While most of her staff has been furloughed this summer, ASUM Director of Child Care Preschool, Vicki Olson, spent much of her time working on a plan to make sure university students and faculty have a place to take their young children while they are in the classroom.
“Child care in Missoula is really difficult, and I think it’s just really important we’re able to open our doors back up," Olson said.
As is the case in almost every facet of life, COVID-19 has forced ASUM to change the way they do things to ensure the safest environment possible for the infants, toddlers, and preschoolers enrolled in their facility.
“We’re requiring masks for all adults, and ages 5 years or older, we’ll be doing the temperature screenings, then we’ve been really ramping up our cleaning procedures as well, sanitizing, everything will be sanitized and cleaned every day,” Olson said.
They are also offering separate drop off locations for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers to help maintain social distancing.
The biggest change is the makeover Olson has made to the illness exclusion policy.
“I revamped our illness exclusion policy entirely, fevers, you know, we used to have 24 hours you had to be out, now it’s 48," Olson said. "We have a list of symptoms, if they have two or more, if they have a cough, sore throat, chills, different things like that, they do have to be out, and also be tested for COVID.”
Olson says they have managed to come up with this new plan, and still be able to retain the same number of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers they had before the pandemic hit, and adds that as long as the state remains in Phase II, those numbers will not change.
Olson says they are actively hiring new staff members, and anyone interested can contact the university for more information.