Head Start, Early Head Start programs reopen

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BENNINGTON — Bennington County Head Start and Early Head Start locations reopened last week with an array of changes in protocol related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the nonprofit United Counseling Service. the group that oversees the programs.

The UCS Infant and Toddler Center in Bennington reopened last Monday, according to an announcement from UCS over the weekend, while the Pownal Head Start center and multiple North Bennington facilities reopened later in the week.

Gov. Phil Scott previously authorized child care providers — open only to children of essential workers since mid-March amid the coronavirus pandemic — to reopen on June 1 under certain conditions. After Scott in late May announced the planned reopening, Rebecca Bishop, assistant director of UCS's Head Start programs, told the Banner in an email that the organization would be "taking some additional time for planning" before reopening.

Programs this summer will feature daily temperature checks for staff and children, outdoor classroom spaces and additional outdoor play, according to the announcement. There will also be additional cleaning and a reduction in classroom sizes.

Running four days per week, eight hours per day, the programs will serve 72 preschoolers and 40 infants and toddlers this summer, the organization said.

All locations are currently full for the summer, but applications for fall enrollment can be submitted by contacting April Dunham at 802-442-3686 or adunham@ucsvt.org. The programs serve children from ages 6 weeks to 5 years old.

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