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Program Operations Plan - COVID


Effective March 7, 2023, the Office of Head Start is requiring all Head Start programs across the nation have an evidence-based COVID-19 mitigation strategy, developed in consultation with the Health Services Advisory Committee to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Which pertains to any action taken in the Sicangu Lakota Oyate (SLO) Head Start/Early Head Start program is considered less harsh for program staff, children and families.

The Department of Health & Human Services published a final rule in January 2023, removing the requirement for universal masking for all individuals’ ages two years and older.

The Rosebud Sioux Tribal President removed the masking requirement for all tribal employees and local businesses to discontinue the mask mandate requirement on May 9, 2022.

The SLO-Head Start/Early Head Start program has adapted to the current COVID-19 impacts occurring in the community. All program decisions are based on tribal data, COVID-19 reports, and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe Task Force recommendations.
The requirement for having all COVID-19 vaccinations for an employee has been removed as of March 31, 2023 by the Office of Head Start. The COVID-19 vaccine requirement has also been removed for Head Start and Early Head Start families volunteering in the classroom. Our Head Start and Early Head Start Staff are no longer required to provide a copy of their COVID-19 vaccine card to retain employment with SLO HS/EHS program. Locally, vaccines are available for children six months and older, but the vaccine is not required, so there is hesitancy amongst our families. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe Task Force provides recommendations on the following:

In the Event, a Student or Staff Member Develops COVID-19 Symptoms

Students and Staff will follow SLOHS/EHS policy for communicable diseases in policy handbook.

Health & Safety Manager will contact the RST Task Force for quarantine dates of the Covid-19 positive person.

For an employee to use COVID-19 Admin leave, the employee must provide a letter from the South Dakota Department of Health or the RST Task Force.

In the Event COVID-19 is Confirmed in a Student or Staff

Any HS or EHS classroom who has a student or staff person confirmed with COVID-19 must:

Developed February 2023 Revised 4-12-23
 Provide confirmation to SLOHS/EHS Health and Safety Manager. At the time of Health/Safety Manager receiving confirmation of COVID-19, a regroup message will be sent out to all staff and families to inform them of possible exposure in classrooms/centers.

Stay home and quarantine for 5 days or until the South Dakota Department of Health or RST Task Force releases you.

If test is negative, exposed persons may return to work and school after testing.

If test is positive, individual will stay home for 5 days from date of testing.

If student tested positive, the center will remain open unless otherwise stated by Health/Safety Manager and SLO-HS/EHS Director. Staff will monitor themselves and children for COVID-19 symptoms. Staff will disinfect student’s area, classroom, center, and busses.
If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.

If possible, stay away from people who are at higher-risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

If a parent is positive, but cannot isolate away from student, student is able to return to school as long as they are not displaying COVID-19 related symptoms.
When Staff and Students are Exposed:

If a staff member or a student are exposed, they may return to work and school as long as they are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Staff and students who are exposed must wear a mask around others for 5 days.

If you are considered a ‘Contact of a Contact’, you may return to work and school.

Staff should self-monitor symptoms for 5 days.

When or if symptoms occur, the employee should test at local testing sight, and return to work when symptoms subside.

Student Exclusion
If a child is excluded from school due to displaying Covid-19 related symptoms, the child may return to school as long as symptoms of COVID-19 have subsides for 24 hours and the child has been under a Physician’s care. Child must have Drs note to return.
Staff Requirements

All staff must take their temperature and record on the Daily Health Screening Check-In sheet when entering the center. If the temperature is at or above 100.4° F, the employee will get tested for COVID-19 and remain home until fever free.

All staff in EHS infant rooms must wear shoe covers.
Developed February 2023 Revised 4-12-23
All Staff must wash or sanitize hands prior to entering classroom/office.
Hand sanitizer pumps must be located in all classrooms, kitchen, bus and front entrance.
Procedure for Picking up & Dropping off Students
Staff person will make a visual inspection and complete the daily health check for each student looking for signs of illness, which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness.
Staff person will take the students temperature and record this on the students Daily Health Check form. If the temperature is 100.4 degrees or above, the student cannot stay and cannot return to the class until the student is fever free for 24 hours without medication.
Hand hygiene stations are set up at the entrance of the facility, upon students entry to the building, he/she should use hand sanitizer. A staff person will assist.
Students can use the sink in the classrooms for handwashing when available.
Student Pick up
Staff will follow SLOHS/EHS releasing children policy in policy handbook
The Parent/Guardian or delegated individual picking up the student must be on the pick-up/drop off list. The Parent/Guardian must take temperature if entering the building to pick up student.
Students must sanitize their hands prior to departure from the classroom.
Classroom Management
Student/Staff Center Ratio and Group Size:
o Early Head Start Infants 1: 4
o Toddlers 1:4
o Head Start 1:10
Classrooms follow the scheduled routine and lesson plan.
A playground schedule will be followed to allow time outdoors (Mission & Rosebud.)
Lessons outdoors are encouraged and always remember to practice Active Supervision.
Sand and Water tables will be 4 students at a time, students will rotate as needed.
Dramatic Play will include plastic kitchenware, baby dolls and other plastic items easily sanitized and clothed items will be washed once a week.
Staff must change the students clothes if bodily fluids are present or students clothing is visibly soiled. Staff should wash hands immediately after changing student’s clothes.
Contaminated clothes will be laundered.
Staff must wash their hands before and after handling infant bottles prepared at home or prepared in the facility. Bottles, bottle caps, nipples, and other equipment used for bottle-feeding should be thoroughly cleaned after each use by washing with a bottlebrush, soap, and water.
Developed February 2023 Revised 4-12-23
Toys that students have placed in their mouths or that are otherwise contaminated by body secretion or excretion should be set aside until a person wearing gloves cleans them by hand. Clean with water and detergent, rinse, sanitize with an EPA-registered disinfectant, rinse again, and air-dry. Be mindful of items more likely to be placed in a student’s mouth, like play food, dishes, and utensils.
Do not share toys with other groups of infants or toddlers, unless they are washed and sanitized before being moved from one group to the other.
Sand/ Water tables will be used for sand and water only. Staff will sanitize the sand/ water tables daily.
Student’s books, like other paper-based materials such as mail or envelopes, are not considered high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfection procedures. Paper/art materials should be passed out to students individually.
At naptime, ensure that student’s cots, and mats are labeled and spaced out as much as possible, cribs must be 3 feet apart. Students rest head to toe.
Sanitize all cribs, cots, sleep mats after use.
Tooth Brushing
All head start/early head start toothbrush cups will be labeled and placed on shelf above the sink in the classroom, toothbrushes must be placed so bristles are right side up and able to air dry in the tooth brush cups when not in use.
Students will brush teeth twice a day after meal times and individually monitored by a teacher. Encourage parents to regularly brush student’s teeth at home.
The shelf where toothbrushes are stored will be disinfected weekly.
Outdoor Equipment
Staff can take students for walks and/or have organized gross motor activities outside at least once a day outside of scheduled playground use.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Keeping the center clean is the responsibility of all staff. Staff must wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves must be discarded after each cleaning. All cleaning supplies are EPA-registered disinfectants and provided by the program, and must be the only cleaning supply used in the center.
Developed February 2023 Revised 4-12-23
Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces
Surfaces must be sanitized after use.
If surfaces are dirty, they must be cleaned using a registered disinfectant.
Doorknobs, railings, bathroom sinks, toilets, and stall doors will be cleaned daily.
Windows must be left slightly open to allow for circulation during classroom hours.
Classroom sinks must be disinfected daily preferably after tooth brushing.
Soft (Porous) Surfaces
 Classroom rugs must be vacuumed daily and shampooing as needed.
 Remove any visible contamination from landlines, tablets, touch screens, and keyboards.
 Use alcohol-based wipes containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens and other electronic devices.
 If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
Hand Hygiene and other Preventive Measures
 Staff should wash hands often, including immediately after removing gloves. If soap and water are not available and hands are not visibly dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 90% alcohol may be used.
 However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap & water.
Additional Key Times to Clean Hands
 After coming in contact with bodily fluids
 After using the restroom
 Before eating or preparing food
 Before and after providing routine care for another person who needs assistance, such as all students.
 Training toilets (classroom) must be cleaned daily. This involves wiping down the door stall, wiping the toilet, and sinks.
 Staff bathrooms will be cleaned at the end of the day.
 Classroom staff must use the bathroom at separate times to avoid students waiting in hallways.
Developed February 2023 Revised 4-12-23
Food Prep and Meal Service – Family Style
 All classroom staff are considered food handlers; in addition, all staff must follow the guidelines as stated below.
 In addition to washing hands and wearing gloves, a food handler must follow required guidelines:
o Staff must wash their hands before preparing food and after helping students to eat for all meals and snack times
o Staff must ensure students wash hands prior to and immediately after eating.
o Staff will assist students when serving themselves.
o Staff who diaper students should not do food preparation.
o Fingernail length- Fingernails must be short and clean. Long fingernails are not permitted, as they are hard to keep clean and can rip gloves; they can also chip and become physical contaminants. This applies to any staff who encounters food, either preparing it or serving it.
o Teachers will have student helpers to assist teachers with setting up or cleaning tables.
o Teachers will be gloved and handle all utensils when food is served.
Transportation Procedures - Re-opening Centers to Students
 The Bus Driver will honk 3 times.
 The Bus Monitor must walk to the door of each stop to greet students/parent.
 If COVID-19 symptoms are present, students must stay home.
 The Bus Monitor will then escort the students if cleared to the bus and secure them in approved student’s safety restraints.
 Parents will initial the Transportation Log AM/PM

Updated 9/6/2023

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