Helping Families Ensure Their Children Enter School Ready to Learn

Coronavirus Updates

ECS COVID-19 Resources

 

 

July 21, 2021

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:

  1. Masks will be required in all ECS buildings and meetings whether persons are vaccinated or unvaccinated.
  2. 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.

 

July 1, 2021 – Phase III


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).

 

 

OCTOBER 1, 2020 UPDATE


The health and safety of staff, children and families remain a top priority.  After careful review and discussion, ECS will transition into PHASE 2 effective 10/12/20.  The agency will continue to practice proactive mitigation strategies including social distancing, face masks, hand washing, temperature checks & health screening, etc.

The home visiting services will remain virtual during PHASE 2.  Also, in order reduce the spread of COVID-19 ECS will continue to refrain from having community members or parent volunteers in classrooms during this phase.

This is still an evolving and complex situation and we ask that you continue to monitor our website and social media outlets for updates. We appreciate your continued support of ECS and the children and families we serve.

 

MAY 18, 2020 UPDATE


ECS is preparing for a soft reopening of our offices and centers.

We will be opening all our buildings to staff on June 1, however we are limiting guests to those who have appointments with staff. ECS will still encourage employees to work remotely, if possible.

With recommended guidelines provided by the CDC, the EHS centers listed below will reopen to children on June 8: 

Hernando, Clermont, Eustis, Leesburg EHS, Leesburg HS/EHS, Mt. Dora, Howard, Skylark , TGC, Baker EHS, Baker Complex, Bronson, Callahan, Gainesville, Green Cove Springs, Middleburg, Northside Rhoda Martin, Starke, Trenton, Westside, Wingate and Boynton

This is still an evolving and complex situation and we ask that you continue to monitor our website and social media outlets for updates. We appreciate your continued support of ECS and the children and families we serve.

 

APRIL 20, 2020 UPDATE


Over the weekend, Governor DeSantis announced that the Florida K-12 schools would close for the remainder of the school year. All Head Start/Early Head Start programs will align with this guidance and remain closed through Friday, May 22. Further, all One Stop Offices, the Central Administrative Office and the Skylark Administrative Office will be closed through Friday, May 22.

This is an evolving and complex situation and we ask that you continue to monitor our website and social media outlets for updates. We appreciate your continued support of ECS and the children and families we serve.

 

MARCH 31, 2020 UPDATE


Following President Trump’s call for an extension of social distancing to April 30, Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran has called on school systems to remain closed until May 1. In alignment with the Florida public K-12 schools, all HS/EHS locations will have the target opening date of May 4, 2020.  Further, all One Stop Offices, the Central Administrative Office and the Skylark Administrative Office will be closed through April 30th.  At this time, ECS hopes to bring all staff back on May 1.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving and complex situation. ECS will continue to provide updates as this situation evolves. Thank you for your patience and continued support of ECS and the children and families we serve.

 

MARCH 24, 2020 UPDATE


Today, Mayor Curry implemented a work from home order for Duval county businesses. Under the Mayor’s mandate, ECS will close the Central office and the Skylark administration office effective immediately. The health and safety of our employees remains our utmost concern.

MARCH 18, 2020 UPDATE


Following guidance from the Office of Head Start, all HS/EHS locations will remain closed through April 15, 2020 in alignment with the Florida public K-12 schools. The closure date may be extended depending on further guidance. Please continue to check our website for the most up to date closure information.

 

MARCH 14, 2020 UPDATE


ECS will close the Head Start/Early Head Start centers from March 16 – March 27 in the following counties:

  • Alachua 
  • Baker 
  • Bradford 
  • Citrus
  • Clay
  • Dixie 
  • Duval
  • Gilchrist
  • Lake
  • Levy
  • Marion
  • Nassau

The following locations will remain open at this time:

  • ECS Central Administrative Office 
  • Skylark Administrative Office 
  • Good Shepherd Early Learning Center 
  • All One Stop locations

For many of our programs, this extends scheduled Spring Break by one week. Employees located in any of the centers listed above are asked to contact their supervisor for specific instructions.

We recognize the difficulty center closures will create for our families, however based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, these measures will help us maintain the safety, health and well-being of our children, staff and community.

This is an evolving and complex situation and we will continue to follow the latest updates for guidance on the most effective and sensible prevention measures. Thank you for your patience and support of our programs.

 

MARCH 13, 2020 UPDATE


 

CHILDREN’S CHAMPION GALA POSTPONED

 

EPISCOPAL CHILDREN’S SERVICES POSTPONES ANNUAL GALA

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., March 13, 2020 –Episcopal Children’s Services will cancel the annual Children’s Champion Gala, previously scheduled for Thursday, March 26, 2020 at the University of North Florida. UNF has encouraged all non-essential large events to consider cancelling plans and we feel this is the best decision, taking into consideration the health and well-being of our community.

As this is an ever evolving and complex situation, we will continue to monitor reports to stay informed and communicate relevant information. Safety is always a top priority and concern for Episcopal Children’s Services. Our goal at this moment is to minimize any possible health and safety risks to all in attendance including our honorees, participants, attendees and staff.

Once new plans have been made to move forward to celebrate our dynamic award recipients, we will communicate those plans. For more information on the history of the awards gala and updated 2020 gala plans, visit www.ecs4kids.org.

ABOUT ECS

Episcopal Children’s Services (ECS) is a recognized leader in early childhood education serving more than 53,000 children and their families in 14 counties in Florida. ECS offers School Readiness, Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Baker, Bradford, Clay Duval, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, Marion, Dixie, Gilchrist, Lake, Levy, Citrus and Alachua counties.

ECS uses research and best practices to help families ensure their children enter school ready to learn. Talented, dedicated teachers and staff work proactively with children from birth to age five and their families to build a strong educational foundation.

 

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FACT SHEET ON COVID – 19

 

 

MARCH 12, 2020 UPDATE


 

Dear ECS family,

As always, the health and wellness of ECS’s children, families and staff remains one of our highest priorities. On Monday, March 9th we advised that all international travel would require our staff to self isolate for 14 days based on the travel advisory on the Florida Department of Health website. The Florida Department of Health has revised their advisory to the following:

International Travel Advisory

The Florida Department of Health is advising all individuals who have traveled internationally to follow the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, summarized below:

  • Level 3: CDC recommends 14-day self-isolation and social distancing upon return to the United States. Social distancing includes avoiding going out in public and close personal interactions. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your County Health Department (CHD) or health care provider.
  • Level 2 and Cruises: Travelers should monitor their health and limit interactions with others for 14 days after returning to the United States. If you become symptomatic, immediately self-isolate and contact your CHD or health care provider.
  • For more information regarding current CDC travel advisories related to COVID-19, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html

Therefore, ECS is recommending that staff traveling to a country that has been assessed by the CDC to be a Level 2 risk or Level 3 risk, report their travels to the COVID-19 email designation and plan to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work. Additionally, staff that travel on a cruise will also be asked to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to work.

 

This is an evolving and complex situation and we will continue to follow the latest updates for guidance on the most effective and sensible prevention measures. Please find a Fact Sheet with important information about the coronavirus COVID-19. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Temple DePlato, AVP of Quality and Risk Management. I will keep you posted on any new developments or changes to our protocols as this situation unfolds.

 

Sincerely,

Connie Stophel

 

 

FEBRUARY 28, 2020 UPDATE


 

Dear ECS Family,

Episcopal Children’s Services is in regular communications with the Health Departments in the counties we serve regarding the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are no cases of COVID-19 in the State of Florida. A recent advisory from the CDC states that “for the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low”.

However, ECS will continue to monitor the situation in collaboration with the Health Department. For now, we ask that our staff and families we serve to follow these practices:

  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Wash hands regularly.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid sharing cups and utensils.

If and when further action is recommended as a result of COVID-19, we will inform staff and families through our website (www.ecs4kids.org), social media pages, and through the family messenger application (Learning Genie).

You can find updates on the virus at www.floridahealth.gov and the CDC’s coronavirus page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Please be assured that the health and well-being of the children and families we serve and our staff is our highest priority.

Thank you,

Connie Stophel