Head Start FAQs for families

We're working diligently to re-open centers and begin home-based learning programs in the safest possible way. We understand our families have many questions, and we're providing as many answers as we can below.

Question: When is the program going to open?

Answer:  We are striving to open on Monday, September 21, 2020, with some centers opening and others beginning remote learning to start.


Question: What will remote learning look like?

Answer: We are partnering with a program called Shine Early Learning which has designed a curriculum for in person learning and remote learning.  The remote program is flexible with activities for children in the home.  Once school starts, you will have access to the Shine at Home curriculum.


Question: Will the program offer transportation?

Answer: We are still assessing which centers will open and space for children. We are looking to offer transportation, but we will send updates as soon as we are able to.


Question: How will the center clean and sanitize?

Answer: We have a cleaning protocol which includes cleaning as frequently as possible including: at the beginning and end of each day, before and after meal times, any time anything has been placed in a child's mouth or is otherwise soiled and in between different group and individual use of spaces. Our teams use soap and water and a bleach and water solution to clean and sanitize throughout the day. Professional cleaning will take place in all centers and classrooms nightly.


Question: Who will be required to wear masks?

Answer: All staff or any adult who is on-site at a center must wear a cloth face covering when within 6 feet of another individual. All children ages 2 and up will be provided a cloth mask to wear, as feasible, while in the center.  Children will have mask breaks as cloth masks will not be worn during gross motor activity, during nap time, or meal time. If children do not want to wear a mask, struggle with keeping a mask on, repeatedly touch the mask, etc., the mask will be removed for laundering and the child allowed to continue their educational day without a cloth mask on.


Question: Will children be able to spend more time outside?

Answer: This depends on outdoor space available at each center. In centers where we have playgrounds that are maintained by the program, children will still engage in regular outdoor play. In centers where we do not have playgrounds that are maintained by the program, teachers and center directors will create plans to ensure adequate outdoor time for children, that does not present risks for exposure (e.g. potential to come in contact with anyone outside of their assigned classroom.


Question: How will social distancing work in the center and classroom?

Answer: Classes should include the same group each day, and the same staff should remain with the same group each day. Siblings will be placed in classrooms together whenever possible (i.e., close enough in age). Additionally, any shared spaces will only be used by one group at a time, and will be sanitized between group use. We will use markings like chalk or cones to help manage social distancing during pick up and drop-off.


Question: How will you manage groups and group sizes to limit my child’s interactions with others?

Answer: Maximum group size per classroom is significantly lower than previously before. Classroom groups will not mix- playground and bathroom schedules will be staggered. Outside visitors including family members, community partners, therapies will not be permitted.


Question: What happens when a child or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19?
Answer: Children and staff members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required to stay home for 10 days from the day of their first symptoms and must be symptom free, without the use of medication for 72 hours. We are required to report COVID-19 diagnosis to our health department and local child care licensing office and we will be following their guidance for closure and reporting.  Families of children who were exposed to the child or staff member with COVID-19 will be contacted per their guidance.


Question: What happens when a child or staff member shows COVID-19 symptoms in school?

Answer: Any child or staff member who shows signs of COVID-19 (or MIS-C - children only) will be sent home immediately. Children will be isolated from the group in a sick room and will be monitored and cared for until the family can pick the child up. We ask that families come within 30 minutes of call when possible, and no more than 60 minutes after we contact you. Children and staff may return to school after remaining symptom-free without the use of medication for at least 72 hours, or when cleared by a physician to return to school (in writing).


Question: What happens if a parent/guardian or household member of a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19?

Answer: We ask that anyone who has been in close contact (within the past 14 days) with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19 stay home for 14 days (from the day that they were exposed). This applies to all students, staff, and family members.


Question: How will drop-off and pick-up work?

Answer: In accordance with the CDC recommendations and licensing regulations, parents and guardians will be required to drop-off and pick-up their children outside of the building, weather permitting. At this time, families are not permitted in the classrooms. Drop-off and pick-up times will be staggered to help to reduce the crowding of families and expedite health screening protocols.  As feasible, it is recommended that the same person (parent/guardian), who is not vulnerable or at high risk, drop-off and pick-up their child every day.


Question: Will there be health symptom screenings completed daily for children and staff?

Answer: Yes, symptom checks including temperature checks will be completed prior to center/classroom entry every day. We will have PPE (personal Protective Equipment) supplies for staff and classrooms.


Question: Can We Help You/Your Family With And Immediate Need?

Answer: If your family is in crisis and /or has an immediate need- please contact: Eliza (302) 256-8151, Margaret,(732-977-8594) or Megan( 908-295-9362)


Community Resources: 

Delaware 211: Dial 2-1-1 (Mon - Fri 8am to 9pm) or click here

for assistance with 

  • Employment

  • Job Training

  • Family Issues

  • Volunteer Opportunities

  • Financial Assistance

  • Social Services

  • Public Assistance

  • Mental Health Counseling

  • Emergency Housing

  • Food

  • Transportation

  • Healthcare

  • Dental Services

  • Senior Services

  • Clothing

  • Affordable Housing

  • Education

  • Legal Services

  • Crisis Preparedness


YMCA Food Distribution:

Each Friday from 8am to 10am, boxes of pre-packaged non-refrigerated/non-perishable food staples are distributed at multiple sites throughout the state. No registration is required and food is available on a first-come, first served basis.

  • Brandywine YMCA

  • Bear-Glasgow YMCA

  • Western YMCA

  • Central YMCA/

  • Middletown YMCA

  • Dover YMCA

  • Sussex YMCA


Weekend meals for children in need will also be available through the Food Bank of Delaware Backpack Program.