Requirements for Monday, September 27 return to Discovery:
It will be extremely important that only healthy children return to Discovery on Monday 9/27. If there is even a remote possibility that you or your child could potentially have any symptoms of Covid, please do not jeopardize the health and safety of the other children, parents, and staff; as well as our ability to remain open by bringing them to DDC. RiverStone Health approved my decision to only close until 9/27, allowing everyone the opportunity to isolate for the recommended 10 days for the potential exposure to Covid. It was agreed upon that this action would permit a safe and healthy return for those who were not affected by the Covid exposures.
If you have any doubts about what may or may not be symptoms of Covid for your child or yourself, I strongly recommend that you do get tested ASAP. Everyone can be tested at the lower level of St. Vincent Yellowstone Medical Center at no charge and without the need to see a practitioner. If this would help ease your mind, as well as ensure a safe return to DDC, it would be greatly appreciated if you would take advantage of this option or any other free option that you may be aware of.
If you or your child(ren) do test positive, please retain documentation stating when the quarantine period does end for each child and at what date that it is safe for your child(ren) to return to Discovery. Please keep in mind that the quarantine period may be different for everyone in the family based upon those results. During the course of the week, some children tested negative on Monday, only to have developed additional signs and symptoms as the week has progressed. With that, some of those children have been tested again with positive results. In this event, it does change the quarantine requirements by RiverStone Health in regards to a child's return to DDC on 9/27. They must meet the requirement for their individual quarantine period before returning, and I would ask that I be provided with a note stating what those quarantine requirements are. This is for no reason other than to ensure the health and safety of all the children, parents, and staff.
Example scenarios provided by RiverStone Health:
If a parent tests positive and a child does not, then the child's quarantine does not begin until the parent's quarantine ends.
If a child tests positive and their sibling does not, then the sibling's quarantine period does not begin until the positive child's quarantine ends. This can be a challenge to calculate if there are multiple children in the family, which is why I am requesting documentation from the proper authorities for all quarantine releases.
If a child received negative test results prior to Wednesday, September 22, but continues to exhibit (or shows additional) signs and symptoms, do not assume that they are still negative. You and/or your child(ren) can become positive at any point during the 10 day isolation, and therefore, should be tested again prior to returning to Discovery.
If you have not done so, please notify my if you or your children have been tested during this closure. This will allow me to follow who may or may not continue to be at risk for exposure as well as assist you with any questions at all regarding when a child may return safely.
As we progress forward, I would just like to remind all of our families to be very mindful about their children's presence at DDC. If any of your children display any symptoms of illness or have a fever for any reason, do not administer Tylenol or Motrin prior to arrival and continue to bring them. They should remain out of the facility until the fever is gone without the use of Tylenol or Motrin for a period of 24 hours before returning, which has always been the standard protocol for illness within our program. If any parent or another immediate family member of a child is being tested for Covid, please do not bring the child(ren) while the results are pending due to the possibility of continued exposures, which could result in additional closure time for the facility.
Tuition for the week of 9/20/21:
In the past, I have never been in a position to pay my staff for sick time or PTO. Under these circumstances, I will be compensating them for what they would have worked for this week, in an effort to alleviate the need for any of them to be put in a position to have to file for unemployment. Furthermore, the financial obligations associated with daily operations of the facility remain regardless of whether we are open or closed. With that, as we did during the Stay at Home Order closure in March 2020, we will only be charging for (1) day per child for the week of 9/20/21. If you have already paid for your regular weekly tuition in full, you will be credited forward for anything paid in excess of the (1) day.
Effective 9/27/21, all tuitions will resume as normal, as we will be open for business as usual.
Picture Day Update:
Rich Osness, the photographer, has been informed of the potential Covid threat. He is fully vaccinated, and is comfortable with moving forward with the photo sessions as scheduled. He is not in a position to reschedule our program's scheduled picture day's, as he is already scheduled through the end of the year. There also has been a tremendous amount of effort and planning on Jacque's part in organizing a detailed schedule to accommodate the photo sessions based upon everyone's scheduled days. That said, they will take place as planned.
Should your child happen to be one who is sick with Covid, or becomes sick and are unable to partake on their scheduled day, Rich stated that he may have a couple of days in October in which he could possibly return to accommodate those children with a make-up photo session. Please keep us informed if you would be interested in this option.
Please be sure to check the tab labeled "Picture Day!" to confirm your child's scheduled Picture Day!
The Open House event for Discovery's Preschool Program 2021-2022 that was supposed to take place on Tuesday, September 21, will be rescheduled. As soon as we confirm all of the Preschool Teachers are healthy and able to attend, we will update you as to when this will take place.
Update - 9/21/21 - 9:30 am
After speaking with RiverStone Health, they have determined our (1) week closure to be an adequate isolation period. With that, Discovery will re-open as anticipated on Monday, September 27.
Also, it is at their recommendation that anyone who is going to be tested should wait 2-5 days after exposure, as these would be the most accurate results. That being said, if you had your child tested prior to this window, and they are still exhibiting symptoms, it may be wise to have them re-tested to ensure the results were accurate.
Update - 9/18/21 - 3:00 pm
We had a parent contact their pediatrician, and these were her recommendations:
For anyone in isolation: Testing is recommended for anyone with fever, cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain. For other symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, headache, vomitting, diarrhea, etc., testing is recommended for those exhibiting 2 or more symptoms.
Billings Clinic offers Covid tests at the clinic for the children who are seen and evaluated. They are offering rapid Binax tests with a follow up PRC for negative tests. Feel free to call 238-5097 with any questions regarding this service.
St. V's also offers free testing for kids without being seen by a practitioner. It is located in the lower level of the Yellowstone Medical Center.
Should you decide to have your child tested, please be sure to inform us of the results so we can continue to keep our families apprised of the situation at hand to the very best of our abilities!
As of Saturday, September 18
There have been 4 children and 4 staff within our program who have tested positive for Covid. The recommendation by RiverStone is that anyone who has tested positive for Covid, been exposed to Covid, or has had a close contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid isolate for 10 days. With that being said, we will be closed next week, and tentatively plan to return to business as usual on Monday, September 27. As soon as we have more answers from RiverStone and Montana Licensing regarding required protocol, the website will be updated accordingly.