COVID-19 Safety Measures

Acorn Hill is open during the 2020-21 school year and operates under one of two scenarios: in-person or remote learning. The decision to implement a scenario is determined by an ongoing evaluation of the pandemic in the greater community, guidance from the MD Department of Health, and by our school’s specific needs as they may arise. We are currently open in-person, and this is how we hope to operate for most of the school year.

Because of the inherent interconnectedness of an in-person school community, ALL our actions and choices have an impact on those around us. We must therefore agree to a shared caring of our community. Please read Acorn Hill’s Parent and Teacher Shared Community Commitment HERE.

Safety is our top priority for the entire community – children, teachers/staff, and families. We follow all local, state and CDC guidelines, and have implemented the following safety measures:

  • Masks: Indoors, all teachers and staff wear masks at all times, and gloves, plastic face shields/eye protection are worn as needed. Outdoors, masks may be removed briefly when physical distancing takes place, and during snack and lunch (Full Day only). Children wear home-provided masks throughout the school day, as physical distancing is not always possible.
  • Daily screenings: Temperature screenings and verbal health screenings take place upon arrival for all children. Temperatures are recorded, and an ongoing log kept. All staff are screened as well. The screening questions can be viewed HERE.
  • Hand washing: We have regular hand washing throughout the school day – upon arrival, after using the bathroom, before snack, and other times as required. We are (primarily) using outdoor hand washing stations.
  • Small class size: All classes have a maximum of 13 children with 2 teachers.
  • Outdoor programming: All classes are primarily outdoors where disease transmission is greatly reduced. New tarps and fencing have been installed for cover and the separation of classes.
  • Designated “pod” spaces: Each class or pod has its own designated outdoor playground, entrance/dismissal procedures, and indoor space including toilets and sinks (when needed). There is no mixing of classes or transfer of children between classrooms. We are not currently offering Early Birds, Lunch Bunch or Aftercare in an effort to minimize the mixing of pods.
  • Minimized exposure: Parents are not allowed in the building or on the playground except by appointment. Meetings with teachers or administration will largely take place over phone or zoom calls. Classes have staggered start times and separate entrances to minimize large groups.
  • Daily disinfecting: All toys (inside and outside) are disinfected on a daily basis. Bathrooms, inside surfaces (when used) and outside surfaces (tables, swings, climbing structures, cots, etc.) are also disinfected on a daily basis. Disinfected items are left to air dry, and teacher-worn smocks or aprons are washed daily. Hand sanitizer sprays are used by teachers, as needed.
  • Snack/Lunch time: Children are spaced apart, and simple snacks are served. Full Day children bring a packed lunch from home.