Great news! We are almost ready to start school on August 17, 2020. Thank you for your patience with us as we work out all the ever-changing details to ensure a smooth and healthy start to a new school year. We realize these times have been extremely difficult for us all and many of you are anxious and are trying to determine what school at VDS will look like for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. We have been diligently keeping abreast of the ever-changing CDC, Health Department, DHR, and State of Alabama guidelines regarding re-opening of early childhood and elementary schools. We recognize there are still many unknowns, but we wanted to give you an update of our tentative plan at this point. This email will contain a lot of information, so please be sure you read it thoroughly.

Tuition and Fees

New tuition rates will begin August 3. Due to the increased cost of operating, tuition rates will increase about 5% beginning on August 3, 2020. We know this is different than what was communicated in the original registration. However, please understand that the cost for us to operate in the manner we need to in order to provide a safe and healthy environment has almost doubled. We have done everything we can to keep this cost to minimum, but still be able to break even. Unfortunately, tuition could change again as we adjust to changing policies and new realities. The new rates are listed on our program rates page.

After School Program

We will continue to offer ASP to children at East, West and Dolly Ridge. With the latest announcement of VHCS pushing the start of school back to August 20, we will begin picking up ASP children from these schools beginning August 24. All ASP children will be required to bring two masks that we will keep at VDS. This will allow us to wash them at VDS to ensure proper sanitation.

Please refer to our FAQ’s sheet for further questions. Although this year will look different than what we are used to, we are excited to start the new year. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through this difficult time.

FAQ

A: We will still begin our new school year as planned on August 17, 2020. We feel like we have systems in place that we can continue to operate if the school systems shut down.

A: In order to guarantee your spot, you must continue to pay tuition for your preschool children. All ASP children can hold their spot by paying a $500 holding fee.

A: All children in ASP will have to wear a mask when social distancing is not a possibility.

A: We will do our very best to keep children socially distanced. While we understand this may be a challenge for younger children, we will have smaller play groups, space children out during group time, and have all children facing the same direction or separated by a partition while eating or in close contact.

A: If families withdraw from VDS temporarily, you can either continue to pay monthly tuition for preschool children or pay a $500 holding fee for ASP children. This will guarantee your child still has a spot in the spring (January 2021). You can withdraw completely and go on our waiting list if you choose. If you choose to discontinue paying tuition, you will not be guaranteed a spot for the future.

A: We have adopted many new policies to ensure that children/teachers are safe. Please refer to the COVID-19 Re-Opening Guidelines for a detailed list of precautions we are practicing.

A: We will still be following the recommendations of the Department of Health for the COVID-19 square footage requirement of 45 square feet per child for children under 6. Due to these restrictions, many of our classrooms will have less children than usual. We will be opening up three additional classrooms to accommodate all of our currently registered children.

A: During this time, we cannot allow any outside food. The exception to this would be children with a dietary restriction or allergies. In these cases, we will work with these families specifically on what precautions we need to take.

A: If someone gets COVID-19, we will notify all of the families in that room. We will monitor all children and teachers closely. We will also re-locate the children to another room so we can clean and sanitize the space properly. Children/teachers will have to provide a negative COVID-19 test to return to school.

A: That teacher or child will have to stay out of VDS for at least 10 days or provide a negative COVID-19 test to return to school.

A: We have tried to keep tuition rates down as much as possible, but all full-time classrooms will have an increased rate of about 5% and part-time classrooms will have an increased rate of about 3%. Since we operate on such a small margin and the church requires that we break even, tuition could change again as we adjust to changing policies and new realities.

A: The new hours will be temporary, and we are not sure how long this will last. Once we are able to group children together again, we will re-evaluate our hours of operation.

A: The earliest you can drop your child off is 7:30 am. As the guidelines and restrictions change, we will re-evaluate this policy.

A: You will need to call the VDS office so someone can meet you at the main VDS door to let your child into or out of the school.