The COVID-19 crisis may make you wonder if it is safe to send your child to our child care program. We want to provide the following information on the enhanced health and safety measures we are implementing to keep everyone safe and healthy. We are following all of the guidelines set forth on May 29, 2020 by the NJ Department of Children and Families in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control. Our Preschool opened successfully on June 15th and our afterschool programs will begin supporting families on the first day of in school instruction.
Afterschool reopening is in its final planning stages. Coordinating what families will need to support the choices offered by our school district is what we do best. Keeping in mind GCDC's Core Values of Relationships, Fun, Trust and Excellence, we are planning for a program that offers support for your students!
What are the fees?
Fees will be released on as soon as the school district votes on the final plans, along with registration packets.
What are the hours of the afterschool programs?
We will provide as much care as is possible to support working families navigate the hybrid plan, based on the district's voted/approved school days.
Wednesdays are designated as deep cleaning days and no one is permitted in the school district buildings. We do not have access to space to include Wednesdays.
What about before school care?
Due to the extensive screening process, co-mingling possibilities, and cleaning protocols, we will not be able to provide before school care at this time. We hope as restrictions are lifted, to return to before school care.
What safety precautions are being put in place?
We must adhere to the Department of Children and Families Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care Centers available here: https://www.nj.gov/dcf/news/Final.CC.Health.and.Safety.Standards.pdf
and in Spanish here: https://www.nj.gov/dcf/news/Final.CC.Health.and.Safety.Standards-spa.pdf
All of the procedures for exposure and positive testing are included in this document. These are minimal standards and some of our procedures may exceed this guidance. Students will be assigned to groups of no more than 10, that we will refer to as pods. Pods will not co-mingle or share materials unless the materials can be sanitized. We are happy to let you know that GCDC will provide a clear shoe box and individual school supplies for EVERY student in our afterschool program so that none of these materials are shared and can stay right in our program. If a child becomes ill, each school will have an isolation room that our program will also use afterschool.
What about masks?
Our agency requires that all staff and school age students wear a face covering while in our program, inside and outside, except when eating, unless, as guidelines indicate, this would not be possible due to health reasons or special accommodation requirements. If a child or staff cannot wear a mask, we must adhere to strict social distancing. We are being thoughtful and intentional about face coverings for staff that allow students to see our expressions as much as possible so that kids have extra help building relationships and emotional safety. Your child will need a mask or face covering for school, so they can use the same mask in our program. If something happens to your child’s mask, we have children’s disposable masks on site.
What about social distancing? How do you keep kids 6 feet apart in childcare?
We will implement social distancing to the extent possible. We will guide students to keep 6 feet apart. In our guidance for childcare, we will create pods of students who will stay in the same groupings and will not co-mingle with other groups. Just as we do in our early childhood center, where not many children can successfully or due to age/health reasons wear a mask, we will make every effort to social distance them, but it is not a 100% guarantee. Once the pod is established, like people living in a household, they will only spend time with that group. Our activities will intentionally require more spacing between students. We will also go OUTSIDE as much as possible. We have begun outdoor learning with our preschoolers and have been very successful. Developmentally, children (even adults) cannot stay at one desk all day. We are focusing on safety, health, learning and also meeting social emotional needs for relationship building and trust. We want parents to be aware that students will not be in cubicles all day in childcare, but we will also not allow close proximity.
What is the screening process at drop off? What does drop off and pick up look like?
On days your student has virtual learning and is with us all day, students (AND Staff working with students in our programs) are checked for fever with a no- contact thermometer (no one with a temperature over 100 degrees F will be admitted) and parents are asked screening questions regarding symptoms each day. We are required to keep this data daily and report it to the Office of Child Care Licensing. Parents will park and walk their child to the door for the screening. Parents will not be permitted to enter the building at drop off or pick up.
After screening, students will be sent or escorted (depending on location and child’s age) to wash their hands and go to their pod. Pick up in the afternoons will be from 3:00-5:00pm as we must have a dedicated staff member at the door to greet parents. When you arrive we will send for your child, have them wash their hands and bring them to you at the door.
How many students can enroll? Where will the program be located inside each school?
We have secured space in each elementary school that include the cafeterias and all-purpose rooms, as the schools are not using them due to social distancing and congregate seating. The large spaces however can be transitioned into smaller “pods” of 10 students and 1 or 2 Group Leaders per pod that will remain consistent each week. The pods will be positioned in the four corners of each large room to enable a total of 40 students. Some of the elementary schools may also provide empty classrooms once they know how many parents are intending to do 100% virtual learning. We anticipate placing one pod per classroom, unless the classroom is extra large and can be divided with a barrier to form 2 pods. Pods, as per Office of Child Care Licensing, can have no more than 10 students. It is expected that Rodgers will begin with 40 students, Bullock with 60 students and Bowe with between 50 and 60 students.
My Bowe student came to GAPA last year and was bused to Bullock. Is this still happening?
It is our intention to provide our afterschool program for Bowe students AT BOWE this year. We do not want to bus students into a different building in keeping with the health standards. We are applying to renew our childcare license at Bowe School.
We hoped to announce our expanded program by now regardless of COVID. Our agency applied for the 21 Century Community Learning Center grant and if we are awarded the grant, it will change what we can offer right now. Currently, we must charge a fee for the Bowe after school program, but if we are awarded the 21CCLC grant, families will be able to participate at an exceptionally low cost. The 21CCLC grant will fund the opportunity to have the Bowe School or other certified teachers provide extra academic support in addition to our GCDC staff and will be partnering to some degree with the Fossil Park of Rowan University. Unfortunately, at this printing, we do not know if the grant will be awarded or when. Fingers crossed that it will be soon, and we can offer this outstanding opportunity for our kids.
Who are the staff, what are their qualifications, and what activities and supports are you offering?
Our staff are youth development workers who are completing or have completed their education, as well as community members. GCDC maintains low staff turnover annually but because of our growth this year, you may see both familiar and new faces. Our site directors manage the program and Group Leaders and Assistants will work directly with your children. We will provide a blend of academic support (i.e. assistance during and after virtual learning) so it minimizes parents’ time once you get home. It is our intention to also work with families who request it for our staff to check in virtually on Wednesdays or in the evening to further support your students. We have trained our staff in STEM activities, mindfulness and social emotional learning activities, and offer opportunities for physical activities, art and other youth activities. GCDC has been providing school age programs in the Glassboro School District since 1986.
Can we vary days based on work schedules for parents? I only need childcare 2 days a week, after they are dismissed from school. My mother can watch my kids the other 3 days.
We typically pride ourselves in being flexible with care arrangements. Under the current guidelines issued by not only the Department of Education, but also the Office of Child Care Licensing, we are required to severely limit co-mingling of students. It is our intention to absolutely keep our pods and staff consistent. This is important in limiting potential exposure.
Our budget for this program requires full use of all slots available so we will begin to fill slots with families who need our program all 4 days. If you only need care after the in school days (Monday & Tuesday or Thursday and Friday), you may register and as soon as a student needing the opposite 2 days also registers, your registration may be approved. This way 2 students will share a slot and we will maintain a full enrollment roster. Due to the deep cleaning on Wednesday, we feel that “sharing a slot” will be reasonable, and is permissible within the Office of Child Care Licensing.
We are not able to accommodate drop-in care at this time. If you need childcare arrangements other than this, you may register your child for all 4 days and choose to only send them a few days a week, however, in order to maintain the added cleaning supplies, masks, individual student materials, reduced ratios, dedicated cleaner/greeter and substitutes, we must collect full fees each week in order to maintain our new normal and do it in a quality way.
Please also keep in mind that GCDC does not pay its staff minimum wage. We had to shift from a part time work force to a potential full time work force, which includes benefits. We are doing this without additional aide from the Department of Human Services. We have secured over $120,000 in private funds for 2020 which are dedicated to keeping our costs down for all of our school age families and we feel that our programs are reasonably priced for the services and supports we will provide. Every dollar collected will flow directly back into the program.
With the current travel advisory, listing “hot spot” states, what if my child goes to a state where the Governor’s Executive order states we have to self-quarantine? What if we go on vacation? What if I go on vacation to a state on the list and my child does not? What about weekend trips? Do I have to pay if my child is out because they now must self-isolate?
Glassboro Child Development Centers has adopted the statement for staff and students in which we expect they will not travel for non-essential business. If staff or students do travel for non-essential business, despite this policy, they will need to notify GCDC immediately and self-isolate for a period of 14 days Our fee policy, which will remain in effect, states that all families may use 2 vacation weeks per year. Families may use this 2-week vacation credit for non-essential travel self-isolation, but that is all we are able to permit in our budget. Families cannot receive an additional payment credit for this vacation time or subsequent self-isolation as they are securing a childcare slot for the school year.
However, if a child or parent must self-quarantine due to close contact of a positive COVID case, or becomes sick with COVID or other documented illness, our agency will work with the family to credit child care fees as the quarantine is mandated and for health reasons.
What if my child is in the Cohort 3 of 100% virtual learning? Can my child attend your afterschool program if I drop him off?
No. Our program right now is for students who are attending in person learning at each elementary school.
What if I don’t want my child to come back to the afterschool program right away. Can you hold a slot for her to begin in October?
No. Our enrollments will be first come first served and we are not able to hold a slot.
Can I use my childcare subsidy? Do I have to swipe or call in and out? How will I do that if I cannot come into the building?
Yes! If you have a childcare subsidy, please be sure to let Rutgers Child Care Resource and Referral know that your child will be attending our program FULL TIME on the days he will not be in school. It is important that the subsidy office is aware that the care you need it FULL TIME so they will increase your subsidy payment to GCDC. The voucher should cover MOST of the cost of our program, plus your copay. You will be responsible for paying the difference as well as your copay, if applicable, depending on which site your child will attend (Kindergarten care costs more than 4th grade) If your subsidy is written for PART TIME care, you will be responsible for a greater difference. We are working with Rutgers to let them know that right now, after school does not mean just 3 hours a day!
Right now, parents are not “swiping” or “calling”. We are hoping we will be able to complete attendance online or on paper. We will keep you updated on this.
How will meals be handled?
Your child will receive lunch each day from the school and will eat with our childcare pod. Masks will be removed during meals. A nutritious snack will be provided at 3:00pm each day at no additional cost.
GCDC does not typically permit any outside food to be brought into its programs unless a doctor note is provided for special meals. Please let us know at registration if your child needs special accommodations regarding meals and we will work with you to do what is reasonable and best for your child!