31 Jul FAQ: COVID-19 & 2020-21 School Year

*Updated 7/31/20 at 12:50PM

Thank you for your interest in learning more about how the pandemic is affecting our operations and planning for the 2020-21 school year. Although this content is tailored to our families and the common questions we have been receiving, we invite anyone to read on, with the hope that you find this information useful or relevant.

We are following guidance from the Washington State Department of Health, Center for Disease Control (CDC), King County Public Health, and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCYF). Our State’s plan for a phased re-opening also impacts our decisions. Governor Inslee recently extended the pause indefinitely for the Stay Safe Start Washington plan, therefore counties are held in their current phase (or might go back), and cannot move forward to the next phase. King County is currently in Phase 2. In the event that King County returns to Phase 1, child care may be prioritized for families who are essential workers only. Here are some relevant resources:

In Washington State, “Schools” are defined in guidance as federally funded K-12 providers of basic education, and are bound by the Office of Public Instruction (OSPI). As a preschool, we are not bound to this guidance, but continue to monitor relevant best practices for health and safety. Separate guidance has been issued for early learning, preschool, child care or school age before and after school or summer care by Washington State’s Department of Children, Youth & Families (DCYF) in partnership with state and county health departments.

Early Learning is not impacted by K-12 closures, and we will continue to adjust our programs based on State and County Department of Health Guidance, as well as guidance from DCYF, who regulates childcare and early learning.

We will be implementing additional health and safety measures next school year. Families will receive details in their Welcome Packet/Family Handbook before school starts. We will be adjusting our operations, practices and policies. Several examples include mandatory masks or face coverings, teacher symptom screenings, student symptom screenings, adjustments to drop-off and pick-up, stopping teacher/family home visits, changes to snack/lunch time routines, and limiting interactions with others (pausing our classroom volunteer program, adjusting our substitute practices, etc.). We will continue updating these safety measures as local health guidance changes.

Curacubby is our online enrollment portal and invoicing system. We have not posted any tuition invoices in Curacubby for the 2020-21 school year. Invoices for September’s tuition will be generated in August, closer to the school start.

Some families received a waiver code to delay their enrollment deposit in the spring (if the $350 deposit presented a barrier to register at the time of enrollment). Deposits are required for all families before school begins. We broke the deposit into two invoices ($175 due end of June, and $175 due end of July), but we recognize that some families were not able to pay by those deadlines, and others were confused about the two invoices. If you were charged a late fee, we will work with Curacubby to find a solution, which might include issuing a refund (via check by mail) or crediting your Curacubby account. Thank you for notifying us if you received a late fee for the enrollment deposit, and please have patience with us since we will not be able to remove the fee immediately; we plan to address all of these before school starts.

All families agree to our Withdrawal Policy during registration (in the policy section of the Enrollment Form). The policy states that “we understand that sometimes families need to withdraw…If you withdraw your child before the start of the school year, the deposit is forfeited but no tuition is due.” We understand that families withdraw for a variety of reasons. We will work to offer a limited number of partial or full refunds on a case-by-case basis to families who submit a request.

We have not announced any financial assistance awards at this time. Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide financial assistance to all families who request it. We plan to respond to all families who submitted a financial assistance application by late August.

We emailed SPP application information to everyone who indicated an interest in SPP at enrollment. Please reach out (admissions@tinytrees.org) if you did not receive these messages so we can share the application timeline, paperwork and requirements with you. Because we are a Seattle Preschool Program – Pathways Provider, our process and timeline is different from what is posted on the SPP website.

In early May, we paused our enrollment. When we reopen enrollment, we will reach out to families on the waitlist before (if applicable) we make our enrollment public on our website again. Our ability to move families from the waitlist into program spots is dynamic. We typically see enrollment changes in the summer (as more families move, schedules change, etc.), and then we can reach out to families on the waitlist about openings. The pandemic has created changes for many families, so we are not relying on “typical” trends or the previous patterns we’ve seen with enrollment changes. Unfortunately, most families on the waitlist will not be able to enroll in the fall. We anticipate a limited number of openings to be available once we resume enrollment.

Students must be at least 3 years old by August 31, and have not yet turned 6. Students must be potty trained by the school start. We cannot make exceptions to the eligibility criteria at this time. We will be implementing additional health and safety measures in the fall, and students must be experienced with increased hygiene practices, potty independence and comfort using a portable potty (porta-potty).

Yes, there will be changes, but we are not yet able to confirm these updates. We have locations throughout King County, including several cities, school districts and parks systems. We typically follow the local school district calendars, so each classrooms’ schedule (start date, school breaks, etc.) usually 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. This information is dynamic and involves a number of factors, so it will likely be finalized in late summer or early fall. Expect to receive this information in the Family Handbook/Welcome Packet that will be sent out before school starts. Our school year begins in September.

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