January, 27, 2021
Dear CINHS Families and Staff,
Cook Inlet Native Head Start is pleased to announce that we will be opening our doors to on site services for children beginning March 15th. Classrooms will be at mitigated levels, and will be phased in on different dates. Health and safety of the children, families, and staff remain our highest priority. The Southcentral Foundation (SCF) is currently working with CINHS to be able to offer COVID vaccinations to our non-Native staff members. Beneficiaries of the Alaska Native Medical Center are already receiving vaccinations. The vaccine process is lengthy, and will require several weeks in between vaccinations. Our staff should be through with this process by spring break. The State roll out of vaccines for teachers has yet to be determined. CINHS is extremely thankful to SCF for providing this service to our non-beneficiaries. It will provide CINHS with the added security to open our program to children. We feel it is important for our staff to be able to access all of the protections possible before putting them in contact with groups of people. COVID 19 continues to be a deadly virus, so we must proceed with caution. As long as the infection numbers remain fairly low, and we have access to the vaccine, then CINHS will move forward with opening.
Due to our mitigation plan, CINHS will not enroll students to original capacity levels. Classes are currently reduced to approximately ½ of their original sizes. Because we know that many parents are concerned about putting children in to classrooms due to COVID 19, CINHS will allow families to continue, at this time, with remote services should you choose to not have your child attend in person. Additionally, Home-based (HB) families will be given the option to transfer their children into Center based programming or continue with the Home-based option. During the next several weeks, be prepared to receive a phone call from Family Services in regards to programming options available to you after March 15, 2021. Educational Services will publish the classrooms and their respective phasing in dates within the next few weeks. Until this transition happens, CINHS will continue to provide monthly educational packets and weekly food distribution.
We are sorry for the inconvenience that the COVID shutdown has caused. It has disrupted lives throughout our tribal communities, and continues to be a tremendous challenge to deliver remote services to pre-school aged children. Let us hope and pray that the infections continue to decline in our community, and remain in lower numbers. CINHS would like to thank all of our stakeholders for your continued patience and support. We are excited to hear little voices in the classrooms.
Ethan Petticrew, Executive Director,