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Early Learning Centers Reopening Plan

(Plan Updated: August 31, 2020)

Today we are sharing our plans to reopen the Staten Island Early Learning Center and the Bronx Early Learning Center in the fall. These plans are required by the New York State Education Department.

The plan represents our current thinking based on the most up-to-date guidance from city, state, and federal agencies regarding the safe reopening of schools. Our leadership team has spent the summer following this guidance and working to develop a plan that addresses the educational and developmental needs of our students, while protecting the health and well-being of families and staff.

The goal of the plan is to guide the delivery of high-quality educational services as safely as possible, through a blended combination of remote and in-person services. The social and emotional needs of our students, families and staff members remain a top priority. By working together and focusing on the outcomes we seek to achieve, we will find collaborative solutions to the challenges ahead.

I hope that each of you will take time to review the full reopening plan in detail and provide us with feedback as we finalize our plans. Regardless of how we open in the fall, we look forward to continuing our engagement with students and families.


Linda Rosenthal
Director of Early Childhood Educational Services
Volunteers of America–Greater New York


Families with students at our early learning centers will have a choice between a blended learning model—with both in-person and remote instruction—or 100% remote instruction. The blended format is designed to provide greater opportunity to physically distance students and staff during instruction and transportation. Read Section 7: School Schedules in the full plan below to learn more about the blended learning model at each early learning center.

In the coming weeks we will be distributing another survey to confirm the number of families who are opting for only remote learning, now that we have announced our plans.


Frequently Asked Questions

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    Will there be a screening process for students and teachers?

    All staff and students will be screened daily for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. The health screening checklist will be provided to families in advance of school reopening. It must be completed and submitted every day by parents as they enter the early learning center. For students arriving by bus, the checklist must be in his or her backpack. Students who answer any screening questions in the affirmative should not report to school and should contact the school nurse. Learn more in Section 2 of the plan.

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    Does my child need to wear a mask at school?

    Students are encouraged to arrive at the early learning center wearing pediatric masks, however there may be instances in which a student’s respiratory status or social emotional well-being is impacted by being “forced” to wear a pediatric mask. Staff will work with the students through modeling and learning activities to encourage students to wear masks. The school nurse will have a supply of disposable pediatric masks available as a backup. Learn more in Section 2 of the full plan.

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    What happens if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19?

    If a student or teacher at one of our ELCs tests positive for COVID-19, the families of that classroom and school bus, if applicable, will be notified (without naming the person), that classroom will be closed and students from that classroom will revert to 100% remote learning for 14 days. If two or more individuals within an ELC test positive for COVID-19, all families will be notified, that ELC will be closed for 14 days, and all students will revert to 100% remote learning for 14 days. Learn more in Section 2 of the plan.

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    How will the ELCs be cleaned and sanitized?

    Each ELC will be disinfected on a daily basis, using the cleaning protocols recommended by the CDC and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and cleaning products recommended by the CDC and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Staff will complete a daily checklist confirming that these protocols have been completed. This checklist will include disinfecting of high-touch areas within the buildings. Learn more in Sections 2 & 3 of the full plan.

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    Can my child still take the bus to school?

    We are currently awaiting guidance regarding bus schedules from the New York City Department of Education. More information about bus transportation will be shared with families as soon as it is announced. Learn more in Section 5 of the plan.

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    How can I expect to receive updates and other important information?

    Families will receive weekly email newsletters from the Education Director (also sent via mail). As well, teachers will provide weekly phone calls. For students who attend in-person, daily/weekly communication will also be shared via the student’s communication notebook. All written and verbal communications will be available in English and Spanish. ASL is also available.


We encourage you to review our Guide to the Reopening Plan, which will walk you through the available information and where to find it in the plan.