SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– At Little Sunshines Playhouse and Preschool, children enjoy their play and learning time. The president of the daycare says since the stay at home order in Springfield was lifted in May, their enrollment started going up exponentially. Brett Roubal says when the COVID pandemic started here they made changes right away.
“We changed our policies and procedures for COVID right away in March, so really we’ve been doing back in the beginning really with great success,” Roubal said. “That is starting with the masks number one. All of our teachers wear masks have since the beginning of this. We keep stable classrooms so a lot of times in the afternoons when kids are leaving, traditionally we would combine kids into one classroom. We are not doing that anymore; we are keeping the same teachers with the same children. All day every day.”
All off the caregivers and staff are masked and the school is off limits to anyone except students and staff. Parents are asked to wear masks when dropping off and picking up their children outside the building.
“Really the goal is to keep those children and staff members protected in their little pods in their classrooms to make sure we are not taking any unnecessary risks or introducing any unnecessary elements,” Roubal said.
According to the Health Department, children three to 11 are not required to wear masks, but it is highly recommended. In-home daycares are not considered a place of public accommodation so masking wouldn’t be required but highly recommended.
Like many, likely most, schools in the region, children eat their snacks and lunches in their classrooms. Roubal says out of their 26 schools across the nation, they’ve only had a few isolated incidents of staff or students test positive for COVID and there was no evidence the transmission originated within the school.
“To me, that shows what we are doing is working and that is the most important piece,” Roubal said.
In terms of how kids are reacting to the staff wearing masks, Roubal says, like many of us, it appears to be their new norm.