We are delighted that you plan to be part of our 2020-2021 school year. We are reaching out to let you know about some of the changes we are making to help us have the safest preschool possible given the challenges of COVID.

We as a preschool are very, very blessed with the extraordinary support of the Peace Church staff and diaconate. We are also blessed with the loyalty, creativity, and love of our Preschool staff. Almost all our teachers are returning this year in at least some capacity, allowing us to offer every class without having to combine age groups.

We have always made the health and safety of our staff and students a priority, but this year will require even more effort from us and from you. Outlined below are some of the changes and procedures we are implementing this year to help us mitigate exposure to COVID.

A few changes we are making this year are:

  • Our new spring-heavy calendar with a long break over Thanksgiving – New Year’s
  • Our new weekly schedule of Tuesday – Friday (affects Fish [4’s] and Horses [Jr. K] only)
  • Carpool for drop-off and pick-up

WHAT PEACE CHURCH IS DOING

  • Peace Church has reserved the entire Education Building for our use exclusively until further notice. No other groups are allowed in the building at this time.
  • When Sunday School is able to meet again, Peace Church will hire, at their expense, a professional service to disinfect the entire building on Mondays for our use Tuesday – Friday.
  • Peace Church has installed electrostatic sanitizers in all the HVAC systems to cleanse the circulated air in our building.
  • During the spring and summer of 2020, Peace Church disinfected the entire building, stripped and waxed the linoleum floors, and cleaned all the rugs. No groups have been in the building since we left it on March 12, 2020.
  • Building a new playground!  (They were going to do this anyway, but it will be nice for each class to have its own outdoor space. The Town of Cary just approved the plans so it probably will not be ready until we return from Christmas break. Meanwhile your children can enjoy the mud and machines while waiting in carpool haha)

WHAT PEACE PRESCHOOL IS DOING

We have modified our school calendar to allow more school days in the spring than in the autumn semester and to allow a large break over the holidays.

  • Carpool

THIS IS A BIG ONE FOR US – Will change our morning drop-off and pick-up routines to a carpool system so that parents do not have to gather outside or in hallways. See instructional video here.

Other:

    • Teachers will wear masks and/or clear face shields in the classroom
    • Reduced some class sizes so fewer people are gathered
    • Increased efforts in disinfecting commonly used surfaces (done by staff when children are not present). The product we will use is https://benefect.com/pdf/decon-30-product-sheet-usa.pdf   (it is effective, natural, safe, and smells very nice)
    • Purchased UV Light wands for disinfection of soft surfaces, toys, and costumes (done by staff after preschool dismisses)
    • Change snack procedures for Doves and Cubs so that each student brings his/her own snack each day
    • Maintain individualized use of school supplies such as play-dough, markers, glue, scissors
    • Maintain “cohorts” and one-way paths or staggered hallway use throughout the morning so that classes do not mingle, per AAP recommendation
    • Use of video and written orientations for Parent Orientation
    • Use of Child Care Strong NC Public Health Tool Kit for COVID Exposure/Return to class recommendations (note that we are not a regulated day care so many of the requirement in this publication do not apply to us) https://files.nc.gov/covid/documents/childcare/NC-Interim-Guidance-for-Child-Care-Settings.pdf
    • Will make us of fresh air even more than usual (weather permitting): windows open, snacks and music outside, etc.
    • We are deferring Lunch Bunch, in-house and off-campus field trips, and school-wide events until they can be safely offered

WHAT YOU CAN DO

    • Stay informed – read our emails, signs, and texts
    • Sign the forthcoming COVID Awareness Agreement[1]
    • Keep us informed about family travel and illness
    • Keep your family from unnecessary exposure; follow state and county guidelines for public health and safety
    • Stay flexible and patient as our policies and procedures may need to change
    • Be prepared for school or class closings due to illness or staff outages
    • Pray for no hurricanes or blizzards 🙂 
    • Pray for the school, the students and families, and your teachers. Pray for protection, safety, and joy
    • Return completed Enrollment Pack as soon as possible (church office hours are 9-1 Tuesday – Friday. The church mailbox is located on our parking lot oval. It has a slot where you can drop in paperwork. The box is locked so your paperwork will be secure and you can use it any time day or night.)

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE

  1. Why aren’t students required to wear masks?
    • The American Academy of Pediatrics categorizes masks for Pre-K students as a lower-priority strategy for risk mitigation, mostly in recognition of the difficulty of safely implementing effective mask usage in a Pre-K setting.[2]
    • One of the primary benefits of a preschool is learning social skills and cues. Learning to recognize and understand facial expressions is an essential skill for a preschooler to develop. Preschoolers are also developing emerging linguistic skills. Seeing their teachers’ mouths make the sounds of our language is an important part of learning. In the classroom, teachers will wear clear face shields when practical, cloth masks when necessary, or a combination of both.
    • Discarded masks (and they will be discarded, everywhere) will probably spread more germs than they block. We don’t want teachers having to keep up with masks.

This policy may change in the future, but we hope not.

  1. 2. What About Possible School Closure and Tuition?

Our tuition policy is to divide the entire school year’s tuition into nine equal installments. Some months naturally have more school days than others, but the tuition amount collected does not change from month to month. This year you might feel slighted paying for December’s tuition on November 20 because we will not have school in December. Please know that we have planned the calendar to give you the same number of school days as you would get any other year. We accomplished this by “shifting” the school year more toward the Spring semester and by “compressing” the calendar by scheduling no closings for Teacher Work Days or mini-breaks (please note that we do not have class during scheduled Parent-Teacher conferences in January but will offer childcare during your conference).

If you have to quarantine your child for an extended time because of COVID exposure or illness, you still will be responsible for tuition payments (we still have to pay staff).

If we are forced to close for an extended time as happened in the spring of 2020, we will assess the implications for tuition once the full extent of closings are known. This might mean making adjustments at the end of the academic year. Our long-standing policy of allowing a certain number of cancelled days before make-up days are attempted will stay in place. We appreciate your understanding, patience, and flexibility as we all sort through the unknowns together.

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[1] This will be a simple document intended to remind everyone that “we are all in this together” — that we are all watching for the same symptoms and agreeable to following CDC guidelines for quarantining, etc. 

[2] https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/

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