As we head into the cold and flu season, we would like to remind parents of our health policies and procedures. Gretchen’s House follows the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and receives regular communication from the Washtenaw County Health Department. In addition, our local consultant, Dr. Popper of Child Health Associates, provides ongoing support as needed.
Please note the following ways that we can work together to ensure a healthy environment:
- Handwashing and/or Hand Sanitizer: While it would be preferable to have all visitors wash hands when they enter our centers, we know this is not always feasible. Please use the hand sanitizer that will be provided at our center or classroom entrances.
- Exclusion for Illness: Our Illness Policies are intended to ensure that contagious children are identified and removed from the group setting as quickly as possible. In addition, children who are unable to comfortably participate in group care are provided time to recuperate at home.
- Parents need to anticipate the need for sick care arrangements now, rather than waiting until their child is sick. We advise parents to talk to trusted friends, neighbors and family, to brainstorm ideas and have back-up care arrangements in place ahead of time.
- Parents need to pick up sick children within an hour of being called. We do not make the decision to send children home lightly. Parents who travel or work far from home should identify an emergency contact person who can pick-up a sick child in a timely manner. Check your child’s emergency card to be sure we have the right information now, and talk with your pick-up person(s) about our policies for releasing children.
- Children with vomiting or diarrhea will be excluded after the first incident. We have been advised that when illness is present in a group setting, children need to be sent home at the first sign of vomiting or diarrhea.
- When fever of 102° is present, children will be sent home. Because children often spike a fever quickly, before other symptoms are present, we abide by this guideline from the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, lower body temperature does not mean a child is not ill. If a child has a low-grade fever but exhibits other symptoms on our list (see attached policy), s/he may be sent home. In particular, when illness has been present in the group setting, children who show similar symptoms will be sent home.
- Use of fever-reducing medicines: Fever is the body’s response to fighting illness. Medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen lower a child’s temperature and mask the fever. Children should not be given these medications prior to being brought to the center. The use of these medications is appropriate at home, where parents can monitor their children’s symptoms and provide individualized attention.
- 24 hours symptom-free: Our policy states that a child should be symptom-free for 24 hours prior to returning to the center. If your child is sent home, they need to be home the next day, at minimum. This rule is meant to provide the child with time to fully recover from his/her illness, and to protect them from exposure to further illness while in a compromised state. In addition, the other children are not exposed further to a contagious child.
We will continue to communicate with parents when illnesses are identified in your child’s classroom. We post these notices on the Parent Boards. If your child is diagnosed with a contagious illness, we encourage you to let the center know, so we can take the appropriate measures.
We appreciate your cooperation with our policies and thank you for your support.
One of the tidbits we came across at the NAEYC conference last week was information about a new initiative called Act Early, which is sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services.
They’ve compiled a list of milestones to help parents gauge their young children’s development. The video below is a good overview of the program.
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It’s important to remember that children develop skills at different rates, but developmental checklists such as these are handy tools for parents who want to learn more about “normal” development. Early intervention has a big impact for children with developmental delays.
There are many more resources on the Centers for Disease Control Act Early page.