Epworth Preschool

 2021-2022 COVID-19 Policies and Procedures


A child’s educational success is based on the strength of the parent/teacher partnership. This strong partnership is also necessary for ensuring the health and wellness of our entire student and staff population as well as our school’s ability to operate. We are not health care providers and will not be able to determine if your child’s runny nose and congestion is allergy related or a COVID-19 symptom. Therefore, we must strictly follow the guidelines shared below. Thank you for your extreme care with regard to our collective health.


COVID-19 Health Policies:

  • All staff and students will pass a daily symptom screening before entering the building. Parents will check children’s temperatures before arriving at school. If your child or anyone in the home has the following symptoms, your child will be required to stay home from school.

    • Fever 100 degrees or higher

    • Chills

    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

    • New cough

    • New loss of taste & smell

  • Children and staff who have the symptoms of COVID-19 listed above should stay home and contact their healthcare provider for testing and care. Documentation of a negative COVID-19 test, or an alternate diagnosis will be required to return to school once they are symptom free and fever free without the use of fever reducing medications for 48 hours.

  • Additionally, a child will be required to stay home if they have one or more episodes of vomiting within a 12-hour period OR has diarrhea OR two or more stools above the child’s normal pattern OR is a toilet-trained child having accidents. To return to school, the child must be symptom free and fever free without the use of fever reducing medications for 48 hours.

  • The presence of any of the symptoms below, suggests the person may need to be tested for COVID-19:

    • Sore throat

    • Congestion

    • Diarrhea

    • Nausea/vomiting

    • New onset of severe headache, especially with fever

  • If a child has cold symptoms- runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, the child may come to school if their discharge is clear, and they can comfortably wear a mask with their runny nose. If there is any discoloration to their runny nose, the child must stay home until the runny nose is clear.

  • If a child has any discoloration or thick mucus with congestion, follow these guidelines:

    • If the child has a negative COVID-19 test, and the child is feeling well enough to participate, it is safe for them to attend preschool.

    • If the child has a history of allergies, asthma, or other condition that may be causing the runny nose, the parent/guardian can provide a note with an alternate diagnosis from your child’s health care provider. (Your child’s health care provider may still recommend a COVID-19 test.) A child with an alternative diagnosis can attend preschool.

    • If the child does not have an alternative diagnosis from their health care provider and does not have a recent negative COVID-19 test, they will need to stay home until their congestion clears. If additional symptoms develop, the child must remain home and follow the symptom protocol listed above. 

  • A child should stay home from school if they are unable to comfortably participate in activities or if they have symptoms that result in a need for care that is greater than the staff members can provide without compromising the health and safety of other children.

  • The health policy outlined in our handbook book regarding common childhood illnesses still applies. As always, your child cannot come to school under any circumstances if they are fever free due to medication like Tylenol or ibuprofen.


Guidelines for Face Coverings:

  • All persons (regardless of vaccination status) age two and older will be required to wear face masks indoors, unless eating. Parents and children aged 2 and older will be required to wear masks during drop off and pick up.

  • Children aged 2 and older will wear face coverings outdoors when in close contact with others at a table or in a group. Children will not be required to wear masks when playing on the playground or moving about their play spaces.

  • When staff members are working alone in a room, they may remove their face mask.

  • We will follow CDC recommendations and both children and staff will remove masks during water play.


Drop Off and Pick Up Procedures:

  • Face masks are required for all persons aged 2 and older during morning drop off and afternoon pick up.

  • All students ages 3 and older will use a carline for morning drop off. Caregivers of children in the one- and two-year-old classes may choose to use carline or park and walk your children to their classrooms.

  • Adults should remain in the car at all times. Children should remain in their car seats until a staff member completes the health screen and can assist them out of the car.

  • Each child attending school will thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water when arriving at their designated area or classroom.

  • Afternoon pick up will be outdoors. Caregivers will park in the parking lot and walk to the designated space for their child’s class.

  • Drop off and pick up times will be staggered. Multi-age and four-year-old classes will begin at 9am and end at 1pm. One-, two-, and three-year-old classes will begin at 9:15am and end at 12:15pm. Lunch bunch will run from 12:15pm-1pm. If you have multiple children with different drop off times and would like to drop them off at the same time, you will need to arrive at 9:15am.


Classroom/Outdoor Learning Expectations:

  • All classes will have increased outdoor time, weather permitting. When inside, staff and children will be masked and distanced as is realistically possible.

  • If the temperature will be above 90 degrees for most of the morning, we will increase indoor time for children to cool off as needed. In the winter, if the temperature will be below 35 degrees for most of the morning or below 45 degrees with precipitation, we will increase indoor time for children to warm up as needed.

  • Children will interact with a designated group of classmates and teachers. There will only be one group in a shared space at a time, except for the playground. The playground will be shared by two classes and will create a larger cohort during outdoor play.

  • The church has installed air purification to all HVAC units. For maximum purification, it is recommended that windows are closed when the HVAC units are in use. If the units are not in use, classrooms will open windows to increase ventilation.

  • Snacks and lunch will be eaten outdoors, weather permitting.

  • Staff members will follow all guidelines set by health officials regarding singing, shared toys, sensory play, and community art supplies.

  • Substitutes will complete a daily heath screening as well as follow the same guidelines and expectations as staff members.


General Campus Cleaning Protocol, Safety Rules and Procedures:

  • Both staff and students will wash hands and sanitize regularly throughout the school day, to include upon arrival, before snack, after the playground, after using the bathroom, and after sneezing or blowing his/her nose.

  • Teachers will sanitize surfaces and materials throughout the school day.

  • Communal areas such as the playgrounds, outdoor learning spaces, staff workroom, and supply rooms will be equipped with a cleaning station that includes disinfectant, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and instructions for disinfecting the area.

  • Toys that cannot be easily cleaned will be removed.

  • Any item or toy that enters a child’s mouth will be removed from play for the day and disinfected.

  • The school building will be cleaned daily by a professional cleaning company or our church sexton.


Procedures for COVID-Positive Exposure

If a staff member or student develops symptoms of COVID-19 while at Epworth Preschool:

  • We will immediately isolate the person who develops symptoms and send them home as soon as possible.

  • Should the symptomatic individual test positive for COVID-19, the Durham Health Department will be notified and will work with the director on contact tracing and advise on classroom vs. school closure and isolation. The classroom and/or school will be disinfected.


Handling Suspected, Presumptive and Confirmed Cases of COVID-19

With respect to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, Epworth Preschool will adhere to the guidelines set forth by the NCDHHS in the ChildCareStrong NC Public Health Toolkit (https://files.nc.gov/COVID/documents/childcare/NC-Interim-Guidance-for-Child-Care-Settings.pdf) to include the following:

  • Durham Health Department makes the final decision about isolation requirements for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 as well as whether individuals who have been exposed need to quarantine and how long quarantine should last.

  • Quarantine is required for an individual who has been a close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes cumulatively over a 24-period) of someone who is determined positive with COVID-19, either through testing or symptom diagnosis, with the following three exceptions:

    • Individuals who are fully vaccinated and do not have symptoms do NOT need to quarantine after a close contacted. However, they should get tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask around others until they get a negative test result.

    • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered and do not have symptoms do not have to quarantine.

  • Please reference the Summary Table for Returning to Preschool for further details.​


Guidelines from Respected Sources

In developing Epworth Preschool’s policies and procedures, we have consulted the following sources for guidance, to ensure we were developing guidelines that align with experts. The guidelines are continually evolving as the experts learn more about COVID-19, how it is transmitted, and how we can best protect ourselves and our students and their families from the virus.

Centers for Disease Control - the federal government’s authority on COVID-19

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services – the state’s authority on COVID-19

Durham County Department of Public Health – the county’s authority on COVID-19

ChildCareStrongNC Public Health Toolkit

American Academy of Pediatrics  

DOPA (Durham & Orange County Preschool Association)