Dear MCPK Families,

As most of you know, Governor Murphy has announced that in-person learning will resume for NJ schools in September.  Childcare centers were permitted to open to a limited degree in June. We are thrilled that we will be able to re-open our building and playground for our students and staff for the 2020-2021 school-year!  Our team is working tirelessly to be prepared for your children to safely begin or continue pre-k in the fall. There will be many changes to our “normal” program, procedures and policies. We will have to work together as a community in order to ensure the best and safest experience possible for staff and families. We ask you to remember that this is a complex and fluid situation and we will continue to adapt our plans as it evolves to offer the most that we can within our licensing guidelines. 

We know that each family feels differently about schools re-opening and that many of you have unique circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that will impact your MCPK experience in September. Some of you are eagerly awaiting the first day of school and can’t wait to drop your kids off the second our doors open. Some of you are anxious about sending your child to school under these conditions, while others are waiting to see how things go this summer as NJ gradually reopens. We understand and respect all perspectives and we share both your concerns and hopes, as educators, community members and parents. 

Our staff is creating an updated parent handbook with COVID-19 specific procedures and policies. You will receive the handbook in time to prepare your family for the start of school, but we will not release our finalized version until we are sure that it reflects the most up to date regulations and recommendations from the NJ Department of Children and Families (DCF), the CDC and state and local Health Departments.   The handbook will lay out all of the new procedures we will be implementing in order to open in September. These procedures will remain in place until we enter the next phase of reopening and we receive new guidelines from DCF. Because we do not know when this will happen or how it will impact schools and childcare programs, we will continue to operate with the highest level of caution with our COVID specific procedures.   

Below, we have included some of the DCF guidelines that are shaping our re-opening plan. We hope that this information helps you reach a decision about enrollment by the July 10 th deadline for first month’s tuition.   It is very important that we know how many students we will have starting in September, in order to ensure that we can appropriately prepare our classrooms and our staff. We will also need to know each family’s consistent arrival and departure time to ensure efficient screening practices and grouping assignments. Because we are not able to mix groups at any time, extended care will most likely be limited in hours and capacity. We ask that you only request extended care if you absolutely need it in September. We will send a scheduling survey, FAQ’s and a link to the full DCF guidelines next week. We understand that schedules will change and we will do our best to accommodate families on an individual basis.   

Once you have reviewed the following guidelines, please email info@montclairprek.org with any questions or suggestions. 

·     class groupings will be 10 or less with one primary teacher for the school day (MCPK rooms are licensed for 16/20 children and will be divided using physical partitions into two smaller groups of 8/10, each with a different member of the teaching team);
·     groups will remain separated throughout the day including the playground (playground will be divided into four separate areas with a rotating schedule so children have access to all areas throughout the week);
·     the staff members will remain with the same group every day, with a second teacher for extended care; no additional adults will be permitted to interact with students in the classrooms;
·     daily health screenings of all faculty, children and caregivers are done prior to entering the building (we are determining our outdoor drop-off and pick-up procedures including a staggered time frame for different groups);
·     daily logs will be sent to the state with health information regarding each child and faculty member;
·     visitors, including family members and volunteers, are prohibited in the center during operating hours with the exception of emergency personnel or law enforcement (MCPK will find creative ways for parents and volunteers to participate in the classroom);
·     staff will be required to wear masks throughout the day (when feasible, children will wear face coverings, but they are only required in hallways and other common areas);
·     enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures will take place throughout the day.

We ask that you do everything you can at home to prepare your child for this new school experience. Practice wearing masks and washing hands for 20 seconds (sing the ABC’s). We are here to help guide the conversations and to provide helpful resources.  Thank you for your patience as we navigate this uncharted territory—it’s a learning experience for all of us! Our “new normal” may not be easy or perfect, but we will do whatever it takes to be with our students in person. We are confident that our community can meet any challenge with excellence, creativity and joy. 
Looking forward to seeing you all in the fall!

With hope and determination,


The MCPK Admin Team