The Goddard School in Stirling aims to open its doors to children of essential workers on Wednesday, May 20, following strict guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between students and staff.
The preschool and daycare center, which has been closed since March, has received state licensing to reopen only to children of essential workers.
The school decided to reopen its doors after hearing concerns from local parents – including hospital workers, government employees and others – who were displeased with the experience of sending their children to emergency childcare facilities in other towns, according Imran Ahmad, who co-founded the school with his wife Barbara.
The Stirling school underwent a “deep cleaning” in April, applying an antimicrobial coating treatment to all surfaces inside and outside the building. Ahmad said the coating can last for up to six months. The facility also has an innovative disinfecting tool that few schools have at their disposal.
While in-person classes will continue as normal — albeit with fewer than 10 students per class– the school plans to implement a meticulous set of daily procedures that may portend what public school students are in for when other schools reopen as soon as the fall.
Students, parents and staff members will undergo daily temperature checks prior to entering the building on Plainfield Road. The school will use touchless thermometers and log all readings. Any child or faculty member with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher, or anyone exhibiting any symptoms of illness, will be asked to return home for at least two days and return only with a doctor’s note.
Both the parent and the staff member conducting health screenings in front of the school will be required to wear a mask and gloves. Upon passing the health screening, the child and parent will be allowed into the school’s foyer, with only one child, parent and staff member allowed in the area at one time while maintaining a six-foot distance.
Door handles are to be disinfected each time a new child is allowed in. Aside from individual parents entering the foyer during pickup and drop-off times, nobody but school staff and students will be allowed in the building.
Students and teachers are not to move between classrooms, and surfaces and playground equipment are to be disinfected after use. Staff members and students will be instructed to wash their hands regularly, Ahmad said.
The rest of the Goddard School students (those whose parents are not deemed essential workers) will continue learning from home through the school’s distance learning program. Ahmad said about 45 children are attending the school virtually this month.
“They know our school, and that we already follow really stringent safety protocols,” he says. “We have the cleanest facility, and they know we have top-notch faculty with whom they’re comfortable and worry-free leaving their children with.”