Visit our COVID-19 webpage for our preparedness and response plan.

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Preparedness and Response Plan

We are delighted to be welcoming your family to the 2020-2021 school year. The health and safety of our students, staff, and families is our highest priority. This summer, our teachers have been working to prepare our classroom environments for our current reality of returning to school for in-person learning on September 8. Our administrative team and COVID-19 Task Force has created plans for our school setting that reflect the best practices within the MI Safe Schools: Michigan's 2020-2021 Return to School Roadmap

Throughout the school year, we will continuously monitor our practices and protocols and make adjustments as needed to follow our commitment to community health and safety. A Children’s House education is about community, connection, engagement, independence, and collaboration. It is our intention to maintain these values even under the circumstances of the pandemic.  

Please review the following reopening policies and protocols keeping in mind that this webpage and the detailed plans for Phases 1-3 and Phases 4-5 will be updated as new information is available to us. You will be notified of all significant changes. 

Michele Shane
Head of School

Phases 1-3 Plan Phases 4-5 Plan

Reopening Policies and Protocols

(Updated July 30, 2020)

The following overview relates to The Children's House opening for the school year in Phase 5 beginning September 8, 2020. These policies and protocols will be updated as needed per the CDC, LARAGrand Traverse Health Department, and MI Safe Schools: Michigan's 2020-2021 Return to School Roadmap. For detailed plans for all of the Phases, please click on the buttons above. 

Health Screenings: Children and staff

    • Families and staff are asked to conduct health checks each morning before leaving their home, checking for symptoms such as gastrointestinal discomfort, respiratory symptoms and fever of 100.4 or above. 
    • Parents are prohibited from sending their children to school with the use of fever reducing medications. 
    • Every child’s temperature will be checked upon arrival. It will be checked again before lunch, and at the end of the day. A temperature of 100.4 will require the child to be picked up. 
    • Staff receiving children in the morning will visually check for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. If any are detected, parents will be called immediately to pick up their child.
    • If you are keeping your child home due to illness of any kind, please notify the school by calling the front desk at 231-929-9325 or email Kim Gallagher at

Additional Cleaning Protocols

    • Masks will be provided to all staff and will be required to be worn anytime they are indoors and not eating. The policy excludes NIDO and YCC staff.  
    • Elementary-age children will be required to wear masks anytime they are indoors, with exception of eating. Children are encouraged to bring their own clean mask to school each day and take them home for cleaning each night. If children do not have masks of their own, they will be provided with one.
    • Primary-age children are encouraged to wear a mask indoors if they can do so without needing additional help or increased face touching. This excludes eating times. 
    • Children in our Nido and YCC programs are not required to wear masks. 
    • Hand sanitizer from Northern Latitudes Distillery will be provided and available throughout the school for all age groups. Our medical advisor, Dr. Adrienne Edgren, has approved the use of this product for infants and children of all ages. 
    • Touchless hand sanitizing stations will be at each entry of the school, in each utilized classroom space, and in various other locations around the school.
    • Children will be required to wash their hands with soap and water before and after every transition, as well as before and after bathroom use. They will also be required to sanitize their hands between each new work. 
    • Janitorial staff and classroom support will sanitize classrooms and frequently used objects such as doorknobs, sink handles, and light switches throughout the day. Completed checklists for each classroom will be scanned and uploaded weekly to our website. 
    • Playground equipment will be cleaned and disinfected every night. Children will be required to wash hands with soap and water before and after use. 
    • Janitorial staff will perform a complete cleaning and sanitizing of all used areas each evening after children are gone. 
    • We have purchased an electrostatic disinfecting machine to ensure all soft and hard surfaces in classrooms are disinfected daily. The product used in this machine aligns with our green school standard and carries a hazard rating of 1, for the environment and for toxicity. This means it is a low hazard rating, but is efficient in killing 99.9% of pathogens. 

Program Modification

    • As feasible, children will remain in classroom groups and movement around the building will be limited. Children will remain in these groups during lunch, specials, and in outdoor spaces. 
    • Each class will have the appropriate number of adults to assist the group. 
    • Lunch and outdoor/gym times will be staggered. 
    • Many classroom and physical education activities will utilize outdoor spaces and windows will regularly be open in indoor work-spaces. 
    • Colored tape will be used on the floors of work spaces and halls to help guide children in social distancing.  
    • Carlines will function as normal with children, staff, and parents wearing masks. Children will be separated by classrooms while they wait for afternoon carline.

Food Service

    • The Children’s House will provide snacks for all children and continue to offer school lunch. 
    • Children will not serve themselves, however, staff will plate and serve food. 
    • Children will bring their own water bottle to school everyday and it may be refilled in their classroom sink. 
    • Snack items will be in single servings rather than large open bowls for community retrieval. Snacks will be served by staff to the students.
    • Gloves will be used during lunch and snack serving, as well as during dishwashing. 
    • Kitchen staff will wear gloves at all times, and will be required to wear a mask during all food plating and serving, as well as when dirty dishes are returned to the kitchen. 
    • Children who choose to bring a lunch from home should use reusable containers, like a bento box. This supports our Green School initiative. To reduce the quantity of dishes needing to be cleaned, students with home lunch will not use school plates or utensils during Phases 4 & 5. 

Administrative Considerations

    • All staff will be thoroughly trained on all new procedures.
    • Staff will be screened daily upon their arrival. 
    • Parents and staff will be asked to disclose travel. Please contact Kim for the most up-to-date information and to talk through your travel plans.
    • Visitors will be permitted by appointment only, or in case of an emergency.
    • To pick up children from Friends Club anytime after 3:30 p.m., parents will be given a key code to enter the building. Parents must wear a mask and sanitize hands before entry.  
    • Delivery personnel from UPS, FedEx, USPS, etc., will be asked to leave items at the front door for staff wearing PPE to retrieve. 
    • Many facility inspections and maintenance are performed throughout the year and are essential. When someone comes to the school to provide one of these services, they will be screened, required to wear masks before entry, and will not come in contact with children.

Additional Illness Policies in the time of COVID-19

    • Exposure is defined as being within 6 feet of someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or with a presumptive case of COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes. This link helps define these guidelines. This PDF is also helpful in understanding when precautions need to be taken and what to do in each potential exposure situation. 
    • If you believe you, your child, or another household member has been exposed, notify Kim Gallagher at The Children’s House and call your doctor.
    • Students who develop a fever and/or COVID-19 symptoms are strongly encouraged to see their doctor and follow their guidance. In the event they can not, or choose not to visit their doctor, their entire family must quarantine for 14 days. 
    • Students or anyone in the student’s household who is diagnosed with COVID-19 are required to notify Kim Gallagher at The Children’s House and follow the guidance of the Grand Traverse County Health Department. Upon diagnosis, TCH will cooperate with the local health department. This includes notifying anyone in close contact with the diagnosed person. This may include closing the classroom the case was in, or in some cases, it may include temporarily closing a wing or the entire school, as advised by local authorities. 
    • Returning to the school after a confirmed case, is guided by the local health department and may include up to 10 days of quarantine from symptom onset, and at least 3 days fever free and improved respiratory symptoms. Students who became ill and received a negative COVID-19 test result, may return to school per the TCH illness policy in the school handbook.