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  • Minding Our P’s and Q’s to Stay Open During COVID-19

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    The Strong Rock Christian School Early Learning Center has been serving families throughout the entire COVID-19 outbreak.  When the COVID-19 pandemic started, parents were understandably concerned.  Many were trying to balance work schedules while ensuring their children were cared for in a safe and healthy environment.  Some were first responders or other essential workers and staying at home was not an option.  Many parents had to work but had no one to care for their children.  Grandparents, who usually provided care, were being advised not to have close contact.  
     
    As a school, we weighed the benefits for families of remaining open against the risks posed to staff and families by the spread of COVID-19.  Throughout the pandemic, the CDC has emphasized the importance of schools and early learning centers being open.  Schools and early learning centers don’t just provide academic instruction, but also provide safe environments where physical and nutritional needs are met, and the social and emotional development of a child is nurtured.  With those thoughts in mind, we determined it was critical for families and their children for Strong Rock to meet the challenges to remain open.
     
    By implementing appropriate mitigation strategies, the Strong Rock Early Learning Center could remain open safely and meet the needs of families.  To be open safely, we set out to “mind our P’s and Q’s.”  
    • Plans were implemented to lower class sizes.
    • Protocols were established for more frequent handwashing.
    • Purchases were made and procedures were implemented to enhance the cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting of rooms and items utilized by children and staff.
    • Procedures for arrival and dismissal were revised to monitor temperatures and to ensure safe distancing within the building.
    • Prohibitions for limiting unnecessary visitors were implemented.
    • Preparations for meals were changed, so that students were served in their classrooms.
    • Playground times were staggered to keep groups of children separate.
    • Posted signs were placed throughout the facility to remind everyone of important protocols.
    • Questions were utilized to screen anyone entering the building for symptoms or exposure to COVID-19.
    • Questions and concerns from parents were addressed promptly.
    • Quests for updated information were made through communications with personnel at other early learning centers, through participation in Bright From the Start informational webinars, and through monitoring COVID-19 data in our community to keep track of the level of local transmission.
    • Quick adjustments were made, as needed, to ensure appropriate practices and protocols from the CDC and Bright From the Start were being followed.  
    Parents responded with gratitude and appreciation.  We frequently heard the comment, “I don’t know what we’d do without you.”  Staying open also allowed us to meet the needs of other first responders in our community with children in centers that made the decision to close.  Staying open wasn’t always easy, but a key to our success has been our partnership with parents.  Parents have faithfully joined with us in following all our new safety guidelines and protocols.  An overarching “P” critical to our success was prayer.  Staff members joined together at various times and locations on campus to lift up praises and prayer requests.  Parents also supported us spiritually with their prayers.  Together, we have made it work, and we remain committed to staying open in support of our families and their children.

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