Parents spend a good part of their lives cleaning up after their children. This week, the staff of the Child Development Center here have been cleaning up for “their” children.
The staff of the Miesau CDC, in line with efforts at all garrison CDCs, is looking high and low and getting into every nook and cranny to wipe away every germ and possible virus that could harm any of the staff and clientele.
“What’s different now is we have the ability to go in and use stronger bleach and do more cleaning that we couldn’t if the children were here in the facility,” said Tammy Shields, Miesau CDC director. “We were very proactive even before any guidance came out. We started cleaning more and using a stronger detergent several times a day when the children were outside.”
With no children to care for, garrison CDC staff are cleaning, literally, from the top to the bottom of the facility, inside and out. In addition, CDC staff are also using the opportunity to complete and stay current on child care procedures and information via in-house and online training.
“Even now, in the midst of such a challenging and stressful time, they are staying upbeat and making the best of this situation, seizing the opportunity to improve our learning environments and overall quality of our programs,” said Jason Etchell, USAG RP Child and Youth Services director.
As Stevie Ray Vaughn’s guitar blares from a speaker in the CDC playground, several staff members clean the playground equipment and tend to a small garden the children planted just before the closure. Three young men even replace potting soil around the plants to make sure the children are safe when they return.
In the meantime, the CDC staff is sending curriculum via email to parents to keep the children on some kind of routine.
“Consistency with the kids is very important,” said Chad Chason, acting classroom lead. “They thrive on routine. If they know what to expect, everything is easier for them. They still need their nap and playtime and everything else.”
There are 322 children in seven child development centers across the garrison footprint. Miesau has 33 youngsters enrolled. Shields said it wouldn’t matter if there was only one child enrolled at the facility, the children deserve a safe environment.
“When we found out we were closing, it gave us the opportunity to take everything off shelves, turn tables and chairs upside down and really get the chance to deep clean,” she said. “We’re also calling all of the parents and asking if there’s anything they need from us like additional resources and our daily schedule so they can see what their child’s day is like. They seem to appreciate us just checking in.”
“This is such a resilient team of people full of heart, driven to serve and motivated to do all they can to enrich the quality of life in the garrison,” said Etchell.
One thing everyone agrees on is, it’s all about the children.
“They come up and give me hugs and tell me they love what we do,” Chason said. “Honestly, they brighten my day and do as much for me as I do for them.”