May 22nd Update
Hello Athena Families,
As you probably know by now, the Texas Governor announced that Licensed Childcare Centers will be allowed to reopen with this next phase of reopening Texas. The Health and Human Services Department has laid out new guidelines and regulations for us to follow in order to do everything we can to provide quality care for children and families with the utmost attention to the health and safety of our community members. This email pertains to the upcoming school year which is scheduled to start mid to late August.
As we were anticipating, the new guidelines require a redesign of our programs at Athena. (We know that there is a chance that by the time school is scheduled to start in August they will again change the guidelines and regulations. For now, we are working on a redesign of our program to meet the current guidelines and will adjust as we go, as needed, where we deem safe, and/or where possible, and with your input and plenty of advance notice of changes.)
[For simplicity’s sake, this email is focused on next school year, although the new design applies to summer camp as well, if we are able to conduct a summer camp. We will send a separate email regarding summer camp to those of you who have registered for camp.}
Below are the highlights of the new design and we are asking for your response. Our sincere hope is that we will still be able to accommodate all returning families who wish to return to school as well as all new families whom we have already enrolled. However, we are also aware that some of you may not be comfortable with a return to campus and of course we understand, and will have no hard feelings if you choose to withdraw your enrollment.
The highlights of the changes are as follows:
Children must remain with the same teachers for the entire day; there can be no transitions to other classrooms or to different teachers throughout the day
No separate programs for Early Arrival and After School (we are working on the hours we will be able to accommodate your family)
Not moving children to a different room for nap; nappers will either need to be picked up after lunch or sleep in their classrooms
Primary classrooms are limited to 20 total students so some students may be moved into different classrooms (depending on enrollment, we may be adding portable classrooms to accommodate all families)
There will be no food preparation so parents will need to provide both snacks and lunch for their child(ren)
No extracurricular activities
Limiting parents inside campus gates; at-car drop-off and pick-up procedures with health screens and interviews
Strict adherence to limiting attendance to healthy individuals
Enhanced hand hygiene protocols for children and staff
Intensified cleaning and disinfection regimen
Additional health and safety training for all staff
We are doing our best to maintain as much consistency as possible from our original design for this school year to this new design. We will do everything we can to keep teams intact and children in their currently assigned classrooms. We will also do our best to maintain the mixed age group model for all children but this will be dependent on our enrolled students. We are fortunate to have such a strong team of teaching staff so rest assured that regardless of where your child lands, they will be in exceptional hands. And as always, the children are our North Star for all of our decisions and our plans include much training and attention to how to best take care of their social and emotional needs in the midst of this new design and re-entry to school.
If your child is graduating at the end of this school year you do not need to complete the survey.
Please keep in mind that the survey questions are not an indicator of what we are or are not planning to do; at this point we are still trying to gather data from you as we continue to design a plan that feels safe and offers quality care in alignment with our school philosophy.
If you are interested, you can read the guidelines for Licensed Childcare Centers, including Minimum Standard Health Checklists to help guide both care providers and families navigating our return to school.
Thank you for your continued support and for taking the time to respond to our survey. Your responses will help us refine the design of our program. More details to come…
In health and gratitude,