Head Start Preschoolers Return to Classrooms

Head Start Preschoolers Return to Classrooms
Posted on 08/01/2021
Families Drop off their children

For the first time in more than a year, Head Start preschoolers returned to school! ESC 19 Head Start center staff welcome back children to the classroom for their first day of school. For 10 Head Start centers that are making the transition from virtual to in-person learning, preparedness is key to keeping children and staff safe this coming year.

“Whether you are a first-time family or returning for another year, we understand that having your children back at school may have been a difficult decision,” said Socorro Rodriguez, Head Start Director. “For this reason, it’s our goal to help make this the best experience for your family so that you will have the peace of mind knowing that your child is receiving the best education and care.”

In the spring of 2020, ESC 19 Head Start went from having children in the classroom to making preschool virtual for more than 3,500 students. “At first, of course, this was an unexpected transition, but our staff and families adapted well to the change,” said Rodriguez. 

For the 2021-2022 school year, the program is returning children to in-person services. Centers that begin the transition to in-person learning on Monday, August 1, include Socorro, Child Development Center (CDC), Clint, Montana Vista, Options, Pete Duarte, Red Sands, San Elizario, Sparks, and Tornillo Head Start. “Children will be back in the classroom this year, but rest assured we have planned for their safe return,” said Rodriguez. “Our first steps for in-person learning and services include adhering to CDC and the Office of Head Start recommendations.” 

With the return of children, the program will have procedures in place to keep them safe. Procedures in place, include social distancing, wearing of a mask, temperature checks, staggered arrival and departure times, curbside drop-off and pick-up, staggered mealtimes, around-the-clock cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting and washing of hands frequently. 

“As we reopen our Head Start centers, the classroom is going to look different, but the quality of education and services provided will not change,” said Rodriguez. “We will continue to provide children with the very best and safely designed learning environments for their return.”

Head Start classrooms are arranged to have well-defined areas for learning and activities all while keeping children at safe distances apart from each other as much as possible. Plexiglas partitions have been installed in all classrooms, with children ages 3 and 4-years of age required to wear a mask.

“As difficult as it is to have these types of safety procedures in place, we all have to understand that the well-being of our children is our top priority,” said Rodriguez.  “Our families rely on us to provide a safe, stimulating, and enriching space for their children to learn, all while keeping them healthy.”