Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Most organizations have announced they’ll comply with CDC and State & local guidelines and directives. At The Boulevard School, we believe these are minimum safety requirements.
It starts with control. Public schools can’t regulate the student population and have limited options to regulate class size. They are captive to regulatory mandates, budget realities and physical space limitations. And while some of these issues may apply to private schools, most have significantly greater flexibility to deal with student and staff safety.
For example, at The Boulevard School, we’re able to reduce class size at our discretion. (We’ve made the decision to limit class size to no more than 12 students per classroom.) Public schools don’t have that option. Additionally, parents must adhere to a staggered student drop-off schedule that allows only one parent/child drop off at a time for each classroom. Again, this would be difficult for a public school to manage given their significantly larger student population.
There are other safety protocols that are more easily enforced by private schools as well. These include touchless temperature scans of staff and students upon arriving on campus, but regularly throughout the day as well. Any child who registers a temperature of 100.4 or above will be required to rest in the shade for 3 minutes and then rescanned. If their temperature remains elevated, we’ll do a temporal scan and send them home if that scan still shows an elevated temperature reading. (Students may not return to campus until they have been fever and symptom free for 3 days without medication.)
We also have set up hand sanitizing stations at every campus entry point and in every classroom. And we encourage and assist parents and students to regularly utilize sanitizer throughout the day. Every day, teachers do a student “well-being assessment”, checking each and every student for flushed cheeks, labored breathing, extreme fatigue, chills, and cough. Public schools may be able to do this, but it’s questionable if they have the staff to consistently implement these safety measures.
At The Boulevard School, we have bathrooms inside each classroom. So together with our small class size, we have the ability to maintain, assist, and enforce safe hygiene, one student at a time, every time. It is unlikely other schools can monitor bathroom activity and “stay-safe” bathroom behavior.
After school, we’ve implemented a significantly more robust re-sanitization regimen than normal. This includes employment of a new, specially trained cleaning crew to not only disinfect desks, handrails, door knobs and other common area “touch-points”, but also every classroom toy and teaching aid.
Finally, private schools like ours have the ability to recognize that young students may not understand or react well to all of these changes. So, in every classroom, our teachers wear clear face shields so children can see their expressions and more easily respond to facial and physical cues. In fact, we’ve made it a game, referring to them as space helmets and the kids as super heroes.
These are just a few of the new, enhanced safety protocols private pre-schools like ours are implementing. There are more. And we will continue to modify our system to ensure that everyone stays safe, continues to learn, socialize and have fun. After all, we’re in the business of nurturing and empowering the growth of every child. At The Boulevard School, we’ve been doing that very well for over 45 years. The pandemic will not change our commitment or mission.