DATE: February 15, 2021
TO: All Early Childhood Education Starfish Family Services Families
FROM: Karen Roback, Vice President of Strategy
RE: Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update
Starfish Early Childhood Education Centers Prep For Opening
Winter finally made it here. Cold, blustery, and snowy days with even colder nights. I hope you are able to find some family moments in the snow with the little people in your lives. This letter is an update on the pandemic status in our communities and how Starfish is planning for a return to center learning. There will be a mix of online learning and classroom learning.
The COVID-19 pandemic is showing some positive signs and it feels like there is light at the end of this very long tunnel. The numbers of positive COVID-19 cases are declining, and more people are getting vaccinated. The center teams have been working to prep the centers again and are gearing up for in-person learning.
What will you see as centers re-open? There will be check-in stations. Check-in stations are where health screenings will occur, and temperatures will be taken. The screening questions and process are found in the Starfish Safe Start Family Handbook that you received in the fall. Starfish will also adhere to social distancing and ask that families remain 6ft. apart during drop-off and pick-up times. Starfish requires that all employees and visitors wear masks, even when dropping off and picking up children. The Family Handbook has more detailed information about drop-off and pick-up processes.
Health and safety measures are in place in the centers too. Centers will re-open at 50% capacity or less. Children over the age of 2 in centers are also required to wear masks. Center teams will be wearing personal protective gear (masks, gloves, and clothing), and there will be reminders (posters, floor markers) at each center. Center teams will be cleaning and sanitizing regularly throughout the day and each center will be disinfected at night. Sick children will be separated and sent home. Starfish successfully re-opened four behavioral health clinics and two centers before we had to close again in November. We have learned from these experiences and are using what we learned as we re-open the centers for in-person learning.
Here is our tentative schedule for reopening the centers.
Date Center Number of Classrooms
2/23/21 Marygrove 2
2/23/21 Westwood 2
2/24/21 Livonia 2
2/24/21 Thorne 2
3/2/21 Plymouth/Canton 2
3/2/21 Fort St. 2
3/3/21 Hiveley 3
3/16/21 Central 2
3/16/21 Covenant 2
3/17/21 Cecil 3
We will monitor and learn from the center openings before we open more classrooms. Children and families that are not returning to in-person programming will continue early childhood education in the virtual format option.
Over the next few weeks, the Family Service Guides or the Teaching Teams will contact you with more detailed information about returning to the center and answer any questions you might have. Our Crestwood Center will remain virtual for the remainder of the school year due to needed building repairs. If your child attends Crestwood, and you have indicated that you want in-person services, you will be contacted and offered an alternative location.
While we are happy to see the positive signs that the pandemic is declining, it is also still an uncertain time and we will remain flexible with our learning options. Starfish will assess the status of the virus and make changes, as necessary.