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DHS’ Head Start Program Says Virtual School, Meal Distribution Plan Begins September 14

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Head Start Program said today that their 2020-2021 Head Start school year will begin virtually on September 14 until it is determined that in-person instruction can safely resume.

To prepare for the launch of the virtual school year, Head Start staff will be contacting parents the week of September 7 for initial orientation and distribution of learning packets.

For the entire month of September, the Head Start program will use its “Learning at Home” approach.

The virtual, “Learning at Home” approach will involve the following:
• Families will receive packages of developmentally appropriate activities and materials to work with young children at home.
• Head Start teachers will contact families twice a week to provide guidance and support with the learning process.
• Families with the required technology, will be able to access Head Start’s various learning platforms, including the High/Scope Preschool Curriculum, Hatch Early Learning and COR Advantage. (Please visit our website for details on these learning platforms: www.dhs.gov.vi)

In order to continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to keep staff and families safe, the USVI Head Start program has implemented the following mandatory guidelines for all facilities:

  1. Face coverings are required for all staff members, clients, and vendors entering Head Start buildings.
  2. Mandatory daily temperature screening for all staff members, clients, and vendors prior to entering the facility.
  3. Increased, routine cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting of frequently-touched surfaces, toys, and common areas.
  4. Increased frequency of required hand washing.
  5. Individual use of toys, materials, and supplies in our classrooms.
  6. Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff members.
  7. Replace the family style meals with individual servings in classrooms.

Meal Distribution

Meal distribution for Head Start children will also begin on September 14, 2020. The distribution schedule will be as follows:

ST. THOMAS – Parents will pick up the packaged meals at their child(ren)’s Head Start Center: (Savan, Bergs Home, Sugar Estate, Wilhelm George and Bovoni) from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

ST. CROIX
• Children who attend the Concordia Head Start Center will pick up meals on site between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
• Children who attend the Anna’s Hope Head Start Center and Richmond Head Start Center will pick up their packaged meals at the Anna’s Hope Head Start Center between 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
• Children who attend the Frederiksted, Christiansted, and Kingshill Head Start Centers will pick up packaged meals at the curbside distribution spots.

DHS Head Start Registration

The DHS-Head Start Program registration process is on-going throughout the year.

Children must be three years old by December 31st.

Parents must bring the child’s birth certificate and proof of income that shows the family meets the federal guideline for income eligibility.

Adults who are guardians must provide evidence of guardianship such as a court order.

Parents of children with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply for enrollment.

Contact Information and Registration Portal

Feel free to create an account, if you have not already and apply through Head Start’s online portal (COPA) at https://vihs.mycopa.com/familyPortal/childCare.epl

Questions for the Head Start office can be addressed at (340) 773-1972 on St. Croix or (340) 774-0930 ext. 4200 on St. Thomas.

For additional information, please visit the Department of Human Services website, www.dhs.gov.vi or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/usvidhs) at US Virgin Islands Department of Human Services.

The Department of Human Services (VIDHS) exists to provide social services to members in our community with diverse needs.

In times of national uncertainty and hardship they said that they act as a “safety-net and exist to inspire hope and empower change through non-judgmental, quality delivery of needed services and resources.”

Please visit the Department of Human Services website, www.dhs.gov.vi for more information.

If you are experiencing any of the coronavirus symptoms listed on the Department of Health website (listed below), self-quarantine and immediately contact the Department of Health:

o V.I. DOH website: https://doh.vi.gov/
o COVID-19 Hotline: (340) 712-6299 or (340) 776-1519
For more information on COVID-19, the new strain of coronavirus, please visit covid19usvi.com or text COVID19USVI to 888777.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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