The ECEC is resuming operations for Spring semester 2021 for a limited number of preschoolers and toddlers. During the first phases of resumption, we will not be serving infants (6 weeks-18 months).
The ECEC will implement recommended mitigation policies and procedures as outlined by:
- Merced County Public Health and UC Merced departmental experts
- California Department of Social Services – Community Care Licensing
- California Department of Public Health
- California Department of Education
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- UCOP and our knowledge as ECEC professionals
We plan to implement the first two phases under the most current guidance. We will offer enrollment to our past enrolled families, then move to the waiting list. If there are spaces still available, we will move to past community families and then those of the waiting list.
- Phase 1 (target date: Feb. 1) – one pre-K classroom and one toddler room.
- Phase 2 (mid-February at the earliest): Enrollment to open, dependent on filling the classroom.
- Phase 3 (as COVID-related guidance and restrictions change): Increase enrollment, change staffing patterns, perhaps enroll infants.
- Phase 4: Hopefully back to what we had prior to the pandemic.
Operational changes under current COVID guidance
- Enrolled children must be full-time, in order to maintain social classroom bubbles/pods.
- Reduced capacity in classrooms. Maximum of 13 children in pre-K (normally 20) and eight in toddlers (normally 12).
- Increased staffing in each classroom, to help maintain a strict social classroom bubble/pod. This allows for coverage for staff breaks absences, increased disinfection needs, and classroom support.
- Service hours for children reduced to 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. No early closures for staff meeting days while operating at this schedule. These hours are to support curbside drop-off and pick-up, cleaning/disinfecting, curriculum planning, and teacher/parent communication.
- Priority for enrollment after enrolling previous families:
- Essential campus workers
- UC Merced students
- Faculty conducting on campus research
- UC Merced affiliates
- Merced community members
Steps We Are Taking to Mitigate COVID Spread
- Learning Genie
- QR sign in/out on family member's mobile phone (paper option is available).
- Daily home child health screening prior to coming to campus.
- Teacher/parent communications. The ECEC and classroom teachers will be able to share information, photos, classroom updates, and more securely.
- Curbside drop-off and pick-up. Parents will remain in or at their vehicles.
- All children and staff have their temperature taken prior to entering the ECEC.
- Parents, visitors and volunteers are not allowed in the ECEC except in emergency situations.
- All adults are required to wear masks and smocks. Face shields are optional.
- Children aged 2+ years will be encouraged and reminded to wear their masks throughout the day.
- Physical distancing will be encouraged when children are playing, and will be in place for mealtimes and nap time.
- Strict exclusions for any symptoms on the COVID symptom list.
- Drinking fountains closed. Each child will have their own ECEC water bottle for indoor and outdoor use.
- Shoes required for children throughout day, including naps.
In the classrooms:
- Removal of carpets, pillows, stuffed animals and dress-up clothing.
- Increased ventilation to outside air with windows open.
- Increased outdoor activity time.
- More individual activities for play.
- Individual materials provided for each child (crayons, glue, playdough, etc.).
- Shared materials will be disinfected after each use.
- Napping mats at least six feet farther apart.
- Individual blankets and low tables for floor play.
- An additional teacher assigned to the classroom to provide coverage for staff breaks and absences, while maintaining a closed pod.
- Increased cleaning of materials and all shared surfaces throughout the day.
The ECEC will work closely with the UC Merced Covid Response Center (CRC), Community Care Licensing (CCL), and Merced County Public Health (MCPH) for known and possible exposures.
With our strict cohort/pod/bubble model, the need to close more than the affected classroom in the case of a reported infection will be reduced.
Should you or your child have had a known or possible exposure, please report this to the ECEC at once so we can report to the CRC, CCL and MCPH.
The ECEC will follow the campus procedures as outlined on the Campus Ready website.