As an administrator or staff member of a preschool or child care center, the safety of your children, families, and staff is always top priority—now more than ever with the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We are here to support you and ensure that you, your families, and your staff are safe and well-prepared.
Here are some essential tips for early education programs on how to prepare, respond, and effectively communicate with your staff, families, and children.
Table of Contents
- Staying Informed
- How to Leverage brightwheel
- Keeping Your Community Healthy
- Communicating with Children about Coronavirus
- Continuing the Learning at Home
Information and recommendations are changing quickly. In addition to your local public health officials and local authorities, you may wish to use these resources to stay up-to-date:
The CDC has developed specific guidance for schools and child care:
- Guidance for school settings: 14 actions to take before and during an outbreak
- FAQ for childcare program administrators: Preparing, responding to confirmed COVID-19 cases, school dismissals, and recent travel
- Considerations for school closure: Actions to take and factors to consider based on level of community spread
Resources from early education experts:
- Child Care Aware Coronavirus Resources
- Free webinar by Child Care Aware of America to hear the latest coronavirus preparedness resources and what’s being done at child care agencies to prepare and work with families
- Free webinar on Tuesday, March 24 at 12PM MT by The Child Care Success Company on how to adjust your center’s pricing and policies, continue to deliver value to your families in the event of closure, and take advantage of government funding programs
Financial relief and loan resources
- View a comprehensive list of loan and relief resources for small businesses and early education programs impacted by COVID-19.
How to Leverage brightwheel
Utilize these brightwheel features to help keep your community healthy and informed.
- Messaging: Use messaging and alerts to share updates with your families. Parents are generally more likely to read in-app messages than personal email.
- Newsletters: Consider newsletters for longer-form communications.
- Quick Scan Check-in: Use our scan feature to avoid touching device screens.
- Online Payments: Consider shifting to online payments to reduce the exchange of checks and cash (which can carry germs).
- Voice to text: To decrease the number of times you touch a device screen.
- Health Checks: To record wellness checks or temperature checks. You can elect to share these with families or mark them “staff only”.
- Lesson Plans: Easily create and distribute lessons to all your teachers on related topics (e.g., handwashing, germs, etc).
- Pause Student Billing Plans: You may need to pause your billing setup during the event of an unexpected temporary closure.
- Learning from Home: Admins and teachers can easily share lesson plans with parents through the brightwheel app for at-home learning materials.
Keeping Your Community Healthy
Review CDC recommendations on cleaning, hygiene, and travel history. Prepare your staff and parents with the critical information they need to know and actions to take now.
- CDC’s environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations for community facilities: Frequently clean of all surfaces and sanitize toys that may have been in contact with saliva or nasal secretions
- CDC’s checklists for teachers and parents: How teachers and parents can prepare and take action
- CDC’s latest recommendations based on recent travel history: How to deal with children, educators, or family members with recent travel history to an area identified by the CDC as Level 2-4
- NPR podcast on Coronavirus and Parenting: What You Need to Know Now: How parents can prepare for COVID-19 and seek help, the tradeoffs of closing schools, and better ways to do screen time (14 minutes long)
Communicating with Children about Coronavirus
Use these guidelines and talking points when speaking to children about COVID-19.
- CDC’s principles and facts for talking with children about coronavirus
- NYTimes Parenting: How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus
- Bright Horizon's Talking to Children about COVID-19, including guidelines, talking points, and Q&A
Continuing the Learning at Home
In the event of temporary school closure, provide resources to your parents and help them to continue learning and engagement at home. Consider delivering "distance learning" experiences using free video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts or Skype.
In the scenario of school closure, you may wish to share the following resources with parents:
- YouTube Learning Hub and YouTube Kids
- PBS Kids
- National Geographic Kids
- Fun Brain
- Shared Resource: Caring for Children During Extended Confinement
Suggested talking points for school closures:
- Toddlers: When people are sick, they stay home! When lots of people are sick, we all stay home to keep everyone healthy. We are all going to spend classroom time at home for a little while to keep everyone healthy.
- Primary: When people are sick, they stay home! When lots of people are sick, we all stay home to keep everyone healthy. Many illnesses come from bacterias or viruses. These are teeny tiny organisms that can make people sick. There is a virus that is making people sick right now and so we are all going to spend classroom time at home for a little while to keep everyone healthy.
Note: Children do not process the same information in the same way as adults. You might consider offering just this level of information, and then responding to questions.
We’re in this Together
As an early childhood learning community, our top priority during this time is supporting your needs. Brightwheel will provide additional information and resources as the situation evolves.