medical exemption certification statement. This document states that “Children with medical (religious) exemptions shall be permitted to attend school except in the case of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak in the school. All susceptible students will be excluded from school based on public health officials’ determination that the school is a primary site for disease exposure, transmission and spread into the community. Students excluded from school, for this reason, will not be able to return to school until (1) the danger of the outbreak has passed as determined by the public health officials, (2) the student becomes ill with the disease and completely recovers, or (3) the student is immunized. For example, for measles, the complete incubation period is 18 days from the onset of symptoms for the last case in the community. Outbreaks like measles may last for several months.
If after reporting to and consulting with our nurse consultant and the Westport-Weston Health District, it was decided that we did have an outbreak of vaccine-preventable disease and that we were a primary site for disease exposure, transmission, and spread into the community, the families whose children were not immunized would be contacted. Under the direction of our nurse consultant and the Westport-Weston Health District, we would exclude the children who had not been immunized for the appropriate length of time.
We ask that any lotions, repellents, sunscreens, lip balms, etc., be applied by parents at home. When your child stays past lunch time we will reapply sunscreen. We can also apply diaper ointments. We administer medications prescribed by your doctor, nurse practitioner or physicians assistant; you must submit an Authorization for the Administration of Medication Form signed by your health care provider giving us explicit instructions for the administration of these medications. You can obtain the form by clicking here, selecting "Forms" on the homepage navigation bar, or by visiting the Preschool Office. EpiPens, inhalers, and other prescription medications must have the prescription label on the box, and the expiration date of the medicine must be current. If you indicated on the registration form that your child has allergies or food intolerances, we will send you these forms.
Allergies, asthma and food intolerances
All allergies and food intolerances must be listed on your child’s medical form by your child’s healthcare provider (physician). This is a requirement of the State Health Department. We will then provide you with the following forms to be filled out by you and your physician:
- Authorization for the Administration of Medication: Parents of children who require Benadryl and/or EpiPen and/or inhalers must have this form filled out by the physician who prescribes the medicine.
- Emergency Health Care Plan: On this form, the physician indicates the order of medication to be given when both an Epi-pen and Benadryl are to be used in an allergic emergency.
- Allergy/Food Intolerance Care Plan: This form is signed by the parent and the health care provider. It gives us information about the conditions under which the child may have a snack, lunch, visit the Animal Hall and use the trails.
- Asthma Action Plan: This is for children who need to use inhalers. It is signed by the physician and the parent. It indicates the child’s triggers, signs of asthma episodes, and other important information.
Other emergency care plans
For children with known medical or developmental problems or other conditions that might require special care in an emergency such as seizures, orthopedic or sensory problems, and other chronic conditions that require regular medication or technology support, a plan for the individual child will be written by the health consultant. This form needs to be signed by the parent or guardian.
Snacks for children with allergies and food intolerances
If a child has any food allergies or intolerances, parents are required to provide snacks.
Our building cannot be deemed allergen-free because peanut, sesame, and tree nut products are used in the Animal Hall. However, we do not serve peanut, sesame, or tree nut products in our snack program. We have made this decision because of the danger of the children not washing the allergens completely off of their hands, clothes, and even the chairs. Children may not bring peanut, sesame, or tree nut products for lunch. All children will wash their hands at the beginning of the school day and before eating their snack or lunch.