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Coronavirus Procedure Update 3.18.20 – Student Uniform

Good Afternoon,

With the precautions that Apple Tree has put in place to limit the number of germs in our centers, we would like to take another step moving forward. We ask that your uniforms are washed between your shifts. I know that some of us may have limited amounts of work clothing and in turn, we have made an effort to lighten the uniform policy a bit during the next two weeks. You will be authorized to wear clean, laundered jeans as well as your regular pants throughout the week. This is to ensure you are in a clean uniform each shift. Green and Red Polo’s are still to be worn Monday through Thursday.

Kevin Thomas
Executive Director

Coronavirus Parent Update for Daily Procedures

Dear Parents:

We want to let you know of the steps we are taking to protect the children attending the center and the staff who care for them during the COVID-19 outbreak impacting our community and the country.

As always, if your child is ill, you MUST keep the child at home.

Beginning immediately, no child with a temperature of 100.4 or higher, or showing signs of respiratory symptoms will be allowed to remain in the center. We are also limiting access to adults other than staff to enter the building.

If a child becomes ill during the time he/she is at the center with a temperature or respiratory symptoms, we will separate the child from the other children by a distance of 6 feet or place him in a separate room if possible and notify you or your emergency contact to come take the child home.

In terms of general hygiene, these are other steps we will concentrate on and ask that you do also:

— Clean hands frequently with soap and water. Visibly dirty hands should be washed with soap and water.

— Teaching children to cover coughs and sneeze with a tissue or cough into elbow.

— Avoid touching the face with unwashed hands.

— Teaching them to avoid others who are sick, such as those who are coughing, sneezing, or have runny noses.

— Disinfect touched surfaces frequently including toys, door knobs, and handles, counters, rails, tables, etc.

If your household receives instructions on quarantine for a member who has traveled or is directed by the health department to self-quarantine due to illness, please notify the center so that we understand the situation and can work with the health department to help protect others.

This is a changing situation and we will have things to work though so we ask for your patience and cooperation as we work to protect our children and the community. Thank you for your cooperation.

Coronavirus Update – For Week of March 16, 2020

Dear Apple Tree Families and Staff,

As you are aware, the Governor of Virginia has issued an order to close the public schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia K-12 grades for a minimum of 2 weeks. As of right now, daycare centers and private schools are not mandated under this order to close. Should this order change then we will certainly keep all of our parents informed.

Our corporate office has been in direct contact with local agencies that govern daycare facilities as well as the Chesapeake Health Department. We have been advised to implement the following protocols in addition to Apple Tree’s daily operating procedures as they would benefit the well-being of the children, staff and parents in our programs:

TEMPORARY DROP OFF AND PICK UP PROCEDURES:

As of Monday, March 16th, all parents will need to drop off their child (Ages 16 months to 12 years) at the front door to a staff member who will be posted at the main entrance of every center. Managers will be working extended hours from 6am-6pm as well as additional staffing during AM drop-off and PM Pick-up times to assist parents. We recommend that you allow for extra time at drop off since this process could take additional time. In order to reduce the expose of viruses that are affecting the adult population causing this pandemic the protocol to limit the amount of parents entering the building is for the safety of the families and staff in our care. ONLY infant parents will be permitted to enter the centers to drop off their child directly to the classroom and will need to minimize the amount of time spent in the building. This will be a quick process of giving the teachers the needed food, supplies and information for each baby. The use of Procare Clock-In stations will be suspended during this time. Directors will manually maintain the attendance records of the children in each classroom. Please be aware of the drop off policy in the enrollment contract that states “there are no children to be dropped off past 9am,” as we will not be receiving any children after this time.

ATTENDANCE:

If your child is ill or if anyone in the household becomes ill please refrain from sending your child to school as it has been determined that the children can be carriers of the threatening virus. In addition, please let a Center Director know immediately if your child or any household member has been in contact or exposed to any individual who is contaminated or if you have traveled to an area of concern. We will be monitoring children and staff members for signs of illness and strictly enforcing our sick policy. Please remember we do not have an area for quarantine; therefore, if you are contacted for a sick child pick up please do so immediately.

SANITATION:

Our maintenance team and faculty are working hard continuously throughout the day to ensure all commonly touched surfaces are cleaned and disinfected. The cleaning contractors are also taking extra proactive measures at night to ensure proper sanitation of our buildings.

HAND WASHING AND PERSONAL HYGIENE:

Teachers will continue to practice good hand washing and personal hygiene procedures with children to limit the spread of germs in the classroom.

PARENT PAYMENTS AND QUESTIONS:

Parents who are not on ACH or Auto-Draft need to use the MyProcare portal to pay tuition during this time. If additional assistance is required please contact your Center Director for direction or to make arrangements for payment. If you can not reach a director by phone please feel free to email them as the phone lines have been extremely busy due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus.

Please know, we understand this is not the ideal process for pick up and drop off. In order for Apple Tree to continue to operate and provide a safe and healthy environment for all of our Apple Tree family members we must take drastic measures to protect from further possible spread of illness or closure. We appreciate your support and know that you join us in wishing the best for everyone in our schools and community and will work as a partnership to get through this together.

Childcare is available all day for school age children affected by any public school closure. More information on special programming and pricing for the school-agers will be sent out by each center as they plan in-house activities for the children to enjoy.

We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed. Please continue to pay close attention to the IRIS Alerts as that will be our primary communication to all parents and staff.

Blessings to all,

Heidi Riden, CEO

Coronavirus Update From ATLC CEO

Dear Apple Tree Families:

As you may be aware, the first cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been identified this week in Hampton Roads. According to the Virginia Department of Health, the immediate risk from COVID-19 to the general public in Virginia continues to be low. Apple Tree Kids is committed to the health and safety of our students and staff and we would like to share how we are preparing for the possibility that the virus could make its way into our centers.

We have many protocols in place due to the cold and flu season, which we will continue to implement and can increase if needed. As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) we are:

– Monitoring student illness reports, trends and absenteeism
– Working to limit the spread of diseases whenever possible by paying extra attention to commonly-touched surfaces (door knobs, faucet handles, etc.)
– Reminding our students, staff and school community of the importance of good hand-washing procedures
– Reviewing response plans, making necessary adjustments as information becomes available.

As travel restrictions and associated actions like self and mandated quarantines are changing daily, we are strongly encouraging any of our families with travel plans over Spring Break to notify your Center Director of their travel plans and destinations so we can monitor and advise of any restrictions before returning to care at Apple Tree.

In situations like these, rumors may cause unnecessary reactions and panic. We encourage you to get information from credible sources, such as the Virginia Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the local Health Department.

We are committed to keeping you informed and will provide email updates as new information becomes available. This is a good time to update your contact information with your child’s Center Director, as we will notify you using our Parent Alert System if there is a change to our daily operations. A closure could result if recommended by local and/or federal agencies deeming it necessary to confine an outbreak or require deep sanitizing of childcare centers. We will follow any recommendations or mandates as directed by the CDC and local Health Departments.

As we partner with you and our community to meet known and unknown challenges, we are committed to keeping the channels of communication open and doing all we reasonably can to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our students, staff, families, and community.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any medical or health issues, please feel free to reach out to your local health department.

Sincerely,
Heidi Riden
CEO

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Focus On Food Safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 48 million Americans fall sick each year from foodborne illnesses, many of which can be avoided. The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to prevent you and your loved ones from coming into contact with germs that cause food poisoning. The CDC breaks its plan for preventing foodborne illnesses into four categories: clean, separate, cook and chill.

Clean

Keeping a clean workspace can prevent germs from spreading throughout the kitchen. Clean your countertops and sink after meal preparation with a cleaning spray, and wash knives, cutting boards and other utensils thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Be sure to rinse fruits and vegetables under running water before eating. This includes fruits or vegetables you intend to peel, as rinsing them will reduce the amount of bacteria on the produce. And, of course, wash your hands prior to cooking and before you sit down to eat.

Separate

When purchasing raw meat, poultry, fish and eggs, keep them apart from other food items, both in the grocery cart and in your refrigerator at home. Use plastic bags offered at grocery stores to prevent juices from contaminating ready-to-eat groceries. While cooking, use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils when dealing with raw items.

Cook

Get to know your food thermometer—it’s the only reliable way to determine if the food you are cooking has reached a safe internal temperature. For a complete list of safe internal food temperatures for meats, poultry, seafood, leftovers and more, visit www.foodsafety.gov. When thawing foods, do so in the refrigerator, in the microwave or by cold water thawing. 

Chill

After a trip to the grocery store, refrigerate perishable food within two hours of purchasing (or within one hour if the outdoor temperature is more than 90˚ Fahrenheit). Keep your refrigerator set at or below 40˚ Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0˚ Fahrenheit. Store leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate within two hours after cooking. Eat your leftovers within a few days and never keep any leftover food for more than one week.

Enjoy A Heart-Healthy Valentines Day

Healthy Valentines Day

This Valentine’s Day show your heart some love! February is American Heart Month—a time to raise awareness about heart disease and what people can do to prevent it. When making your plans for Valentine’s Day, choose foods and activities that are good for your heart so you and your loved ones can reap the benefits.

Research restaurants before making reservations. A romantic dinner out with your sweetheart is a popular way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Be sure to look at the restaurant’s menu prior to making a reservation and find a few dishes that are both tasty and good for your heart. Look for nutrient-rich foods like leafy, green vegetables, whole grains or fatty fish (salmon, mackerel or tuna, for example).

Better yet, cook at home. If a crowded restaurant isn’t your scene, break out your cookbooks (or do an internet search) to find a heart-healthy meal to cook at home. By making small changes in your cooking, like choosing skinless poultry or fish, low-sodium foods and sauces and fat-free or low-fat dairy products, you can create a meal that’s good for your heart in no time.

Moderation is key. Enjoy a glass of wine or a flute of champagne, but don’t go overboard. The American Heart Association recommends no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.

Dig into a heart-healthy dessert. There are many Valentine’s Day desserts that are heart-healthy! Berries are a top contender; find them in cobblers, parfaits or even just dipped in chocolate. When it comes to chocolate desserts, opt for dark chocolate as it contains more antioxidants and minerals and (usually) less sugar than milk or white chocolate.

Take an after-dinner stroll with your loved one. Get your heart rate up after dinner by taking a walk for 20-30 minutes. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week for adults. Take advantage of your time together and do something that will make you both feel great.

Skip The Resolutions. Aim For Balance.

Have you made your resolutions for the new year? Typically, a resolution list includes goals that can seem out of reach. For example, you may aim to put a certain amount of money into your savings account, or lose a specific amount of weight. However, most people tend to lose sight of these goals just a few short months into the year. Instead of creating many different goals, a better option may be to make a broader, all-encompassing goal: balance.

Physical Balance

When it comes to diet and exercise, you’ve probably heard the word “balance” more than anywhere else – and with good reason! Rather than beginning the year with unattainable goals of quitting sugar, or exercising five days a week, aim for a more balanced lifestyle. If you eat that extra cookie for lunch, don’t worry! You can pair it with a healthy and nutritious meal for dinner. If you skip the gym to catch a few more hours of sleep, it’s no big deal. Your body needs rest too, and a ten-minute walk after lunch will feel just as good AND set you up for success!

Emotional Balance

Emotions are tough to tackle, but creating a balance in your daily life can help even out the highs and lows that come with simply being a human. Instead of trying to achieve the goal of always ”being positive,” it’s healthier and more attainable to recognize ALL of your emotions and even write them down. For every negative emotion you feel, think of a positive one. It’s can also be helpful to discuss your emotions with other people, rather than holding them in and trying to untangle them alone.

Spiritual Balance You don’t have to meditate daily or attend every weekly service to feel spiritually fulfilled. Sometimes feeding your spirit is as simple as making sure you make time for yourself and doing something that you love and appreciate. This can mean going for taking a walk in your favorite outdoor spot, cooking your favorite dish or taking a long, relaxing bath without any interruptions.

Keep Calm And Carry On

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but for many, it can also be the most stressful. Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the gears have switched and it’s time for holiday shopping, schedule-organizing and making travel plans, on top of end-of-the-year tasks at work and planning for 2020. With all there is to do, it’s no surprise if you’re having feelings of dread instead of feelings of joy. Try these calming tips to get through the busy season:

Set aside time for yourself. If you have children, work in an office and host family for the holidays, it’s likely that you don’t get much time to yourself, away from everyday noise. Setting aside 15 to 30 minutes in the morning as soon as you wake up, during your lunch or before bed may not seem like a lot, but it can give you the space you need to focus on yourself and read a book, meditate or work on a hobby.

Get some fresh air. Have you noticed the seasons changing and the leaves falling, or have you been too focused on tasks indoors to “stop and smell the roses.” The benefits of time spent in nature have been widely studied and documented, but we don’t always have the time to go on a hike. Next time you are leaving your house for work in the morning, or walking to your car after holiday shopping, stop and take a look around, breathing in the fresh air.

Stay organized. If you can’t mitigate stress with quiet time because you simply have so much to do, the best thing may be to tackle it head on. Sometimes the most soothing way to deal with a busy schedule is to make a list and watch as you cross items off throughout the day.

The Gift Is In The Giving: A Lesson For The Young

The holidays are an exciting time for our young ones who have been thinking hard all month about what will be at the top of their wish list. Nothing beats seeing the look on your child’s face when they open the gift they’ve been hoping for all month. However, amongst the lessons of gratitude for receiving presents, it’s also a great time to teach your young owns about the gift of giving, and how we can impact the lives of others.

Giving for Appreciation

While it is always nice to receive a thoughtful gift from a loved one, doesn’t it feel just as nice and rewarding to give one? Teach your child about how giving even small, homemade gifts can let someone know that you are thinking about them and value their love or friendship. Help them come up with a gift for their family, classmates and teacher, and you may even make a fun craft night out of it!

Giving Back

Though there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer or donate year round, the holidays tend to have more available through work or school. Giving doesn’t always have to mean wrapping up a new toy for your child’s sibling or grandparent – it can also mean giving back to the community and those who are less fortunate than us around this time of year. Pick a cause together and dedicate some time to learning together about how you can help, and why it’s important. This could be collecting canned goods for the local food bank, or fulfilling another child’s holiday wishlist.

Give for Thanks

Another small act of giving is sending thank-you cards to family members after the holidays have ended. Hearing that someone appreciates your efforts is sometimes the best gift to receive!

Tips To Organize Your Schedule And Keep Yourself Sane

If you have a big family, you know that keeping track of your own schedule, PLUS those of your children can be a confusing and stressful time. Each kid has different social events, after-school activities and weekend plans, while you have your own agenda to keep up with full of meetings and errands. With so much going on, how can you possible go a day without being late or missing an appointment? Check out these tips to organize your schedule and keep you sane:

 

Go Digital

If you use Google Calendar for your work to keep track of meetings throughout the office, why not use the same technique for your home? If your kids are always on their phones anyways, they will have no excuse for not inputting next week’s soccer game into the shared family calendar. Plus, you can even keep track up upcoming tests and assignments to know who should be studying. You can even set up email alerts to be notified when a new event is made, so you never miss anything.

 

Get Interactive

For kids who aren’t old enough to have phones, or for those who are less digitally inclined, a class refrigerator calendar, or a white board that your family can write events and reminders on will give you a reminder each morning of what is happening that day. Use fun stickers to indicate sports games or parties to encourage your children to use the resource available.

 

Set alarms

What good is a calendar if you check it once and then forget? One great tip is to set alarms and reminders on your phone ahead of time – one 30 minutes to an hour ahead of the event, and one a few minutes before. If you have the technology available – use it!

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