Letter From Near the Front Lines: Steps we have taken to protect staff, families and our business

Allan MorrisonUncategorized

ScuttleBugs, as a childcare provider, is considered an essential service during these COVID-19 lockdown times. We, and more importantly our incredible staff, treat this as our duty and are privileged to provide the best service we can. A skeleton staff of our teachers come in every day to provide ongoing services to the children of those amazing parents who actually are on the front lines. Additionally, Ms. Nichole, who also attends each day, has developed an array of teaching tools and resources for parents and children who are Sheltering in Place (SIP). These tools and resources include digital means such as Zoom sessions and multiple packets of physical materials to keep those kids engaged and moving forward.

There are no rules and we and our parents are making it up as we go along.

Communication with parents and staff

Before the lockdown started we had to assess the situation and make some decisions. Our first decision was to stay open as long as possible because many of our parents are in the medical or other emergency services fields and we assessed, based on the potential steps we had seen in other countries such as Italy, that staying open would be invaluable support for those parents. Thereafter came the SIP announcement and we again decided to stay open if possible – which happily it was.
As many parents would not be able to attend we had to quickly work with our staff and set our strategy for the SIP period and, the period after SIP when we may find ourselves in a different world to the one we left when the lockdown started.

Our guiding principles were:
1. Stay open
2. Keep our staff – attending or not
3. Keep our parents – attending or not
4. Accept we would have far less revenue but balance the needs of our staff and parents, get whatever government assistance we can and fight to keep everything together ready for…
5. …the moment SIP is over so we are ready to play our part in getting Santa Clara and San Jose back on track.


These principles and the details of our actions were explained carefully to our staff and all parents and we will continue to communicate fully and transparently.

Center cleanliness: additional measures during the lockdown

We are determined to have ScuttleBugs as a safe place. We instituted a number of tactics including an airlock (nobody past the lobby except staff and kids), social distancing rules in the lobby, ramped up daily cleaning and disinfecting routines inside and outside in the playground both with the cleaning crew and multiple times throughout the day. Children and staff are required to arrive in freshly laundered clothes each day. We have multiple sterilizers anyway but have even more now. Our air purifier with micro filters is on 24/7. Cots are disinfected daily as is linen and more.

Of particular note, we installed a fogger that we deploy in each room at the weekends and late nights. (See video above.) The active ingredients in the fogger are used in Clorox (Benzalkonium Chloride BAC) and are effective against bacteria and viruses including COVID-19. The fog quickly fills the room and, microscopically thinly, covers everything: all nooks and crannies, cupboards, toys, tables, seats, floor. It is far more effective than trying to protect everything manually (although we do that too). The fogger stays on for 1-2 minutes depending on the room size. After a few more minutes the moisture has evaporated. Bacteria and viruses are killed on contact during the fogging and surfaces remain protected for days afterwards. BAC is the active ingredient in surgical disinfection, and what is used on hospital floors and hard surfaces as a disinfectant and is also used as an antimicrobial and preservative in products such as eye, ear and nasal drops or sprays, hand sanitizers, wet wipes, shampoos, soaps, deodorants, cosmetics and even throat lozenges and mouthwashes.

We want our parents and staff to be confident we are doing everything we can to maintain a clean environment.

Parent support

From a standing start we now have classes by Zoom, our Facebook group information exchange, packages with equipment and materials for at home use and study. All of these continue to be developed. Obviously they’re not the same as classes in the center but they do encourage continuity of contact between teachers and kids and are also a welcome support for parents as their kids can engage with their teachers and see their friends.
zoom circle time

We recognize that families face their own hardships and some have been forced to leave us. For families who remain enrolled, even though their kids are unable to attend, we have reduced fees by 50%. We are operating at a loss but we and our ScuttleBugs families are a community and we greatly appreciate our families continuing to support us even though they cannot physically attend. We all want to resume normal service as soon as possible once the lockdown is over. Torrents of emails and texts from parents with their comments and support is truly humbling and gives us such strength to get us all to the other side of this crisis.

ScuttleBugs Friday

Staff support

We made commitments to our staff at the start, whether working or not, to protect all their salaries and benefits. We can’t wait to see all our wonderful staff back at work as soon as possible doing what they do so well and seeing their colleagues and kids. The staff who are working are marvels: their courage and commitment to ScuttleBugs and our families is also humbling. It seems we now even have a ScuttleBugs “tradition” as Fridays are now days where foods appear as if by magic are exchanged with love between staff and owners. It is a beautiful thing.

Anyway the point of this is just to say we are working hard and hopefully productively with and for all our staff and parents and their kids and whenever it may be, we hope to be ready to spring back into full action immediately. Thank you all families. Thank you all staff.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.