The Road to Reopening
The road to reopening was long. And, the task that lay before us was daunting.
We watched the daily COVID briefings from the Governor and the Mayor closely. We were all waiting for the day we could bring children and staff back to PIC.
A Reopening Task Force of board members, parents and staff was formed and immediately got to work. Drs. Rotonya Carr and Judith Anesi (PIC parents) guided us. As we navigated complex guidelines issued from the state and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
We worried about health and safety.
During long weekly meetings, the Task Force recommended that we limit class sizes and implement a staggered drop-off and pick-up strategy. Only PIC staff and children would be allowed in the buildings. Children would say goodbye to their parents outside.
We checked all internal facilities systems, and significantly cleaned the buildings. We would need new cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment for staff. We prepared for daily health screenings, temperature checks and social distancing.
A plan was finalized and outlined in detailed handbooks for staff and families. An undercurrent of anxiety was felt among teachers and staff.
We worried about children and their families.
Bringing your child back to PIC amid a global pandemic prompted plenty of apprehension and fear. We laid out our plan, held a town hall, and distributed the handbook to our community.
From that very first temperature check, we held our breath.
Families lined up each morning and answered screening questions. We felt the deep commitment from our families and teachers to keep everyone at PIC safe.
It was incredible to watch the children return to PIC after such a long time away. Faces lit up as they saw old friends and they felt comforted as they returned to remembered routines.
Some children struggled, and our teachers were ready. We had prepared for the children whose development had regressed during more than four months apart. Our teachers responded with love and kindness. They responded with experience and expertise to give the children the support they needed.
The worry about money continues.
We wish the story would end here, but this crisis is far from over. PIC, like most child care programs across the country, is operating with reduced enrollment, and thus significantly reduced revenue.
Even with a reduction in staff, we are projecting a loss of over $100,000 per month until our enrollment begins to approach pre-closure capacity. No operation can withstand such a loss for any extended period of time.
We are driven to remain open for our families who rely on child care, and the teachers who rely on their paycheck. Even as pandemic fatigue touches us all, we must continue to support one another.
Your faith in PIC keeps us going. We need you now more than ever before. Thank you for believing in PIC and the critical role our teachers are playing in the lives of young children and their families.