Professional Development

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Adapting Best Practices for the Future

All over the nation and the world, afterschool professionals, leaders, and others are working diligently to ensure healthy and safe school-age child care and out-of-school time programs for kids and families.

Many programs were started specifically for children of essential workers but are now considering broadening enrollment as part of states' phased re-opening plans, to serve families as more people go back to work.

What do these programs look like? What procedures have they put in place? What precautions are they taking? How are they communicating with families? How are they ensuring the developmental needs of kids are being met in the revised environments?

One organization shares all this—and more.

Champions—which partners with principals, teachers, and parents to create more than 600 before-school, afterschool and year-round learning environments that spark wonder in children—have shared how they're adapting.

All Champions staff will go through extensive training on health and safety practices the organization has developed to set a new standard in child care, in addition to working closely with medical advisor Dr. Ray Fabius and following Centers for Disease Control guidelines and protocols.

Everyone who enters any Champions site will need to wash their hands. Champions continues to integrate handwashing into its curriculum and make hand sanitizer available throughout its sites.

Champions is encouraging people to follow CDC travel guidance and to stay home if sick, asking that the ill person stay home until they've been symptom-free without medication for at least 48 hours. Champions sites will also have a dedicated space where staff can care for sick children while being separated from others until a family member arrives to pick them up.

Families are asked to assign one family member for drop-off and pickup to minimize exposure to multiple people. If this is not possible, Champions is asking parents to call the site upon arrival and the staff will bring children in from and out to the car.

All Champions staff will be required to wear masks and will be asked to take their temperature each day and must be fever-free before arriving at Champions. They're also asking parents to take their child's temperature before coming to the site. When families sign in for the day, they will need to confirm their child is well before Champions staff brings them into the site. Champions is making thermometers available for on-site temperature checks and their staff will monitor student health throughout the day.

To minimize potential exposure, Champions is asking that families not walk their child into the site upon arrival and instead wait for staff at the check-in station to walk the child in. Sites will be reserved for staff and children only. Champions is continuing to practice social distancing as much as possible to reduce risk. To minimize potential exposure, children will continue to keep a distance from children and staff in other areas of the school.

Toys, playground equipment, and other high-touch surfaces will be regularly disinfected and rotated throughout the day. Any materials that are difficult to clean will not be in use.

Champions has modified its shared snack time practices to reduce the spread of germs in addition to limiting outdoor play structures to be utilized by one group at a time, with increased time between play to allow for cleaning.

To learn more about what Champions is doing at its sites as well as some additional precautions as reopening begins to happen, visit Champions.

Courtesy of NAA.