Students all over Forsyth County switched to online learning earlier this month as both public and private schools started to close their doors, but one North Forsyth preschool and daycare still comes to life with the laughter and screams of kids and babies every morning.
Parents who still have to work during the coronavirus pandemic take their kids to Primrose School of Cumming North each day, arriving a little bit earlier to make sure their kids are escorted safely into the school.
“Parents every morning when they're dropping their children off say thank you for staying open and helping us to make it to where we can do our jobs and everything,” said Mark Shepherd, the owner of Primrose School of Cumming North.
Shepherd said that with schools closing and many going into self-quarantine, parents who still have to go out to work, such as medical workers, are left with very few options. Shepherd said one of the main reasons he’s decided to keep the school open despite concerns surrounding the virus is to help these parents.
Although the school is still open, Shepherd has assured families that they are taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of germs and to help keep the kids safe.
Instead of walking their kids inside like usual, parents are now expected to pull up to the front of the school and wait in their cars for a teacher or administrator to come get their kids. The little ones then have their temperatures taken and a trusted adult washes their hands with them before taking them to their classrooms.
Shepherd said that they make sure that no classroom has more than 10 people in it, including both kids and adults. With fewer kids, teachers have also taken to posting more on social media and creating Facebook live videos to show parents and other kids at home what exactly students are up to in the classroom.
Teachers and caretakers have started also using time in school to teach kids more about germs and the importance of keeping clean. Just recently a teacher had a group of preschoolers dip their fingers in pepper before and after washing to show them that soap helps in keeping germs away.
While there are many kids showing up to Primrose, Shepherd said that business has dropped down significantly as parents have decided to stay home with their kids out of either fear or precaution. Although many have decided to stay home, Shepherd said that they are still very fortunate that they have kids coming in at all.
Shepherd said that he has talked to other daycare owners in the area who are being forced to close their doors next week because they are down to only four or five kids showing up every day.
“You just can’t stay open at that point,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd understands the need for precaution during the pandemic, but he assured that none of the children nor anyone they may have come into contact with have tested positive for the virus.
“Everyone I’ve heard from said they have friends who are being tested,” Shepherd said. “I’m not sure I’ve heard that someone has actually said, ‘Yes, my friend, family or associate has actually got the virus.’ I know many people are self-quarantining themselves out of fear or out of precaution because they know of others that have had it.”
In case anyone does test positive, Shepherd said that Primrose has a full pandemic program that they can rely on for answers on what to do next, and they are prepared to close the school if needed. In the meantime, Shepherd and other Primrose owners have taken the time to discuss best practices on how to prevent the spread of any illness.
“We’re listening to everybody and taking the steps that are recommended and implementing them to make it a safe environment for the children,” Shepherd said. “We’re doing the best we can do for the children and the families."