The COVID-19 outbreak is a global challenge on an unprecedented scale, but Preschool of the Arts remains committed to offer a vibrant, innovative and supportive learning community committed to child-focused exploration and creativity. We aim to meet the significant impacts this crisis has on our children with love, compassion and understanding. We believe children are capable. We value play as both means of developmentally appropriate learning and processing the world. We will continue to structure our curriculum around these constructs, while incorporating ongoing best health practices regarding COVID-19.
Our school has adapted many policies to create a healthier and safer environment for our students and teachers. We have staggered drop off and pick up times, we use only our assigned entrances, and we require masks for all children 5 and older. All of our shared spaces in our building, such as our Art Studio, Music Studio and teachers’ lounge, are closed to both children and staff. Children and staff are required to do a daily health screen. We will continue to fine tune and adapt our policies as information unfolds and in response to new information from the CDC and Dane County Public Health Department.
Additionally, we have installed a needlepoint bipolar ionization in our HVAC system. Bipolar ionization is a technology that reduces airborne particles and kills airborne pathogens such as viruses, mold spores and bacteria. In August, our HVAC contractor installed a unit in each of our furnace units at PSA. These 11 units are now an integrated part of the building heating and cooling system. They are in operation continuously during occupied hours. In addition to the furnace units, a portable unit was installed in each of the children’s group bathrooms to provide extra protection in those common areas. Needlepoint ionization reduces airborne particles through agglomeration. The ions attach to airborne particles such as mold, dust, and pollen. The particles are attracted to each other, which increases their size. Then they are trapped in the air filters. That leaves our air cleaner, with fewer odors. In addition, the ions steal hydrogen molecules from pathogens, which means it kills bacteria and viruses. Given the airborne nature of COVID-19, this technology is a timely improvement to our cleaning processes.