Classroom pets or visiting animals are to be in good health as long as they are on the premises. These animals must have documentation from a veterinarian or an animal shelter to show that they are fully immunized (if applicable) and that the animal is suitable for contact with children. Teaching staff shall supervise all interactions between children and animals and instruct children on safe behavior when in close proximity to animals. Staff shall make sure that any child who is allergic to a type of animal is not exposed to that animal. Reptiles are not allowed as classroom pets because of the risk for salmonella infection.
Upon “adopting” an animal into the program, the team will need to agree unanimously to adopt the animal, and agree to care for the animal as long as they are a member of that team. In the case of animals other than fish, if new staff members come on board after the animal has been adopted, they will not be expected to care for the animal (changing bedding, feeding, weekend care) if they do not wish. The original staff members must agree from the outset that they will continue to care for the animal even if they are the only member of the team left. If there is no one left among the classroom staff that originally agreed to adopting the animal, and no one else in the Center can care for the animal, then the animal will have to be given up for adoption, ideally to a family from the program.
The adoption of an animal into a classroom will be handled on a case by case basis, and the specifics of responsibility (including medical care and associated costs) will be decided on at that time.