LEWISTON, Idaho – The KinderCollege at Lewis-Clark State College has received a $14,940 grant from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, which will help the college’s auxiliary childcare program to reopen on Wednesday, June 3.
KinderCollege provides care to children of LC State students, faculty and staff, and the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley community. It is licensed by the city of Lewiston to provide care for children ages six weeks to 6 years old.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, KinderCollege closed down on March 25. With Idaho entering Stage 3 of reopening in the Idaho Rebounds plan, a gathering of 10-50 people is now permissible as long as appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures can occur.
Sarah Wimer, director of KinderCollege, applied for the grant in mid-May and learned about the award late last week. The grant is for operating expenses occurred during March 1-July 31.
Wimer said the grant will be used to both offset personnel costs and for materials once KinderCollege reopens.
With the proper physical distancing guidelines, Wimer says KinderCollege will only be able to accommodate 15-20 children this summer, which is about half of what it normally has. The reduction in students also means a reduction in income to pay staff salaries. Also, each student will receive their own packet with supplies, including paper, pencils, and crayons.
“We are going through a lot of changes in what we do and how we are set up,” Wimer said. “A lot of things used to be set up for a group so that anyone could go get paper or do things together. Now, everyone will have their own individual set and we won’t be sharing.”
Wimer said she and her staff have been working on the new classroom setups and discussing the new protocols. She also has been in contact with parents about the new protocols in place.
Wimer said with the smaller class size for the reopening, most of the children are from LC students, staff and also from a parent who is classified as an essential worker, such as a nurse or social worker.
In addition to this grant, KinderCollege was awarded a mini grant of $500 from the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children in April. Wimer said she plans to use the money to buy a new dishwasher to replace a hot water sanitizer that broke down shortly before the pandemic hit.
KinderCollege is open 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. during the weekdays and is divided into three sections – each with a lead staff person and an LC work-study student. The sections are 6 weeks-18 months, 18 months-3 years, and 3-6 years old.
For more information on KinderCollege at LC State, contact Wimer at either [email protected] or 208-792-2254.