I have been gathering as much information that is out there to the public on the various childcare programs that will be running in the Howard County public schools this school year. I recently obtained the contact information from the Sr. Manager Media Relations & Communications for the Columbia Association so I sent over a few questions and thought I would share those answers with the community.

Here are my questions and the answers I received:

1. Space – What specific spaces within the schools will be used for this program?

School Age Services staff will have access to two classrooms at each of the ten schools where Columbia Association is providing childcare. Each of the two classrooms will be limited to 13 students each. Weather permitting, instruction and activities will take place outside as well.

2. Money – Is CA paying any of the money generated for the program back to the school system for use of this space?

Whether fees will be charged by the Howard County Public Schools are still under consideration.

3. Cleaning – What are the specific cleaning regiments in place for daily, weekly or monthly cleaning of the spaces used for the program?

In accordance with state guidance, children and staff will be wearing masks or approved face coverings during program hours. In addition, children will have to stay six feet apart while they’re under CA’s supervision. Additionally, parents and children will be required to wear masks during pick up and drop off. Participating families will also complete a symptoms questionnaire, and children will get their temperature checked and recorded at least once a day.

There will be frequent and consistent cleaning of all high contact areas. Every day, staff will proactively disinfect common areas prior to the start of the program and after children have left. Cleaning will also take place when children transition from one area to another, before and after snack, after outdoor time and any other time staff deem appropriate. HCPS custodial staff will also be conducting routine cleanings of the classrooms we use on a daily basis.

The health and safety of children and staff participating in our programs are vital to the success of SAS, and we will continue to emphasize that importance by following constant and careful cleaning protocol.

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I would like to thank Dannika Rynes (Sr. Manager Media Relations & Communications for Columbia Association) for taking my questions and getting me answers to those questions quickly. It is always wonderful when organizations work with us in the community to get answers to questions.

I think maybe the surprise to me from the answers above was that classrooms will be used for these programs by Columbia Association. I honestly was expecting more open spaces like cafeterias, gyms or media centers to be used to maximize social distancing.

I would assume (because I have not asked yet…but will be soon) that this might be the same for the program offered by Howard County Government (Recreation and Parks) in the 16 public schools throughout the county. Something for me to follow up on in the coming days.

I am already working on my next set of questions to ask in the future…but if you think of any…feel free to send them along in the comments.

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Scott E