Flu season at preschool has really turned us on our heads
I like my blogs to be informative as well as relevant to what we as a preschool may be experiencing. Up until this week, we had only seen a few cases. I felt as though we had done such a good job in sanitizing our surfaces, washing hands, cleaning doorknobs and toys and just basically making a safe environment. This has really paid off for us in terms of prevention but there are some things we can’t control. For instance, children who have older siblings that go to public school. Older sibling will sometimes bring those nasty bugs home and share them with their preschool sibling. The family that was out over the weekend, shopping or eating at a restaurant. Any environment where vast amounts of people collect can be a real breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. I was horrified to find out the flu has caused over 30 cases of child death. Compound that devastating statistics with doctors saying the flu shot isn’t very effective this year.
So what can we do?
There seems to be a large fear factor as well as the question, “Is it inevitable that my child will become sick?”
Some of you may not know that we are in a professional building attached to other buildings and organizations. Right upstairs from us is a pediatric doctor’s office. I’m super grateful for them as they answer my questions right away. If something were to go wrong I could have doctors in my building at a moment’s notice. Today I marched upstairs and asked “What is the deal? What can we do that we’re not already doing and how can we protect our students?” I will be honest with you. As I watched the doctor walk down the hallway and speak to me, she looked exhausted herself. She informed me that in the past few days the practice had seen over a hundred and fifty children who tested positive for one of the flu viruses.
I am not allowed to make choices for others on whether we get our flu shots or not. Nor am I willing to argue with anyone about whether it’s good or not. It’s a personal choice that you need to make for your family. I can tell you what we do as a preschool every day, day in and day out, to practice prevention.
Prevention Is Key
We believe that prevention is an amazing part of keeping our kids safe so we adopt a Sanitation station at every transition point. This means every time a class enters or exits a center, a teacher or a teacher’s aide will sanitize that center so that another class coming in will be walking into a clean sanitized environment. We wash our hands constantly. This is my teachers as well as the students. We do it before snack, after snack, every time we go to the bathroom, and anytime we’re going outside or coming inside. Washing hands is one of the best ways to keep us clean, healthy, and safe.
Ways We Stay Healthy
Now, this is a little-known fact some of us are aware of… live plants in a classroom can clean the air for everyone! I have live plants scattered throughout the whole preschool that we try to take good care of because they keep our air clean. Staying hydrated is another part of staying healthy. There is fresh water in every classroom. Every child has their own water bottle with their name on it and we fill that full of fresh clean filtered water all throughout the day, being sure to label all the water bottles so that there is no cross-contamination.
The Schoolhouse Grill catering company keeps us healthy and nourished with many Whole Foods fruits and vegetables. We eat as a family and encourage healthy eating habits so that our bodies can stay strong. Also, creating time to rest and recuperate at school recharges us for the rest of our day, every day.
Every Preschool Operates Under A Daily Health Observation Code.
This requirement has all teachers and people who deal with children day-in-and-day-out trained to observe the children when they walk in, document what is seen and communicate with the parents should something seem different. If your child seems pekid or off or just not themselves we will contact the parents and discuss what our next step should be. At Center Stage, we also have guidelines as to the health of the student, how we report it, and when we call the parents if the child is sick or has a fever. If the child is found to be off for have a fever, they are taken out of their classroom. They’re sent to the “wellness cot” in the office and we have the child sit with us until the parents can come pick them up. We also require that the parents not bring a child back to preschool until they are fever free for 24 hours without medication.
I Am A Parent As Well As A Preschool Director
I worry about my own children as well as the children I’m trusted with day in and day out at the preschool. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to keep our little friends safe and healthy. If we all work together and continue to have open, honest communication we can create an environment that is fun, informative and safe for our students.
Thank you so much for stopping by.