Dear Sunshine Families,
First the foremost I wanted to everyone for the patience last week as we worked through everything. As you know, at this point all non-essential businesses have been effectively shut down by Governor Cuomo. Businesses that provide essential services, which includes childcare, are explicitly exempt from this order. In fact we are being urged by state officials to remain open as best we can. At the same time we are following childcare specific guidance from the State, and in many cases going beyond that guidance to enhance the safety of our children and staff. Here is a quick summary of the major procedures we have implemented:
- (NEW) We are checking temperatures of all children and staff as they arrive.
- Curb-side drop-off and pick-up to limit the number of people walking through the building
- Teachers are working full-day shifts, limiting the number of staff children are on contact with
- Teachers are making sure children are washing their hands immediately upon arrival and have stepped up the frequently throughout the day
- Teachers are adjusting the way they run their classes to provide as much social distancing as possible.
- We are limiting the density in the building and in each classroom.
- In the addition to the minute-by-minute cleaning and disinfecting that our staff does throughout the day, we are also fully cleaning the building daily. Furthermore we are disinfecting with an EPA approved disinfection agent using a fine-mist sprayer over the weekends.
- We remain vigilant for any symptoms and will immediately isolate any child that exists any symptoms. We ask that you please arrange to have someone be able to pickup your child if that becomes necessary. The same applies to any staff, who will leave the building immediately if they start to feel/show any symptoms. In both cases, we ask that any staff/child sent home stay home for at least 72 hours and only return after a doctor rules out COVID-19 and clears them to return.
- There are many additional smaller ways in which we have changed our procedures and routines to limit close interaction/contact and to enhance disinfection procedures, it’s frankly too many to list so we have only included the big changes here
Over the past week, most of our families have kept their children home. We completely understand that if you are able to, you may very well choose to keep your children home for a prolonged period of time. We also recognize the financial stress that everyone is under, we feel it ourselves. Therefore, we are suspending our regular policies and any family that wishes to change their enrollment for April and beyond has there options:
- You may choose to hold your spot for a reservation fee of $75/week. This will guarantee, that you can return to your regular class and schedule and at your current rates through the end of the year. For those that choose this option we will also be starting a daily Zoom video-conference Circle Time where your child’s teacher will go through a part of their usual morning routine. My own daughter had her first Zoom Karate class on Saturday and it was great for her to be able to maintain her regular routine and interact with her sensei and classmates. We will also be sending you regular emails with age-appropriate activities for your children. During the daily video-conference there will be an opportunity for you to discuss those activities with your child’s teacher. Finally, you will also be able to send your child(ren) in on a drop-in basis if you find yourself unexpectedly needing occasional childcare. When you choose to resume full-time you will receive a credit of $75/week for however many weeks your tuition was on hold.
- Alternatively, we are waiving our normal 30-day notice period for those families that find it necessary to unenroll. Please note that we will not be able to hold your spot nor your schedule. If you choose to re-enroll at a later time, it will be subject to availability in the classrooms and schedules. Enrollment would also be at the new 2020-2021 tuition rates and policies. Given the number of daycare centers that are closing (some for good unfortunately), and given that we were approaching full capacity before this crisis started, we simply cannot promise that space will be available and we want to be fully transparent with you.
- Of course if you wish to keep your children enrolled we welcome you to do so. That is why we’ve been working so hard over the last week to make Sunshine Starts as safe as possible given the current situation. We are laser focused on keeping Sunshine Starts not only safe, but also providing continuity for your children by retaining our wonderful teachers. If, out of health concerns we need to close for more than 5 days you will receive a tuition credit and instead be charged just the weekly holding fee (see option #1 above).
If you choose to take advantage of option #1 or #2 please email firstname.lastname@example.org by this Friday.