The ECEC resumed operations for Spring semester 2021 for a limited number of preschoolers, toddlers, and infants.
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 prek classroom and one toddler room.
- Phase 2 Open second prek classroom and one infant room.
- Phase 3 (as COVID-related guidance and restrictions change): Increase enrollment and change staffing patterns.
Current Phase: Increase number of classrooms and adjust operations while still maintaining layers of mitigation practices.
- 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 16 children in pre-K (normally 20), eight in toddlers (normally 12), eight in infants (toddler classroom) and six infants (infant classroom). Normal capacity is 35 sq. ft./child and we are using 50 sq. ft.
- Service hours for children reduced to 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily. No early closures for staff meeting days while operating at this schedule. These hours are to support cleaning/disinfecting and curriculum planning.
- Priority for enrollment:
- UC Merced affiliates
- Merced community members
Steps We Are Taking to Mitigate COVID Spread
- Drop off and pick up by one (1) masked family member coming into the ECEC and classroom. Parents to remain 6 ft. from other parents, teachers, and other children in the classroom. To stay as briefly as possible during these transitions.
- Visitors and volunteers are not allowed in the ECEC.
- All staff 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 pillows, stuffed animals and dress-up clothing.
- Increased ventilation to outside air with windows open.
- Increased outdoor activity time.
- More individual activities for play.
- Limited shared activities for play (water table, playdough, shared art supplies) with increased handwashing.
- Shared materials will be disinfected frequently.
- Napping mats at least six feet far apart in a head to toe pattern.
- Individual mats and low tables for floor play.
- Assigned floating teachers to provide breaks and coverage for absences.
- 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 not mixing of classrooms, 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.