Atlanta, GA – June 15, 2020 – Sheltering Arms, one of Georgia’s largest nonprofit early childhood education providers, will reopen and welcome children back on June 22.
In mid-March, the organization closed its centers, following the advice of Governor Brian Kemp and public health authorities, and focused on relief efforts for its families.
“As destabilizing as the pandemic has been for many of us, it has been devastating to families with little to no resources,” said Sheltering Arms president and CEO Blythe Keeler Robinson. “Before COVID-19, many families relied on us for food and diapers during the school day, so it has been particularly challenging for them since we have been closed.”
To date, Sheltering Arms has provided more than 118,000 diapers, 1,600 packs of wipes, and 11,400 packs of hygiene products, along with packs of baby food, games and toys. Family support coaches have connected families to community resources that provide meals, bill and rent assistance, mental health support and at-home learning tools for children. The organization also has established the Sheltering Arms Family Emergency Fund so the community-at-large can assist with continued support efforts.
Sheltering Arms now is preparing for children to return in phases to the centers. Initially, the organization will allow up to eight children in the classroom. More families will be added in two-week increments, as safety conditions are continuously monitored.
“We can’t wait to bring our centers back to life with the sound of children,” added Robinson. “During the quarantine, our teachers worked relentlessly to provide learning moments through virtual lessons, science experiments and activity packets, but nothing replaces the in-person experience in our classrooms.”
Sheltering Arms is taking extensive measures established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health to ensure the safety of staff as well as children and families. These measures include but are not limited to:
- Personal protective equipment for staff members
- Teacher and staff training on social distancing and cleaning and disinfection protocols
- Daily health screenings for children and staff
- New drop-off and pick-up procedures to restrict building access
- Enhanced cleaning and sanitation of each building and the furnishing of hand sanitizer stations throughout the centers
- Installation of transparent protective barriers at the front desks
The summer enrichment program will focus on STEAM-related activities, preparing rising kindergarten students for school and making up for learning loss during the quarantine months.
About Sheltering Arms
Sheltering Arms is the longest-established and one of the largest nonprofit early childhood education organizations in Georgia, providing high‐quality early education, child care and comprehensive family support services since 1888. The agency serves more than 3,000 children annually and their families at 14 metropolitan Atlanta locations in Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton and Gwinnett counties and consistently meets accreditation standards by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. On average, children attending Sheltering Arms score in the 90th percentile for language and literacy, exceeding developmental milestones for kindergarten readiness. Visit shelteringarmsforkids.com or more information.