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 Department of 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 have been updating our COVID mitigation practices during this past year as guidelines and requirements have changed (last update 5/11/2022).
Current Phase: Increase classroom capacity and making mask wearing for children and adults optional outdoors.
Upcoming Phase: Hire student aides for afternoon coverage to allow for a longer program day (8:00 AM - 5:00 PM).
- Final Phase: Hopefully back to what we had prior to the pandemic.
Operational changes under current COVID guidance
- Service hours for children reduced to 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM 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 a 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 limited. Primary visits for volunteers are during outside activity times.
- All staff and adults are required to wear masks and smocks indoors. Face shields are optional.
- Children aged 2+ years will be reminded to wear their masks throughout the day indoors.
- Physical distancing will be encouraged when children are playing, and will be in place for mealtimes and nap time.
- Strict exclusions for illnesses and COVID close contact exposures.
- 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.
- Reduced shared activities for play (water table, playdough, shared art supplies) with increased handwashing.
- Shared materials will be disinfected frequently.
- Napping mats at least three (3) 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 Department of Public Health (MCDPH) for known and possible exposures. The ECEC is implementing the guidance from the California Department of Public Health to address illnesses (in partnership with our Family Handbook), COVID confirmed cases, and close contacts.
Per instruction from MCDPH, we are implementing Case 3A for close contacts in the classroom. With our strict not mixing of classrooms, the need to close more than the single 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 MCDPH.
The ECEC will follow the campus procedures as outlined on the Campus Ready website for staff.