Statement from the Early Arts Advisory Council
The pandemic highlights the decisions we make each day. For those who must earn a living and don't have the choice to work from home, we balance our personal safety against the dangers of a workplace filled with other workers. For those who work and can't schedule a grocery pick-up at Wal-Mart or Publix, we balance our personal safety against the dangers of crowded aisles and potentially contaminated grocery carts. For families with children who need school meals, who need structure, who need educational opportunities, we balance their personal safety (and even our own) against the danger of sending them to school where they may be exposed to the virus. We make all these decisions based on the best information we have about safety and our personal priorities. It is in that context that Early Arts will be opening for school on August 31. Believing that providing this outreach to families with small children for educational and socialization opportunities is vitally important to our Early Arts families, we weighed the benefits against the risks and agreed to open for school. The Early Arts staff has developed policies and procedures intended to keep the children as safe as possible. Children and staff will be screened every morning before entering the building. Classrooms will be sanitized during the school day and after school in preparation for the following day. Visitors will be discouraged. Students will not circulate through the building as freely as they have in years past. Staff will wear face shields throughout the day (hoping the see-through shields are less frightening to young children than masks). Some families have already announced that they will keep their children at home, foregoing school this Fall semester. We respect their decision. Others are thrilled that their children will receive the benefits of Early Arts. On balance, we believe children need to be in school lest they fall behind educationally and socially. Please be in prayer for our Early Arts staff and students. Much prayer and preparation has gone into the decision to open and the policies and procedures to make the environment as safe as practical, but more prayer is needed. There will be situations we didn't anticipate. Adjustments to the initial policies and procedures will be required. It is likely that a child or a staff member will test positive for the virus, bringing additional policies and procedures into play. But this is a gift of service Edgemont UMC offers to the community, one which our Early Arts staff is committed to. Please join us in supporting them in every way you can.