JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
The Joint Base Charleston Child Development Centers on the air base and naval weapons station re-opened for mission critical members only, Aug. 5, 2020, due to parents returning from teleworking and needing child care.
The CDCs closed earlier this year to reduce the spread of COVID-19 to staff members and families.
The CDC worked hand-in-hand with Air Force Public Health to come up with a plan to follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for a safe re-opening. They also reduced the ratio of teachers to children as much as possible to avoid outbreaks.
“We are limiting the children’s exposure to other adults throughout their time in care,” said Judith Jackson, 628th Force Support Squadron air base CDC director. “All children, parents and staff members must have their temperature taken prior to entering the building, and we've eliminated parents being allowed to go into the classroom. Parents can go down the hall and outside the door of the classroom to speak with a staff member if needed.”
There are three teachers assigned to a classroom in order for children to stay in one particular classroom throughout the day. Each child will stay with a single team of teachers from the time they arrive until they depart.
Lynn Alderman, 628th FSS air base CDC assistant director, said parents need to be prepared for the changes that have been made.
“One thing that is going to be very crucial is parents need to have patience,” said Alderman. “This is going to be a long process. We are taking the temperatures of the children, requiring masks for those who are old enough to wear them, asking the parents questions when they enter the building, enforcing frequent handwashing and taking other precautions.”
The CDC also has markers to keep staff and children six feet apart for physical distancing, and staff members in hallways to assist the parents to get the children in the right area. Jackson further explained other measures being taken inside the classroom to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Normally we would have up to four classrooms on the playground at the same time, now we're limiting [to] one classroom at a time” said Jackson. “The play equipment is being hosed off with bleach and water between classes.”
Jackson said in the event that a child gets a fever throughout the day, parents must take action in order for their child to return to the CDC. The parents will be contacted and must pick their child up within an hour and won’t be able to return until they are fever free and had a virtual or face-to-face appointment with a physician.
The hours of operation for the CDC has changed. On Monday, the CDC will open up at 6:30 a.m. and will close at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday the CDC will open at 6:30 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m.