The Governor's new directive has been released and "in person" public school and childcare programs have been canceled for the remainder of the school year. This means that we are now looking at making a long term plan for Apple Tree.
We did make the difficult decision this week to close due to financial and moral reasons (not wanting to charge families when we could not provide them with a service), however with this new order we have to look long range and change our plans. Additionally, the Child Development Division (CDD) has put new long-term financial supports in place for programs beginning April 6th, which are designed to ensure that programs will still be intact and available to serve families when the Governor's orders change. These state financial supports also allow programs to better serve families of essential workers.
Below are the changes that we are making moving forward.
In order to ensure that programs are able to reopen at the end of the COVIC-19 closure directive and to provide financial stability to providers while ensuring the overall childcare system is maintained, the State has created financial supports. These supports have specific guidance:
1. We must charge families 50% of their tuition, and the State will pay the other half. We understand that this is a huge ask for our families and that some/many of you may not be able to do that. While this guidance goes against what we personally wanted to ask our families to do, we have been assured that this program will put us in the best possible position to reopen after this mandated closure.
If you are unable to pay the 50% weekly tuition, you should notify us in writing. You will need to state that you are unenrolling your child(ren) from our program due to financial hardships during this time, and that you would like to be added to our "wait list". We then have steps to take in order to collect the remaining tuition funds from the state.
Starting April 6th, we will begin charging 50% tuition to all families, and billing the State for the other half as well as the 50% from parents unable to pay. Nicole will be sending you weekly invoices, not monthly starting April 6th. She will then be sending invoices to the State every other week and providing the State with any information collected from families who are unable to pay their tuition, and must unenroll at this time. This includes co-pays for those on subsidy. If you receive subsidy and/or pre-k, your rate weekly would still reflect those discounts as always.
For those able to pay their "half" tuition, we can assure you that your child's spot will still be available as soon as the governor's directive for closure is lifted. For those that must unenroll during this time, we will be adding your name to the top of the wait list and will be connecting with you once we are cleared to open. You will all continue to receive our updates and other parent communications so that you are able to stay informed through this process.
2. Part of this guidance means that we have to rehire all of our teachers, and pay them their salaries even though we are closed to non essential employees. This ensures that your child's teachers are able to continue to receive a full paycheck as well as ensures that our business can open it's doors and welcome all staff and families back when this is over. Staff will be required to provide continuity of support and provide learning opportunities for families during the closure period. For example, they could have story hours, puppet shows and regular check in with families and children. We will also require staff to use this closure time for online professional development opportunities.
While we understand the hardship we are all faced with at this time, and by no means wish to add on to that for any of you. We also want to do all that we can to ensure we can reopen at the end of this closure period and be of service to our families, that has and will continue to be our only goal.