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CTI Programs Closed as Virus Precaution

Lowell Sun 1/29/2021

CTI closed its Early Learning Program and School Age sites for five days  as a precaution against COVID-19

By Robert Mills

rmills@lowellsun. com

Lowell » Community Teamwork Inc. closed its Early Learning Program and School Age sites, which host about 450 children, for five days earlier this month as a precaution against COVID-19, according to administrators.

The programs were closed from Jan. 15 to Jan. 22.

“Community Teamwork has not had any known transmission of COVID within our programs which has forced closure, rather, closures are due to staff being out with flu and cold- like symptoms. We are extremely cautious and presume all staff positive until they are able to get tested,” said Kathleen Plath, CTI’s development officer.

“The decision to close was a difficult one, knowing how critical our services are to the children and families in our community,” she said.

“We consulted with local DPH office, Department of Early Education and Care, and assessed our ability to operate with a reduced workforce.”

When about 10% of students and 25% of staff were quarantined due to exposures or cold and flu- like symptoms, the programs were closed in an effort to ensure staffing levels could be maintained, according to Meghan Siembor, director

of CTI’s Division of Child and Family Services. “We wanted to make sure we had enough staff to adhere to the safety protocols,” Siembor said. “We thought that if we close and get everyone healthy it will ensure we can remain open for the rest of the pandemic.”

Plath said CTI has adhered to “stringent” health and safety guidelines for the programs since they reopened in July, and that the closure was a long- term strategy to maintain a healthy environment.

“Closing for a short stint enabled our staff to recuperate, allowed us to do some deep cleaning, and enabled us to resume operations much quicker than we would have, if more staff needed to be out,” Plath said.