Monday, July 27th
According to Executive Order 20-81 on the use of face coverings and face shields in public places, childcare centers are required to update their COVID-19 Preparedness Plan
Please see our updates below. These are also available for you on site at each center located in Minnesota.
Face Coverings in Child Care Settings
As of Monday, July 27th, 2020 in accordance with Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-81, Casa de Corazón employees are required to follow the guidance outlined below regarding the use of face coverings during work hours.
When a face covering is required for staff and providers
- All staff must wear a face covering in communal areas (e.g., center hallways, lobbies, restrooms, breakrooms, laundry room, the gym, etc.) where groups may intermix.
- For staff in an indoor classroom that are confined to one group or cohort of children. Staff are still required to wear coverings to the extent possible, especially when social distancing cannot be maintained, unless wearing a covering would interfere with the early childhood development process.
- Visibility of facial expressions and lip movements are critical to early childhood development and learning. We strongly encourage the use of clear face shields in lieu of cloth masks whenever possible and especially when teaching children of any age.
Exemptions to the face covering requirement for staff
- Staff with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that makes it unreasonable for them to wear a face covering. This includes, but is not limited to, people who have a medical condition that compromises their ability to breathe, and people who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. They must use clear face shields.
- Staff who are required to wear a face covering or face shield under this guidance may remove their face covering or shield temporarily to engage in certain activities listed below that make wearing a face covering or shield difficult, provided that social distancing is maintained to the extent feasible:
- When eating or drinking.
- When communicating with a person who is deaf or hard of hearing or has a disability, medical condition, or mental health condition that makes communication with a face covering difficult.
- When participating in physical activity or when engaged in other activities (e.g., presenting, performing, or playing an instrument) that would make it difficult or impractical to wear a face covering or face shield.
Face coverings for children
- Children 5 years of age and under are not required to wear a face shield or face covering in a child care setting. Children under the age of 2 years, or children who are sleeping, unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering or face shield without assistance; or who cannot tolerate a shield or covering due to a developmental, medical, or behavioral health condition must NOT wear a face covering or face shield. We will not put face coverings on children under the age of 2.
- Children over the age of 2 who can reliably wear a face covering or face shield in compliance with CDC guidance on How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings may do so. This means they can wear it without frequently touching or removing it. If a parent or guardian wants her/his/their child to wear one, we will do our best to encourage the child to do so, and to follow the above guidance.
- School-age Exemption: We hereby communicate to our School-Age Summer Camp families with children ages 6-12, that we are opting into the optional exemption to requiring children over 5 to wear face coverings at our place of business. We will continue to leave this choice up to each child’s parent(s) or guardian(s) as outlined above for children over the age of 2. This exemption is intended to ensure that in cases where a few children attend a school-age program, a provider can determine what is most age-appropriate and supportive of the development and safety for all children in the environment.
Consistent groupings and cohorts
To additionally reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19, we actively use “cohorting” in our classroom and teacher groups. Cohorting is the practice of maintaining smaller, consistent groups or cohorts of children and related workers who avoid intermixing to the extent possible.
We take steps to avoid intermixing groups or cohorts of children and workers to the extent possible. This means keeping each group of children in the same classroom all day, and going with that same group to the gym and playground, with the same group of teachers, as much as possible and as staffing ratios permit.
Friday, June 26th
Diversity & Inclusion at Casa
Casa de Corazón stands with people of color and joins with our community to actively promote anti-racist endeavors from the ground level. We recognize that as a society we are embarking on a time of opportunity for much-needed change. We are excited to be a part of the solution as we create a platform from which the Casa children may grow to join this movement toward a more just society as a result of being immersed in such an intercultural early childhood education program like Casa.
Pioneering Interculturality is one of Casa’s core values. Intercultural is beyond multicultural, which is where multiple cultures coexist alongside one another. Intercultural is beyond cross-cultural, which is where cultures learn from one another. In intercultural communities, we connect with one another in a reciprocal, mutual, and inclusive celebration of all cultures.
We strive for equality, justice, and meaningful relationship-building that allows us to honor our heritage while respecting others. While we learn from each other’s cultures, we may also examine our own culture more deeply. Through intercultural community engagement, we allow ourselves to be changed.
Our mission includes providing inclusive, diverse day care services within the communities we serve. Our staff members, enrolled children, and their families engage in our intercultural community. As a result of this engagement, our lives are permanently enriched.
For the past 18 years we have worked to promote inclusive initiatives that make our centers an ideal environment of intercultural engagement from early childhood. Because the first 5 years of life are the fastest years of brain development we experience as human beings, what children see and experience in terms of diversity during this crucial time forms the foundation for their world view for their entire lives. We expose children to diversity and celebrate its beauty in different ways with art, reading, music and dancing, creative play, and we regularly invite families to share their experiences and backgrounds with the Casa family. Casa hosts annual celebrations as part of our program that allow us to get to know, recognize, and support one another as members of the community including: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lunar New Year, Holi Festival, Nelson Mandela Day, Hispanic Heritage Day, and Indigenous People’s Day. On these days we engage in authentic and educational celebrations with our enrolled children, led by members of the cultures we are celebrating whenever possible. This is what intercultural learning is all about.
We hire and promote an extremely intercultural and otherwise diverse cross-section of team members to intentionally create diversity in the relationships and environment that we provide to families and children. 95% of our team members are either Hispanic or bi/multicultural in ethnicity. Our enrolled families include a diverse cross-section of our communities as well. Through this intentionality, members of our Gran Familia benefit from genuine connections with people of other cultures than their own, and the beauty and enrichment that stem from inclusion.
As part of our Corazoncitos training sessions, we are offering our staff a course entitled Race and Culture in Early Childhood Settings: Beginning the Conversation. This training will help us maintain the conversation about race and culture by exploring, discussing and sharing our own experiences and the role culture plays in our lives. Some of the beliefs and values that are different from traditional American culture are explored in this class. An emphasis is placed on the need for ongoing, intentional, and meaningful discussions.
Moving forward, Casa commits to incorporate the discussion of race within our organization through our children, staff, and headquarters team. We will consistently review what we are doing and how we can improve to create a more unified and just world for our children and staff. It is imperative that we continue this conversation consistently to promote perpetual growth within our organization and world. We welcome and value any input from our parents and staff as to additional ways we can incorporate diversity and inclusion into our daily lives and work.
If you are a Casa family, we invite you to download our app for access to over 1,000 intercultural songs to enjoy with your children at home and further enhance their diverse education.
Friday, June 26th
According to Executive Order 20-48, critical businesses are required to follow guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The MDH/CDC guidance is designed to prevent, mitigate, or respond to the transmission of COVID-19.
You can view Casa’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan here.
Friday, June 19th
COVID-19 Update: E-Learning Platform & Retail Opening
As part of our efforts to keep our curriculum consistent with families, whether they are attending Casa or staying at home, we have recently introduced our E-Learning Platform. This resource gives enrolled parents access to videos of our staff teaching curriculum, songs, dancing, culture, bilingualism, and much more! We also have additional tangible resources for parents to use from Casa, Doing Good Together, and Teaching Strategies.
The Mask Resource created for children and parents is available in both English and Spanish. Families can discuss this new implementation with their children to help them understand and make them feel more comfortable when seeing and wearing face coverings.
We also would like to share a video of two of our Shorewood maestras explaining the mask resource to preschoolers!
In The News
National Retail Tracker – Retail traffic breaks new high! Retail traffic across the United States increased by 10.5% (from -29.1% to -18.6% versus the baseline) during the week-ending June 5th, increasing in each of the 50 states.
Curfews have largely disappeared, only keeping down retail traffic for a few days. This marks the 4th consecutive week of a retail traffic seesaw. Next week will indicate whether the curfews were the reason for the latest dip or whether consumers simply aren’t returning to baseline habits. Is this a bump in the road to recovery, or is -20% to -30% home to the “new normal”?
Monday, June 15th
COVID-19 Update: Opening the Centers to Parents
With the recent implementation of Phase Three by Governor Tim Walz, Casa has decided to change its restrictions on allowing parents or guardians to enter the building. We are excited to have our families back in the center with us as we miss everyone and this will help create a better environment for our children during drop off and pick up!
We will be allowing parents or guardians to enter the center beginning Wednesday, June 17th.
Guidelines for entering the center:
- One parent or guardian per family
- Parent or guardian must complete temperature and wellness check upon arrival
- Parent or guardian will be denied entry if temperature is at 100.4 degrees F or higher
- Parent or guardian must wear a mask or face covering while inside the center
- Parent or guardian must not enter classroom, only reception and hallway areas
- Please DO bring your children all the way to their classrooms and escort them in/pass them off to a teacher
- Please do not hug teachers (we know this will be hard!)
- Please be mindful of social distancing, staying over 6 feet away from other people as much as possible
- Please do not linger around the center as length of exposure is an important factor in increasing chances of contracting COVID-19
- Please refrain from using your center’s restrooms, drinking fountains, and other common areas at this time
Please reach out to your center director if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing our families back in the center on Wednesday!
*Precautions may vary per location. Please check with your center director to learn more about your center’s precautions and implementations.
Thursday, June 11th
COVID-19 Update: Donation Drive & DGT Kitchen Table Kindness Kit
From Friday, June 5th – Friday, June 12th, Casa will be hosting a Donation Drive! Due to the pandemic and recent events in the Twin Cities, we’d like to support families who have a lack of access to stores to meet their basic needs. There will be a box outside of the center labeled donation drive. Please drop off any items you would like to provide to help these families in need. These items will be donated to local shelters, schools, churches, and/or community organizations in charge of getting them to the people in need. If you know of any places in need of donations, please email email@example.com.
• Non-Perishable Food: Canned Food, Soups, Oatmeal, Pasta, Sauce, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Cereal, Snacks etc.
• Hygiene Products: Toothpaste, Toothbrushes, Shampoo, Conditioner, Deodorant, Body Wash, Toilet Paper, Laundry Detergent etc.
• Baby Items: Diapers, Wipes, Formula etc.
DGT Kitchen Table Kindness Kit*
These kits, provided by our partnership with Doing Good Together will allow you and your kids to offer simple acts of generosity right from your own kitchen table. Find all you need to have fun helping others, while sparking meaningful conversations about empathy, compassion and the common good! We want to offer these kits to all parents – whether they are at home with their child(ren) or at the center with us. These kits are normally $9.95 but we would like to cover the cost as an appreciation for our families. If you would like one delivered to your home or would like to pick one up at the center, please fill out this form.
Please order your Kindness Kit before the end of day Friday, June 12th!
*Varies per location. Please check with your Director to ensure your location is offering Kindness Kits.
Thursday, May 28th
COVID-19 Update: Existing Standards & New Implementations
First and foremost, we are incredibly grateful for our Casa Families. Words cannot express how much it means to us that families believe in our staff and program and have chosen to keep their child(ren) enrolled with us during this unpredictable time, whether at Casa or from a distance at home. Our children and parents are part of our family and we are so thankful for that.
We would like to share helpful reminders, standards, implementations, frequently asked questions, and resources with you in hopes that you can understand everything we are doing to push through this pandemic.
• Frequent Hand Washing
• Sanitizing Classroom Tables after Each Meal
• Sanitizing Toys, Toy Shelves, and Other Classroom Surfaces at the End of Each Day
• Sanitizing Diaper Changing Tables after Each Change
• Separating Mouthed Toys Immediately for Washing Later
• Deep Cleaning the Gym and Other Common Areas Regularly
• Following Our Illness Exclusions for Both Children and Staff Members with Symptoms or Diagnoses on the List of Exclusions
• Following MDH, CDC, DHS, and Government Recommendations
• Temperature & Symptom Checks
• Closed Classrooms where the Virus was Present
• Gym and Playground Time in Small Groups
• External Drop Off Only
• Mask Enforcement for all Staff Members
• Social Distancing Between Staff
• Staff Quarantines – when Symptomatic, and also Preventatively
• Child Quarantines when Exposed to a Case
• Food Safety Precautions
• Virtual Tours
• Center Industrial Deep Cleans
• Playground & Gym Industrial Deep Cleans
• Curriculum Videos
• Parent Resources
In The News
Stay Safe MN – Gov. Tim Walz loosens social distancing measures.
National Retail Tracker – Retail traffic continues to rise despite bumps on the way up. The effect of states’ reopening in May is undeniable, as the overall US index has grown from -50.8% to -19.4%. All of the other states except one are experiencing a quicker return to pre-Covid retail traffic than Minnesota.
CDC COVID-19 Transmission – It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about how this virus spreads.
Mask Resource English – This resource helps children understand masks, who wears them, why they wear them, and teaches them to be more comfortable with this new concept.
Mask Resource Spanish – Este recurso ayuda a los niños a comprender las máscaras, quién las usa, por qué las usan y les enseña a sentirse más cómodos con este nuevo concepto.
Doing Good Together Resources
Teaching Strategies Resources – Our friends at Doing Good Together want to connect your family with projects and tools to teach kindness and help others during this difficult moment of isolation and worry. We have partnered with them many times in the past and are so excited to share their incredible resources with you. Some of their links are geared towards older children, so please sift through and choose what’s best for the children in your family 🙂 Doing Good Together knows that it is generosity and compassion that will carry us through this challenging time, and they’ve made it fun and easy for your family to make a difference for others. Please check out their resources.
If you are interested in learning more about Casa and would like to schedule a virtual tour, sign up today and a director will contact you to schedule your tour!