What to do in a pandemic…

What to do during a pandemic? The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the outbreak of COVID 19 (Coronavirus) is a pandemic. A pandemic, according to WHO, is “the worldwide spread of new disease”.  And that is certainly the case- COVID 19, a highly contagious virus- is spreading all over the globe.

We have decided to postpone our gala event, An Evening in Paris, scheduled for April 25 to October 3, 2020. This will impact our bottom line since funding we raise at this event is used to underwrite the costs of our free SummerCamp Program. We are planning some smaller, online opportunities we will share in the days to come.

How does that affect our AfterSchool Program? We have been taking all the precautions we can up to this point; making sure the kids wash their hands throughout the day, sanitizing all the surfaces we can, encouraging people who feel unwell to stay home, rescheduling unnecessary meetings.  This week we learned that Trenton Public Schools are closed for two days so the teachers can create stay at home packets for the students and for the school buildings and buses to be sanitized. Since we follow the Trenton school closings, we will close as well. We are also going to do some cleaning and sanitizing of our sites. And we are going to meet as a team to figure out the best way forward.

We know that parents who work count on us to have our free AfterSchool Program available for their students. We know the teens who are part of our StreetLeader Program count on our daily Academic Enrichment program to help them with their academics. We know our volunteers plan and look forward to being part of UPT. As we think about how to handle our response, we will take all of this into consideration.

Ultimately, though, the health and well-being of every student, parent, volunteer and staff member is most important- we will let that be our compass. As an organization, we will follow whatever guidelines are recommended by the CDC and the NJ Department of Health. We know that cooperating may mean we close for a time, but if that can help slow the spread of COVID 19, then that is what we will do.

We will be sure to share any changes as soon as we are able, via Facebook and Instagram and REMIND, our parent communication app.

So, what to do in a pandemic?

God always encourages us to look past ourselves to see where we can be of service. If you have an elderly neighbor, you might want to check on them. Be kind to each other and be appropriately truthful with children. Practice social distancing and stay out of big crowds. Be gentle with yourself and take care of your health.

It is important for all us to look after each other because we are all in this together. And together we can do what we cannot do alone. Be well!