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 school.
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 are modestly priced at $180 per week for Rodgers and Bullock students(this care will take place at Bullock School for grades PreK4-third and this is $4.00 per hour) and $165 per week for Bowe Students ($3.66/hr). There is a $50 registration fee for each student which covers the cost of some materials and student accident insurance. If you require part time or drop in care and will use our program only 2 or 3 days a week, we offer a 25% discount to accommodate your needs and our ability to hold a slot for your child. Therefore, Rodgers and Bullock students part time rate is $135 per week and Bowe students part time rate is $123.75 per week. As the district moves toward hybrid, these rates will come down. As private funders offer assistance, you may contact us for potential scholarships!
What are the hours of the school age programs?
We will provide as much care as is possible to support working families navigating the 100% virtual or the hybrid plan, based on the district's voted/approved school days.
To begin the school year, as the district is 100% virtual, we will provide a program Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
Once the district moves to hybrid or full in person instruction, we will respond by altering the schedule to supplement the in person learning schedules of children in each cohort.
What about before school care?
Due to the extensive screening process, 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 for now in Bullock (For grades PreK4 to 3rd) and Bowe (for grades 4-6) elementary schools that include the cafeterias and and some classrooms, as the schools are not using them. This may be altered once hybrid learning begins, 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. 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 Bullock will start with 60 students and Bowe with between 60 or more students.
My Bowe student came to GAPA last year and was bused to Bullock. Is this still happening?
Bowe students will be AT BOWE this year.
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 extend 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. 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. Think of this current offering as part study hall (academic support), part summer camp (enrichment), part child care (nutrition and health and safety), and part afterschool (youth development activities)
Can we vary days based on work schedules for parents? I only need childcare 2 days a week, because 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 fill slots with families who need our program all 5 days.
We are now able to accommodate part time care at this time. To keep with the strict health and safety guidelines, as well as the QUALITY we provide, we've decided to reduce full time pods to 8 students so that we may accommodate parent's need for flexibility. See part time rates above.
Please also keep in mind that GCDC does not pay its staff minimum wage. We are preparing 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 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 know that our Executive Director has already advocated for you to receive a full time voucher during the virtual learning time. We have been assured that eventually all part time vouchers will be transitioned to full time. However, you should let your subsidy caseworker at 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 will cover MOST (about $145 weekly) 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)
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 my child do his/her virtual work?
Your child will need to bring his/her chromebook each day and our staff is working to receive a user name and password for each grade level for Seesaw or Schoology so that we have what we need to monitor each child's work. We will need to know each child's scheduled/synchronous learning for mornings and afternoons so that no one is left out. We must have this information as soon as you receive it. We have purchased laminated study carrels to give addtional privacy and safety as kids are sitting to do their work. YOUR CHILD WILL NEED TO BRING A SET OF EAR BUDS EACH DAY. We are working to get some donated to use as back up. We are providing a shoe box of individual supplies for each child with pencils, markers, colored pencils, pencil sharpener, eraser, glue stick to limit sharing. These shoe boxes will remain at our program each day.
How will meals be handled?
Your child will receive breakfast and 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 by GCDC 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!