15 Apr COVID-19 FAQ for 2019-20 School Year
We have compiled frequently asked questions for families for the 2019-20 school year. Please click on the questions below to view our responses.
Thank you for your partnership and continued support!
As we shared in March, April tuition invoices are cancelled; we cancelled all upcoming invoices and made arrangements to refund all April invoices that were already paid.
Thank you for your patience as we’ve worked to refund all families who paid April tuition. We initially announced that Curacubby, our online invoicing system, would be issuing refunds. However, in their attempt to refund our families, they discovered that they were not able to process these refunds. We had to collect supplies (envelopes, postage, etc.) from our office so we could write and mail checks to our families. These additional steps delayed the process. Hopefully you have received your check, and if not, it should arrive in the mail any day. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have not received your mail from us.
Our 2019-2020 school year, as we've known it, is officially over. We will not be reconvening our school year class groups and remote learning from your teaching teams will end on May 7th. Your teachers are busy planning goodbyes and celebrations for children and will begin preparing students for this transition as soon as possible.
We’re still here for you. After a week break to regroup, we will begin sharing fresh activities and content with the entire Tiny Trees community on May 18th. We will have a much smaller team supporting this work, so it will look different than the Remote Learning your teaching teams have been providing. We will take our week hiatus to develop a plan that will allow us to stay connected with you, keep your classroom communities connected and support your children & families the best we can.
We will not charge tuition for May, and we will be in touch with you about options to join our upcoming summer programming.We are hopeful that we will be able to open programs in 1 or 2 parks as early as mid-June, and expand as we are able. This will not be a return to the school year as we knew it, but a new iteration of small-group camp, in compliance with new guidelines, including groups of 10 individuals or less.
Here are some of the factors we are considering as we make these decisions:
- Guidance from local government health organizations. We will open classrooms when guidance indicates that we have sufficiently "flattened the curve" and we have the necessary supplies to open classrooms with a reasonable amount of safety. Current orders from the governor require us to limit any childcare services (if we open before then, which has not been determined) to children of essential personnel until May 5th.
- Local government health guidance on social distancing. Current guidance says that classes can have no more than two teachers and 8 children, we must keep children separated during play, and should limit shared time outside.
- Likelihood of intermittent closures disrupting operations. Current guidelines recommend closures of 2-5 days for close contact with the virus or two weeks for a confirmed case.
- Availability of cleaning supplies, guidance and other resources needed to safely operate and disinfect porous materials like wood mulch and trees.
- It is likely that we will only be able to open in a limited capacity at first and will expand services as we can.
We will not charge tuition while we are closed, but we continue to rely on the support of our donors and our generous community.
We have been engaging our extended network in our fundraising efforts. We are also applying for Federal assistance programs, and we will continue to pay our staff and provide remote opportunities as long as we can.
We continue to monitor guidance from local government health organizations, as well other considerations like updates from our parks and other partners. Before the pandemic, we were excited to launch registration for summer camps. As guidance has evolved, we have been reassessing and adapting our planning and timeline. At this time, it is unclear if parks will be opened and if we will have the necessary supplies and guidance to safely re-open. Therefore we are planning for multiple summer scenarios and operations.
We will be announcing summer camp details by the end of April. We will also update our Summer Camp page on our website. There will be no registration fees for summer camp and we will offer summer programming as two week sessions like last year.
We hope so! Closing classrooms and waiving tuition has left us hurting financially, but we are doing all we can to gather donations and financial assistance as an organization, so that we can get back to offering joyful muddy classrooms and financial assistance. We aim to have a financial assistance application and information available at the time of Summer Camp enrollment; we are hoping families can tell us their financial situation/if they need financial assistance and we’ll try our best to make some financial assistance available for summer programming.
We are still accepting financial assistance applications. As soon as we have information to share, we will update all families who have expressed an interest in financial assistance. We are hoping to make these determinations by May. At this time, it’s unclear when we will have a viable budget to support financial assistance for families again. We will also update our Financial Assistance page on our website.
As guidance and updates have evolved, we have been reassessing and adapting our operations and timeline. We have closed our classrooms, shifted to remote learning services and waived tuition, which has significantly impacted us financially. We are doing all we can to fundraise and gather financial assistance as an organization, but we are not yet clear on the short or longer-term implications, including the financial/budget and fundraising impacts for next year. Therefore, our April timeframe (to review financial assistance applications and offer awards) has been pushed back until late spring. We apologize for this change, and we know that this can create a challenging arrangement for families whose financial assistance award may determine whether or not they can continue with their 2020-21 enrollment. It is necessary for us to adjust our timeline because we want to be confident and accurate with the 2020-21 school year financial assistance packages that we offer families.
I applied for an SPP spot, when will I know more about my student’s registration? When will I receive the SPP paperwork to complete the process? How come the Tiny Trees program I registered for is not on the SPP website? According to the SPP website, registration has already started, did I miss something?
Due to the pandemic, our operations and processes, as well as the timeline and capacity of our partners has changed. At this time, the City of Seattle (including the Department of Education and Early Learning, and the Seattle Preschool Program) have prioritized their budget and efforts to provide emergency childcare for essential workers.
We are waiting for them to have more capacity to finalize our contract for next year, which would allow us to move forward with SPP enrollment (and re-enrollment for returning students). The SPP website is a bit outdated, so it does not reflect our more recent 2019 or 2020 programming. For the 2020-21 school year, we anticipate a limited number of SPP spots in our 5-day programs at Be’er Sheva, Camp Long, Carkeek, Jefferson, North Acres and Olympic Sculpture Park, but we cannot process those applications until a contract is in place. We hope that will happen by May.
Please note that as a SPP - Pathway Provider, our process and our timeline is a little different than the city’s SPP process. Once we have received updated SPP information and materials, we will be in touch with all SPP applicants so that we can guide them through the SPP - Pathways timeline, process and paperwork, and help them complete their SPP - Pathways application.
As of mid-April, we have not had any 2020-21 enrollment changes, which is common. We typically see program movement in the summer (as people move, schedules change, etc.), and then we can reach out to families on the waitlist about open spots. We aim to review and organize the program waitlists by late spring so they are arranged and updated for if/when program spots begin to open up. It is unlikely that we'll have any updates/be in touch with waitlist families before the summer. Please let us know if you have any questions.
For families enrolled in a program and also on the waitlist for their preferred program, if/when a spot becomes available for them in their preferred program, we guide them through that process/transfer their enrollment information and payment to the new program.
We always aim to move as many waitlist families into program spots as possible before the school year begins, but please know that it is a continual process that’s dependent on enrollment changes. We anticipate reaching out to waitlist families during the summer, and will continue to reach out to waitlist families on an ongoing basis beyond the summer, too.
We are also waiting to learn more about operations for next year; we are in communication with our partners and relevant agencies (like parks systems and the City of Seattle) regarding any guidance or updates that might affect next year's program operations, including new practices/policies and different classroom ratios. Depending on this guidance, we might have program changes that affect our capacity and ability to enroll wait list families.
Yes, there are likely changes, but we are not yet able to confirm these updates. We have locations throughout King County, including several school districts. We typically follow the local school district calendars, so each classrooms’ schedule (start date, school breaks, etc.) aligns with the applicable school district.
We are currently working with local school districts and parks systems to determine what changes will be needed. We will share information for the 2020-21 school year as soon as we have updates.