Day care facility makes changes amid COVID-19

The Learning Center for Excellence. Photo by Kasherah Reynolds

Elgenette Pope had to comfort her child after the girl’s day care temporarily shut down. Pope’s 3-year-old daughter was devastated. She asked about her friends every day and became distraught.

“If my child is experiencing this, I’m very sure that the other children are experiencing this as well,” Pope said.

With many schools and day care facilities across the nation closing due to COVID-19, children around the world have beenseparated from their friends and many seem to miss not being in an early childhood developmental environment.

Elgenette Pope, owner, and director of The Learning Center for Excellence, decided to find a solution and re-open their doors after doing her research and monitoring the spread of the virus. Pope administered new guidelines enforcing social distancing.

“My thoughts on why we re-opened was because of our children and parents that we serve,” she said.

The Learning Center for Excellence is a local child-care facility that provides day care services for infants to preschoolers. Its mission is to offer a safe, educational and engaging early childcare setting to assist each child in establishing a dynamic love for learning.

The center temporarily closed on March 23 and re-opened May 4. The facility underwent a deep cleaning to ensure the safety of their students and staff upon reopening.

As of Monday, June 22, 93 of the 113 child-care facilities/family day care homes in Leon County have re-opened for operations, according to the Early Learning Coalition of the Big Bend Region.

TLC for Excellence has made a tremendous number of changes to its facility amid COVID-19 to practice social distancing and maintain safety precautions for all staff members and students.

Victoria Keaton, staff member and parent, is grateful for the improvements the day care has put into effect for the safety of the children and staff.

“Knowing that the center is using precautions and that your child is in safe hands, it keeps you motivated to realize that they are in a safe place and lets you know that they are going to be OK,” said Keaton.

The center once had an open-door policy. Now it has implemented new procedures including not allowing any parents or outside individuals access to the facility.

Once parents walk up to the facility with their child, they must ring the doorbell while sanitizing their hands and their child’s hands and wait until they are greeted by a masked staff member. The staff member then takes the child to wash their hands with anti-bacterial soap while singing their ABCs.

Temperatures of children and staff members are taken with a contactless thermometer to make sure they do not have a fever.

Since the pandemic, The Learning Center for Excellence has lost 75 percent of itsenrollment.

Demetria Riser, a parent, appreciates the love the center has for its students and the relationships built with the parents and staff.

“I appreciate that the day care treats the children as if they were their own and they make sure the children have a healthy safe environment,” Risersaid.

TLC for Excellence is accepting new students. However, the facility will not allow any students who are sick to enter even if they have a runny nose. If a child has allergies, parents are required to bring a doctor’s note for documentation to verify the child’s health.