The Good Shepherd Children’s Center re-opened on July 6, 2020, to a limited number of students. We have three classes of 10. So far, everything is running smoothly, with the children having lots of fun and adventures. Things look a bit different this summer, but we have all the new procedures under our belt, and we are ensuring our staff and children stay safe and healthy, as well as having fun and learning.
The school is required to have children stay in groups of 10, without mingling with other groups. This means that when a group uses a shared area, such as a restroom or the gym, the area must be sanitized before another group can go in. Toys are cleaned at once if a child puts them in their mouths, and regularly for the others. This means we needed to hire extra staff to handle the cleaning.
Currently, parents and visitors are not allowed in the building when children are present. We have a system of doing health screenings at the car in the morning, walking the children to the building, washing their hands, sanitizing their things, and taking them to the classroom for the day. We expect, in the fall, that we will need volunteers from the church to help us with this as we expect many children to be coming in for the 9 am hour. If you can help us out, we would appreciate it.
We are now registering for the 20-21 season. Our Kindergarten class has 11 children registered for the fall, which is well over where we were last year at this time. Parents are looking for a full day option because of the unknown school situation.
Our other part-time classes may have less attendance, as parents are electing not to send their children at this time. However, we still have working parents, many of whom are teachers, that may elect to come once they find out their own personal work status.
We are currently running in a deficit for the summer program, and we have either refunded or credited over $80K in credits from last year. The good news is that we now have a pandemic policy in place, which spells out how refunds will be handled in the future. This should limit our exposure a bit in the future. We have also received over $2k in donations from our parents.
We have applied for and received a $5K grant from the state to help with sanitizing costs and supplies. Our Paycheck Protection Program is over, and we are waiting until August to hear from the Small Business Administration on how we can apply for the loan forgiveness.
We had a really great year last year, and we were poised for our best year ever, with over 140 children enrolled. Now, as are most businesses, we are down a bit, but we are committed to maintaining a healthy and safe school. Our teachers are dedicated and our reputation in the community is stellar. We are praying that as soon as things turn around, our attendance will return. We are looking at innovative ways to teach with all the regulations and restrictions to maintain our quality program.
I want to thank all our teachers and staff for their willingness to return to work and to think outside of the box for creative ways of doing things. An example is our spring Graduation and Moving Up Parades. These were well received by the parents, the children felt extra special during an uncertain time, and the staff had a great time planning and executing the parades.
Finally, the NJ state office of licensing recently visited and gave us high marks on what we are doing!!! They were very pleased. Our Children’s Center is something to be proud of.
Please keep our children and families, our staff, and our school in your prayers as we try to navigate the regulations while maintaining a safe and healthy environment for all.
Marianne Krawiec, Director