VENICE, Calif. — The Young Minds Learning Academy in Venice is back bustling. The private preschool reopened in July after being forced to close when the pandemic started.
"We just felt that it was so important for these children to be back and having the social, emotional connection that they need and we had a lot of parent interest that the parents wanted us to reopen," said School Director Niki Valentino.
Besides wearing masks, taking temperatures and sanitizing everything between sessions, staff members here also rely on another tool—an app called Kyla.
"A couple other preschools in the local area were using them and so I started to begin to research them," Valentino said.
Every day, the teachers record their temperatures and any symptoms in the app. That information then goes into a database, where employers can filter by who didn’t report their symptoms or who’s not cleared for work.
"It really becomes a powerful solution for the HR department," Valentino said.
Kyla's CEO Garick Hismatullin says if an employee has any symptoms, help is available immediately.
"When they report a positive symptom right or exposure, or they have an elevated temperature, they’re offered to connect with one of our practitioners or they can go to their own practitioner and upload either a doctor’s note or test result in order to be cleared for that shift," Hismatullin said.
But the leader of the San Jose-based company says one of its biggest draws is routine and efficient onsite testing—up to four times per month.
"It’s really just scan the phone by the nurse and do the swab. It’s like 30 seconds per employee," Hismatullin said.
Before signing up for Kyla, Valentino and her staff used to rely on free drive-thru testing, which she says was fairly easy but not as fast. Now, they get tested at work by scanning a QR code on their phone every Thursday, and they get their results within 24 hours.
"Every Friday we get a reassurance that we’re all clear," Valentino said. "It’s actually made a lot of parents feel more comfortable in bringing their child back to school, knowing that the staff is tested weekly, so we are aware of any cases, if any were to come up."
And if cases do pop up, Kyla also offers emergency testing within 24-48 hours, so businesses don’t have to shut down for extended periods of time. Kyla says more than 150 employers and 12,000 workers in California are already using their software.
"It’s really important for employers to be cognizant when they’re bringing employees back that there’s inherent liability," Hismatullin said.
But Kyla hopes to offer peace of mind for workers and employers, ready to return to work, knowing it’s far from business as usual.