Hello Sweet Families,

I hope that you all are doing well, and are staying safe and healthy. Let me rip off the band-aid now, and then explain. We will not be opening preschool this school year. Ouch! I know that hurts. I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and trouble that our closing will cause you. We are heartbroken about not being here with your children. I have spent many sleepless nights worried about the safety of our staff and children. I have watched countless webinars. Read through pages and pages of requirements from state licensing. I devised a plan. A doable plan. Not a pretty plan. The preschool experience that we are accustomed to providing is not possible. Daily health screenings. Lots of hand washing. Adults wearing masks. Children will be required to stay in their classrooms at all times, with the exception being the playground. We are used to allowing at least two classes to play together, and that is not possible. No lunch in the great room. No pizza days. No celebrations for Thanksgiving, Father's day, or Mother's day. No music time, or singing. No Chapel time as a whole group. No sensory table experiences. A whole lot of NO.

Our preschool has a wonderful reputation of providing quality early childhood education because of our fabulous teachers. They dedicate so much time, energy, and love in preparing lessons each week for your children. More than half of them have children in elementary and middle school, and what has been learned from the school closure in the spring is that their children needed a lot of assistance with distance learning. They are unable to return to teach your children this year. I have always shared with them that we should put God first in our lives, our families second, and then everything else in life will fall into place just as God planned it would. And right now that means preschool has to take the backseat for a while.

John Wesley, the Founder of Methodism, believed three things: do the very best that you can; do no harm to anyone; and protect the vulnerable. These tenets keep popping into my head, and tugging at my heart. Your children mean the world to me! And the very thought of any of them getting sick is very upsetting to me. Our church campus is currently closed. Our church leadership is developing a plan to open the campus in phases. They are very cautious in the steps that they are taking to ensure the safety of all our constituents, from the very young to the elderly.

You and your families have always been very special to all of us at OHUMC Preschool. We will continue to pray for your health and safety during this pandemic. We are confident in our ability to open back up for the 2021-2022 school year. Registration will open in February 2021. I will check in with you all periodically, and let you know how we are doing, and what the future holds for OHUMC Preschool.

Again, please accept my deepest apologies for any inconvenience you may experience due to our closure of the preschool.

Have a blessed day,
Jennifer Barkis