Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information
Health & Safety at Hilltop
- Below are examples of some of the practices and routines we are employing to support health and safety. Please note: these practices are in addition to our regular health and safety practices, and are being updated regularly, according guidance from county and state agencies.
- All families and faculty are asked to follow the King County physical and social distancing guidelines
- Any child attending Hilltop for the COVID Response Session must not join any other group settings concurrently, to limit exposure.
- All wash hands upon arrival, and throughout the day. Hand sanitizer is available when children are outside.
- Children’s temperature is taken at home before arriving, and reported at sign-in, along with a verbal health screening with each family. Additional health and temperature checks happen as needed, if a child is exhibiting any symptoms. Faculty temperatures are checked upon arrival, and as needed.
- Enclosed cubbies outside of each classroom are used to store children’s shoes and coats. Cubbies in the classroom are spaced apart, and used to store children’s lunch, water bottle, and napping materials.
- Limited/curated classroom materials are available to ensure proper and regular sanitation each day.
- Limited adults are allowed in each classroom to create as much consistency as possible, and to reduce risk of additional exposure.
- No cross classroom visiting or sharing of materials is allowed at this time. Full size dividers have been installed in previously shared bathrooms.
- The playground is separated by a 6 foot barrier to be used by two groups at a time. We have a rotating outdoor schedule to support distancing between classrooms.
- All educators, and children ages 5 and above, wear masks while they are indoors, and outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Morning and afternoon snacks are provided in prepackaged, individual servings, or served by educators onto individual plates for each child. No food is offered “family style” or shared between children.
- Door handles, light switches, and other frequently touched surfaces are sanitized each day.
- Covid-specific protocols and plans are updated regularly, according to guidance from Seattle King County Public Health and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families.
King County Public Health: Coronavirus Disease 2019
WA State Department of Health: Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheets
WA State Department of Health: Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19
CDC: How to Protect Yourself
WHO: Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19)
Hilltop Family Resources:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Policy (Hilltop)
Guidelines for gatherings of children and youth while schools are closed
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus (Child Mind Institute)
Viruses Don’t Discriminate (King County)
Coronavirus and Stigma (King County)
Find more activity ideas on our At-Home Activities and Resources page
UPDATES FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Friday, April 10, 2020
I hope you’re staying mentally and physically active and fit during this challenging time. I’m reaching out to update you on one of our plans regarding the month of April (more info about May and beyond will be communicated later this month).
As you know, we are currently open for emergency care for our families who are essential workers. We are currently serving 7 kiddos from 8 to 5pm, Monday to Friday, with a rotation of 10 educators/admin on site providing support. And as you can deduce, this leaves us well under our ratio.
Part of our call as childcare workers, as leaders in the community, and as part of our mission and values at Hilltop, we believe in giving back to the community and providing exceptional experiences even in time of a crisis. Thus, we, in partnership with the educators, admin, the board, and with the City of Seattle, have decided to open up our center in order to serve essential workers in the community who are in dire need of childcare. As part of that decision, we will be welcoming up to 17 additional kids in our center to maintain a child-adult ratio of 1:4 in toddlers and 1:8 in preschool / school age classrooms.
While we understand that many of us might have various thoughts on our decision to stay open to begin with, let alone serve additional families, all in which we have heard, slept on, and factored in heavily on our decision, we believe that we are making the best decision in a time of crisis. We believe we are contributing to the greater good by caring for children of essential workers.
If you are considered an essential worker according to Governor Inslee’s proclamation and have not secured a spot at Hilltop for our limited childcare for the duration of the month of April, please reach out to us at our new email address designed specifically for COVID-19 care at email@example.com. We will be monitoring this email closely over the upcoming days and week.
I know many of you have questions about what happens after the end of April. We are currently waiting board approval for a plan that is set to commence on May 4th. We thank you for your patience as we navigate new information each and every day. Please stay tuned.
Lastly, we thank everybody who has paid April tuition online or via check. This has allowed us to stay open, to keep everyone employed, and most importantly, allows us to have a Hilltop to come back to after COVID-19. If you have not paid tuition for the month of April, please do so at your earliest convenience. If you know of anyone who would like to donate to Hilltop, visit us at www.hilltopcc.com or click here.
We can’t thank you enough for your thoughts, your support, your love. We appreciate each and every single one of you and the contributions you have made to Hilltop, to our community, to our family.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
LIMITED EMERGENCY REOPENING ON APRIL 6, 2020
Dear Hilltop community,
Taking into consideration all the recommended safety protocols, as well as the actions of Seattle Public Schools, we wanted to give an organizational update. As an essential service in the effort to combat COVID-19, Hilltop Children’s Center will reopen on April 6, 2020 with LIMITED emergency care for our currently enrolled families due to licensing restrictions. Aligning with Gov. Jay Inslee’s Stay-at-Home directive, parents are encouraged to stay home with their children if they’re able. Initial childcare services are reserved for our frontline healthcare workers, first responders and other essential workers.
HILLTOP CHILDREN’S CENTER – LIMITED EMERGENCY REOPENING MONDAY, APRIL 6, 2020:
- Our hours of operation will be 8:00-5:00 daily, with a mid-day health check and shift change at 1:00 pm.
- Classroom faculty will work with families to determine the most convenient ways to promote learning with limited social interactions,
- Practice advanced daily screening/health monitoring upon entering the center
- Continual cleaning/sanitation of the facility
- Families who provide food for their children must do so in disposable containers. No lunch boxes, water bottles, silverware, etc.
- Children will not be permitted to bring any items from home, including toys, books, and backpacks
These are truly challenging and unknown times that we are all facing. As we navigate how Hilltop will continue to serve and impact, we encourage everyone to reflect and act in a way to that contributes positively to our WHOLE community. We have started an online-giving Response Campaign to allow our supporters to contribute to our sustainability moving forward.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
To our Hilltop Community and Supporters:
The rapid spread of COVID-19, or the coronavirus, has thrust all of us into uncharted territory. At Hilltop Children’s Center and Educator Institute, we have been closely monitoring how the situation has been unfolding in Seattle, across the United States, and throughout the world, and we are working rapidly to respond in the best way possible for our families and the broader community.
With this in mind, Hilltop Children’s Center and Educator Institute’s response to COVID-19 is to model and advocate for what public health experts call “social distancing.” We have opted to close our organization until at least March 27, 2020.
Faculty: Starting last week, Hilltop educators and staff began working from home, interacting remotely with children, families, and each other, and using best practices regarding social distancing if we absolutely must meet in person.
Institute: Hilltop has paused our in-person Educator Discussion Series and other scheduled Institute programming until further notice. Where possible, we will continue to interact with our Institute participants and partners using remote technology. We will provide periodic updates on the status of our upcoming Institute events as circumstances change.
We recognize that, now more than ever, Seattle/King County/Washington children and families—especially our most vulnerable ones—need our support. Our program staff are working actively from their homes to remain connected to our children and families each day, through e-mails, blogs, videos, and live chats. In this time of social distancing we are taking our core commitment to “Learning in Relationship” more seriously than ever.
- YouTube – Our educators are posting videos of themselves reading stories, playing music, and other interactive activities.
- Facebook – Our team is updating resources, videos, and blogs about ways to engage with children while at home.
- LinkedIn – Our leadership is advocating and engaging with Early Childhood, Higher Ed, and Public/Private School communities on the latest needs for the education industry surrounding COVID-19.
Advocacy: COVID-19 will especially impact vulnerable communities. Hilltop Children’s Center is prepared to advocate for just and equitable policies that will safeguard our community members who are already carrying more than their fair share of our State’s challenges. In the coming days we will compile and share a list of resources and advocate for policies and practices designed to address the needs of those of most impacted.
COVID-19 Education: We also want our community to understand this threat, protect themselves, and have access to evidence-based information. Below are resources we recommend reading and sharing:
- Flatten the Curve: Created by a public health expert, this website debunks common myths and illustrates the importance of taking action now.
- Guidance from the World Health Organization: On this website you can find information and guidance from WHO regarding the current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Please visit this page for daily updates
- Social Distancing as Social Justice: Document describing this challenge through a lens of social justice and equity.
Contact Us: If you have any questions or concerns about what we are doing at Hilltop, please reach out to our team:
- Darline Guerrero, Executive Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sarah Felstiner, Education Director: email@example.com
- Educator Institute – Mike Brown, Community Engagement Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Center/Programming – Erin Soper, Program Supervisor: email@example.com
- Employment – Nick Schmidt, HR Supervisor: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Enrollment – Hannah Blakeslee, Administrative Coordinator: email@example.com
This is a challenging time. In addition to the general threats to our health and financial security, COVID-19 is shining a light on how our social safety net and emergency preparedness are unfair, under-resourced, and leaving far too many people behind. Because of that, the pandemic represents an even greater crisis for individuals and families pushed to the margins of our communities. Hilltop is promoting social distancing because it is the first step in an equitable response.
Take care of yourself and keep an eye out for the well-being of your neighbors. Let’s all resist fear and make ourselves useful by relying on health and safety best practices and love for our community as our guides.
We will get through this together.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Hello Hilltop families,
I know the past few weeks have been stressful for many in our community because of the continued spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). We’ve now come to the point, with the guidance from the steps Seattle Public Schools is taking, recommendations from the mayor and the governor, that we must close our center starting Friday, March 13, 2020. We plan to remain closed until at least Friday, March 27, 2020.
Currently, we do not have any known confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our program. This closure is not to quarantine, but rather to align with the protocols our government and local agencies have put in place and/or recommended. We will continue to stay in tuned for more information for local and state health officials, which could further extend the timeline of closing our center. If you or a family member does contract a confirmed case of coronavirus, please contact me immediately at Darline.Guerrero@hilltopcc.org.