Daycare Business Plan Template
Business Plan Outline
- Daycare Business Plan Home
- 1. Executive Summary
- 2. Company Overview
- 3. Industry Analysis
- 4. Customer Analysis
- 5. Competitive Analysis
- 6. Marketing Plan
- 7. Operations Plan
- 8. Management Team
- 9. Financial Plan
The following will be the operations plan of Red Balloon Daycare.
- Susan Smith will be the Owner and Director of the facility. She will develop all curriculums for each class, hire and schedule all teachers, and be the person communicating with all families. She will also lead all marketing efforts when visiting elementary schools and businesses.
- 8 – 10 fully licensed and certified Early Education teachers. There will be two teachers allotted per classroom and two floating teachers to assist with early care, after care, lunchtime, playground time, and bathroom breaks.
- Jim and Susan Smith will hire a third party accounting firm to handle all payroll, bookkeeping, tax payments, and permitting on behalf of the business.
- Jim Smith will handle all technological issues with the live streaming and secure-access to the facility. He will be on call and on-site as needed.
Red Balloon Daycare will have the following milestones complete in the next six months.
4/1/202X – Finalize lease agreement for daycare facility
4/15/202X – Begin build out of classrooms, playground, etc.
5/1/202X – Begin visiting nearby elementary schools to advertise upcoming summer camp
5/12/202X – Begin recruitment and hiring of teacher staff
5/15/202X – Final walk-thru of daycare facility
6/1/202X – Grand Opening of Red Balloon Daycare
Disclaimer: This translation was last updated on August 2, 2022. For up-to-date content, please visit the English version of this page.
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Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning
Summary of recent changes.
- Updated COVID-19 testing language in coordination with updates to COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know
- MMWR: COVID-19 Surveillance After Expiration of the Public Health Emergency Declaration ― United States, May 11, 2023
- MMWR: Correlations and Timeliness of COVID-19 Surveillance Data Sources and Indicators ― United States, October 1, 2020–March 22, 2023
View Previous Updates
Strategies for everyday operations, covid-19 hospital admission levels and associated prevention strategies, considerations for prioritizing strategies.
Schools and early care and education (ECE) programs are an important part of the infrastructure of communities as they provide safe, supportive learning environments for students and children and enable parents and caregivers to be at work. Schools and ECE programs like Head Start also provide critical services that help to mitigate health disparities, such as school lunch programs, and social, physical, behavioral, and mental health services. This guidance can help K-12 schools and ECE programs remain open and help their administrators support safe, in-person learning while reducing the spread of COVID-19. Based on COVID-19 hospital admission levels , this guidance provides flexibility so schools and ECE programs can adapt to changing local situations, including periods of increased community health impacts from COVID-19.
K-12 schools and ECE programs (e.g., center-based child care, family child care, Head Start, or other early learning, early intervention and preschool/pre-kindergarten programs delivered in schools, homes, or other settings) should put in place a core set of infectious disease prevention strategies as part of their normal operations. The addition and layering of COVID-19-specific prevention strategies should be tied to the COVID-19 hospital admission levels and community or setting-specific context, such as availability of resources, health status of students, and age of population served. Enhanced prevention strategies also may be necessary in response to an outbreak in the K-12 or ECE setting. This CDC guidance is meant to supplement—not replace—any federal, state, tribal, local, or territorial health and safety laws, rules, and regulations with which schools and ECE programs must comply.
Schools and ECE programs play critical roles in promoting equity in learning and health, particularly for groups disproportionately affected by COVID-19. People living in rural areas, people with disabilities , immigrants, and people who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native, Black or African American, and Hispanic or Latino have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. These disparities have also emerged among children. School and ECE administrators and public health officials can promote equity in learning and health by demonstrating to families, teachers, and staff that comprehensive prevention strategies are in place to keep students, staff, families, and school communities safe and provide supportive environments for in-person learning. Reasonable modifications or accommodations, when necessary, must be provided to ensure equal access to in-person learning for students with disabilities .
Though this guidance is written for COVID-19 prevention, many of the layered prevention strategies described in this guidance can help prevent the spread of other infectious diseases, such as influenza (flu), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and norovirus, and support healthy learning environments for all. The next section describes everyday preventive actions that schools and ECE programs can take.
For more information on how to protect yourself and others and the CDC COVID-19 hospital admission levels, visit:
- COVID-19 by County
- How to Protect Yourself & Others
- Correlations and Timeliness of COVID-19 Surveillance Data Sources and Indicators ― United States, October 1, 2020–March 22, 2023 | MMWR (cdc.gov)
- Indicators for Monitoring COVID-19 Community Levels and Implementing Prevention Strategies: Overview and Rationale
- Summary of Guidance for Minimizing the Impact of COVID-19 on Individual Persons, Communities, and Health Care Systems — United States, August 2022
Schools and ECE programs should take a variety of actions every day to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including the virus that causes COVID-19. The following set of strategies for everyday operations should be in place at all COVID-19 hospital admission levels, including low levels.
Staying Up to Date on Vaccinations
Schools, ECE programs, and health departments should promote equitable access to vaccination. Staying up to date on routine vaccinations is essential to prevent illness from many different infections. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect eligible people from getting severely ill with COVID-19. For COVID-19, staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is the leading public health strategy to prevent severe disease. Not only does it provide individual-level protection, but high vaccination coverage reduces the burden of COVID-19 on people, schools, healthcare systems, and communities. Schools, ECE programs, and health departments can promote vaccination in many ways:
- Provide information about COVID-19 vaccines and other recommended vaccines . Ensure communication meets the needs of people with limited English proficiency who require language services and individuals with disabilities who require accessible formats.
- Encourage trust and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.
- Establish supportive policies and practices that make getting vaccinated easy and convenient, for example a workplace vaccination program or providing paid time off for individuals to get vaccinated or assist family members receiving vaccinations.
- Make vaccinations available on-site by hosting school-located vaccination clinics, or connect eligible children, students, teachers, staff, and families to off-site vaccination locations.
Staying Home When Sick
People who have symptoms of respiratory or gastrointestinal infections, such as cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea, should stay home. Testing is recommended for people with symptoms of COVID-19 as soon as possible after symptoms begin. If a person with COVID-19 symptoms tests negative for COVID-19, they should consider getting tested for other respiratory illnesses that could be spread to others, such as flu. If tested using an antigen test, negative tests should be repeated following FDA recommendations . People who are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 who test positive should consult with a healthcare provider right away for possible treatment , even if their symptoms are mild. Staying home when sick can lower the risk of spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19, to other people. For more information on staying home when sick with COVID-19, including recommendations for isolation and mask use for people who test positive or who are experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, see Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19 .
In accordance with applicable laws and regulations, schools and ECE programs should allow flexible, non-punitive, and supportive paid sick leave policies and practices. These policies should support workers caring for a sick family member and encourage sick workers to stay home without fear of retaliation, loss of pay, loss of employment, or other negative impacts. Schools should also provide excused absences for students who are sick, avoid policies that incentivize coming to school while sick, and support children who are learning at home if they are sick. Schools and ECE programs should ensure that employees and families are aware of and understand these policies and avoid language that penalizes or stigmatizes staying home when sick.
ECE Programs: Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases
Schools and ECE programs can optimize ventilation and maintain improvements to indoor air quality to reduce the risk of germs and contaminants spreading through the air. Funds provided through the U.S. Department of Education’s Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Programs and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Programs and the Department of Health and Humans Services’ Head Start and Child Care American Rescue Plan can support improvements to ventilation ; repairs, upgrades, and replacements in Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems; purchase of MERV-13 air filters, portable air cleaners, and upper-room germicidal ultraviolet irradiation systems ; as well as implementation of other public health protocols and CDC guidance. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air in Buildings Challenge [107 KB, 3 pages] provides specific steps schools and other buildings can take to improve indoor air quality and reduce the risk of airborne spread of viruses and other contaminants. Ventilation recommendations for different types of buildings can be found in the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) schools and universities guidance [1.9 MB, 41 pages] . CDC does not provide recommendations for, or against, any manufacturer or product.
When COVID-19 hospital admission levels increase or in response to an outbreak, schools and ECE programs can take additional steps to increase outdoor air intake and improve air filtration. For example, safely opening windows and doors, including on school buses and ECE transportation vehicles, and using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters, are strategies to improve ventilation. Schools and ECE programs may also consider holding some activities outside if feasible when the COVID-19 hospital admission level is high.
Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
Washing hands can prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Schools and ECE programs should teach and reinforce proper handwashing to lower the risk of spreading viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Schools and ECE programs should monitor and reinforce these behaviors, especially during key times in the day (for example, before and after eating, after using the restroom, and after recess) and should also provide adequate handwashing supplies, including soap and water. If washing hands is not possible, schools and ECE programs should provide hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers should be stored up, away, and out of sight of younger children and should be used only with adult supervision for children ages 5 years and younger.
Schools and ECE programs should teach and reinforce covering coughs and sneezes to help keep individuals from getting and spreading infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
Schools and ECE programs should clean surfaces at least once a day to reduce the risk of germs spreading by touching surfaces. For more information, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility . Additionally, ECE programs should follow recommended procedures for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfection in their setting such as after diapering, feeding, and exposure to bodily fluids. See Caring for Our Children .
CDC’s COVID-19 hospital admission levels help communities and individuals make decisions about what COVID-19 prevention strategies to use based on whether their community is classified as low, medium, or high. These levels take into account COVID-19 hospitalization admission rates. Recommendations outlined for the COVID-19 hospital admission levels are the same for schools and ECE programs as those for the community. Schools and ECE programs that serve students from multiple communities should follow prevention recommendations based on the COVID-19 hospital admission level of the community in which the school or ECE program is located.
School and ECE program administrators should work with local health officials to consider other local conditions and factors when deciding to implement prevention strategies. School and ECE-specific indicators—such as rates of absenteeism among students and staff or presence of students or staff who are at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19—can help with decision-making. Additional community-level indicators that might be considered for use in decision-making about COVID-19 prevention are pediatric hospitalizations, results from wastewater surveillance , or other local information.
When the COVID-19 hospital admission level indicates an increase, particularly if the level is high or the school or ECE program is experiencing an outbreak, schools or ECE programs should consider adding layered prevention strategies, described below, to maintain safe, in-person learning and keep ECE programs safely open. Although most strategies are recommended to be added or increased at a high COVID-19 hospital admission level, schools might want to consider adding layers when at medium, such as those in the Considerations for Prioritizing Strategies section below, based on school and community characteristics.
When the COVID-19 hospital admission level moves to a lower category or after resolution of an outbreak, schools and ECE programs can consider removing prevention strategies one at a time, followed by close monitoring of COVID-19 transmission within the school or ECE and the COVID-19 hospital admission level of their community in the weeks that follow.
Wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator consistently and correctly reduces the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. At a high COVID-19 hospital admission level, universal indoor masking in schools and ECE programs is recommended, as it is in the community at-large. Policies for use of masks in school nurse offices should follow recommendations outlined in the Infection Control: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) guidance. Recommendations for masking in nurses’ offices may depend on factors such as COVID-19 hospital admission level, outbreak status, and patient access. People who have known or suspected exposure to COVID-19 should also wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others for 10 days from their last exposure, regardless of vaccination status or history of prior infection.
Anyone who chooses to wear a mask or respirator should be supported in their decision to do so at any COVID-19 hospital admission level, including low. At a medium and high COVID-19 hospital admission level, people who are immunocompromised or at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protection. Since wearing masks or respirators can prevent spread of COVID-19, people who have a household or social contact with someone at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 (for example, a student with a sibling who is at risk) may also choose to wear a mask at any COVID-19 hospital admission level. Schools and ECE programs should consider flexible, non-punitive policies and practices to support individuals who choose to wear masks regardless of the COVID-19 hospital admission level.
Schools with students at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 must make reasonable modifications or accommodations when necessary to ensure that all students, including those with disabilities , are able to access in-person learning. Schools might need to require masking in settings such as classrooms or during activities to protect students with immunocompromising conditions or other conditions that increase their risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 in accordance with applicable federal, state, or local laws and policies. For more information and support, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Disability Rights webpage. Students with immunocompromising conditions or other conditions or disabilities that increase risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should not be placed into separate classrooms or otherwise segregated from other students.
Because mask use is not recommended for children ages younger than 2 years and may be difficult for very young children or for some children with disabilities who cannot safely wear a mask , ECE programs and K-12 schools may need to consider other prevention strategies—such as improving ventilation and avoiding crowding—when the COVID-19 hospital admission level is medium or high or in response to an outbreak. K-12 schools or ECE programs may choose to implement universal indoor mask use to meet the needs of the families they serve, which could include people at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19.
For more information about masks please visit Types of Masks and Respirators .
Schools and ECE programs can offer diagnostic testing for students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 or who were exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the K-12 or ECE setting, or refer them to a community testing site, healthcare provider, or to use an at-home test. Each COVID-19 test with an emergency use authorization (EUA) has a minimum age requirement. Schools and ECE programs should only use tests that are appropriate for the person being tested. For more information on when someone should test, where to get tests, and what results mean, please visit COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know.
Screening testing identifies people with COVID-19 who do not have symptoms or known or suspected exposures, so that steps can be taken to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
CDC no longer recommends routine screening testing in K-12 schools. However, at a high COVID-19 hospital admission level, K-12 schools and ECE programs can consider implementing screening testing for students and staff for high-risk activities (for example, close contact sports, band, choir, theater); at key times in the year, for example before/after large events (such as prom, tournaments, group travel); and when returning from breaks (such as holidays, spring break, at the beginning of the school year). In any screening testing program, testing should include both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Schools serving students who are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19, such as those with moderate or severe immunocompromise or complex medical conditions, can consider implementing screening testing at a medium or high COVID-19 hospital admission level. Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests can be used for screening purposes; however, the school should consider the characteristics of different test types (including accessibility, accuracy and practicality) to determine which best suits their particular need. Schools and ECE programs that choose to rely on at-home antigen test kits for screening testing should ensure equal access and availability to the tests; establish accessible systems that are in place for ensuring timely reporting of positive results to the school or ECE program; and communicate with families the importance of following isolation guidance for anyone who tests positive. Communication strategies should take into account the needs of people with limited English proficiency who require language services, and individuals with disabilities who require accessible formats.
Screening testing should be done in a way that ensures the ability to maintain confidentiality of results and protect privacy. Consistent with state legal requirements and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) , K-12 schools and ECE programs should obtain parental consent for minor students and assent/consent from students themselves, when applicable.
Management of Cases and Exposures
Students or staff who come to school or an ECE program with symptoms or develop symptoms while at school or an ECE program should be asked to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator while in the building and be sent home and encouraged to get tested if testing is unavailable at school. Symptomatic people who cannot wear a mask should be separated from others as much as possible; children should be supervised by a designated caregiver who is wearing a well-fitting mask or respirator until they leave school grounds.
Schools and ECEs should develop mechanisms to ensure that people with COVID-19 isolate away from others and do not attend school until they have completed isolation. Once isolation has ended, people should wear a well-fitting mask or respirator around others through day 10. Testing is not required to determine the end of isolation or mask use after having COVID-19; however people can use the test-based strategy outlined in the isolation guidance to potentially shorten the duration of post-isolation mask use. If using the test-based strategy, people should continue to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator in the school or ECE setting until testing criteria have been met. People who are not able to wear a well-fitting mask or respirator should either isolate for 10 full days or follow the test-based strategy to determine when they can safely return to the school or ECE setting without a mask, while continuing to isolate until testing criteria have been met. If a person with COVID-19 has been inside a school or ECE facility within the last 24 hours, the space should be cleaned and disinfected. For more information, see Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility .
Quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. In schools and ECE settings, which are generally not considered high-risk congregate settings, people who were exposed to COVID-19 should follow recommendations to wear a well-fitting mask and get tested. K-12 school and ECE administrators can decide how to manage exposures based on the local context and benefits of preserving access to in-person learning. Accommodations may be necessary for exposed people who cannot wear a mask or have difficulty wearing a well-fitting mask. Schools and ECE programs can also consider recommending masking and/or testing for a classroom in which a student was recently exposed who is unable to consistently and correctly wear a mask.
Quarantine is a key component to Test to Stay programs. Since quarantine is no longer recommended for people who are exposed to COVID-19 except in certain high-risk congregate settings, Test to Stay (TTS) is no longer needed. If any school or ECE program chooses to continue requiring quarantine, they may also choose to continue TTS.
Responding to Outbreaks
If a school or ECE program is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak they should consider adding prevention strategies regardless of the COVID-19 hospital admission level. Strategies that can help reduce transmission during an outbreak include wearing well-fitting masks or respirators, improving ventilation (for example moving school activities outdoors, opening windows and doors, using air filters), screening testing, and case investigation and contact tracing. Early identification of cases to ensure that they stay home and isolate is a critical component of outbreak response. Schools and ECE programs may also consider suspending high-risk activities to control a school- or program-associated outbreak. Schools and ECE programs that are experiencing outbreaks should work with their state or local health department in accordance with state and local regulations. Health departments should provide timely outbreak response support to K-12 schools and ECEs.
Considerations for High-Risk Activities
Due to increased and forceful exhalation that occurs during physical activity, some sports can put players, coaches, trainers, and others at increased risk for getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Close contact sports and indoor sports are particularly risky for participants and spectators, especially in crowded, indoor venues. Similar risks may exist for other extracurricular activities, such as band, choir, theater, and other school clubs that meet indoors and entail increased exhalation. At a high COVID-19 hospital admission level, schools and ECE programs can consider implementing screening testing for high-risk activities such as indoor sports and extracurricular activities. Schools and ECE programs may consider temporarily stopping these activities to control a school- or program-associated outbreak, or during periods of high COVD-19 hospital admission levels. ECE programs may also consider layering prevention strategies, such as masking, when close contact occurs, such as during feeding and diapering young children and infants.
Considerations for K-12 Residential Dorms and Overnight Child Care
While shared housing, such as K-12 residential dorms, camps, or overnight child care, is considered a congregate setting, it is considered a low-risk congregate setting due to the lower risk of severe health outcomes (such as hospitalizations and death ) for children and young adults. Therefore, CDC recommends shared housing facilities follow the general population guidance for isolation , management of exposures , and recommendations under COVID-19 hospital admission levels .
In specific circumstances where the student population may be at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19, schools may opt to follow isolation and quarantine guidance for high-risk congregate settings, which includes recommendations of a 10-day period for isolation. Schools and ECE programs should balance the potential benefits of following that guidance with the impact these actions would have on student well-being, such as the ability to participate in in-person instruction, food service access, and social interactions. Screening testing at all COVID-19 hospital admission levels can also be appropriate in these settings to reduce transmission and improve health outcomes for people who are at risk of getting very sick with COVID-19.
Schools and ECE programs, with help from local health departments, should consider local context when selecting strategies to prioritize for implementation. Schools and ECE programs should balance the risk of COVID-19 with educational, social, and mental health outcomes when deciding which prevention strategies to put in place. Additional factors to consider include:
- Age of population served: Layered prevention strategies that are most suitable for young children should be given special consideration. Young children may have difficulty wearing a well-fitting mask consistently and correctly, and children ages under 2 years should not wear masks. For these reasons, layering additional prevention strategies—such as encouraging vaccination among staff and others around unvaccinated children, improved ventilation, and avoiding crowded spaces—should be used.
- Students with disabilities: Federal and state disability laws require an individualized approach for working with children and youth with disabilities consistent with the child’s individual educational plan (IEP), Section 504 plan, or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Reasonable modifications or accommodations, when necessary, must be provided to ensure equal access to in-person learning for students with disabilities. Administrators should consider additional prevention strategies to accommodate the health and safety of students with disabilities and protect their civil rights and equal access to safe in-person learning. The U.S. Department of Education provides guidance and resources for schools and ECE programs to ensure students with disabilities continue to receive the services and supports they are entitled to so that they have successful in-person educational experiences.
- People at risk of getting very sick: Schools and ECE programs should also consider the needs of people who are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 or who have family members at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19. Some students and staff may need additional protections to ensure they can remain safely in the classroom. In addition, people who spend time indoors with individuals at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 should consider taking extra precautions (for example, wearing a mask) even when the COVID-19 hospital admission level is not high. School districts, schools, ECE programs, and classrooms may choose to implement masking requirements at any COVID-19 hospital admission level depending on their community’s needs – and especially keeping in mind those for whom these prevention strategies provide critical protection for in-person learning.
- Equity: Equity at both the individual and school levels should be considered in all decision-making. Care should be taken so that decisions related to layered prevention strategies and learning options do not disproportionately affect any group of people. For instance, at the health department and school or ECE level, decisions to put in place strategies such as screening testing and contact tracing should be made in a way as to ensure that the same resources are provided to all within the district and community.
- Availability of resources : Availability of resources, such as funding, personnel, or testing materials, vary by community. Schools or ECE programs may consider prioritizing strategies for responding to an outbreak, or ramp strategies up as necessary. Alternatively, they may choose to focus resources on select, at-risk sites within the school or ECE program (such as recommending masking and testing for a classroom in which a student was recently diagnosed with COVID-19). Schools and ECE programs should work with local, state, and federal agencies to identify additional resources [172 KB, 2 pages] to implement strategies, including those provided to schools and ECE programs through the American Rescue Plan.
- Communities served: The feasibility and acceptability of certain prevention strategies may vary within the community. Schools and ECE programs should consider community context and acceptability when choosing prevention strategies.
- Pediatric-specific considerations: Schools and ECE programs should work closely with local health departments to stay updated on the latest science about COVID-19, its impact on the local healthcare and hospital system, and any changes to recommended prevention strategies. While children are at lower risk for getting very sick with COVID-19, some children may still be hospitalized as a result of the infection. When schools and ECE programs are considering increasing the use and number of prevention strategies when the COVID-19 hospital admission level is high, schools and ECE programs should take into account the extent to which students are at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19 or have family members at risk for getting very sick with COVID-19.
As of October 5, 2022
- Updated recommendations for use of masks in school nurse offices to follow those outlined in the Infection Control: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) guidance.
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Child Care Emergency Preparedness
Emergency preparedness for child care programs is important because there is a good chance an emergency will happen at some point. In an emergency, child care providers are on the front lines to keep children and staff safe.
Emergency plans are an important tool in knowing what to do in the event that an emergency happens while children are in your care. Creating an emergency plan gives child care providers an opportunity to think of how to respond to various scenarios before they happen.
This is an emergency scene including both a fire engine and an ambulance.
Emergency plans are required by some entities, such as:
- State licensing
- Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)
- Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)
- Head Start Performance Standards
- Accreditation Standards
Caring for Our Children National Health and Safety Performance Standards Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs (4th edition)suggests that facilities should develop and implement a written plan that describes the practices and procedures they use to prepare for and respond to emergency or disaster situations. Their suggested emergency plan components include:
- Information on disasters likely to occur in or near the facility, county, state, or region that require advance preparation and/or contingency planning
- Plans (and a schedule) to conduct regularly scheduled practice drills
- Mechanisms for notifying and communicating with parents/guardians in various situations
- Mechanisms for notifying and communicating with emergency management public officials
- Information on crisis management
- Identification of primary and secondary meeting places and plans for the reunification of parents/guardians with their children
- Details on collaborative planning with other groups and representatives
- Continuity of operations planning
- Contingency plans for various situations
There are many emergency plan templates available to use as a reference. Make sure you are using your state’s required plan template if one is available.
Emergency Plan Templates
- Involving Children in Emergency Prep – Child Care Aware® of America
- Creating a Written Emergency Plan Video Series – Child Care Aware® of America
- Emergency Preparedness Manual for Early Childhood Programs – National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness
- The California Child Care Disaster Plan – University of California San Francisco
- Multihazard Planning for Child Care online course – FEMA
Webinar: Let’s Get Ready – Planning Together for Emergencies
The type of emergency determines how you should react.
You will need to evacuate when conditions are safer outside the building than inside the building. Sometimes after an evacuation, you are unable to return to your site and must relocate. It is important to have an initial relocation site in addition to back-up relocation sites; one within walking distance and another outside of the area.
In certain emergencies, it is best to make sure everyone is safe inside and to isolate children and staff from the outside environment. The need to shelter-in-place should be based on notifications from local emergency officials or weather forecasts.
It is important to practice evacuation and shelter-in-place drills on a regular basis.
- Follow state licensing and other applicable regulations for drill frequency and type
- Practice drills should be held regularly
- Involve all children who are present at the time of the practice drill in the drill
- Give children simple instructions and talk about what is happening
- Complete a drill log
The UCSF California Childcare Health Program has Sample Emergency Disaster Drills available to review.
Child Care Aware® of North Dakota has a Child Care Program Emergency Drill Log available.
Child Care Aware® of America is a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under the internal revenue code section 501(c)(3) and the organization’s Federal Identification Number (EIN) is 94-3060756.
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For media requests, please call 703-341-4161 or email [email protected]., business continuity planning for child care.
Business continuity, sometimes referred to as continuity of operations planning (COOP), involves being able to resume normal operations after a disruptive incident, such as an emergency or natural disaster.
A b usiness continuity plan helps answer questions like:
- Would your program survive if you had to close for one week due to an emergency ? What about one month or longer?
- Would parents be able to find care for that time while you were closed?
- How would you pay staff? Utilities? Rent or mortgage?
The Importance of Business Continuity in Child Care Programs
After an emergency, having safe child care available allows individuals and communities to recover faster. If child care providers plan in advanc e , before an emergency, they can reopen easier after damage or closure.
Business continuity planning should be included in a child care program’s comprehensive written all-hazards emergency plan .
Continuity of operations planning is a CCDF requirement for child care providers. Some state licensing entities require business continuity or COOP plans. It is also recommended in Caring f or Our Children .
Business Continuity Planning Topics
To prepare for child care program business continuity, the following topics should be considered :
- Protect paper records from water or fire damage
- Consider converting documents to electronic records and store them off-site or on a web-based server
- Find locations that may be possible places to operate if your child care site is damaged
- Consider another child care program that may be able to care for children if necessary
- Be sure to talk your state licensing to figure out what steps must be taken before operating at an alternate site
- Decide in advance if parents will have to pay during closures due to an emergency
- Include the policy in your contract with parents
- Decide in advance if employees will be paid during closures due to an emergency
- If you will be paying employees, figure out where those funds will come from
- Complete a thorough inventory of child care equipment, furnishings, and supplies, as well as administrative equipment at least once a year (including purchase price)
- Take pictures or video of the items
- Make sure your insurance coverage is adequate for your business
- How Insurance Protects You in an Emergency offers more guidance
- It is recommended that you have enough money to cover all insurance deductibles as well as basic living expenses for at least three months
Review Reducing the Financial Toll of Emergencies for more recommendations on many of these topics .
COVID-19 and Business Continuity
The COVID-19 pandemic serves as an example of the importance of planning ahead for business continuity. Many child care providers have been severely impacted by COVID-19 . Policies on parent and staff payments during closure o ften were not in place . Loss of income due to closing or reduced enrollment had a significant impact as well. While the challenges of the pandemic probably could not have been avoided , having a business continuity plan in place may have made it a little easier.
The pandemic also brings about other questions to consider when it comes to business continuity, including:
- Will your hours of operation need to change?
- How will you staff your program if employees must quarantine?
- How will you ensure you have adequate supplies (cleaning and paper products, for example)?
- Will you need to modify your child care space due to health or safety guidance ?
- Are you encouraging parents to think of back up child care options in the event you must close temporarily due to illness?
P reparing for Business Continuity
If you have a business continuity plan in place for your child care program, be sure to keep it updated. If you do not have a business continuity plan, consider the topics above to get started . It is never too late to start thinking about business continuity for your child care program.
Your local CCR&R can be a great resource to help you create or update a business continuity plan.
Child Care Aware ® of America Resources
- Business Continuity
- Emergency Child Care & Technical Assistance Center (ECCTAC)
Topics: Business Operations for CCR&Rs , Professional Development , Health & Safety , emergency preparedness
Written by Jillian Ritter
Jillian Ritter serves as a Data Analyst for Child Care Aware® of America and a member of its Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery team. Her professional service includes more than 20 years in the early childhood care and education field in a variety of roles. She has a Master’s Degree in Youth Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development.
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A Brief Guide to Plan Your Childcare Operations
A Brief Guide to Plan Your Childcare Operations starts with drawing up a business plan for your childcare business is essential, irrespective of what size or scale your business is off. A smart business plan takes operational needs of your childcare service into account, ensuring a smooth growth throughout. Policies & procedures are two fundamental decision-making tools to help set goals & hopes for your childcare venture. Most of your policies & procedures might lead to financial targets, including your annual turnover & viability of the business. Early Learning Management will help you prepare & operate your business. Early Learning Management will walk you through the step-by-step process of starting the business, from assessing the need for child care services to selecting the service, setting up your business & preparing for opening day. Early Learning Management (Early Learning Management) specialises in optimal childcare operations.
Exacting operational procedures do require in-depth knowledge from diverse disciplines including human resource management, finance, marketing & sales, operations management & many more. This might sound like a mammoth of tasks to you, but for the seasoned professionals of Early Learning Management, it is what they do best! Followings are the essential elements that get into your planning for the childcare operations –
Regulatory Obligations Impacting Childcare Operations
An expert on the field knows the ins & outs of the sector. It’s indispensable for you to learn about local authority legalities for operating a childcare service, including safety regulations & licensing. In specific instances, there are regulations on numbers of children one should provide care to, as well as necessary training & certifications that you need to possess including Diploma/Degree in CPR or early childhood development . A person or an entity operating a childcare service must hold a provider approval & a service approval issued by the regulatory authority. A service approval is granted subject to conditions—the service must, for example:
- ensure the safety, health & wellbeing of the children,
- meet the educational & developmental needs of the children &
- comply with any conditions prescribed by the National Law or in the Regulations, or by the regulatory authority.
Managing Human Resource Concerns for Your Childcare Service
There are human resource concerns to be considered, like staff qualification & creating the payroll. Managing the human resource element in any childcare service business can be complex & challenging. Each of us is unique – we have our own personality, approach to life & of course, work ethic. The HR factor in a childcare service must encompass the educator to child ration at all times. The National Quality Framework (NQF) sets out the minimum qualification & educator to child ratio requirements for children’s education & care services.
Day-To-Day Operations Management
Next thing to be taken into account is how you propose to operate your childcare facility. You will want to work out difference operational concerns including – services to put on offer, operating hours, course materials, contracts/agreements, children’s meal etc. If it’s a home-based facility, you will need to determine if you would require any sort of modification in your existing set of the property including remolding of sharp edges, fire extinguisher, fences, bathroom tiles & the like. Alongside, you better consider buying liability insurance to secure your property against calamities.
Each of the points above has different terms of duration. Developing them efficiently will not only guide you through but also motivate as you’ll learn about where your business will be in the next 5-10 years.
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← how to optimize the design of your child care building.
Children are remarkably sensitive to their environment, and thrive in spaces that support exploration and play. A well-designed and organized building creates a nurturing space for children to learn and grow. It facilitates the operations of your center and, above all, provides safety and security.
But what does optimal design for a child care facility look like? Read on to learn about the attributes of an optimal child care building, the importance of child care building design, the key elements of building design, and the outcomes you can expect when implementing design best practices.
What’s Considered Optimal When it Comes to Your Building?
An optimal child care building is one that serves the needs of everyone who uses it, including the children themselves, the staff, parents and members of the community. It should be safe, accessible, comforting, stimulating, well-organized and efficient.
Here’s what the Whole Building Design Guide identifies as key attributes to a well-designed child care facility:
- Accessibility : This involves compliance with all relevant accessibility regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and any local regulations. Shoot for a design that’s inclusive of the needs of both children and adults with disabilities, and provide equal play and learning opportunities for all children.
- Functional/Operational Spaces : Work to organize your center into functional areas such as classrooms, and furnish it with appropriate supplies. This includes outdoor spaces, which should feature various play areas with stimulating equipment.
- Productive Spaces : It’s important to make room for appropriate administrative space and materials for staff, and ideally on-site kitchen and laundry spaces.
- Safety & Security : Safety is an indispensable guiding principle of child care center design – especially these days. Some things to keep in mind: child care areas should not be directly accessible from the outside of the building. In addition, use security equipment, and make sure the building exterior is well-lit. Get more tips on safety and security at your child care center here .
- Sustainability : Minimize energy use, by leveraging natural light as much as possible. Make sure the materials you use are non-toxic and maintain good air quality throughout the facility
Why is Child Care Building Design Important?
Children often spend more time at the child care center than anywhere else but home, so the design of your building can have a big impact on their development. A well-planned child care center not only promotes the safety and well-being of children, but also your team.
It will guide children to play and explore while still allowing staff to move and work effectively. Sustainable choices in fixtures and furnishings will also maximize the budget of the center.
Great child care can’t happen just anywhere, but with wise choices and careful planning, your center’s building can become an inviting second home for students and staff alike.
Child Care Building Design: Optimizing Five Key Elements
The ideal building location for a child care center is secure, accessible, properly sized and free of hazards, with ample outdoor space. Experts suggest that there should be between seven and 16 square feet of usable classroom space per child — less than that can cause conflict and create more opportunities for disruption. Outside, there should be about 22 square feet of space per child.
Choose a building that is close to main thoroughfares and public transit, but shielded from sources of noise (such as loud streets or highways) and dust or pollution. As we stated above, shoot for plenty of natural light, without the sun being crowded out by tall buildings or other obstructions.
For best check-in and check-out security, focus on having one main entryway that is accessible, well-lit, easy to observe and separated from classroom areas.
Make sure your outdoor area is free of hazards, and ideally offers visible points of interest nearby. Parking should accommodate both staff and parents.
Site, Yards and Outdoor Play Areas
Your center’s outdoor area should be an extension of its overall design, and integrated with the design principles of the classroom. Work to provide divided areas for age groups and a variety of natural features, terrain and equipment for dramatic and active play.
Infant and toddler areas are best fenced-off and comfortable with soft, resilient surfaces, and offer age-appropriate challenges like slight inclines for crawling. Older kids appreciate covered areas with seating to do homework, eat and socialize.
Natural features such as trees, shrubs and rocks can be a great way to divide areas and create interest. Ensure that the yard has sunny and shaded areas, and is easily accessible.
Make sure to watch out for potential safety hazards such as cracked paving or low-hanging branches that could allow children to climb over fences, and steer away from potentially unsafe toys like metal slides and see-saws. There should be a clear line of sight to all areas of the yard at all times.
Classroom design is at the heart of children’s experience at your center. Their learning is best supported by a classroom with a homelike feel, divided into distinct learning centers, with open floor space for active play and well-organized materials. Natural lighting is best for sustainability and an inviting classroom environment.
To avoid disruptions, separate the quiet play areas from active ones. Quiet areas are best suited to:
- low ceilings
- comfortable surfaces
- subdued colors
- dampened acoustics
On the other end, active areas can have high ceilings, bright light, resilient surfaces, bright colors and amplified acoustics.
Unobstructed movement through the room should always be possible for accessibility and safety. Staff should have clear visibility of each child in the room.
Outside of the classroom, make sure there is a comfortable reception area for parents with access to the staff restroom. A multipurpose space is also good to include for meetings and gatherings, and active play during inclement weather.
Furnishings & Equipment
Carefully choosing and arranging furnishings and equipment will help you create a space that is both structured and flexible, where children can choose their own activities and be rewarded for their efforts.
Make sure learning centers are clearly marked and well-organized, with adequate storage space at child height to allow kids to retrieve and tidy their play materials. Equipment at learning centers can include:
- props and clothes for dramatic play
- art supplies
- paper and writing instruments
- sand tables and other tactile activities
Attractive but easy-to-clean materials are best for toys and furniture. Colors and textures provide visual interest, but try to avoid harsh colors. Soft mats in the floor area provide comfort and prevent injuries during active play.
Make adult-scale furniture available to allow for staff use and adult-child interaction. Children should have labeled personal storage cubbies with nearby seating to allow for easy dressing.
For safety, make sure all of your equipment is free of choking hazards and other dangers, and that each room has adequate fire safety equipment.
When installing interior finishings and fixtures, think about what should be at child height and accessible, and what should be out of reach of children. Counters and other fixtures for child use should be at an appropriate height and depth for kids to use unassisted. Door locks, light switches, fire alarms, plumbing and food preparation equipment should be out of reach and/or out of view.
Natural light is always best, including skylights in hallways, but a variety of no-glare, full-spectrum light sources are also beneficial. Fans improve air circulation and ventilation.
In corridors, think about rounding off the corners at intersections. This has a number of safety and accessibility benefits, such as:
- Improved visibility prevents collisions and aids navigation
- Minimized injury potential if a child runs into a corner
- Larger intersection allows easier maneuvering of carts and strollers
Don’t forget to provide display space on walls in classrooms and hallways to allow children to hang up their artwork and other projects – this is what gives your facility personality.
How Does Building Design Impact Your Child Care Operation?
A harmoniously designed and organized child care center makes every aspect of your child care operation easier and more effective. You can optimize learning and behavioral outcomes, parent engagement, maintenance, administration and budget when your center is mindfully laid out for your needs.
The benefits are clear:
- The center will be safer, with fewer hazards and easier supervision.
- Children will gain more independence to guide their own activities.
- Classrooms will facilitate more learning and more fun.
- Parents will feel welcomed and staff will have distraction-free spaces to work.
- Sustainable choices save money and energy.
- Your center will reflect your values and educational philosophy, as well as providing an inclusive environment with opportunities for everyone.
Optimize Your Child Care Business with Procare Solutions
Procare Solutions streamlines and automates daily operational tasks so you can make the most of your child care space. For over 30 years, child care centers of all sizes have trusted Procare to help make providing great child care efficient and hassle-free.
With Procare, you’ll be able to complement your thoughtful child care building design with process-enhancing features like:
- Contactless check-in and check-out to help reduce congestion and foot traffic in child care spaces.
- Real-time staff-to-child ratio monitoring for all child care rooms.
- Child care security equipment, including keyless entry, interior door control, and biometric fingerprint systems.
Curious about how Procare Solutions can help you streamline child care operations and make the most of your child care space?
Request a Demo
Request a demo and talk with one of our friendly Procare experts to get a tailored child care solution for the unique needs of your business.
Discover how Procare has helped hundreds of thousands of early childhood professionals streamline child care management.
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What is an Operational Plan? A Complete Playbook (+ Examples, Tips & More)
Without a plan, your business operations are as good as a children’s playground—everyone’s doing their own thing with no care in the world.
An operational plan brings order to your organization. It defines the functional aspects of your long-term strategy, like goals, milestones, responsibilities and timelines, to build collaboration and make real progress toward your vision.
Teams often overlook the importance of operational plan management, leading to miscommunication, unnecessary roadblocks and slow growth.
If you don't want to end up in a chaotic playground with everything going south, read this start-to-finish guide on operational planning. We'll share a 6-step process of making your own operational plan with a few examples to inspire you.
What is an operational plan?
An operational plan is a roadmap designed to implement your business strategies. It operationalizes your strategic plan by defining:
- Vision and objectives behind a strategy.
- Budget and resources required for execution.
- Weekly, monthly and quarterly milestones.
- Relevant metrics to track progress consistently.
An operational plan clarifies all the finer details about your strategy—like what, who, when and how—to help you realize the bigger vision. It’s a work plan for transferring the available inputs into the desired outputs.
Operational planning vs. strategic planning
While operational and strategic planning might sound the same, they have significantly different meanings. Let's take a quick look at these differences to understand what an operational plan stacks up against a strategic plan.
5 reasons why you need an operational plan
Only setting goals without a solid operational plan to implement them is like making new year’s resolutions that never come true.
Without a clear direction of what to do and how, you’d end up wasting your resources with little to no progress to show for it. An operational plan helps move the needle for your company by clarifying the steps to success and bringing more accountability.
Still wondering how an operational plan can keep you on track? These five benefits will clue you in:
1. Creating an airtight roadmap
If a strategic plan defines the destination, an operational plan chalks out the itinerary to reach that destination. This actionable roadmap covers all bases to streamline collaboration within the team and set up the right systems to hit your milestones.
2. Attributing roles to all stakeholders
Making an operational plan allows you to assign responsibilities to all internal and external stakeholders. It clarifies who’s responsible for what and sets expectations from the start. This is key for bringing everyone on the same page and avoiding roadblocks once the work is underway.
3. Tracking progress & making strategic changes
Timelines and milestones are two of the most crucial components of an operational plan in business. They empower teams to analyze their performance and review progress objectively. You can use these insights to tweak your game plan for greater success.
4. Establishing criteria & metrics for success
An operational plan outlines the parameters for success and metrics to monitor the same. These metrics give you a clear picture of your progress at every stage to ensure you’re moving as per the plan. They also highlight any potential red flags that can potentially derail the plan and need your attention.
5. Minimizing discrepancies & errors
One of the most important benefits of making an operational plan is the clarity it brings to everyone. Instead of leaving your team clueless about the next steps, this work plan clarifies how and where they can start. It also reduces errors by laying down the ground rules for every task and process.
How to develop an operational plan strategy
There’s no standard rulebook for creating an operational plan. It’s a fully customizable document that depends entirely on your company’s goals, resources, timelines and overall approach.
For example, a fast-paced team can work with shorter timelines and hit more goals than a large-scale organization with more levels of checks and a bigger hierarchy.
So, instead of replicating other companies’ operational plans, let’s help you create your own plan with this 6-step process:
- Draw out a fail-proof strategic plan.
- Establish clear goals and budgets.
- Dig deeper into the project scope.
- Create your operational plan.
- Get all stakeholders’ buy-in for the plan.
- Publish the plan using the right tool.
1. Draw out a fail-proof strategic plan
A strategic plan is to an operational plan what a storyline is to a movie—it conveys the essence and creates a direction for the operational plan to become a masterpiece.
So, naturally, the first step to operational planning is creating a strategic plan; here’s how:
- Define what success looks like for the entire organization.
- Evaluate organizational readiness to implement this strategy.
- Take inputs from people in the senior leadership.
- Assign responsibilities to different stakeholders.
- Prioritize goals against timelines.
Once done, you can rely on this strategic plan throughout the operational planning process to prepare for what lies ahead.
2. Establish clear goals & budgets
The next step is breaking your high-level goals into shorter, more actionable objectives. For example, you can divide the goal of achieving an X% growth in revenue into smaller targets, like increasing inbound leads, doubling down on cold outreach and rolling out a referral program.
Goal-setting makes your operational plan realistic and feasible. You're ideating the means to realize the long-term vision by hitting the right milestones.
More importantly, once you have a list of goals, it's easier to determine the budget and resources required to achieve them. Before moving ahead, do your homework to set a solid budget that allows you to implement your strategy without splurging too much.
3. Dig deeper into the project scope
Once you’re clear about your goals and resources, it’s time to define the finer details of your plan—specifying who’ll do what, when and how.
Create a comprehensive project scope by outlining:
- Department-wise goals and tasks according to the goals.
- Different stakeholders involved within and outside your company.
- Responsibility set for each stakeholder with primary KPIs for their role.
- SOPs and workflows to perform a task or complete a process.
This step brings more specificity to your operational plan. It concretely spells out each goal with details about milestones within each goal, roles and teams responsible for fulfilling these milestones and how they will work toward the end goals.
Scribe top tip: Creating a project scope document is a breeze when you use Scribe. You can use Scribe's project scope template to get cracking at the earliest.
4. create your operational plan.
By this point, you've done all the legwork to get to work and start writing your operational plan finally. Make it as actionable and value-packed as possible by answering these five main questions:
- Who: People involved in different tasks. Include a list of teams and specific roles involved in the business operations and clarify what’s expected of them.
- What: Plan of action and targets to pursue. Create a milestone-based roadmap of the high-level goals to achieve and the smaller goals involved in the process.
- Where: Platform(s) where daily operations will happen. Add all the tools and frameworks you'll use to run business operations through this plan seamlessly.
- When: Deadlines for different tasks and activities. Map out the timelines for each job to ensure your team is on track for timely completion.
- How much: Costs involved in hitting the designated goals. Mention your final budget and resource allocation for different tasks.
Additionally, a good operational plan also lists the metrics to track your progress. Pick and explain relevant metrics in your plan to show employees how you'll analyze their efforts.
5. Get all stakeholders’ buy-in for the plan
No plan is perfect and there's always scope for improving your operational plan to make it perfect. So, once you've drafted the plan, don't forget to run it by a few select stakeholders to identify the gaps you can cover.
Actively seek feedback from people in different ranks and departments to understand the missing links in your plan. Your plan will go through 2-3 rounds of iterations before it’s finally ready to roll out.
6. Publish the plan using the right tool
The final step in the process is publishing the plan. The most important thing to remember is that your plan should be:
- Easily accessible.
- Quickly shareable.
Clueless about the best way to hit all three points to roll out your operational plan? We have just the solution you need — Scribe .
Scribe is a documentation tool designed to create intuitive documents, like an operational plan, in a few seconds. It significantly reduces the time spent on creating such documents and improves team efficiency in more ways than one.
You can create a single Scribe to explain a stepwise process or compile instructions with SOPs in a single place using Pages. It's the easiest way to bring your team on the same page and power up your operations!
3 operational plan examples (& why they work)
If you’re looking for some inspiration to get cracking with your planning process, looking at a few operations plan examples can help big time! Let’s look at three great examples, see why they work and how you can replicate the results.
1. Carter Supply’s risk management plan
This detailed risk management plan by Carter Supply covers several aspects of managing risk at the organization. This 10-page document lists the key components of this plan, like a summary, the approval process and the end-to-end risk management process.
As an operational plan, it gives the entire team clear insights into the risk management plan, highlights why it’s in place and explains how this plan will be used.
This plan also covers different aspects of the plan and lays down the process of working on each element. For example, for risk quantification, the plan specifies that the risk manager will work with the risk owner to understand the exposure.
2. Upscope’s go-to-market plan
Upscope ’s go-to-market (GTM) plan is another excellent example of operational planning. The SaaS company created this plan to execute its strategy for breaking into the co-browsing market.
Pursuing this goal, the team created an airtight plan with a rundown of its target audience, pain points the product solves and the buyer journey.
The Upscope marketing and sales teams could use this GTM plan to launch targeted campaigns and reach the right people. They were also well aware of the main value propositions to share with the target buyers, nudging them towards a purchase.
3. SmartNet’s project quality management plan
The quality management plan by SmartNet is a detailed document explaining the company’s entire operations framework, from the management structure to project reporting, risk assessment, deliverable production and more.
Instead of a single department, this operational plan documents the complete business operations. Despite being so lengthy, the document is easy to read and understand—exactly how the plan should look like.
It also includes all the critical information to guide new employees about the company's operations from scratch.
Make operational planning your road to success
When done right, operational planning can be a game-changer for streamlining your operations. It’s an in-depth roadmap to work toward your vision and hit all goals.
Even though making an operational plan isn’t the most exciting task and it can get extremely time-consuming, the right process and tools can do the trick for you. Follow the six steps we’ve highlighted in this guide and when you’re ready to roll, use Scribe to put the plan in place.
Scribe takes the pain out of documentation to empower teams for seamless operational planning. Try it today to see how it works!
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California energy officials vote to extend Diablo Canyon nuclear plant operations
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California energy officials have voted to extend the operation of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant through 2030, extending the life span of the state’s last nuclear plant an additional five years.
The California Public Utilities Commission approved a proposal to keep Diablo Canyon’s twin reactors online, overturning an earlier agreement to close the plant in 2025.
Three commissioners — Alice Busching Reynolds, John Reynolds and Karen Douglas — voted in favor. Commissioner Darcie Houck abstained and Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma was absent.
Thursday’s decision is expected to preserve a large bloc of the state’s zero-emission power supply. But it also raises concerns over the high cost and potential safety issues associated with operating an aging nuclear power plant.
Aggressive and impactful reporting on climate change, the environment, health and science.
The state utilities commission acknowledged that the costs associated with the plan were still unknown but were expected to exceed $6 billion. A federal safety review will also be conducted.
State energy commissioners emphasized that the extension should serve as a bridge to renewable energy and that the plant was not expected to operate beyond 2030. The decision, they said, was intended to bolster the reliability of California’s grid, which has narrowly avoided rolling blackouts during heat waves in recent years.
“The short-term extension of the power plant as proposed is a transitional strategy to help California weather the challenges of the energy transition, including the weather and climate extremes that we have experienced ... and the cost challenges that we face in scaling up the clean energy transition so quickly,” Douglas said ahead of the vote. “So this is an opportunity for us to help bridge some years.”
Climate & Environment
We toured California’s last nuclear power plant. Take a look inside
Gov. Gavin Newsom is pushing to keep Diablo Canyon open past its 2025 shutdown deadline.
July 13, 2023
Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the plant’s operator, lauded the commission’s decision, saying it will help provide the state with a dependable, emission-free source of energy.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to answer the state’s call to ensure electrical reliability for Californians,” said Suzanne Hosn, a spokesperson for PG&E.
At a state meeting filled with heated discourse, supporters argued that California needed the power supply from Diablo Canyon to avert outages and meet the state’s climate goals. The plant supplies about 9% of the state’s electricity and 17% of the state’s zero-emission power.
“It was methodically determined that Diablo Canyon is in fact integral to the California electricity reliability,” said Brendan Pittman, a Berkeley resident, who supported the proposal. “It contributes substantially to California’s zero-emission targets and the costs for continued operation are not, quote, too high to justify.”
But a chorus of critics warned that the extension could bring rate hikes from PG&E.
Opponents also argued that the plant’s proximity to several fault lines makes it susceptible to earthquakes, and a significant risk.
The plant, which sits along the Pacific Ocean about 10 miles outside of San Luis Obispo, opened in 1985. A 46-page report by Digby Macdonald, a professor at UC Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, suggested one of the plant’s nuclear reactors “poses an unreasonable risk to public health and safety due to serious indications of an unacceptable degree of embrittlement,” or deterioration due to prolonged exposure to radiation.
PG&E can keep operating Diablo Canyon — at least for now, feds say
The California nuclear plant otherwise would have had to shut down starting in 2024.
March 2, 2023
“Inside the aging Diablo Canyon reactors resides an astronomical quantity of radioactivity,” said Daniel Hirsch, a retired director of the Program on Environmental and Nuclear Policy at UC Santa Cruz. “It only stays inside if it’s constantly cooled. Any disruption in that, an earthquake or accident, can cause a meltdown releasing enough radioactivity to contaminate a substantial portion of California for generations.”
“If you approve overturning the Diablo shutdown agreement, you risk culpability for a nuclear catastrophe,” he continued.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has argued the state still needs the nuclear plant to help keep the lights on as global warming drives higher demand for air conditioning, and as California increasingly relies on solar farms that stop generating electricity after sundown.
Nuclear power plants do not produce planet-warming CO2 emissions. However, they do produce radioactive waste from spent nuclear fuel. Exposure to this waste can damage DNA and increase cancer risk.
The federal government has long delayed its plans to establish a national repository for nuclear waste, forcing nuclear plants, including Diablo Canyon, to keep their waste on site in large steel-and-cement casks.
Tony Briscoe is an environmental reporter with the Los Angeles Times. His coverage focuses on the intersection of air quality and environmental health. Prior to joining The Times, Briscoe was an investigative reporter for ProPublica in Chicago and an environmental beat reporter at the Chicago Tribune.
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