When United Community’s Early Learning Center (ELC) closed in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, no one imagined it would be 15 months before the ELC would reopen its doors to the youngest members of our community. So, the long-awaited reopening on July 1, 2021, was welcome news to both families of children enrolled in the ELC and the teachers who provide quality care and education to the students.
“Closing the ELC was life-changing for parents and teachers alike,” said Torria Baker, Director of the Early Learning Center. “Reuniting with the team and the children was so wonderful.”
“Four of our pre-K students were able to return to school for one month before they entered kindergarten. These four were enrolled in the ELC since they were infants, so being able to spend some time with them before they headed to their new schools meant a lot to all of us.”
COVID-19 remains top of mind at the ELC, and it has for the last year since it reopened. The entire teaching team is fully vaccinated. Parents must complete a brief COVID questionnaire at drop-off, and children have a temperature screening before they enter the classroom. Teachers conduct a daily health assessment once the child arrives in the classroom. The ELC team and children follow proper handwashing procedures through the day, and all toys and equipment are sanitized daily.
Additionally, now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available for children aged 6 months to 4 years, the ELC is working with the Fairfax County Department of Health on vaccine education and appointments.
Parents are happy to have their children back. “I love that the center reopened to provide the quality service once again to many families. The ELC is not just the normal childcare center, it is a place where they see the children as their own, a place where no child is treated differently because of skin color or economic status,” said S. Arias.
As United Community reflects on the first anniversary of the ELC reopening, the team is looking toward the future.
“We hope to bring more amazing teachers on staff and enroll more children in the coming month,” Torria said. “We will continue to partner with our families on their children’s learning and development. We are committed to providing a nurturing and caring learning environment for children in their region for many years to come.”
Limited space is available at the ELC. Learn more about United Community’s Early Learning Center.