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Temple Sholom

300 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830
203-869-7191 • Fax: 203-661-4811 • info@templesholom.com

SMNS COVID-19 FAQs

The return to school should be a smooth, healthy and comfortable time for all families and staff.  To facilitate the feeling of confidence, we have prepared a list of frequently asked questions.  Of course, you can always contact David Cohen (david.cohen@templesholom.com or 203-622-8121) to discuss further.

Is the Nursery School opening on schedule for the fall?

Yes.  The Nursery School actually opened July 1, with children in the full day classes and in the part day summer sessions.  This has been running very well, with families and staff being proactive with all health precautions.  It has also allowed us to refine our procedures.   The opening of SMNS is not dependent on the opening of the Greenwich Public Schools or private schools.

What new procedures are in place?

There are several new procedures, aligned with State laws, regulations and best practices.

  • Children’s arrival and departure take place outside; parents do not enter the building.  This reduces the number of adults in the building and reduces crowding in the hallways.
  • Class sizes are limited to 10 children.  Regulations allow for 16 children, but we have chosen to limit children’s exposure.
  • Children stay in their own pods.  They do not combine for events (e.g. no schoolwide Shabbat).
  • Specialists will not meet with the groups, limiting the interaction amongst groups.
  • Handwashing and the cleaning/sanitizing of materials and surfaces are more frequent and scheduled.
  • Adults wear facemasks (children do not).
  • Parents and staff complete a daily health questionnaire, designed to have only healthy individuals at school.

Will the children still have Specials (e.g. Gym, STEAM Lab, Gymnastics, etc.) as part of their regular week?

Yes.  Each classroom is scheduled for their regular visits to our Specials rooms.  These include Gym, Gymnastics, STEAM Lab, and Music/Drumming.  We will not have our specialists (e.g. gym teacher or music teacher), as we want to limit the number of classrooms that interact with any one adult.  We hope to have the specialists back sometime during the year.  In the meantime, the teachers will be planning the curricula for these specials.  They will also be celebrating Shabbat and Jewish holidays in the classrooms.

Will there be After School Enrichments?

No.  The year will start without After School Enrichments, as this combines different groups of children.  We hope to resume After School Enrichments sometime during the year.

What happens if a child becomes ill at school?

If a child becomes ill at school, they would be brought to our dedicated waiting room, where they would wait with an administrator until the parents arrive.  David Cohen will notify all parents of any potentially contagious illness.

If a child or adult, at school or at home, developed potential symptoms of COVID-19, or has a positive test, the following steps will be taken:

  • The ill person would be immediately excluded from school.
  • As required by the State, David Cohen would contact the CT Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Greenwich Health Department – The epidemiologist at DPH would determine the most appropriate plan.  Most likely, this would include a temporary closure of an impacted classroom and quarantining of the people in that classroom; not school closure.
  • David Cohen would inform the entire school.
  • The person’s return to school would include consultation with a physician.

What happens if my child’s classroom/school closes?

SMNS has a detailed Distance Education Plan.  Click HERE for details.  Upon a decision to close a classroom/school, the teachers will immediately begin distance education, including materials to be sent home. 

For a defined closure, based on the DPH determination, there would be no financial implications (e.g. no refunds or credits). 

For an extended closure we would begin offering credits and refunds.  As always, Temple Sholom will handle this ethically and compassionately.  All plans will be communicated and will address the finances of the families, the teachers and the Temple.

What if the public or private schools close?  How does this impact SMNS?

SMNS is not impacted, and would likely stay open.  Nursery schools are regulated by the CT State Office of Early Childhood.  So far, throughout this pandemic, early childhood programs have not been mandated to close.  The decisions for SMNS are made independently, in consultation with local experts and State officials.

What is your confidence level in remaining open?

Our confidence level is very high that SMNS will remain open.  While isolated closure is possible, long-term or general closure is very unlikely.  The 2,000 early childhood programs that have been open for the past few months, many serving high-risk populations, have seen fewer than 50 exposures, with only 10 involving children.

What can I do to contribute to the health and wellness of our school?

Keeping everyone healthy takes everyone’s cooperation.

  • Keep children home when they are not feeling well.
  • Communicate with the SMNS administration about any illness in your household, especially if it is possibly COVID related.
  • Help your child to develop good handwashing/hygiene habits.
  • Avoid unnecessary exposure in your outside-of-school lives.
Sat, September 26 2020 8 Tishrei 5781