Updates from our Leadership
September 2, 2021
August 25, 2021
ECS would like to provide you with updated information and resources for testing for COVID-19. We understand there are many testing sites, mainly urgent care centers that could be charging for testing. Please understand, COVID-19 testing is free and there are an abundance of free testing sites available.
If you are insured, under the Cares Act, group and individual health plans cover “Diagnostic COVID testing and Vaccination” at no cost share to the insured as long as the test is administered by a healthcare provider, including state or local testing facilities. If you are charged for “Diagnostic COVID testing or Vaccination,” question the charges with your provider. It is your right to do so.
If you are uninsured, State and Local facilities that receive federal funding should be providing diagnostic testing at no cost.
For detailed information on COVID-19 free testing sites, including where to find one in your area, log on to: https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/testing-sites/ or https://www.hhs.gov/coronavirus/community-based-testing-sites/index.html#fl or http://www.floridahealth.gov/all-county-locations.html.
Lastly, with the full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine this week, ECS encourages you to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and specifically the relentless Delta variant that is running rampant in our community. Help stop the spread of the Delta and other variants of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated as soon as you can.
Wishing you all well.
August 23, 2021
The health and safety of our staff, children and families remain a top priority at ECS. The COVID-19 response team monitors community data as well as internal data to make decisions. Currently, all of the communities we serve have seen an dramatic increase in community transmission levels. We have also seen an increase in staff testing positive for COVID-19 in the six weeks. Due to this increase in community spread, ECS will return to Phase Two effective August 23, 2021. Our updated COVID-19 guidelines are available and reflect suggested guidance from The National Head Start Association (NHSA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The American Academy of Pediatrics, and state and local authorities.
To stop this pandemic, we need to use all our prevention tools. Vaccines are one of the most effective tools to protect your health and prevent disease. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Experts also think that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. To date, approximately 1/3 of ECS employees are fully vaccinated. Building defenses against COVID-19 in our workplace and in your community is a team effort. And you are a key part of that defense. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine adds one more layer of protection for you, your coworkers, children, and families.
Thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding during this unprecedented time.
As we prepare to begin a new school year in the coming days, we must also prepare our classrooms and centers to be a safe and healthy environment for our children, parents, and staff. After much thought, discussion and consideration, ECS is following the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Office of Head Start and requiring children between the ages of 2 – 5 be masked while indoors. This is part of a layered protection strategy to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
I’m sure we can all agree that we all want the best for our children while in our care. Requesting the children be masked while indoors creates the safest and best environment to decrease the likelihood of the spread of COVID-19 in our centers and in our community. As you are aware, this pandemic is constantly evolving and the guidance and guidelines seem to change frequently. However, we believe the mask requirement for our children best meets the needs of our ECS family and helps keep us all safe.
If you’d like more information regarding the AAPs recommendation visit: https://services.aap.org/en/news-room/news-releases/aap/2021/american-academy-of-pediatrics-updates-recommendations-for-opening-schools-in-fall-2021/
Wishing you all well and praying for the safety of our staff, children and families.
The health and safety of children, families, staff and volunteers is our top priority at ECS. On July 1, ECS moved to our COVID-19 Phase 3 Return to Work Plan. With this plan, we increased group size and allowed masks to be voluntary in our administration buildings. In light of the increase in COVID-19 positivity numbers in the communities we serve as well as seeing an increase in employees testing positive for COVID-19, ESC plans to reprise the following mitigation strategies immediately until further notice:
- Masks will be required in all ECS buildings and meetings whether persons are vaccinated or unvaccinated.
- Virtual meetings/trainings are recommended when possible at this time. In person meetings will not exceed 10.
This is still an evolving and complex situation and we ask that you continue to monitor our website for updates. We appreciate your continued support of ECS and the children and families we serve.
The health and safety of our staff, children and families remain a top priority at ECS. ECS will transition into PHASE 3 effective July 1, 2021. This comes after careful review and consideration from the COVID-19 Response Team as well as staff feedback from the recent COVID-19 survey. Our updated COVID-19 guidelines are attached and reflect suggested guidance from The National Head Start Association (NHSA), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local authorities.
Some of the key updates for PHASE 3 include the following:
- Masks will be optional in administrative buildings for fully vaccinated individuals.
- Adults will be required to wear masks while inside the classroom while children are present.
- If able to properly socially distance, masks may be removed during outdoor activities.
- Front door in-person health screenings will discontinue at Central and Skylark Admin office. Staff will self-screen prior to reporting to work.
- Front door in-person health screenings will continue at Centers for staff, volunteers, parents and children. The screening questions have been revised.
- Individuals unable to work due to COVID-19 symptoms may return to work when fever free for at least 24 hours and symptoms have improved.
- The health screening will no longer ask about other family members experiencing symptoms.
- Quarantine requirement will be 10 days as recommended by CDC instead of 14 days for unvaccinated staff directly exposed.
- Unvaccinated individuals directly exposed to C-19 must isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days.
- 10 day isolation required for unvaccinated staff upon return from international travel.
- Emergency FMLA & Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) will remain in effect through June 30, 2021.
- COVID-19 Vaccine- 2 days of paid sick leave available for staff unable to work – medical documentation required.
- Community and/or parent volunteers allowed in classrooms and Home Visiting Services return for the 2021/2022 program year.
- Maximum group size limit extends to fifty (50).
Free COVID-19 Vaccines
Episcopal Children’s Services (ECS), is pleased to bring mobile vaccination vans to North and Central Florida beginning Friday, June 18. In partnership with CDR Health, the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Florida Department of Health, Episcopal Children’s Services is looking forward to helping vaccinate the community in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. With many vaccination sites closing in the area within the next several days, these four ECS locations, from Duval to Lake counties will provide a much-needed resource and opportunity that might not otherwise be available. The vaccination vans, provided by CDR Health will administer both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
See all locations.
ECS COVID-19 Resources
Resources provided to our families during the COVID-19 pandemic which allowed them to learn safely at home and follow ECS CDC guidelines.
COVID-19 Vaccination Information: News You Can Use
Vaccination Eligibility Expands to Include Child Care Head Start/Early Head Start Employees
View our “Facts about the COVID Vax” infographics to share with loved ones.
Visiting one of our facilities? Review our screening requirements
A timeline of real time updates throughout 2020 of our center closures, reopenings and policies.