(last updated July 26, 2022)
As a parent, you may be wondering how we plan to keep each child, parent, and staff member safe on our campus in the midst of the pandemic and the aftermath. Below is a list of the protocols that we are putting in place, (as guided by the NJ Department of Children and Families and the Department of Health,) as well as a list of what you need to know, as we will be asking for your assistance and cooperation during this time of change.
First and foremost, we want to thank you for your diligence, and to remind you that as the situation evolves, so, too, will our protocols. We have put into place several different operating plans, depending on the severity of the outbreak in our area, that we will move between in order to facilitate a healthy environment for everyone among the changing requirements.
Our main focus during this challenging and ever-changing time is on keeping our enrolled children as emotionally happy, and physically healthy as possible. We aim to maintain a consistent level of care, within a stable, predictable environment which for us, as a nature school includes lots of outdoor time, worm discoveries, and laughter! The guidelines below are in line with those currently recommended by the CDC, the NJ Department of Children and Families, as well as the Department of Health.
Please contact a school administrator with questions. (updated February 17, 2022)
On Monday, March 7, 2022, Governor Murphy lifted the statewide mask mandate for schools. While he allows individual schools to continue with mask protocol if they choose, Painted Oak Nature School will not continue to require face masks for children or staff in our indoor or outdoor classrooms and shared spaces.
Some of the factors that we have considered leading up to this decision include:
• The amount of time our children spend outdoors
• Multiple windows on both [long] sides of our indoor classrooms, allowing for increased ventilation
• An available vaccine for children as young as 6 months of age
• Rapidly decreasing numbers of COVID-19 cases
• The rights of an individual to continue to mask if they choose
Beginning Monday, March 7, 2022, PONS will no longer mandate the wearing of masks on campus, indoors or out. Mask wearing will be an individual choice and option for staff, students, and parents, and will be honored and respected by our entire community.
While we will no longer be taking individual temperatures upon arrival, please keep in mind our regular policy on communicable diseases -
“A center serving well children shall not permit a child who has any of the illnesses or symptoms of illness specified below to be admitted to the center on a given day unless medical diagnosis from a health care provider, which has been communicated to the center in writing, or verbally with a written follow-up, indicates that the child poses no serious health risk to himself or herself or to other children."
Such illnesses or symptoms of illness shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following:
Severe pain or discomfort
Acute diarrhea, characterized as twice the child's usual frequency of bowel movements with a change to a looser consistency within a period of 24 hours, or bloody diarrhea
Two or more episodes of acute vomiting within a period of 24 hours
Lethargy that is more than expected tiredness
Yellow eyes or jaundiced skin
Red eyes with discharge
Infected, untreated skin patches
Difficult rapid breathing or severe coughing
Skin rashes in conjunction with fever or behavior changes
Weeping or bleeding skin lesions that have not been treated by a health care provider
Mouth sores with drooling
Stiff neck in case of exposure
As always, any child returning to school must be free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
We ask that you make sure to:
Take your child’s temperature before leaving for school-if they have a fever, please keep them home. Students must remain fever free for 24 hours with no fever-reducing medication before returning to school.
Let us know if anyone in your home, or anyone who has been in direct contact with your child, has tested positive for COVID- 19 so that we may take steps to ensure the health of all others in the group
Keep in mind that although the following policies and above listed symptoms apply mainly to our students, we ask that if you exhibit any of the symptoms above, that you keep yourself removed from campus until you are no longer exhibiting symptoms for 24 hours
Health Policies & Procedures: (last updated July 26, 2022)
Children with household members who are known to have COVID-19 will also be excluded from the center for 5 days. PONS will not prorate or provide refunds of tuition if your child has to be excluded from the school due to a positive test result of COVID-19 of a child, parent or staff member. If a child develops symptoms of COVID-19 (fever of 100.4 or higher, cough or shortness of breath) while at the center, a school staff member will immediately separate the child from the other children until the ill child can leave the center. Parents will be expected to pick up the child within 45 minutes of being notified. If symptoms persist or worsen, we will encourage you to call your healthcare provider for further guidance.
Please report to a school administrator immediately if your child is diagnosed with COVID-19. If a child tests positive for COVID-19, you should contact the local health jurisdiction to identify the close contacts (defined as being within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) who will need to quarantine and/or isolate. It is likely that all members of the infected child’s classroom would be considered close contacts. People who are fully vaccinated and boosted do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms.
Upon notification of a confirmed case of COVID-19 among our staff, parents, or children, we will consider closing that classroom, if not the whole school, at least temporarily (e.g. for 5 days, or possibly longer if advised by local health officials). PONS will not prorate or provide refunds of tuition if we temporarily close due to a positive test result of COVID-19 of a child, parent or staff member. If the infected individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 spent minimal time (i.e. 10 minutes or less) in close contact with those in either school building, the facility may consider closing for 2-5 days to do a thorough cleaning and disinfecting and to continue to monitor ill individuals. PONS will not prorate or provide refunds of tuition if we are closing due to a positive test result of COVID-19 of a child, parent or staff member.
If a staff member or a child has symptoms of COVID-19, or is in close contact of someone with COVID-19, they can return to the school facility:
5 days since symptoms first appeared AND
24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications AND
Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving
note: loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation
If the individual had no symptoms, then they can return to the school facility 10 days after quarantine without the need for testing if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. Quarantine may be shortened to 7 days, with a negative PCR test taken on Day 5 or after, and no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring
If an individual believes they have had close contact to someone with COVID-19 but are not currently sick, they should notify a school administrator and monitor their health for fever, cough, and shortness of breath during the 5 days after the last day they were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19. They should not go to work or school, and should avoid public places for 5 days.
The guidelines above are in line with those currently recommended by the CDC, the NJ Department of Children and Families, as well as the Department of Health. Please contact a school administrator with questions. (updated July 26, 2022)
Please be mindful that we must follow the current CDC guidelines. Their current travel restrictions are:
For domestic travel:
According to the CDC, unvaccinated individuals who do travel should get tested 1-3 days before their trip, 3-5 days after travel, and stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after domestic travel. For those traveling to New Jersey, domestic travel is defined as lasting 24 hours or longer to states or US territories other than those connected to New Jersey, such as Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware. For more information, refer to the CDC's guidance for domestic travel.
For international travel: The CDC requires all air passengers arriving in the United States from a foreign country to get tested for COVID-19 no more than 3 days before their flight departs and to present the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. For more information, visit the CDC website. In addition, with specific exceptions, foreign nationals who have been in any of the following countries during the past 14 days may NOT enter the United States: India, China, Iran, countries in the European Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa. For more details and a full list of exceptions, refer to the CDC's update on travelers prohibited from entry.
Outdoor Education in Scotland