Public Health/ pandemic policies

Public Health, special pandemic process. 

Since early 2020 we've all been dealing with the Covid19 pandemic- we are all getting tired of this.  But it's not going to last forever- things will evolve overtime as they have for other things like Swine Flu and others.  There have already been major changes in guidance.  I have reevaluated my process several times and will no doubt again.  As of spring 2022 there have been major changes to the situation and the guidance.  As of April 2022, I will provide options for those who need or wish to mask/distance/mitigate but they are NOT required currently at my personal class space.  Check blog for June & Fall updates. Each location and future outbreaks of any illness including Covid may temporarily bring back mitigation requirements.  

I want to be open about how I decide when and what mitigation in classes.  As I stated in my basic health policies I rely on professional/scientific guidance generally and specifically look to the CDC & local experts to set my policies and mitigation strategies- I read them very carefully and do my best to access the best data.  Most scientists are now putting more emphasis on local spikes and hospital & service availability (transmissibility ratio, percent positivity ).  When available I gather and use info from 3 counties Guadalupe, Bexar, and Comal with particular attention to local notification/closures/trends.  I also take into account our facilities' Teacher & Family Exposure. 

 

Options that I look at to continue classes.  Indoor, outdoor, drive-in or virtual classes.  I can have private (or for a specific contact group).  I can use a variety of other mitigations.... masks, cleaning procedures, and other guidelines.  I consider vaccination, other immunity, and testing availability.  And I think about weather, developmental need, our KindermusikbySally community need/want , my personal situation, as well as the professional numbers and guidance.  As decisions are made about class size, distancing, masks, I will look for vaccine availability for class age range (or guidance on immunity/vulnerability), higher community immunity numbers, and low community numbers (spread & especially hospital).  Our community has always been blessed with great diversity and with it a variety of need and opinion.  I have always tried to nurture a careful balance of respect and no judgement zone.  Personal choice is respected BUT ultimately in this unprecedented situation I needed to set boundaries/agreements for the studio community.  I do listen to all the concerns of our families and community.  I hope you can respect that I have spent considerable time and effort to balance the needs and concerns of everyone involved and reevaluate as new guidance & situations occur.

Inside class mitigations vary but here's recent examples...

Mask & attendance illness policies I understand that there are a variety of concerns regarding masks and symptoms when it comes to early childhood activities-- airborne particle spread, childhood development/speech, neuro-difference/need, anxieties, even community care/sensitivity.  I also understand that there are non contagious chronic conditions, difference btwn viral & bacterial conditions, and now vaccination. As new variants & symptoms become more like cold/allergies and spread easier,  I ask that you stay home if you or your child develop even minor symptoms (sneeze and runny nose), use tests to check, and if there is a chronic cough/sneeze situation you can contact me and we can discuss the situation and options.  

General attendance (applies for all illness but things we need to be more vigilant with covid around)...

  *Stay home when sick (or join one of the virtual classes if available) fever, coughing, sneezing, or other indications of contagious illness (list above in regular policies).  With allergies and outside classes the issue of sneezing particularly can be tricky- I personally have this problem.  So if cleared by a doctor, testing negative,  And wearing a mask, a random sneeze with no other symptoms and caused by pollen is ok.  I do have a distance thermometer if needed/requested.

  *Inform.  Please inform me (Miss Sally/Sally Dancy) if your child is diagnosed or are/were in close contact with Covid-19, flu, or any other highly contagious disease (like Hand Foot Mouth, Measles, any novel virus).  Your personal info will stay private but this will allow the studio to make decisions on mitigations.  Please follow the isolation period for that disease. And for Covid please use testing.

  *Clean hands.  I have an outside sink with soap & water and individual hand sanitizers so you can clean upon entering the studio and whenever you wish/necessary during class- we also suggest washing before you leave.

now for more specific Covid-19 Winter 2022 (i was hoping to loosen these but will have to wait)

  *Social distancing. We will have designated family safe zones available (a separate designated area by a mat, carpet, blanket) that are a minimum of 3-6 feet away from each other.  We will also have communal areas where mixing can occur.  Individuals have different risk assessment and social bubbles SO try to respect other person boundaries and stay away from another families designated area unless invited (try not to put a family on the spot in class, talk privately to friends, and let me know if you decide to include them in your family circle).  But also be understanding that small children don't understand personal space bubbles or the facial/body cues so help your own children by modeling/practicing/redirecting for space, by asking permission of those outside your family, AND be understanding & flexible of being human (no one is perfect or the same). 

  *Each family designated area (mat, carpet, blanket) can have their own container of instruments HOWEVER i have started to introduce the option to share and some materials being handed out.  You are welcome to use only your designated instruments in this container or that I handed specifically to your family (I realize children will need some flexibility on this).  When I do provide an option to share objects/instruments I will sanitize my hands (and individual containers of hand sanitizer are available if you'd like to do the same).  Everything is sanitized to policy guidelines.

Occupancy will depend on the location and risk level. 

Examples for My studio....

*normal pre pandemic 10-12 families (24- 30 individuals)

*inside very low risk 6-8 families (16-20 individuals)

*inside, medium to low risk 4-6 families 

*outside, medium to low risk 6-8 families

*inside, medium or high risk individual families or playgroups

*drive in or meadow classes for highest risk 6 vehicles or playgroups in meadow

*virtual: 12 families/screens

 Specific Mask Policy while at studio when necessary...

I treat masks like other kinds of protective clothing or adaptive devices- with acceptance, good humor, no stigma, and flexibility when the situation allows.

  *Under 2yo No mask use

  * Generally 2 yos don't have masks. However during times of higher risk I suggest having a mask for them in case.  Masks are suggested IF they are experiencing allergy or cold symptoms.  There is understanding and flexibility with children because of age, need, situation.

  *3-5 encouraged to have a mask available but it will be parental choice in parent/child classes.  Again suggest mask use or distancing if there is any runny nose, sneezing, coughing.

  *5 & over required to try (with reminder, some special need adaption/exception)  In classes with parents, parental choice and management of your own.   For consistency in my small group classes withOut parents are masks required especially if there is any runny nose, sneezing, coughing (again with adaptations & reminders) in class.

  *Adults are respectfully required to have a mask on for any/all close contact.  Inside or out (at least for the time being).  Please respect other people's personal bubbles.

Mask Exceptions... There are places and times that everyone (including adults) can go mask less while on facility property (these rules are for my home studio in Cibolo but other facilities will likely have their own rules).  Most outside activities are mask-less ( the courtyard, meadow, firepit, forest).  I still ask that we all be empathetic of other people's bubbles and try to respect others needs especially when within close contact (within 3-6 feet).  If needed i may announce when masks may be required for a particular person/situation.  Obviously no matter what, you doNOT need to wear a mask if you are at or in your own car.

  * This is difficult for everyone (including me) and I ask for understanding though this difficult time.  

 Reminders:  Along the way there have been and will likely continue to be changes to the CDC guidance, new variants, new locations, and even local situations. For regular classes with closer contact and interaction, I will be paying particular attention to trending numbers... so local trends, hospital trends (especially hospitals filling up or schools closing).

 New or changing policies will be posted on the BLOG- and like everything else will depend on local/timely situation, facility, and as we find what works as a group. 

Also below is a reminder of what kind of classes can be available based on the local situation and numbers...

Evaluation of data  Expert & CDC recommendations follow risk with use of masks, group size wellness checks, distance, cleaning, even testing & vaccine status.  With immunity & vaccines look for 10% positivity, hospital occupancy availability, immunization percentage, and local outbreaks (especially local schools).    I do not ask vaccine status (i have no way to verify anyway) but I do consider the local percentages and availability to make decisions on how to manage the situation with inside, outside, drive-in/meadow, private, virtual class situations as well as other mitigations.  

My studio in Cibolo is also my home, I have to be especially careful since multiple members of the family are at high risk -- I thank you for your understanding about this.

Other locations/facilities will have their own processes.  For those facilities I will coordinated with them on if, when, and how in-person classes will proceed.  There will likely be some differences between facilities in policies that I have to follow.

  The research now shows that outside activities are safe in most cases.  Even with higher numbers (like 20% positivity) outside can be done safely with mitigation (different mitigation with different numbers).  So if numbers increase we can move outside; if numbers lower and we can go back to normal occupancy, distancing, covers, etc.   We even have the option for Tailgate, Pool, Courtyard, Meadow if needed.   Weather is also a concern for outside events so they will be contingent on advisories and conducive weather.  During time of heat, I can look into pool events and private inside studio visits (one family at a time).   During time of cold, I look for outside heating, drive in events and private studio visits.  I also have done virtual classes and if necessary can do them again. Also before going back to virtual I will just postpone classes for a week or so.

I Do Not expect things to get very restrictive again- i expect that we'll be able to stay inside but occasionally may need to use masks temporarily.   I expect that there might be ups and downs (more & less mitigation as needed) but that we will continue to learn and be able to do more together.