Learning Through Play for 70 Years

Covid-19 Mitigation Plan

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the 2020-2021 School Year at Annandale Cooperative Preschool (Updated 1-31-21)

Are you currently open?

Yes. We are currently holding camps for enrolled students which take place 100% outside.  

On February 16, 2021 the 20-21 school year will begin.  We will use our metric of less than 5% Covid test positivity rate for two weeks straight in Fairfax County to decide when to hold classes inside.

It is likely we will start the school year with classes outside.  We will enter the building only to wash hands and use the bathrooms.

What will ACPS’ Covid 19 mitigation plan include?

  • While complete elimination of risk is impossible, ACPS will take steps to mitigate the risk of contact, spread, and infection among children, staff, and families.  
  • Mitigation plans will follow regulations set forth by the Virginia Departments of Health, Social Services, and Labor/Industry and guidance set forth by the Center for Disease Control.
  • Class structure will change in the following ways:
  • Classes will meet in small, stable groups to allow for social distancing.
  • Classes will not mix. 
  • Social distancing will be observed as is possible while still meeting the needs of young children.
  • Staff, children, and parents will not come to school if they are experiencing Covid 19 symptoms, have tested positive, or have come into contact with someone known to be infected. Language has been added to the Parent/School Agreement and the Parent Primer will specify details of this policy.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will take place in accordance with VDDS regulations and CDC guidelines.
  • Frequent handwashing will be expected.  Hand sanitizer will be used when washing is not feasible.
  • Classrooms and other spaces ACPS uses in the LRUCC building will be assessed for air flow and ventilation.  Feasible modifications will be made before the reopening of school.
  • Programs like extended day and electives, which involve mixing children from different classes, will be suspended for this school year.

What are ACPS metrics for reopening based on?

  • We will monitor when and how FCPS plans to reopen for preschool through second grade students (Phase 2, Groups 1,2 and 3). We chose this metric because it most closely matches ACPS in terms of the age of the children.
  • Considering when preschool and younger elementary students go back to FCPS schools also acknowledges the fact that many ACPS staff and families have elementary aged children attending FCPS schools.
  • Next, we looked for data points on Covid 19 incidence that are easy to obtain locally and target numbers supported by medical experts.  Positivity rate of less than 5% indicates low incidence and a community’s ability to identify and trace cases to contain outbreaks. We are monitoring positivity rates via the Virginia Department of Health’s webpage and the Fairfax County Department of Health’s webpage. 
  • Positivity rates of over 5% indicate that classes should meet outside.

What if schools start closing again after having been open?

  • If FCPS closes elementary schools located near ACPS, it could mean that local Covid 19 incidence is rising and the ACPS Board will consider closing ACPS or moving classes outside.
  • If FCPS closes elementary schools not located near ACPS, it is unlikely that local Covid 19 incidence is rising and ACPS can stay open.
  • In the unlikely event that there is a positive case at ACPS, we will consult the Fairfax County Health Department and follow all of their directions on possible closure of a class or the whole school.

What happens if ACPS has to close?

  • If ACPS has to close in person school, teachers will pivot to an online program.
  • If ACPS has to close for fewer than 10 business days in a month, tuition will not be affected.
  • If ACPS has to close for more than 10 business days in a month, 50% of tuition will be charged.

Why a mixed age three/four-year-old class?

  • A mixed age class started as a practical means to achieve keeping class sizes very low.
  • Educationally, it is also a great opportunity to expand ACPS’ programming.
  • Mixed age classes have been shown by research to benefit both age groups.
  • Younger children experience higher levels of language exposure and social interactions.
  • Older children get the chance to be models and practice leadership skills.
  • With the larger age span, children receive individualized attention, expectations, and support. 

What will arrival and drop off look like?

  • New procedures will control the flow of people into and out of the building.
  • Only cooping parents and staff will enter the halls/classrooms, which means no waiting inside the building at drop off and pick up. 
  • Health screenings will be conducted on anyone entering the building.
  • New ProCare software will allow for remote sign in/response to health screening questions.
  • Masks will be worn by parents and caregivers dropping off and picking up, coopers, teachers, and staff. 

What about snacktime?

  • Handwashing remains the first step in this process. 
  • Children will bring individual snacks from home and not share with other students. 
  • Children will sit spaced out to eat and/or rotate through eating areas.

What does social distancing look like with preschoolers?

  • Small stable groups to limit exposure
  • Shared materials like art supplies, sensory table, and playdough will be individualized.
  • Table seating will be spaced out.
  • Frequent use of small groups within a class

What about masks?

  • All adults will wear masks/cloth face coverings.
  • Parents and caregivers will be expected to wear a mask during drop off, pick up, and any time they are in the building. 
  • Children are encouraged to wear masks and are guided as they get used to this routine.

How will the coop schedule work?

  • Each family will coop 2 days in a row (the days their child’s class meets in a given week).
  • If more than one family member is qualified, one can coop one day and another the next as long as they live in the same household.
  • During scheduling, requests for preferences will be honored as much as possible, same as previous years.
  • School aiding has been eliminated as a parent responsibility with class coopers absorbing some of the classroom cleaning responsibilities. 

How will I know what to do as a cooper?

  • Qualified Parent Training and Classroom Orientation meetings will take place via Zoom.
  • Special Covid 19 content will be added and/or covered in a separate training.
  • Teachers, Marie, and Keow are always happy to answer questions.