MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - MECK Pre-K plans to open with in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 school year, with adjustments in place as concerns over COVID-19 continue.
MECK Pre-K made the announcement Tuesday, saying the decision came after “extensive discussions” from Mecklenburg County and state health officials. MECK Pre-K, a voluntary public pre-kindergarten program that allows parent choice based on individual family needs and preferences, also says they surveyed parents and teachers for feedback before coming to the decision.
The decision differs from Charlotte-Mecklenbug Schools plan switch to start the school year under Plan C, full remote learning.
“Across all groups, the majority of respondents expressed a desire for children to return to the classroom even in light of the ongoing public health situation. Operating in a traditional, onsite instructional style benefits young children, families and employers by providing safe, supervised, affordable high-quality care allowing parents to work,” MECK Pre-K said. Program leaders say they determined virtual pre-k instruction is not as effective or impactful for young children.
The program does not plan to provide any virtual or hybrid learning. Program leaders released the following information regarding MECK Pre-K’s plan for the start of the year:
- MECK Pre-K will reduce classroom sizes to allow for social distancing.
- MECK Pre-K leadership will have regular operational/health/policy check-ins with State and Local Departments of Health and Human Services, Mecklenburg County, Smart Start Leadership and Child Care Resources staff.
- Delayed start: Teachers will return on August 17, with students returning on a staggered entry schedule starting September 1.
- Mecklenburg County Public Health Leadership will host Q&A sessions for MECK Pre-K Providers and Teachers.
- MECK Pre-K will work with providers to ensure that they adhere to required NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) health and safety protocols. These include but are not limited to: daily health and safety checks upon arrival, limiting who is allowed in centers and classrooms, enhanced cleaning protocols, illness monitoring, reporting and isolation procedures.
To help families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the county has lifted the income restrictions for MECK Pre-K’s 2020-2021 school year. Program leaders say to be eligible for the program, children need only to live in Mecklenburg County and be four on or before August 31. Income documentation will be required, but families earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level for their household size will still qualify, program leaders say.
Visit MeckPreK.org for full details on the enrollment process.
“We know that there is a lot of uncertainty in our community due to COVID-19,” says MECK Pre-K Executive Director Trinisha Dean. “The County Manager and I want to reassure families that MECK Pre-K is here for them no matter what, delivering on our mission to prepare young children for kindergarten.”
MECK Pre-K is offering webinars for families who have questions about the enrollment process:
- Thursday, August 13 6:30 a.m. (English)
- Thursday, August 13 7:30 p.m. (Spanish)
There will also be a “Drive-Thru” registration event on Saturday, August 15, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Child and Family Services Building, located at 601 E. 5th Street in Charlotte, NC 28202.
Additional Information: NCDHHS Childcare Strong NC Toolkit