We at First Baptist Church Early Learning Center have been monitoring the ongoing health crisis our country faces with the novel caronavirus COVID-19. Following the interim guidance from Virginia Department of Health, we have remained open and have worked to provide hygienic environments and make sure our staff and children stay healthy. In recent days, the number of cases in Virginia and around the country have increased exponentially, and Gov. Northam has ordered all K-12 schools to close for two weeks, beginning this Monday, March 16th.
We are aware of the burden closing schools puts on working parents, but we are also aware of the need for social distancing to prevent this pandemic from harming the most vulnerable in our community.
FBC ELC will open Monday for childcare, but we have decided on the following measures to cut down on exposure:
- All surfaces in the Center are being regularly disinfected with bleach by our cleaning crew and staff.
- Any ill staff members are staying home, and any at-risk staff are quarantining themselves.
- Children are being regularly monitored for signs of illness. All children who exhibit signs of illness will be quarantined and need to be picked up within one hour by a parent or guardian.
- If you are able to keep your child home (e.g., you are not working currently due to a closure), please do, and let us know so we can adjust staff schedules.
- If you or your child have traveled somewhere with an active case of COVID-19, please do NOT come to the Center for a minimum of two weeks.
- If you or your child have been in contact with someone who has been somewhere with an active case of COVID-19, please do NOT come to the Center for a minimum of two weeks.
- Parents will no longer be able to enter the Center physically so as to cut down on exposure for our staff and children.
- Children will need to be dropped off between 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. A staff member will meet the child at the ELC entrance.
- Children will need to be picked up between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. A staff member will meet the parents at the ELC entrance (exception: After-school children will continue to be picked up on the museum side door; also, if you need to pick up a child before 4:30 p.m., please call the Center and a staff member will bring your child to the door – note that picking up before 4:30 p.m. may take some time depending on staff schedules).
We hope that taking extra precautions next week reduces overall exposure to the virus. Please continue to practice good hygiene for you and your families, and take seriously any guidance from the Centers for Disease Control or Virginia Department of Health, such as:
- Proper hand washing, regularly (if no soap and water is available, use at least 60% alcohol hand sanitizer)
- Cleaning surfaces at home with disinfectant
- Staying away from at-risk individuals when possible (“social distancing”)
- Staying home/isolated if you are ill
- Know the symptoms of COVID-19: fever, dry cough, shortness of breath
- Limit events and meetings that require close contact
- Do not routinely shake hands in public
- Avoid touching your face or sharing household items
- Cough or sneeze into a tissue or inside of your elbow / throw used tissues in the trash
Together, we can love our neighbors by keeping our community safe! Our older people and those with chronic diseases deserve our diligence on their behalf.
If conditions worsen in our area, we will be in touch about adjustments to these guidelines and/or any closures.
Thank you for your cooperation!
Beth Kotchish, Director
Libby Grammer, Pastor