If I have learned any lessons from FUMP’s Covid closure and reopening, it is the value of community. FUMP has provided that for our families and our teachers for over four decades. Our unexpected closure left a void for us, and it feels so good to be back to this school that we love. As a close-knit community, we care deeply about our students and families.
We ask you to extend that sense of community in new ways. We have Covid protocols and procedures in place to safely care for children while minimizing the risk of illness. While our parents are very attentive to our illness policy, our new measures are more strict than health officials’ guidance. We ask that parents are very proactive in keeping their children home when signs of illness present themselves. We ask that parents quarantine if they have been exposed to someone with Covid. We ask for your understanding when we send a child home with mild symptoms. In taking every precaution, we work together to keep our community as healthy as we can—more information on this policy is below.
Arrival/Departure: To accommodate Covid restrictions, we will receive your child at the designated school door rather than parents walking them to their classroom. When parents arrive, they will check in children electronically and answer the Covid screening questions. Also, you will send a message through Sandbox to your child’s teachers that you have arrived. A staff member will greet you there, take your children’s temperature, and walk them to their classroom. At the end of the day, we will release the children for departure at our doors. Classroom locations will be released at parent orientation.
Parent/Teacher Communication: To assist with communication, we use Sandbox Software Parent App. There are so many features that will help us communicate with you to create and maintain a partnership between parents and teachers. We can share information about your child’s day at FUMP with notes, photos, and more. You can message us when you reach the designated door for drop-off or pick up. The app provides contactless check-in, so no more hard copy sign-in sheets. First, create your SANDBOX PARENT PORTAL with your email on file with us. Then, search your app store for the “Sandbox Software Parent App” to download the app and log in with the same credentials you used for the portal. We are excited about this new offering from FUMP!
Preschool Office Communications: We will use Sandbox for parent communication as well as traditional email.
Covid exclusions: We have made additions to our illness policy based on guidance from the Austin Department of Public Health and Child Care Licensing. Children will have a health screening (temp check and symptom/exposure questions) upon arrival. The symptom list includes:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Fever (greater than 99.7 degrees F) or chills
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
- Congestion or runny nose
Yes, it says runny nose. Yes, we live in Austin, Texas, where allergies run rampant. Yes, it is a symptom of Covid. I consulted the Austin Public Health child care guidance department for additional guidance about allergies and runny noses. They confirmed that if a child has a persistent runny nose (not just a sniffle here or there, but running most of the day), they must be screened by their healthcare provider. APH reported that they had had Covid cases in child care centers where the only symptom was a runny nose, so they need to be checked before returning to school. It worried me to hear that, and at the same time, it is part of living in the time of Covid. We will look to the guidance of our regulatory agencies and fulfill our obligations accordingly. Please know that we will never ask you to retrieve your child lightly; it will be done with care and concern for the health of our FUMP community.
While this is a lengthy memo, there are many more considerations. We are here to navigate them together. Please let us know if you have questions or concerns or if we need to explore new ideas as we make our way through this year.
Again, we are so excited to have your child at FUMP. Thank you for trusting us with your most precious little ones.