COVID-19 Precautions Reshape Osseo School District’s Summer Childcare Program
Spending time outdoors with friends is a staple of a Minnesota summer. After several months of distance learning, kids enrolled in the Osseo School District’s summer childcare program took full advantage of that opportunity to be outside Tuesday.
“They’re just so happy with be with other kids. They just love playing with them and engaging with them,” said Carrie Cabe, assistant director of community engagement for Osseo Area Schools.
Cabe is one of the people who oversees the district’s summer childcare program, which looks significantly different this year.
In a normal year, kids enrolled in the program would do things like go on field trips, or swim in area pools. But because of the COVID-19 restrictions, they have to stay at their designated site, and the playground is about the furthest place that they can go.
“We do miss our summer field trips and swimming with the kids, absolutely,” Cabe said. “But we’re trying to make it as fun as possible during the circumstances that we’re in.”
The pandemic has changed every component of this program.
For starters, they would typically have about 1,500 students enrolled. But this year, they only have 400 kids spread across five different sites, such as Oak View Elementary.
“We are definitely still open that families could enroll into the childcare program,” Cabe said. “But it definitely was hard on our department. We’ve had to transition staff to other departments and lay them off, just because the numbers aren’t there to justify it.”
Other changes to the program include:
- Organizing students into groups of nine, with one adult supervising.
- A nurse screens students and staff once they arrive to the building.
- Staff members implement social distancing practices to maintain safety throughout the day.
- Students are kept on strict schedules.
- Parents drop their children off at the front door rather than coming inside with their child.
“It’s definitely been a challenge, but our team has definitely rose to the occasion, come together,” Cabe said. “We read the guidance often, and it changes often too. So we’re on top of watching for those different changes.”
While this is now things look now, things could very well change later on this summer, as the district continues to monitor state guidelines.
If you’d like to enroll your child into the summer childcare program, contact the Osseo School District’s Kidstop office.