Ardent Preschool and Daycare is now offering childcare services for essential workers in Birmingham and Huntsville during the COVID-19 crisis.
“There are Ardent families in which both husband and wife are considered essential workers and some families have no extended family in the area. That puts them in a tough spot,” says Ardent CEO John LaBreche. “It made sense to provide care for our enrolled families that were in need.”
Ardent’s first priority is to serve families already enrolled at the school. Services have been extended to other families as well. But a very limited number of spaces are available. To comply with social distancing regulations, Ardent can only allow 4 to 11 children per classroom.
Ardent’s enhanced cleaning procedures and COVID protocols have been approved by the Jefferson County and State Health Department.
Ardent’s safety measures include the following;
- not allowing sick children to enter or remain at school
- requiring parents to sanitize their hands before entering the school
- not allowing parents inside classrooms
- reducing class size to allow for social distancing
- checking all students and staff for fever
- use of disinfectant foggers and Clear Blue Germicidal Lighting Systems.
“Many of these measures were actually put in place before COVID-19 was a direct threat,” says Tracy LeBreche, Ardent’s implementation officer. “For example, we had upgraded to UV lighting and had purchased disinfectant foggers for all of our locations in early February.”
Ardent staff members also are sanitizing cots daily after naptime. Staff breakrooms are limited to one person at a time. And cloth masks will soon be available at all six of Ardent’s locations.
Furthermore, teachers are being diligent in reminding students to wash their hands, cover coughs and sneezes with their elbow, and to keep an appropriate distance between themselves and others. Teachers are also opting for outside learning when possible.
“If it’s a beautiful day and the teachers want to have their learning times outside, we are encouraging them to do so,” Tracy says. “Fresh air and sunshine are good for the body and mind – a natural spirit lifter!”
Ardent staff is staggering outside playground use, too.
A Matter of Trust
“There’s a lot of trust that is happening right now,” John says. “Parents are trusting us to comply with social distancing and to thoroughly sanitize and disinfect while still providing a fun and nurturing environment for their children. We, in turn, are trusting parents to be honest to not drop off children who are ill or who have been in contact with someone who is ill. And our staff are trusting us to enforce our medical/sickness policy and they’re also trusting that we will make sure they are equipped with the resources necessary to stay safe.”
Essential workers interested in Ardent’s childcare services can apply here. Space is very limited and granted on a first-come, first-serve basis.