Covid-19 and Access to The Head Start Program

Head Start is a federally funded program designed to help at-risk students at the pre-K level. 3 and 4 year old children who fit the enrollment criteria are given the opportunity to get a leg up before entering kindergarten. This is a great program that accomplishes tremendous things with the students who are enrolled in it.

The onset of Covid-19 in New Hanover County has halted traditional school instruction and direct access to Head Start.  NHCS Educators have met the challenge to engage their students, even though these unprecedented circumstances could not have been predicted at this level.

Application to the Head Start Program have moved from a paper application to an online application. In the April 14, 2020 Board of Education Meeting, it was announced that there was a move from paper to online. However, there was no mention as to how those families without internet access can log in to apply. Is there a more equitable way for the families who need access to this vital and very successful program to gain paper applications if they cannot access the online application?

If the Board of Education can establish breakfast and lunch distribution locations for students who are enrolled in the free and reduced meals program, the very same demographic who needs Head Start, why can they not also set up a station at those pick up points for Head Start Applications.

For too long NHCS has been a reactive school system. It is time for New Hanover County Schools to become proactive. This is why I am asking for your support. I will try to anticipate potential pitfalls and offer proactive measures to avoid those pitfalls.

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