BELFAST — While schools across the state, and nation, have adapted to remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Cornerspring Montessori School in Belfast has gone one step further by ensuring the children of medical personnel and first responders are being cared for during the pandemic.
While the school’s preschool, elementary and middle school programs have shifted to remote learning, the school’s board of trustees has launched the Cornerspring Cares program.
The goal of the program, slated to run through at least the end of April, is to provide care for the children, ages two to 12, of health care workers from Waldo County General Hospital, Belfast’s Tall Pines Retirement and Healthcare Community, Belfast’s Harbor Hill Center, Pen Bay Medical Center, as well area first responders.
“Our Board of Trustees worked together to come up with a way to support some of our current families who work in healthcare as we were making the decision to close the school for a significant amount of time due to the Coronavirus,” said Susan Beemer, the Head of School at Cornerspring. “We knew that people all over the community would need help with care for their children to continue their important work. And we also knew that our own Cornerspring families would find losing their child care a particular hardship as our economy relies on child care to work.”
The program launched last week, and had then seven children enrolled from three families.
Cornerspring has received and training and worked with Waldo County General Hospital to establish protocols for screening children and staff each day and training to ensure the well-being of all parties.
Upon arrival each day, the health of staff and students will be assessed following the established protocols, which are subject to change as the pandemic evolves, and those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will not be admitted into the building. Children exhibiting symptoms during care will be isolated and immediately sent home.
To be admitted each day, staff and children must be fever free for the last 24 hours, be experiencing no cough or shortness of breath, free of diarrhea or vomiting during the last 24 hours, and must not have a family member experiencing a fever, cough or shortness of breath. Students and staff will also be turned away if a family member has tested positive, or presumptive positive, for COVID-19.
The program will focus on nature-based and outdoor education, while providing a clean and safe indoor environment. Breakfast and lunch will be provided through Regional School Unit 71.
To adhere to the state’s childcare licensing guidelines, groups will be kept to 10 or fewer children.
Beemer said in an interview late Tuesday evening she has four staff members committed to helping provide care, meaning the program could grow to two groups of 10.
The program is being offered weekdays in two groups: from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The cost for those currently registered as Cornerspring students will be the standard tuition expense. For families new to Cornerspring, the cost will be $50 per day to attend from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. or $60 per day to attend from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
“We hope to support the community as long there is this great need,” said Beemer.
To register your child, view the attached PDF files for more program information and an application.
If members of the community are interested in helping provide care, they can contact Beemer at 338-5800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach George Harvey at: email@example.com.