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The Earth Tortoise School

A Montessori Community for Infants, Toddlers, Preschoolers, and their Families

Health Policies and Procedures

The State of Oregon’s Office of Child Care mandates that children with:


 · a fever of 100.3 and higher, 

· vomiting, 

· diarrhea, 

· unusual yellow color of the skin or eyes, 

· severe cough, 

· skin or eye lesions that are severe, weeping, or pus-filled, 

· stiff neck and headache, 

· unexplained rash 

· difficulty breathing or abnormal wheezing, and/or 

· complaints of severe pain 


cannot be in group care. Please keep your child home if they exhibit these symptoms. If these ailments appear while the child is in school, we will inform you to pick your child up.


Children may return to school after they have been free from these symptoms without the use of medications for AT LEAST 24 hours - with the exception of vomiting and diarrhea for which we require your child to be home for AT LEAST 48 hours after the last symptom or episode.


We understand that colds will linger but if children are lethargic and having trouble participating in daily activities, we will use our best judgment to send them home as needed. You may bring medication to school to continue treatment after the illness is no longer contagious and the child does not exhibit the symptoms listed above. We cannot give medication to treat any ailments if any of the above symptoms are present and we will not administer medication to mask symptoms. If your child requires medication to feel well, they need to remain home until that medication is no longer needed. We will ask you to sign a form authorizing us to dispense medication according to the directions on the label. To stay as healthy as possible, we wash our hands regularly and sanitize the classroom throughout each day.

COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to be an evolving situation which The Earth Tortoise School is dedicated to mitigating to the best of our ability. We serve a diverse population and see the school as a community of children, staff, and families. Guided by the State of Oregon’s Health Authority and the Office of Child Care, it is with the best interests of the whole community that we make our decisions and create policies. We will follow all OHA and OCC requirements and may, at times, put additional mitigating policies in place. These decisions will be based on the needs of our existing community and are made with our most vulnerable in mind. We may amend these policies as either the State of Oregon dictates and/or as we see a need in the community.

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All enrolled families and staff must adhere to these policies and procedures


A few definitions for clarity:

Primary COVID symptoms include:

o Temperature of 100.3 and higher

o New cough (not associated with an ongoing condition such as asthma)

o New shortness of breath

o New loss of taste and/or smell

Secondary COVID symptoms include:

o Nasal congestion with green mucus and/or runny nose with green mucus

o Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea

o Lethargy

o Sore throat

Other symptoms of illness, beyond those specific to COVID, may also require isolation from school. Please refer to the general Health Policy for guidance regarding the above symptoms when present with a negative COVID test and for other symptoms of illness not listed above.

Positive Case:

o An individual with a positive COVID test result from either an at-home test or a test done by a medical provider - in office or at a drive-through testing site, regardless of the presence and nature of symptoms, if any.

Presumptive Case:

o An individual with 1 Primary Symptom or 2 Secondary Symptoms who has been exposed to a Positive COVID case but who does not yet have a COVID test result.

Exposure:

o Being within 6 feet, for a total of 15 minutes over the span of a 24-hour period, of a person who has received a positive COVID test result or began experiencing symptoms (whichever came first) in the past 48 hours.

Fully Vaccinated:

o Having all of the required doses of an approved COVID vaccine as prescribed for an individual’s age to constitute an initial full vaccination AND all booster shots for which the individual is eligible.

Successful Wearing of a Mask:

o The ability to do all of the following consistently and with minimal reminders:

1. Wear the mask to cover the nose and mouth

2. Not touch the mask and face unless absolutely necessary

3. Eat away from the group

4. Keep the mask dry from saliva and/or mucus

5. Change one’s mask as needed

6. Wash hands when directed

o Developmentally children under the age of 3 cannot be relied upon to be able to follow the above requirements. Therefore, children in the infant and toddler classrooms will not considered able to wear a mask successfully. For children over the age of 3, their ability to wear a mask successfully will be assessed on an individual basis.

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Indoor Masking:

  • Parents and guardians are allowed in the building. We do ask that when in the building you remain mindful of physical distancing.
  • For vaccinated adults, wearing a mask inside the school is optional.
  • Children are not required to wear a mask while at school.

In the Event of an Exposure to a Confirmed Positive Case of COVID-19:

  • The Earth Tortoise School will notify all individuals and parents of individuals who have been exposed to a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 via email as soon as we are informed. Please check your email regularly to make sure you have not received notice of an exposure.
  • Individuals exposed to a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 must meet the following requirements in order to return to school:
    • Receive a negative test result from a PCR or NAAT test conducted at a medical facility or testing site. Home tests or rapid tests will not be accepted.
    • Be completely symptom-free regardless of their COVID test result. We will send home individuals who are exhibiting any symptoms of illness.
  • Individuals who have had COVID in the past 90 days do not need to test for COVID after an exposure but must be symptom free to be at school.

In the Event of an Exposure to a Presumptive Case:

  • The Earth Tortoise School will notify all individuals and parents of individuals who have been exposed to presumptive COVID case via email as soon as we are informed.
  • Individuals exposed to a presumptive case must meet the following requirements to return to school.
    • Be completely symptom free regardless of a COVID test result. We will send home individuals who are exhibiting any symptoms of illness.
    • We strongly encourage everyone exposed to a presumptive case of COVID-19 to get tested before returning to school. However, a test is not required at this time.
  • Individuals who have had COVID in the past 90 days do not need to test for COVID after an exposure but must be symptom free to be at school.

Individuals with one or more Primary Symptoms:

  • Individuals with one or more of the Primary Symptoms listed above must stay home from school for 10 days and be free of any and all symptoms for at least 48 hours without the use of medication before returning to school.
    • This quarantine is not necessary with a negative PCR or NAAT test. A home test will not be accepted.
    • With a negative PCR or NAAT test result, individuals may return to school in accordance with the school’s general Health Policy

Individuals with two or more Secondary Symptoms:

  • Individuals with two or more of the Secondary Symptoms listed above must stay home for 10 days and be free of any and all symptoms for at least 48 hours without the use of medication before returning to school.
    • This quarantine is not necessary with a negative PCR or NAAT test. A home test will not be accepted.
    • With a negative PCR or NAAT test, individuals can return to school in accordance with the school’s general health policy

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19:

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, or lack thereof, must stay home for 10 days and be free of any and all symptoms for at least 48 hours without the use of medication before returning to school.
    • This quarantine can be shortened to 7 days IF they can successfully wear a mask for the next 3 days AND have been symptom free, without the use of medication, for at least 48 hours.
      • A reminder that because children under the age of three are developmentally expected to NOT be able to wear a mask successfully and will therefore have to quarantine for the entire 10 days. Some children in the preschool classroom may be capable of wearing a mask while others will not be. These cases will be assessed on an individual basis.

Notifications:

  • The Earth Tortoise School will notify families of every COVID case in their child’s classroom and/or that they have been otherwise exposed to. After notifying families of an initial classroom exposure, we will continue to update everyone if/when any other individuals in your child’s classroom also test positive as the required test results come in (see below).
  • If your child is experiencing symptoms of any kind for which you are keeping them home, please notify us as soon as possible of the nature of their symptoms. Please be specific. If you do not inform us for the reason of your child’s absence along with any other pertinent information, please be prepared to show their teacher a PCR or NAAT test result confirming that they do not have COVID.
  • Inform us, as soon as possible, if your child tests positive for COVID. We can then notify families of an exposure and allow them as much time to get a PCR or NAAT test before school as possible,


Medication:

  • Do not give your children medication that may mask symptoms before they come to school. If your child is not well enough to come to school without the use of medication, they need to stay home. Giving your child fever reducers, cough suppressants, anti-nausea medication, etc. to hide symptoms that require isolation from school per the Health Policy is against licensing regulations and puts others in their classroom at risk for getting sick themselves.

We understand that there are those instances such as when babies are teething or when they have an ear infection, for example, when medication like ibuprofen can alleviate their discomfort. If your child is in such a situation, please reach out to their teacher to come up with an individual plan.


Traveling and Group Events:

COVID cases, both in the larger community and, therefore, within our small community increase after the typical “travel holidays”. We will be requiring everyone to show proof of a negative PCR or NAAT test before returning to school after the Thanksgiving Holiday break, the Winter break, and the Spring Break.


We also strongly encourage families to take a COVID test prior to sending your child back to school after traveling or taking part in a group event such as a concert, wedding, etc., any time these occasions are a part of your life, and again approximately 5 days after such an event. Though this is not a requirement at this time, it is a small thing we can do to ensure we are not impacting an entire classroom of children and their families.

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This COVID policy has been developed to balance the needs of working families with keeping our community healthy. The use of PCR or NAAT testing, the extra diligence around symptoms of illness, and the required testing after the travel holidays are ways we can mitigate, to the best of our ability, COVID entering our classrooms. In this way children can stay in school and parents can keep working. We feel that in order to move away from requiring lengthy quarantines after an exposure, these strategies are our best defenses against the spread of COVID-19 in the classrooms.

This policy will be evaluated and potentially revised as cases in our community increase or as the severity of illness increases. We will continue to monitor new information from the CDC, the OHA, and the OCC to make such decisions if necessary. We hope that we can continue moving in a positive direction and, with everyone’s conscientiousness, we can limit the impact of COVID-19 on all of us.


Thank you so much for your diligence and support!


Immunization Rates

Below are the immunization rates for children 19 months to 5 years old for 

both Multnomah County and The Earth Tortoise School specifically for 2021/2022 School Year. 

(Children under the age of 18 months immunization rates are not published by the county)


With a vaccination rate of 100% in this age range, The Earth Tortoise School's rate exceeds that of Multnomah County preschool's across the various immunizations required.