Amy’s 19 years of prior experience at UND’s University Children’s Center have helped her remain nimble while maintaining educational structure. This year, she has woven COVID-19 precautions into daily activities. “Some of [the kids] have had grandparents who have died, so they understand the gravity of this virus and have learned why we wear masks, wash hands more carefully and distance when possible.”
Buy-in from parents has helped. “I'm lucky that I have parents who are providers,” Amy said. She consulted with some to build a three-tier plan. Until recently they operated in Tier 2: children ages 3 and up wear a mask, temperatures are taken four times a day and regular health checks are conducted.
Unlike many daycare facilities, Kids Next Door has been able to take a financial hit because they operate as a service of Heart of America. “Our CEO understands that we're not making money now, we’re not at our max limit because of COVID but we are safe,” explained Amy.
It has also allowed them to alter their services. For instance, when Rugby’s school went to distance learning, Amy took in the school-age children for full days and helped them complete their virtual lessons.
Dustin, who has had four children enrolled in Kids Next Door, applauded the extra work of departments like the daycare for keeping Heart of America running: “These are the types of things you can do in a small facility – tailoring to the staff’s needs so they can be more responsive for the organization's needs.”