Update: January 13, 2021
In response to the Mecklenburg County Public Health directive issued January 12, MECK Pre-K has made the following operational decisions.
MECK Pre-K offices are closed now through Feb 2, 2021 as a COVID-19 safety measure. Staff are still available Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm at info@MeckPreK.org or 704-943-9585.
MECK Pre-K classrooms, which are operated through a network of 40 privately owned and operated childcare centers, will operate on a case-by-case basis. Now through February 2, most MECK Pre-K classrooms will continue providing in-person learning on a normal schedule, while some will shift to virtual learning. MECK Pre-K centers are in regular communication with their families. Those with questions should contact their center directly.
Currently, the plan is for all MECK Pre-K classrooms to resume normal operations starting February 3, 2021.
MECK Pre-K continues to monitor the current health situation and consult with officials from Mecklenburg County, the NC Division of Public Health and the NC Department of Health and Human Services. If you have general questions about the Coronavirus, contact the Mecklenburg County Health Department Public Health Hotline (980-314-9400) available Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. You may also visit their website at mecknc.gov/COVID-19.
To ensure the safety of children, families, teachers and providers, MECK Pre-K has made the following Changes:
- Class sizes have been reduced to allow for social distancing.
- MECK Pre-K leadership is having regular operational/health/policy check-ins with State and Local Departments of Health and Human Services, Mecklenburg County, Smart Start Leadership and Child Care Resources staff.
- Mecklenburg County Public Health Leadership is hosting sessions for MECK Pre-K Providers and Teachers.
- MECK Pre-K is working with providers to ensure that they adhere to required NC Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) health and safety protocols.
- MECK Pre-K and providers are providing regular communications to enrolled families about COVID-19 safety.
The decision to open with in-person instruction came after extensive discussions with officials from Mecklenburg County, the NC Division of Public Health and the NCDHHS. In addition, MECK Pre-K distributed surveys to families, teachers, and providers to gather feedback on the coming school year. Across all groups, the majority of respondents expressed a desire for children to return to the classroom even in light of the ongoing public health situation. Operating in a traditional, onsite instructional style benefits young children, families and employers by providing safe, supervised, affordable high-quality education and care.
MECK Pre-K and Mecklenburg County leadership reviewed the data and determined that virtual pre-k instruction is not nearly as effective or impactful for young children. MECK Pre-K providers, many of whom have remained open providing care throughout the COVID-19 situation, will be prepared to deliver high-quality pre-kindergarten programming for our youngest learners.
Barring any changes in the public health situation, the program will not provide virtual or hybrid learning options so teachers can focus on delivering the best instruction and support in-person to the children who need it most.
MECK Pre-K is a voluntary public pre-kindergarten program that allows parent choice based on individual family needs and preferences. Eligible families who have applied for MECK Pre-K will have the opportunity to participate in a survey later this week to indicate their preferences and provide additional feedback to MECK Pre-K. MECK Pre-K works with a network of childcare providers, who will have the option to participate or not this school year if they and/or their staff do not feel comfortable with in-person instruction.
To help families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mecklenburg County has also lifted the income restrictions for MECK Pre-K’s 2020-2021 school year. To be eligible for MECK Pre-K, children need only to live in Mecklenburg County and be four on or before August 31. Income documentation will still be required, but families earning more than 400% of the federal poverty level for their household size will still qualify. For complete details on the enrollment process, families can visit our Enrollment Page.
MECK Pre-K is hosting events for families who have questions about the enrollment process or fall reopening plans. Details on these events can be found at facebook.com/MECKPreK/events.
For regular updates, we encourage everyone to sign up for our mailing list at https://meckprek.org/.
MECK Pre-K Offices
In the interest of the safety and health of our staff and families, MECK Pre-K offices are open to the public in a limited capacity and by appointment only. You can reach us by phone at (704) 943-9585 or by email at email@example.com.
We're Still Taking Applications!
We are still taking applications for the 2020-2021 school year. Visit our enrollment page for application instructions. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have lifted the income restrictions for the 2020-2021 school year.
You can also find applications and required documents on our enrollment page.
Applications and documents can be submitted by:
Email as an attachment: info@MeckPreK.org
Take a photo with your phone and email: info@MeckPreK.org
Mail: 601 E. 5th Street, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28202
When submitting your documents, PLEASE add your child’s name in the subject line of the email or on the fax sheet so we can match it to your application.
If you are not able to download and print an application, please email info@MeckPreK.org to request that an application be mailed to you. All screenings and in-person application drop offs are postponed.
As we monitor the COVID-19 situation, please subscribe to our email list and follow us on social media at @MeckPreK for further information as details progress.
Child-Friendly Online Learning Resources for Families
If you have a pre-k child at home, you might be looking for activities to keep them learning. We recommend prioritizing hands-on and in-person activities for an optimal learning experience, but we also know that online activities can enhance and supplement these activities.
MECK Pre-K has compiled this great Resource Sheet with links to different educational resources, providing a mix of in-person and online activities to develop skills ranging from vocabulary to math to science to art. If you’re looking for more non-screen activities, here’s a list of 75 activities from our friends at Charlotte on the Cheap.
COVID-19 Resources from Smart Start
This page from the Smart Start website provides a platform for the latest news, guidance, and resources, as well as keeping you updated on ways that you can take action to support families and the early childhood system.
Mental Health Support for Childcare Professionals
Recognizing the impact that stress, anxiety, and trauma can have in our lives, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the North Carolina Psychological Foundation have launched a helpline to connect front line workers to licensed mental health professionals. The Hope4Healers Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling (919) 226-2002. All calls will be confidential. Click here for a printable flyer about this service.
These times are challenging for everyone in our community, and we are committed to supporting our families as they navigate this new and unprecedented situation. As we make operational decisions, we are looking to state and local experts to ensure that we are following safety precautions to protect the health of students, teachers, staff and families.