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CDC, Youth, School Age programs continue to support families

Staff and attendees created signs of encouragement outside the Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Child Development Center earlier this year. Officials from the 66th Force Support Squadron are working to expand child care options for members of the Hanscom community during COVID-19. (Courtesy Photo)

Staff and attendees created signs of encouragement outside the Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Child Development Center earlier this year. Officials from the 66th Force Support Squadron are working to expand child care options for members of the Hanscom community during COVID-19. (Courtesy Photo)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass – Specialists from the 66th Force Support Squadron are continuing to support families during COVID-19 despite the challenges of operating during a pandemic.

Currently, there are no single- or dual-military families, whose commanders have deemed essential for in-person duty, on the waiting list for childcare.

“Knowing we’re able to support those families is a huge victory for us,” said Kristin Melvin, 66 FSS Child Development Center director.

Melvin said her staff is working diligently to facilitate enrollment and attendance in accordance with COVID restrictions and Department of Defense policies and expand family child care options. Additional information can be found at www.militarychildcare.com.

Officials from the CDC say the greatest challenge has been the orchestration of moving staff and children around schedules and classrooms safely.

“When we consider contact, we can’t just move staff members between classrooms anymore,” said Yolanda Kennedy, 66 FSS CDC assistant director. “A lot of time is spent managing those safety precautions, and we appreciate the support we get from families while we do that.”

Other 66 FSS programs are celebrating small victories of keeping children virtually engaged. Colleen Davis, 66 FSS Youth Center director, said the program has above-average participant numbers.

“We’re meeting our goals and continuing to build relationships and keep everyone connected,” said Davis.

Information on virtual Youth Center activities can be found at www.Facebook.com/HanscomAFBYouthPrograms

Coordinators from the 66 FSS School Age Program are also offering virtual events from families, said Jenny O’Hearn, SAP coordinator.

“We’ve been developing monthly craft packages for members to take home and do as a family,” she said.

Both program directors say they are open to ideas for activities and want the events to be collaborative efforts for families.

“We understand how much can be a challenge as we figure out the additional steps of this new routine,” said Scott Craver, 66 FSS Child and Youth Services Flight chief. “Our team is working hard to support our families, and it makes all the difference when they support us too.”