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Our Approach to COVID-19 Safety in In-Person Programs

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We follow a standard approach to safety that applies to all instances of in-person Tinkergarten. This approach has been informed by CDC recommendations within the CDC Guidance for Operating K-12 Schools and Guidance for Operating Early Care and Education/Child Care Programs—specifically those portions which pertain to outdoor activities.

We are thrilled to have successfully utilized this approach over two full seasons (Summer and Fall, 2021) of Tinkergarten, and we remain confident that, especially with these added precautions, the outdoors is the safest place to learn and come together—something we all need to do so badly.

Our approach to safety as it relates to the class experience will be updated regularly here, and communicated via weekly email and linked in every enrolled family's My Tinkergarten dashboard.

How It Works

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Before class, all participants use our Pre-Tinkergarten Health Checklist that includes a check for symptoms of COVID to self assess. 

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During class, guided by the Leader, all participants follow an In-Class Safety Checklist with 6 simple strategies that enable us to play safely together!

Our Full Approach 

Below are various components of our Tinkergarten approach explained by topic:

  • Setting
  • Vaccination
  • Pre-Class Health Screening
  • Masks
  • Physical Distancing & Cohorts
  • Hygiene
  • Physical Materials
  • Communication of Confirmed Cases

Setting

"Engage in outdoor activities whenever possible."—CDC

All Tinkergarten in-person programs take place in outdoor settings.

Vaccination

Tinkergarten strongly encourages vaccination (including booster shots) as recommended by the CDC for everyone who is eligible. 

Tinkergarten does not track or require vaccination from class participants or Leaders. 

Families have every right to ask whether or not Leaders are vaccinated. It is up to the Leader to disclose or not. 

Pre-Class Health Screening

Each week, Leaders and enrolled families are prompted by email to use Pre-Tinkergarten Health Checklist that includes a check for symptoms of COVID. See a copy of the Checklist here.

If anyone who is attending Tinkergarten answers “yes” to the questions on the Health Checklist, they must stay home. Families can use a pre-recorded lesson via My Tinkergarten dashboard that you can utilize in lieu of in-person instruction.

If someone develops symptoms or becomes sick during class they will be asked to separate from the group, directed to leave, and advised to seek appropriate medical care.

Masks

Tinkergarten recommends that everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask when they are within 6 feet of people outside of their family or pod as an additional measure to curb the spread of the virus. 

If the location in which Tinkergarten is being held requires that a mask be worn in that space, we will inform and expect that masks are worn according to that mask policy. If the location in which Tinkergarten is being held does not require that masks be worn in that space, Leaders may require the wearing of masks, at their discretion. Leaders can not adjust the mask requirement to be less restrictive than the local regulation.

If masks are required for a given class, specific mask requirement information will be automatically included in the weekly pre-class email message and in the My Tinkergarten dashboard.

Physical Distancing & Cohorting

Cohorts:

  • All children enrolled in the same Tinkergarten class are considered a cohort.
  • Adults who accompany child(ren) must be within the same household or pod as that child (e.g. either parent, nanny) as the child(ren).

Distance: 

  • We design our classroom spaces and activities so that participants avoid close contact with people outside of their family/pod. Our activities and spaces support children in maintaining 3 feet of distance or more.
  • We will structure activities and spaces so that adults, including the Leader, can maintain 6 feet of distance from people not in their household. 

Eating/Drinking:

  • No eating or drinking are a part of class.
  • Any eating or drinking must be done 10 feet from anyone outside their household or pod.

Hygiene

When the temperature is ~50 degrees or higher, Leaders will provide a soap + water mixture for participants to wash hands as they arrive. 

Leaders teach and reinforce safe cough and sneezing protocols.

Physical Materials

Many outdoor surfaces do not need cleaning, per the CDC.

Leaders will disseminate materials to each pod, and families will bring some materials as needed to in-person classes. Please refer to the Winter, 2022/Animal Superheroes season overview to see which materials, if any, are needed from families each week.

Communication of Confirmed Positive Cases

Exposure Before Class: If you or one of the people who join you in class test positive or are exposed to someone who is positive, follow the current CDC Guidelines for isolation or quarantine. While in isolation or quarantine, stay home from Tinkergarten and utilize the pre-recorded class content in your My Tinkergarten dashboard.

Testing Positive After Class: If you or someone in your household who attended your Tinkergarten class test positive for COVID-19 after participating in a session, report that to us using this Confirmed COVID-19 Case Report Form (link coming 1/5/22). Or, reach out to us at support@tinkergarten.com.

  • If a CONFIRMED positive case of COVID among those who participated in the class is reported to us, we will alert all enrolled families in the class by email that a case has been reported.

This page and all pages related to our approach will be updated as guidance evolves. This page was last updated on January 3, 2022.

If you have any questions about our approach to in-person classes, please let us know at support@tinkergarten.com.

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