Friday, March 20, 2020 @ 3:30 P.M.
Thank you all so much for your patience and understanding as we work through this trying time. There have been many thoughtful discussions and deliberations this week while trying to make the tough decision of how long we stay open. At this time, we have decided to remain open for at least another week, unless otherwise instructed by city, parish or state officials.
That being said, our staff has begun to dwindle, and protocols rightfully have gotten tougher to keep everyone safe and healthy. At this point in time, we are unsure exactly how many staff persons will be available Monday morning. In an effort to serve as many children as safely as possible, center hours will undoubtedly be reduced so all staff can work a straight 8 hour shift as well as make sure the center is sanitized at the end of each day. This will also allow our staff to have a little more time to care for their own families at home.
As I have answered individual questions this week, the ACH draft will run Monday March 23rd as scheduled. I'm sorry to say we will have to continue to collect tuition. We as church employees, do not qualify for unemployment benefits since the church utilizes a waiver from paying that tax. We will take it draft-by-draft, but for now we need to keep paying our employees so that we can still have a functioning center at the end of this crisis. I surveyed over a dozen centers in our area and the general consensus was - we stay open as long as we possibly can and will continue to collect tuition even if we close. The ELC committee has also been discussing this issue on a daily basis. If you get a chance, please thank these wonderful church members who have given their time and energy to tackle this very difficult task.
Our new protocols (click on past updates below to read about our new protocols) are working very well, and we feel very comfortable we are keeping everyone safe at this time. As long as enough staff are present, we feel we could serve more children than we did this week; we just can't operate at full capacity. If you are in a situation where you need care on even a part-time basis, please email us over the weekend and let us know what days are needed. As long as we can keep the total number for each day manageable under the new protocols (no groups larger than 10, including staff), we will do our best to meet everyone's needs as much as possible.
Look for an email on Sunday after we have had a chance to plan staffing according to your responses- also, our hours will be posted on the website (most likely 8-4pm) - where Kamille and Tammy have been posting resources for children.
Again, you are all such a wonderful set of parents to serve; we appreciate the notes and words of thanks.
You are all in our thoughts and prayers. We'll get through this - we have not only hard workers around here but lots of huge hearts!
Tuesday, March 17 @ 3:00 P.M.
The ELC will be open on Wednesday, March 18th following the same guidelines and protocols as today. Please send children only when absolutely necessary. Thanks again for all your patience and appreciation of our staff !!
Also, we have created an Academic Resource page for all of our age groups for your access. Click here to access.
Monday, March 16 @ 4:25 P.M.
Thanks so much to all of you who have been answering emails and offering help. This is an absolutely trying time for all of us. We have been on conference calls every day since Friday with the Dept. of Education and the Dept. of Health. Our next call is tomorrow at 1:30 pm. The ELC Advisory committee also met again to today to address the issue of when and how do we make the call to close the center.
On all calls this weekend, we were told to strongly urge parents to keep children home unless absolutely necessary. They even went so far as we should be prioritizing services to children of nurses, doctors, first responders, etc. and only those who are working directly with this crisis.
A number of suggestions were put forth, including limiting staff to only those with no underlying health conditions or live or care for someone with underlying health conditions. To help with this, ratios and group sizes are being adjusted so that we may continue with reduced staff. They have also reduced the minimum age of staff we could hire from 18 years to allowing 16 & 17 year olds. This is only temporary until we get through this crisis.
We spent the day working from the email responses & calls to reconfigure classrooms so we can remain open and stay within the adjusted ratios and a safe group size with our reduced staff.
We have also derived a number of new protocols:
Student Drop off will be at the North Blvd. entrance only. The front door will be propped open. A staff person will be at the door to receive your child. Each child's temperature will be taken and if it is under 100.0 degrees, we will sign him/her in. Children upstairs will go directly to the hallway bathroom to wash hands and then be taken upstairs. Parents will not be allowed inside the building to limit the traffic flow and keep the car traffic moving to limit the back up on North Blvd. Please have your child here by 9 am. We will not have enough staff to police the door throughout the day. Please talk to children beforehand about the change in this routine. There will undoubtably be some children upset, but this is a mandated change in protocol.
Only one group will go outside at a time. We will alternate using the playground and gym to reduce the group sizes.
There will be no tumble time until further notice. For Pre-K and Kindergarten, we will attempt to have a virtual Spanish Class, and Sirena will visit each class individually for chapel lessons. All field trips, Easter Egg hunts, parties that include parents are suspended.
There will be at least 3 feet of space between mats at naptime. All surfaces will be wiped more frequently. All meals will be served in individual classrooms. All hallway bathrooms were steam-cleaned over the weekend and will be wiped down after each group use. Please help children practice the correct handwashing technique at home - it will be on the website if you need it.
For pick-up, especially for children upstairs, please call the office and let us know what time you are arriving so that we can get your child downstairs to make the process easier. Again, staff will sign them out and take them to your car.
Please do not be offended if we call regarding your child's health condition. State officials were adamant on the calls this weekend that we do not accept children who have been ill recently -the 24 hour symptom free has now been changed to 3 days during this time. We were told to send children home if they developed any issues, even if it's a simple runny nose.
Again, these decisions are fluid and can be changed at any time with a moment’s notice if we receive instructions from State Offices. While we are open tomorrow, there is no guarantee we will be open the remainder of the week. We are however, reassessing each day to make the best decision possible for children, families and staff. The issue of tuition is being also being addressed by the committee and the church as will come up with a plan in the near future.Please keep checking your email or the website - elcbr.com for the most current information.
Thanks again for your understanding and patience during this trying time.
Friday, March 13 @ 5:15 P.M.
Dear Parents and Staff,
As you are likely aware, on Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards took the unprecedented step of closing all public schools and halting any gathering of more than 250 people until April 13, 2020. This action was taken in order to minimize the further spread of COVID-19. The ELC Committee met Friday afternoon to consider the Governor’s proclamation and its impact on the ELC. The protection of our staff and the children and families that we serve, as well as the safety of our larger community, remains our top priority.
While the City, State and National response to COVID-19 rapidly changes, at this time, the ELC Committee has elected to close the ELC on Monday, March 16, 2020 for additional staff training and school cleaning, and reopen on Tuesday, March 17, 2020, subject to the restrictions listed below. Please note, however, that this decision may change or may be modified as circumstances warrant.
We are asking that each parent notify the ELC office by response to this email whether you intend to keep your child at home through April 13, 2020. In the event that we have staff shortages, we need to ensure that we can maintain the student-teacher ratios mandated by our license.
On Monday, March 16, 2020, the staff will be meeting to discuss procedures to implement to allow our students and families to practice social distancing as much as possible.
Once the ELC reopens on March 17, 2020, the following policies and procedures, at a minimum, will be in place:
If you are able, we request that parents not bring their children to the ELC. For example, if you are a stay-at-home parent, your place of employment is closed, or if you have alternate child care available, we request that you not bring your children to the ELC.
Children who have traveled internationally, to the West Coast (California, Washington), to the greater New York area, to the greater New Orleans area, have taken a cruise or reside with or have had close contact with someone who has traveled to these areas must self-quarantine for 14 days. Parents are required to notify the ELC immediately of all travel with the last 14 days and keep the ELC apprised of upcoming travel plans before departures.
The ELC requests everyone consider cancelling any personal or business travel plans for the next 30 days.
Visitation, class parties and upcoming field trips at the ELC are suspended immediately. Parents, grandparents, etc. will not be permitted to visit classrooms during the day. For example, a parent or grandparent may not visit a class to read to the class. While we intend to celebrate Easter in some fashion with the children, celebrations will be limited to teachers and children.
Children who have a fever of 100 degrees or more and exhibit upper respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, etc.) must remain home for 14 days. Similarly, children who reside with or have had close contact with someone who experiences a fever of 100 degrees or more and exhibit upper respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, etc.) must remain home for 14 days. If either of these situations arise, parents should notify the ELC immediately.
The ELC will continue its enhanced cleaning protocol and children will wash their hands regularly. Please remember to have your child wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water upon entering the classroom. Hand sanitizer will also be available at our entrances. The ELC will also utilize social distancing as much as possible to limit the interaction between students and staff.
Again, we must reiterate that the response to the COVID-19 virus is constantly developing. While our plan is to remain open while the public school system is closed, circumstances may arise on short notice which require us to close the ELC. Therefore, it is imperative that parents read email communications from the ELC.
Friday, March 13 @ 1:30 P.M.
We wanted to let you know that we are having an emergency ELC Committee meeting at 3:45 this afternoon to discuss the Governor's Declaration closing all public schools from Monday, March 16 - April 13th. Please check your emails this afternoon for an update. Lastly, we also created a coronavirus link on our website with our communication updates and helpful links.
Thursday, March 12
Our entrances to ELC all have hand sanitizers – the only entrance without a wall dispenser is the North Blvd. entrance – we will have a pump bottle on the buffet for your use. We have enhanced our cleaning protocol so that door handles, stair rails, etc. are cleaned more often.
The ELC is not considering closing its doors to children at this time. Our main concern is being able to keep the necessary sanitizers available in order to keep our environment safe and germ free. As the situation seems to be changing rapidly, please know we are doing our best to stay informed. There are a number of resources being sent to the ELC, I have attached the links I have received. Please be diligent in reading ELC emails in the near future to stay informed.
Please be sure children wash their hands (for 20 seconds- have them sing a song to time it) upon arrival as usual and often throughout the day. Remind them to cover their coughs (with their elbow, not their hands). See the link below about talking with children about COVID-19. Many of you have older siblings in other area schools – if you receive any information you feel we may benefit from, please feel welcome to share with the ELC.
As always, if you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to contact or visit the ELC office.