Fall 2020 program updates
The pandemic hit us hard in that we’ve been closed since March. We’re one of those “businesses” that requires fairly close contact, and, well, kids are pretty terrible at social distancing. But our board of directors, after much contemplation, discussion, and the direction of Chicago Public Schools and the Illinois State Board of Education, decided to initiate a modified re-opening. At the time of the beginning of the school year (September 8th), Chicago Public Schools chose a fully-remote method of schooling. In an effort to support parents trying to work through the pandemic, Starfish decided to open in a limited capacity to serve students undergoing remote learning.
Serving our families while practicing safety
Our capacity is down to a third of what it was last year, in an effort to reduce risk from COVID-19. Students are required to wear masks and engage in social distancing. Certain activities that require a lot of contact such as cooking class have been postponed for further notice. Our building is being professionally cleaned on a regular basis, staff are disinfecting high traffic/touch items, and hand sanitizer is made available.
The students’ school day consists of remote learning from 8:15AM-3PM
The students’ school day consists of remote learning from 8:15AM-3PM, with several breaks. Starfish staff are available to provide technical assistance and any other help the children may need. We also provide two hearty snacks a day and lunch (provided through CPS).
There is not much room in the day for programs outside of remote learning, but Starfish is committed to incorporating Bible teaching during the small windows available.
CPS will soon be re-evaluating when there will be a return to in-person learning, and based on that decision, Starfish may choose to allow more students in our program during the pandemic.
Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, Starfish was able to host a few outings this past summer. The kids were excited to check out iFly, which is indoor skydiving. This is an opportunity they may never get again, and Starfish was glad to provide it for them. Starfish also took the kids out to ice cream, one of the few activities we could host while practicing social distancing. Also, a new tradition is starting! Last year we took the high school and middle school graduates to Fogo de Chao restaurant. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s Brazilian barbecue. The servers bring delicious cuts of meat to your table and you have the choice of unlimited meat. This year we hosted our graduates again to show how proud we are of their hard work. We are also proud that two of our students went to college this year, one to UIC and one to NIU.