2020 Version of ABCs: Access, Baselines, and Cleaning
Looking forward to fall? After perhaps the roughest spring in our nation’s recent history, no doubt we all want to get back to our normal routines…but public health challenges require diligence alongside desire, especially with regard to our kids. Learn more about our thoughts on childcare and schooling options as COVID continues to be a concern.
How should parents weigh the pros and cons of returning their kids to daycare or school settings?
We are huge fans of encouraging children to discover, explore, and navigate their way toward a lifetime of learning; in fact, key benefits of preschool/K-aged group care—especially during challenging times—are very clear. But first and foremost, health and safety must be our number one priority. As such, we have sought expert counsel and incorporated salient guidelines to balance the benefits of learning against the threat of COVID…and parents will need to consider their specific institution’s safety protocol in light of today’s concerns.
How has COVID impacted the center?
We all have been hit hard in various ways due to this pandemic but we’re especially concerned about keeping our kids’ routines as stress-free as possible while paying special attention to safety and cleanliness. By utilizing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local safety and cleanliness experts, we believe our center is in a unique position to provide a remarkably safe environment for kids to keep learning.
How have we tackled the most pressing issues around COVID in a school setting?
In recent months, we have shifted our guidelines toward providing smaller class sizes and ratios, minimizing concerns about public gathering spaces (such as cafeterias/hallways found in larger public schools), offering flexible scheduling (including part-time options) for families easing back into routines, and waiving registration fees to lessen financial impacts. A lot of families are struggling to maintain their balance during this strange time, so we want to offer the greatest flexibility while keeping the utmost focus on center cleanliness and child-, parent- and staff safety.
What are the wisest things parents should consider in returning their kids to daycare, preschool, and pre-K options?
We suggest really comparing your options thoroughly as everyone now is implementing a new way to do school. Evaluate both public and private possibilities before committing to a fall schedule. Do your research and ask a lot of questions. Learn about institutions’ safety and cleaning protocols and compare them stringently. We’ve coined a new twist on the old ABCs: Access, Baselines, and Cleaning. How do people access the school or daycare center? How many? What are the bottom-line safety standards? How often, and how deeply, are staff cleaning every day? Be diligent but not fearful.
How can parents best prepare their kids to return to school and daycare?
The Mayo Clinic offered a great article about this very topic. Helping educate and guide children toward gaining knowledge, keeping safe distances, and washing their hands well and often goes really far in minimizing the threat of COVID as well as more common viruses and bacterial infections. But overall, our greatest suggestion is to balance truth and calm: Yes, there’s this bug that can make people ill, but there’s also much we can do to avoid it…and the benefits of early childhood learning are very much worth the extra safety requirements we need to implement in this COVID era.