Following are some of the procedures and protocols we will be following as we begin the school year. You can download a PDF copy of this information on our resources page.

Ithaca Forest Preschool COVID-19 Policies and Protocol

Physical Distancing

By sending your child to Ithaca Forest Preschool, you attest that your household is abiding by social distancing guidelines until such time as it is no longer deemed necessary by the Tompkins County Health Department. All members of your household:

  1. Stay at least 6 feet apart from people outside of your household or close family.
  2. Avoid groups, crowded places, and mass gatherings.
  3. Wear a face mask when in public places shared by the public.

Let our office know of if anyone in your household may have been exposed to COVID-19.  Please contact us if you are unsure how these guidelines may apply in your specific situation.

Participant Illness Policy

Protecting the health of our families is our highest priority. We have modified our Participant illness policy in response to new Health Department guidelines. If your child has any of the following symptoms associated with COVID-19, not otherwise explained (for example, by allergies, a recent physical injury, etc), then they may be excluded from camp at the discretion of our Health Screener and/or Camp Director. If so, please contact your child’s pediatrician for guidance regarding testing and isolation.

  1. Fever of 100F or above
  2. Persistent Cough
  3. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  4. Chills
  5. Repeated shaking with chills
  6. Muscle pain
  7. Headache
  8. Sore throat
  9. Newly acquired loss of taste or smell
  10. Skin rash

Your child may return to preschool after having the above symptoms if they have been:

  1. Symptom-free for 24 hours AND Fever-free for 72 hours with either:
    • Letter from pediatrician that it is safe for the child to return to camp (telehealth appointment is acceptable) OR
    • Negative COVID-19 test result; OR
    • 10 days have passed since onset of symptoms

Your child may NOT come to preschool if, in the last 14 days, anyone in household:

  1. Has been confirmed positive for COVID-19
  2. Has been tested for COVID-19 due to suspected exposure and is awaiting test results
  3. Was under quarantine for suspected exposure to COVID-19

Drop Off and Pick Up

Please monitor your child’s health and take note of any symptoms of COVID-19 listed above.

Drop-off and pick up will be as contact-free as possible with caregivers staying in their cars with drive-up drop-off. We understand this is preschool and if you need to exit the car to assist your child, we ask you to please maintain 6 feet distance between other people and wear a mask.

Health Screening at Camp

All participants and staff will undergo daily health screenings. Screenings will include questions including and not limited to: symptoms of COVID-19, the occurrence of a positive test of COVID-19, and the proximity to people of suspected or positive cases of COVID-19. All answers to screenings will be reviewed and recorded daily by staff.

Daily Health Screening Questions

Caregivers will be asked these questions about their child. Any child who gets a YES to any of the questions, not otherwise explained (for example, by allergies, a recent physical injury, etc) will NOT be permitted at camp and will only be able to return per the COVID-19 Participant Illness Policy.

  • Have you or your child experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
  • Have a fever of 100F or above now or in the preceding 72 hours?
  • Have a cough?
  • Have a sore throat?
  • Have any muscle aches?
  • Have any difficulty breathing/shortness of breath?
  • Have recent loss of taste or smell?
  1. Have you or your child taken any Tylenol, Ibuprofen or another NSAID in the last 24 hours for fever or unexplained muscle pain?
  2. Is your entire household in full compliance with the participant Illness Policy? Including, for the last 14 days:
  3. Has anyone in your household been tested positive for COVID-19 due to suspected exposure and is awaiting test results
  4. Is anyone in your family under quarantine for suspected exposure to COVID-19
  5. Has anyone in your household traveled outside of Tompkins County in the last 14 days? This answer is only used if contact tracing is later triggered. (If yes, where did they go and when?)

A staff member will take your child’s temperature with non-contact thermometer and record th temperature in Health Check Form

  1. Any person with a temperature above 100F will not be permitted at preschool
  2. Children will use hand sanitizer or handwashing stations immediately upon the grounds and throughout the preschool day.

Changes to the Preschool Day and what your child may experience

  1. Staff are required to wear face coverings at all times. Preschoolers are required to bring a face covering that they are able to put on by themselves. They will not be required to wear masks unless a staff person determines that social distancing can not be maintained for a specific time period. We may also ask children to wear masks until all members of their cohort understand the distancing ground rules.
  2. We will be in very small cohorts but whenever possible, we will maintain six feet distance from other individuals.
  3. Program supplies, bathrooms, and any touched surfaces will be sanitized regularly according to Health Department standards.
  4. Children will be asked to sanitize or wash their hands upon arrival and departure as well as other times throughout the day including after bathroom use, before and after eating and after touching program supplies.
  5. During lunch and snack, children will not be permitted to share food. During meal times, children will sit 6 feet apart.

When Physical Distancing is Not Possible

There are times when physical distancing will not be possible as children may need assistance with tasks such as opening lunch containers, changing their clothes or may need to be consoled using touch. There may also be moments where staff are required to apply first aid. In these circumstances, our staff will be wearing masks and will be following consistent hand washing/sanitizing protocols between each interaction.

COVID-19 Exposure Response

If we have a confirmed positive test of someone who has been at preschool in the last seven days, Ithaca Forest Preschool will follow our Communicative Disease Plan per the Center for Disease control with the following plan:

  1. Communicate immediately with Tompkins County Health Department, parents and members of our staff
  2. Discourage staff, participants and their families from gathering or socializing anywhere.
  3. Maintain confidentiality of the participant or staff member who tested positive as required by the  Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
  4. Clean and disinfect all areas that could have been exposed to COVID-19.
  5. Prepare for guidance from Health Department which could entail:
  • Preschool closure for 24-48 hours. This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to determine the COVID-19 situation impacting camp.
  • Quarantine of all children from the positive person’s cohort for at least 14 days
  • Preschool closure for 14 days
  • Preschool closure for a longer timeframe

Questions or Concerns?

We encourage you to reach out to us with your questions or concerns. We are doing our best to stay up to speed with new information as quickly as possible and will do our best to keep families up to date if changes occur.

Office Location:
Cornell Cooperative Extension, 615 Willow Ave., Ithaca, NY 14850
607-272-2292 | email Us

Preschool Location: 
4-H Acres, 418 Lower Creek Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850


Ithaca Forest Preschool is a program of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County and is run by Primitive Pursuits, a 4-H Program.