7171 N Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46240
A Cooperative Preschool Established in 1960
Reopening Policy- 2020-2021
The Board of Directors and staff of Meridian Hills Cooperative have formed a policy to reopen our school starting in September 2020. These policies and practices will be in place starting August 1, 2020 for any and all gatherings at the school and field trips offsite. We are following the guidelines of Marion County Health Department, Indiana State Department of Health, the CDC, ICPC and local school districts.
In an effort to prioritize the safety of our community while navigating the uncertainty of the pandemic, we would like to begin our school year with a conservative policy. As we move forward and learn more about COVID, we will re-evaluate our policies and make necessary changes.
All Meridian Hills guidelines and procedures previously in place are still active. This policy will override any policies where there might be a conflict.
We will follow our school calendar as much as possible. If the state or county issues a school closure, Meridian Hills will close immediately and will offer virtual programming for enrolled students. Any changes to the calendar will be communicated to families via Rally.
Above all, we want to provide a safe learning environment for students, teachers and parents while providing the same level of education that our families are accustomed to. We plan to use every opportunity for outdoor learning that is possible. This includes increasing the number of Forest Days for Kinderbirds and taking full advantage of our large playground and outdoor classroom. When possible, the playground will be used by one class at a time for outdoor play. If class activities are moved outdoors for the day, teachers will work together so that each class has their own space on school grounds.
In addition, we will be teaching and encouraging extra hand washing, removing toys that are difficult to clean, opening windows to increase ventilation indoors and increasing sanitization in our classrooms.
Virtual Learning (school closure)
In the event of a school closure, virtual learning will be available. This will include a combination of Zoom class meetings, pre-recorded videos, and activities to do with your children at home recommended by teachers. Virtual Learning will be available for each class, but participation by the student is not a requirement for any part.
Masks & Distancing
Marion County Public Health Department has stated that face masks do not need to be worn by preschool aged children. We agree with this statement and will not require masks for any enrolled student.
Masks are required to be worn by all adults at all times while on school property, both indoors and outdoors, unless performing a task which cannot be done while masked (eating, drinking).This includes dropping off and picking up children from school. Masks will be required on field trips for both children and adults in accordance with Mayor Hogsett’s mask order. We ask that all adults distance as much as possible in the school setting from other adults, and that siblings that accompany parents to drop off or pick up also follow mask and distancing guidelines.
Adults should bring their own mask for use, but we will have a supply of disposable masks available if one is forgotten on their co-op days. Unmasked adults should wait in the designated area (location TBD) at pick up time and social distance from other individuals. A co-oping adult will walk the child and their belongings to the parent or caregiver.
In order to keep our staff and families safe, unmasked adults will not be permitted to participate in school activities, including co-op duties. We ask that each family make arrangements for one adult, if possible, to participate on assigned co-op days.
Drop-off and Pick-up Procedures
Students will be dropped off to a predetermined outdoor location. Unmasked parents will be asked to wait with their child in the designated area (location TBD) until they can be escorted onto school grounds. A participating adult will perform a temperature check on each student prior to the parent’s departure. Staff will inform parents where the drop-off area is and will work with the participating parents to safely escort children to class. The only adults permitted in the building will be staff and participating adults. All students will wash their hands upon entering the building. Hand sanitizing stations will be available on the playground, in forest kindergarten, and in each classroom. We request that caregivers leave siblings at home during drop-off and pick-up, but in the case that a sibling must be present they should stay with their adult and follow mask and distancing guidelines.
Unmasked parents or caregivers will be asked to wait for their child in a designated area for pick-up and maintain distance from one another. Masked adults may proceed onto the playground to gather their child and belongings.
For the time being, families will need to depart MHCNS property within 30 minutes of the conclusion of their child’s school day. Families will not be permitted to stay and play indoors or on the playground in order to maintain sanitization of the school environment. We encourage parents to make arrangements for off site playdates if they are interested in more play time after school.
Children may use the restroom, if necessary, before departure. If your child uses the restroom after it has been disinfected, please perform the necessary cleaning using the instructions provided before leaving.
Access to the building and school grounds should be limited to staff, students, participating adults, and masked parents/caregivers for drop-off and pick-up. At this time, visitors should not be permitted inside the building or on the playground. Infants are permitted to be worn by a co-oping parent in a baby carrier.
Disinfecting and Cleaning
Daily cleaning by co-oping adults will first consist of washing items and hard non-porous surfaces with soap and water if soiled followed by use of a disinfectant spray. Disinfectant sprays may not be used if children are present. Co-oping adults may be asked to stay an additional 15 minutes after class to help finish cleaning tasks or monitor the children of
other co-oping adults outdoors while cleaning is finished indoors. Meridian Hills will post guidelines on how to properly clean and disinfect in the classrooms and on Rally.
Adequate hand washing supplies will be available to all students and adults, and hand sanitizer will also be available for use in all occupied areas. We will have bins in classrooms for toys that have been handled to be disinfected before returning to their spots. Co-oping adults will follow cleaning and disinfecting procedures before placing these items back in their assigned areas.
Due to the nature of our program, the sharing of toys and materials by children can be expected. To help reduce the spread of germs, toys will be limited and in rotation, and some that aren’t easily cleaned will not be available for play.
Parents will be asked to provide a change of clothes for their children, stored in a ziplock bag and labelled with the student’s name and class, to be kept at school to minimize items coming in and out of the building. Weather appropriate gear for outdoors should still be provided. We ask that items brought into the building are limited to necessities (water bottles, lunch, and outdoor gear) and any personal items like stuffed animals be kept at home.
Meridian Hills will provide a pre-packaged snack for children. Children and adults will wash hands before and after eating and be distanced during meal times. A gloved, co-oping adult will be in charge of pre-opening the packages and placing them in the designated eating areas before children sit down for snack. Students and co-oping adults should bring a pre-filled water bottle from home, but in the event that one is forgotten, a disposable cup will be made available. We encourage adults to provide lunchtime options that your child can open independently to avoid adults from needing to touch their food items.
If a teacher or a member of the teacher’s household contracts COVID, Meridian Hills will do everything possible to have a long-term substitute in the classroom.
Meridian Hills will be charging tuition as long as the school remains open either physically or virtually. If we move to a virtual or hybrid option for the school year, we will charge 75% tuition. Families facing financial hardship should email the treasurer about tuition assistance.
If a physician’s note is provided to the Health Chair documenting that co-oping duties are unsafe for a co-oping adult or the school environment is not safe for your child due to chronic medical concerns, refunds for tuition (excluding application and enrollment fees) will be considered. Other than in these circumstances, we will not be offering refunds.
Board Meetings will resume in August. All school meetings will be virtual until further notice in accordance with the Marion County mask order, with the exception of Back to School Night where important information regarding supply location and cleaning protocols will be shared with co-oping adults
Parent Ed and Classroom Participant Training (CPT)
CPT for newly enrolled families will be held online through ICPC. Information regarding Parent Ed will be posted to Rallyhood when available.
All staff, participating adults, and students will be screened with a verbal symptom check and an infrared thermometer. Questions asked will be “Is the student or anyone in the family ill or exhibiting symptoms such as cough, fever of 100.4°F, or a sore throat?” Meridian Hills will not allow any adult or student to participate in class if they are exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID.
Symptomatic Cases at School
If a student begins to show symptoms after arrival they will be isolated with a co-oping adult until their caregiver can arrive. The student will be asked to sit or lie on a cot in the hallway with an adult. At no time will the child be isolated alone.
Return to School following Illness
Communication with the school regarding illness is especially important during this time. If a member of your household is showing symptoms of COVID, tests positive for COVID, or has been exposed to a positive case of COVID (without the use of PPE) please notify the Health Chair. The health chair notifies families of positive cases of infectious illness as outlined in the standing rules, and COVID should be considered an addition to the list found therein. You will not be identified to anyone except the Health Chair and Director.
All positive cases will be reported to the Marion County Health Department by the Director. They will provide guidance regarding possible closure, contact tracing, cleaning and parental notification.
● Listing of Testing Sites by County
● Indiana Department of Education Guidelines for Reopening Schools
● Marion County Department of Health Guidance of Reopening Schools
● Indiana Child Care Centers Guidance Indiana–Cleansing and Sanitation Guidelines
● Indiana-COVID-19 Checklist for Child Care Centers
● CDC Guidelines for Schools
● CDC Guidelines for Schools (start at page 40)EPA Approved Cleaners
● PCPI Meeting Notes
● ICPC Considerations Presentation