We are always striving to address concerns and questions from our families and after a number of suggestions we will be trying to address some of the more common questions ahead;
1. Are staff being paid?
Yes, our staff are being paid for the number of hours they are currently working and closer to normal hours if afforded by the tuition coming in. Once we go through the process of applying for the CARE Act loan, which can be applied for on Friday April 3rd, and if we get approved, we will be paying full hours to all staff. No salaries have been lowered and no staff have been laid off or fired due to the pandemic. We are also continuing to pay our driver, cook, landscapers, and maintenance personnel.
2. We are not essential personnel. Am I still able to bring my child into school?
Yes, we will not be turning families away at the door. We have ample space to accommodate more children than we have. If you would like to come into the center to have your children be with friends, do activities and have a small amount of normalcy added back into their lives than please contact us and we will be sure to keep families updated on our current capacity.
3. Does the Governor's stay at home order restrict me from coming in?
No, the latest order coming from the Governor's office does not include dropping off and picking up your child/children from a child care center.
4. Do you have plans to add online learning for the students?
We have begun to post exercises on the app, Class Dojo, for our 3-year-old classrooms and up. We are not a technologically driven program and some of our teachers are more comfortable with in class learning so we feel it is best not to force a teacher into an uncomfortable position. We have also created development packs for the same age range to provide some at home work.
5. Why is April's tuition not discounted?
We have not discounted April's tuition as there are so many factors yet to be determined that in order to ensure we can pay our staff, purchase supplies, pay monthly utilities, mortgage and regular repairs, among other expenses, we felt this was our best option. With the unknown variables of what percentage of families will be continuing with tuition and whether or not we will be approved for the CARE Act loan we simply felt this was our best option to remain open and serving the community and our staff who are now relying on us more than ever. Once we receive more data and information, we will be determining what type of discount can be applied for the upcoming months. We are also trying to work with our families who have been severely financially impacted by the pandemic on a case by case basis.
6. Why can our space not be secured if we dis-enroll?
Even as this pandemic continues, we have families looking into arrangements for child care. As well as some families that were intending to begin care with us the past number of weeks, and the months ahead who have now rescheduled for a later date. It is for that reason we cannot guarantee that space will be available to all of our families and will be placing names on our waitlist on a first come first serve basis to those who are interested.
We hope this clarifies some questions that may have been lingering with some of our families. We would also like to take a moment to thank everyone on behalf of our entire staff for the letters of encouragement and compassion that we have received, know that it truly makes a difference and keeps us determined and ready to see this situation through to the end.
To All of Our School's Families,
Over the past few weeks, we have been receiving many emails describing all of your concerns, questions and issues regarding this pandemic. We would now like to take this opportunity to share with all of you what we have been experiencing.
Early on we had the Department of Social Services called on us only for the fact that we remained open. We have been called rude, disrespectful and disappointing among other things for not discounting April tuition by a minimum of half. On top of a family attempting to have parents band together and email us for discounted tuition because and I quote "...our strengths lie in our numbers (and wallets)". We have been told we are stealing and attempting to leverage families out of money due to the pandemic when, simply, we are trying to remain open to help our community and those families who need it most in this most difficult of times, both parents attending and staff who are trying to survive through all of this.
We have many families pulling their children out because financially they are overburdened, and then we have those that simply do not feel they should pay because they are not attending and feel no obligation to. We would simply like to remind some of the latter that there are a handful of families that understand our current situation and have paid multiple months ahead of time, and those that will continue payment because they understand, like most of the world, we are in a position of hardship ourselves. Things will return to normal, and when they do the families that gave their support and understanding will be shown sincere appreciation.
We encourage families when it comes time that you are behind your computer, phone or tablet ready to send an email to us, remember that there is a light at the end of this long tunnel and things will return to normal. We thank all of those families that have been so incredibly supportive and understand that you are not dealing with a huge corporate entity, that we are individuals just like all of you.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this, and like always we hope your family stays healthy and safe.
We wanted to keep all of our families updated on the announcement made earlier today by the Governor and what it means for our families and schools. Two of the major takeaways from the executive order are as follows: ·
Residents of Virginia must stay at home unless they are getting food, medical attention or help from law enforcement, among other essentials. ·
The state does allow residents to go outside to take care of loved ones and animals, travel to child care, exercise, travel to work and volunteer with charitable groups.
As we are deemed an essential business this order does not change how we will be operating day to day. We have given all of our staff members letters describing where they work and that they provide a critical service during this pandemic. We will be talking with our State representative to ensure no other changes need to be made to keep within guidelines.
Thank you all again and we hope everyone is keeping healthy and safe.
We here at Blue Bird and all of our schools do understand the burden the spread of COVID-19 has placed on all of our families. We also appreciate all of the support and well wishes so many of our families have passed along to us and our committed staff.
We feel obligated to help everyone understand that our plans as of this moment do not stretch into the entirety of this pandemic. If this is to continue past the month of April we will be reevaluating how we continue, which entails coming up with a discounted tuition rate, once we will have more information about the capacity we will be working at. For those families who have paid for months in advance we cannot thank you enough and will be sure once everything returns to normal to work with all of you as you have with us.
Another question we have been asked many times as of late is in regards to our graduation. We feel it is too early to make a final decision as to wether graduation will still be occurring, and we will come to that decision once we have more information in the coming months.
We also have exciting news for our pre-k through 2nd grade classes. We will be trying out a new app to send activities and create groups children can go into to participate in learning activities together with other classmates. We will still have work folders for children to take home however feel this will be a nice supplemental tool as well. Please look forward to more information on this app in the coming days.
As always please be sure that your families stay healthy and safe during these unprecedented times.
An order was passed by the Virginia Governor's office dictating that all non-essential businesses close and public schools remain closed the rest of the school year. The non-essential businesses list applies largely to indoor malls, gyms, restaurants and some recreational facilities. We do not fit under this category as we as a daycare facility are deemed an essential business so we will continue operating under the same guidelines as we have been. In addition, with public schools being closed the remainder of the school year, we have been tasked with providing care to our families with students in the public-school system up to 2nd grade (Blue Bird of Alexandria II). This again is to ensure that families unable to stay at home have a place for their children to attend.
On another note we are sure that families have noticed some staff members not being around in the morning or afternoon. We are changing our scheduling of staff to ensure every single person receives payment in a fair and balanced way. Please understand that staffing is not the only expense that is required to ensure we are able to remain open to provide our services to those who need it. What we can guarantee our families struggling with the idea of continued payment of tuition is that we are not profiting from this pandemic and are simply trying to provide an essential service to our families and take care of our staff.
We would also like to share with our families that we are gathering work materials for all students over the age of 3. Starting March 24th, you may come in to receive a workbook for your child/children's classroom to ensure they will remain busy and up to date for when classes resume. We hope this will take a small burden away from some families and add a touch of normalcy into the lives of our students.
Thank you all again for your patience and understanding in these trying times and we hope to see everyone soon.
This letter is in response to the bombardment of emails and phone calls that we have sustained in the past 24 hours in regards to our previous announcement.
We have been inundated with complaints regarding the payment of tuition. We would like for everyone to consider one thing, we have 175 individuals and families relying on us, counting on payment in these unprecedented times. With the large amount of families who have withdrawn from our school, to those that will undoubtedly simply not return, we are currently operating at a loss to try and remain open to provide what we feel is an invaluable service to many in the current state of things. We truly do understand that this is not an easy time for anyone in this country or the world, however as of this moment we do not intend to change our tuition policy.
We have informed all of our families, multiple times, we are in constant contact with our State representatives. We have also been in contact with the CDC and Social Services. As per their recommendation we posted that in order to assuredly take care of families who are 100% incapable of taking time off their jobs due to being in public service or healthcare and helping the fight against COVID-19 we SUGGESTED that families who were capable of staying at home do so. This does not mean we will be turning anyone away at the door; however, we would expect a modicum of understanding from everyone in these trying times for their fellow families.
We would like to add an email that was sent to us by a family in a situation as described above as an example for our reasoning in remaining open and as a thank you to our staff's dedication:
I just wanted to reach out and thank you and the staff for staying open as long as possible. I am a Nurse Practitioner, and my husband a small business owner. At this time we are struggling to keep his business open, which puts a lot of financial pressure on our family. Furthermore, as a health care provider, I will not be provided time off. In fact my hours are longer and harder. In the chaos I can take comfort in knowing my son, is safe with his teacher and staff. Without all of you at this time, I really don't know what I would do. I can't afford to stay at home, nor be ALLOWED at this time without compromising my own employment. I understand that you may be experiencing some push back. Therefore I just wanted to give you encouragement. I have faith in the system and teachers. We are going to be alright... as long as we work together.
We hope this clears up any questions you may have had and again hope that everyone stays safe and healthy.
Good Evening Families,
We have received new information on how to proceed in the coming weeks to maintain the safety and limit the spread of COVID-19. All private daycare facilities have been mandated to limit persons in each classroom to 10, that is including teachers and students. This will be going into effect Friday, March 20th and we will be following this mandate without question.
The Virginia Department of Social Services is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and all guidance that is being distributed to child care facilities at the federal level. For centers remaining open, they encourage us to adapt service settings as much as possible to align with public health recommendations. We strongly encourage families to remain at home to care for their children if at all possible. This will help ensure spaces for essential personnel in need of child care as they directly support the COVID-19 response efforts. Thank you.
We are aware of a mandate by Virginia's Governor that dictates a specific set of directives in order to safely proceed in the current conditions and to primarily give care to those families in the medical and first responder field. Following the press conference in describing these measures we immediately contacted our State representative who was unaware of when these directives may be implemented. Once they are we intend to follow all the directives as described, until that time we have been told to carry on as we have been.
As an additional precaution we also ask that you please refrain from bringing any unnecessary belongings from home and using ziplock bags or other disposable bags if needed. We thank you all for your cooperation and due diligence in these trying times.
We hope that we will all be able to get back to a sense of normalcy sooner rather than later. We will be sure to keep everyone updated once we have more information to pass along.
We understand there are many questions and uncertainties given the current circumstances related to COVID-19. The following statement we hope will address some of the more frequently asked questions.
Our schools will be remaining open unless otherwise mandated by our State representatives or barring new developments in the situation at hand. We understand this may be a controversial decision however we believe remaining open is important to families not in a position to stay at home still have care provided to them. Whether this be to protect loved ones who could more easily be compromised by the virus, or to try and maintain a sense of normalcy for their children to being unable to take time off from work, all reasons are important to us.
As of this moment we are asking that all of our families adhere to our school policy and pay tuition in full. This is to ensure that we are able to pay all of our staff and cover all overhead costs. There are of course extenuating circumstances that we will take into account after the fact.
We are attempting to refrain from having outside contact as much as possible while still trying to maintain a sense of normalcy for our students. Prompt pick up and drop off without lingering and avoiding coming in contact with multiple surfaces is an important step that we have asked all our families to adhere to. Children will also no longer be leaving the premises to avoid potential exposure from external sources.
We also ask that families adhere to our sick policy and stay at home at any sign of illness and keep your child/children home for 24 hours after signs have dissipated.
We assure you when we have any relevant information for our families regarding potential closings or updates from State representatives we will be informing our families immediately.