South Loop Montessori School in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood received a license to operate starting this week as an Emergency Child Care Center, or "ECCC," to help families of essential workers.
It was a relief for Adelaide Caprio, an advanced practice nurse, who is navigating Illinois' stay-at-home order with her two sons, 4 and 6, as she continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic on the front lines.
“Having them at home was such an eye opening experience of how much I value how awesome our school is and how vital they are in our lives," Caprio said.
Caring for young children at home, juggling e-learning and work has been stressful for Caprio's family, like so many others. When she found out her sons’ school, South Loop Montessori, would reopen this week as an Emergency Child Care Center, she was thankful.
“It just has meant a little bit of routine and destress [less stress]," Caprio said. "So that we can keep going with our daily functions that are essential in our lives."
Face masks are the new normal for kids of essential workers as they walk into the Montessori school. Strict guidelines must be followed, and parents aren’t allowed inside.
Everyone’s temperatures are taken before they’re allowed in and before they go home.
South Loop Montessori School Executive Director Mahdi Dadrass said these are necessary precautions, for students and staffers.
“We provide [staff] all with face masks, individual hand sanitizer and gloves," Dadrass said.
They dispose of them when they get to school and sanitize all over again.
Thanks to these types of precautions, some parents now have an option for childcare.
“They’ve been really grateful, as we are grateful for their service as essential workers on the front line of this pandemic," added Dadrass.
While parents are grateful to have an option, they also feel this helps those who are back in the classroom.
“Now that means the teachers at our school can have work and some of their normalcy, a little bit of normalcies," Caprio said. "We look at it that it’s helping us and it's also helping the community.”