Still Open and Available for Our Families (updated 3/17/20)

UPDATE 3/17/20:  NJ DCF issued a clarification of  their guidance from yesterday.   It opens as follows:

“The Department of Children and Families reminds childcare providers that the state has not
directed that they cease operation as a result of the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19)
outbreak.”

New Jersey Governor Murphy has ordered extraordinary measures to mitigate the spread and threat of Covid-19 in the state.  Chief among these is the order to close all K-12 schools (public, private, parochial) for at least two weeks starting this Wednesday.  Other key features of the order include restricting most businesses to daytime hours, eliminating on-site service at restaurants, and mandating that any gathering in the state number 50 people or fewer

For The Montessori House, the salient fact is that this order does not apply to childcare centers.  We won’t speculate on the rationale for the different treatment of schools and childcare centers, except to say that there are sound reasons for the distinction.

We’ve received guidance from state officials through  a few sources.  A release from Senator Loretta Weinberg states explicitly that,“As of now daycares are not included”.   Also the NJ Dept of Children and Families (DCF), which regulates all early childhood providers, issued guidance today encouraging providers like The Montessori House School to keep their doors open — on a short-term basis they’ve relaxed select regulations to enable providers to both stay open and stay in compliance.   Finally, we’ve communicated with others in the early childhood education industry who have spoken with the Governor’s office and they were told the order to close does not apply to childcare centers.  (Note, the order’s reference to PreK appears to refer only to such programs hosted in K-12 schools.)

At The Montessori House School our regular teaching staff is available and committed to providing our families the option of safe, high-quality care and early childhood education.  We’ve put in place procedures to limit the risk to students and staff of Covid-19 infection while at school, and we re-evaluate daily if further changes would be beneficial.

We know that with school-age siblings now learning at home, and parents working at home, that many of families will prefer to keep their Montessori House student home too.  We want our Montessori House families to know that, if their situation changes, we’re focused on having available the childcare they may need.

 

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