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Hats with sneeze guards attached a big hit for preschoolers already back in the classroom

Growing God's Kingdom in West Fork says kids are reacting great with the new safety protocols in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — While school starts back up for many in about a month, preschools in our area have been going on since the beginning of June. 

5NEWS was invited inside Growing God's Kingdom Preschool in West Fork to see what the preschool is doing to keep their students safe. 

"The first thing they do in the morning is come in and look for their hat," Jennifer Cisneros, a teacher at Growing God's Kingdom Preschool, said. 

Growing God's Kingdom has been open since June 1, and teachers say they are raising the bar to offer the safest options possible for their kids, all while keeping school enjoyable. 

One of the safety measures includes all children over 2-years-old wearing fun colored hats with sneeze guards attached, and teachers say they are a big hit. 

"We wanted to make sure the kids were comfortable so we thought well the masks are a little bit hard for younger kids so we thought maybe the hats could be a better option because the kids will be able to at least have some room for the airflow and they will be able to go outside and play, and it wouldn't hinder there playing too much. The kids just love it. They keep them on," Cisneros said. 

Hats with sneeze guards are disinfected daily. The children can find their hats hanging up outside their classroom with their picture. 

Older kids get a choice of whether they want to wear their masks or their hat. 

Some of the other COVID-19 measures the preschool has put in place include every staff member must wear a mask before entering the buildings. Their mask must be worn at all times in the classrooms, as well as on the playground. 

Each child is provided with their own individual art supplies filled with their materials. 

The preschool implemented a dropoff line for morning and afternoon pickup. No parents are allowed inside the building to prevent the spread of the disease. 

Program Director Connie Blew says lots of research went into enforcing these guidelines and that the kids at Growing God's Kingdom are responding wonderfully to them. 

"They've been amazing. You never know how they are going to react with masks and hats and families not being able to come in and drop them off, but they've been great," Blew said. 

Public schools in the region will begin the week of August 24. This comes as Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas River Valley continue to see a surge in COVID-19 cases. Many schools are still working on their return to classroom plans with just a month remaining before students return. 

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