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CAOWNY Early Childhood centers close until April 20; meals to be provided


Tue, Mar 17th 2020 02:15 pm

The Community Action Organization of WNY Inc. Head Start program released this statement:

The following provides an update on the CAO’s plans for the coming weeks in the wake of the rapidly changing landscape in our community right now. CAOWNY Early Childhood centers, which serve about 3,000 students in Erie and Niagara counties, are closed to daily attendance until April 20.

All CAOWNY’s staff will report as normal and will be given further information about their responsibilities and expectations for the near future. CAOWNY executive leadership team has been working urgently over the last week to develop plans for our staff and students to weather this upcoming interruption of normalcy by prioritizing the health and safety of our students, families and staff alike.

At this point, it is extremely important to keep our lines of communication open and to be ready to give and receive information to and from the school. We will be using email, text, phone and social media (Facebook and YouTube) to communicate with staff and parents over the next weeks. We will also be updating our CAOWNY website regularly with details on this ever-changing situation. Please find updates on our website’s homepage at caowny.org.

Our plan for the next few weeks is comprehensive, proactive and fluid, and we will work to provide families and students with a continuation of instruction, connection to school, home and community, and social, emotional and nutritional health for all students.

Education – Parent and child activities will be uploaded daily to Facebook and the webpage. The education team will contact families weekly and update the information in our data management system.

Health – Share health resource/information with parents via website and Facebook page.

Disability/mental health – Email weekly speech, occupational and/or physical theory activities for each child with an IEP. Provide community resources to all parents via website and Facebook; and provide weekly Second Step, behavior management and stress relief activities.

Nutrition – Provide breakfast and snacks for the families to take home.

Two centers have been identified to serve as a centralized kitchen. Nutrition supervisors will run the centralized kitchen at the following location. Lunch will be prepared and distributed between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. primarily from the:

Ferry Academy

909 E. Ferry, Buffalo, NY 14211; 716-348-3322 

DiFrancesco Academy

901 24th St., Niagara Falls, NY 14301; 716-216-3880

Family and Community engagement – Family and community will continue to share information regarding housing, education, employment, social services, SNAP and WIC, free meals and food pantries, legal aid, health insurance and medical care. Family partner and home visitors will contact families weekly to provide resources, assess needs and continue the family agreement process. Teachers and family partners will communicate with parents through each week, monitor children’s progress through the learning lessons, and continue updating children’s progress in our electronic client management system.

The CAO believes that it is more important than ever for us all to take a nice, deep breath and to remember and rely on our guiding principles maintaining relationships, open communication, and respecting diversity while working collaboratively. This is a time to focus on the thing that we value the most in our community, taking great care of each other.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact your school directly with any questions or concerns.


Chelsea White, early childhood administrator

L. Nathan Hare, president and CEO

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