When schools closed due to the pandemic, so did the extended day programs that care for children before and after schools.
At Chase Avenue Elementary School in the Cajon Valley Union School District, the extended day program changed into an emergency child care program for district students whose parents are essential workers.
Social distancing and sanitation protocols have been put in place, to keep children safe. Looking at how the daycare is operating, you can't help but think if this is what all school will look like if students are allowed to return to campus.
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Students washed their hands and practiced social distancing. They sat six feet apart as they ate lunch at outside tables; they stood in line six feet apart as they waited to go to the bathroom; they washed their hands as they entered the classroom where they sat at desks six feet a part.
“It’s very different,” said 9-year-old Emily Lucatero. “Normally at school we’re all together on the carpet, we’re sitting next to each other. Now we have to stay six feet apart.”
On Thursday, there were 28 students at the school, a maximum of 10 per class, but 20 more will be enrolling Monday. District Superintendent David Miyashiro said he hopes to be able to open more schools in the district for child care with no more than 50 to 60 students at each school.
Miyashiro said Cajon Valley was able to open day care because it had the personal protective equipment to do it. He said he reached out to hospitals about donating the equipment the schools had or providing child care for parents. He said they told him, “By all means, do that [provide child care], keep the PPE.”
Could it be done a larger scale if schools were to reopen? Miyashiro said three things would have to happen. There would have to be “safety, funding and leadership."