APOLLO BEACH, Fla. - During the pandemic, many child care and early learning centers closed down or drastically decreased the number of kids they allowed inside. Monday, some of the last remaining centers in Hillsborough County that had closed their doors, like Southshore Montessori School in Apollo Beach, are finally welcoming their kids back much to the excitement of parents and students alike.
However, just like everything else, there are some changes and safety precautions that have been implemented to keep the kids and staff healthy.
As parents drove up to the school Monday morning, the kids were greeted at their car where staff took their temperature. The students were also asked to sanitize at a hand sanitizer station before entering the facility.
All staff is required to wear a mask and have had their temperatures taken as well. Parents were also asked to stay outside the building to keep the school a clean and healthy environment.
During the pandemic, 312 of the county’s 679 private child care centers were closed at one point. As of June 1, 656 of those facilities were back up and running with Monday adding about a dozen more facilities to the list.
These facilities re-opening are not only important for the parents so they can get back to their jobs, but the owner of Southshore Montessori School told FOX 13 that this is also crucial for the kids to be back in a learning and social environment.
“This is where we learn our basic life skills and are shaped into the adults we are going to become. Our classrooms are carefully prepared. We have made sure that we are ready to have social distancing, and we are ready to disinfect the classrooms. And the children are here, they want to learn new things, they want to interact with their friends,” said Rohini Rustogi, the center’s owner.
Rustogi said they will have about 67 kids at their center, which is average for their summer program. However, they will be keeping the kids in smaller groups, along with keeping their teachers with that group, just to limit any possible exposure.
Hillsborough County Superintendent Addison Davis also stated Monday that the district has a plan in place for their reopening, but they are waiting for additional guidelines from the CDC to be released on June 15. They are hoping to begin reopening their summer programs come July.