COVID-19 Response – April 22, 2020

The current version of this document is here.

We sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and in good spirits. You are on our minds and in our hearts, and we truly miss seeing you.

As mandates and guidance continue to evolve regarding COVID-19, we know that you have many questions (as do we), and we would like to update you on our current actions and thoughts:

Will First Church Preschool come back together in person this school year?

In response to Governor Lamont’s most recent directive, First Church Preschool will remain closed at least through May 20th. We will await the Governor’s direction on when it is safe to return to school in person.  Further, according to the federal “Opening Up America Again” plan, we can open once again during Phase 2 of that plan.  If this can be done in a safe and timely manner, meaning that the governmental authorities give clearance to open again prior to our scheduled end of the school year on June 12, 2020, then we will endeavor to reopen and finish the 2019-2020 school year together. While the times are uncertain, our desire is to open again as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

Will First Church Preschool extend the school year beyond June 12th?

Provided it is safe to return to school, we will endeavor to return for some period of time to finish the year together in person.  At this point, we await guidance from the authorities and continue to monitor and communicate with local, state, and federal early childhood agencies regarding safe re-entry.

Will First Church Preschool Summer Program take place?

We are very much looking forward to our summer program.  Depending upon forthcoming directives from the authorities as to when it is safe to reopen, we may need to adjust the number of weeks offered or the start date of the summer program. If we must adjust our summer program schedule, we will return the tuition paid by families who are already enrolled for any dates that we must cancel.  Further, we are extending our early bird rates for the summer program through April 30th.

Will First Church Preschool make any adjustments to the 2019 – 2020 tuition?

At this time, we have not made any decisions regarding tuition adjustments. However, we continue to evaluate all of the circumstances surrounding our mandated response to COVID-19 and will update families as soon as we make a final decision. We are committed to paying our teachers, and believe that their dedication, creativity, and significant efforts to support your children during these unprecedented times warrants our support.

We appreciate the praise that many of you have expressed for our teachers over the past few weeks. Please be assured that our staff’s top priority is to support your children’s continued development by providing substantive content and interactions that align with our regular curriculum. A number of different platforms are being offered to provide the greatest flexibility for families, including video stories, interactive Zoom classes, craft suggestions, music and yoga classes, reading and building challenges, “Drive-by Visits”, and one-on-one teacher/child video chat sessions.

We are deeply empathetic to the toll that this pandemic has taken on the emotional and financial wellbeing of our families, and we are making all of these decisions with great consideration.  For example, we already notified participating families that we are returning unused payments for our Add-On Programs (Lunch, Afters, PM Playmore classes, and School Break Camps) to them.

Will the ’20-’21 school year start on time in September?

We remain optimistic that the school year will begin on time, and we have begun planning for a safe return next fall (if not this spring).

We realize that families may be concerned about paying tuition toward next fall with so many unknowns. If our return to the classroom is delayed, we will make adjustments to our calendar and/or tuition commensurate with the situation.  We are currently developing plans and policies towards these unknowns.

Will my child be ready for the next school year?

The quick answer is yes. All children, in all grades, in all learning settings, are experiencing “distance learning”. This means that all teachers, in all grades, in all schools, will adjust their curriculum accordingly in September. In the meantime, our First Church Preschool teachers are working hard to continue providing activities that will stimulate and engage your child every day.

 We thank all of you for your feedback and suggestions on content and delivery.  Based upon your input on what’s working for your children, we have begun to implement several new enhancements to our weekly interactions. To provide even greater individualized support for your children, our teachers have begun Zoom Office Hours this week, as well as scheduling small group Zoom interactions. 

What will school look like when we return?

We are closely monitoring the safety precautions under development by government, medical, and educational specialists, and actively working on a plan for a safe re-entry to the preschool. While time will tell, information available at this point suggests that social distancing requirements may dictate smaller classes with staggered start times and ongoing wellness checks for both teachers and children. First Church Preschool is committed to doing whatever is necessary to create a safe environment for your children to learn, engage, grow, and prosper. We will provide more substantive updates as developments occur.

 Members of the Executive Preschool Board, Melanie, and I are meeting frequently, often several times per week, to assess the situation as it develops, and will continue to monitor and evaluate all available information.  We welcome your ongoing feedback on how we can continue to support you in this unprecedented time.  Please email us with your questions and input.