GILBERT, AZ — A Gilbert preschool is facing the pandemic head on after an infant cared for at the school recently tested positive for the coronavirus.
“COVID-19 is not one of those risks that you can just put up a wall and stop it,” said Brett Roubal, President of Little Sunshine Playhouse and Preschool.
On Monday, Parents received this letter from the company, explaining that an infant attending the school was recently diagnosed with the coronavirus. That letter can be seen at the bottom of this article.
“The child that tested positive was last at the school on Friday,” said Roubal.
Roubal says the infant was asymptomatic while at the school but over the weekend developed symptoms.
Roubal says the school had countless guidelines put in place to prevent this situation when the pandemic began including daily temperatures checks, masks for all employees, contact free drop off and smaller isolated classes.
Once they were informed of the positive test, they knew they had to act fast.
“We called the Maricopa County Health Department immediately and got our guidance there,” said Roubal.
Complicating the matter was the fact the infant had an older sibling attending the school as well. Out of an abundance of caution, both classrooms used by those children are now closed.
“We’ve closed those two rooms throughout the remainder of the week, we will of course closely monitor everybody in our building and the good news is nobody else in our building has experienced any symptoms,” said Roubal.
On Monday night the entire building went through a medical grade cleaning. The two children and their families are restricted from returning until cleared by a doctor.
Roubal says while this can be devastating to deal with and troubling for parents, the key to getting through, it starts with transparency.
Roubal, offering this advice for other businesses like his:
“Get your plan in place, get your policies and procedures in place because when something happens make sure to consult all the experts, and make sure to communicate, communicate, communicate,” said Roubal.
Here's the full letter sent to parents of children at the school:
Dear LSP Val Vista Families and Team Members:
As you know, early on we made the decision to keep our school open as a community service to provide care for essential workers. We want to participate in the communitywide solution to the COVID-19 pandemic; and be there for our families who continue to need our care. Even now, as communities like ours open up after the stay-at-home order expired, we knew that we had to be more vigilant than ever while still preparing for the possibility of an eventual confirmed case in our LSP community. This is why we are writing you today. We have been preparing our teams across the country not only to work to incorporate as many preventative measures as possible to limit exposure and spread, but also on how to respond if a positive case were ever to occur within our LSP population.
We just learned today that one previously asymptomatic student from our LSP Val Vista Family has tested positive for COVID-19. We are not aware of any community-spread within our program, and we have continued to follow our COVID policies diligently to reduce the risk of any spread occurring at our school should this exact situation arise. As per our pre-planned COVID-19 positive test “response plan” that we issued in our FAQ back in March, we have already contacted the Maricopa County Health Department for guidance in this situation.
While privacy laws prohibit us from disclosing the name of the person who tested positive, we are currently able to disclose that every person that has been inside our building has been asymptomatic and monitored by temperature checks twice daily. The last time this now known positive student was inside our school was last Friday, May 29, 2020, and because of our stable group policy, we can also report that this student was only in one infant room (Under the Sea). This student does, however, have a sibling in our preschool classroom (Where the Wild Things Are), who remains asymptomatic to date. Though the Maricopa County Health Department is not requiring any closure or limitation, out of an abundance of caution, we have made the independent decision, in the best interest of everyone at the school, to close those two classrooms for the remainder of the week, to reopen next Monday, June 8, 2020. We will refund tuition (credit) for these impacted families for the remainder of the week, and continue to pay our teachers during the temporary closure.
Tonight, we will conduct a professional, disinfecting deep-cleaning of our entire school. Given all of the measures we have been taking to reduce the risk of exposure and community spread within our school, the Health Department has confirmed that it is safe to continue operations and is not recommending that we take any further action. As such, we will continue to be open for all other classrooms. We will continue to keep in touch with the Maricopa County Health Department and with you, and if there is any further information that we can share, within the bounds of various privacy laws and restraints, we will do so. We will remain more committed than ever to do everything in our power to limit the risk as much as we possibly can.
Your trust and encouragement mean everything to us. We are one family and one community. Thank you to our dedicated and selfless team members in the schools and to all of those essential workers in our community fighting so hard to get us all past this virus. You are all heroes in the battle against COVID-19. WE ARE PROUD to be in this battle alongside you. We will keep you updated.