As you are aware, New York State continues to experience a significant impact from COVID-19 and we are not yet cleared to safely resume operations. On May 1, 2020, the Governor issued executive guidance that requires all NYS schools to remain closed for the academic year and we continue to be under a stay at home order. As a result, our Head Start program will not return to center-based programming for the remainder of this program year due to congregate and social distancing considerations.
We will however, continue to support and engage families of Early Head Start, Head Start and UPK children remotely via our current engagement efforts through the end of the academic year. Our center staff are working to find creative ways to offer a virtual “graduation” experience to the kids who will be transitioning to Kindergarten when school resumes. Missing this tradition is probably one of the hardest parts of this situation. Please note the following dates:
Head Start: Programming will end on Friday June 5th. Any Head Start children previously enrolled in full day program are eligible to receive a virtual 6 week summer programming option from June 29- August 7th.
UPK: All center or school based programming will end on June 24th.
Early Head Start: Children enrolled will continue to receive virtual support via our current model of parent engagement and virtual contacts through the end of our regular Early Head Start program year in August.
Modified Summer program- Over the coming weeks we will continue to assess the health and safety factors surrounding COVID 19 and children to help us determine when a group setting model may be most appropriate. If we are able to operate we are working to design a limited center based program for Early Head Start children that implements all required health and safety protocols. This option will offer a reduced sized, center-based summer program model to our high need families, utilizing a 1 adult per 2 children ratio model. This will dramatically mitigate congregate setting concerns. Families identified as meeting the eligibility criteria will be contacted by the center staff to discuss the 6 week program option in more detail. The remaining enrolled children will continue to be supported virtually through the end of our regular program year in August.
As congregate and educational settings have been identified as the last phase of reopening, we will spend the next few months focused on if/when we will be able to operate at full capacity in the fall with all required protocols in place. Our utmost concern is the health and safety of our children, families and staff.
Stay safe and healthy!