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Lightbridge Academy® Provides an Essential Service to Communities

During COVID-19, the early education and child care franchise has helped families providing essential service in several states to help the parents on the front lines.

When schools closed across the country, it became difficult for parents to balance work and child care, especially those with children in preschool. The early education and child care franchise Lightbridge Academy® was able to operate many of their child care centers as an essential business. This allowed the everyday heroes of this pandemic, such as healthcare workers and first responders, to rely on Lightbridge Academy to provide quality, safe, healthy child care as The Solution for Working Parents®.

In early April, Vibha Weimer, a Lightbridge Academy franchise owner in Delran, New Jersey, reopened her center to offer care to the children of essential employees and first responders.

“We originally closed our school during the beginning of the outbreak,” said Weimer. “In early April, the state’s government asked that child care for essential workers be available. Our teachers agreed that they wanted to come back to work from being furloughed in order to help the community. As long as we have staff to do it, we are honored to be able to help essential healthcare workers serve our communities so we can all be safe and healthy.” 

Of course, the process of reopening hasn’t come without its fair share of challenges for Weimer. “We’ve really had to rethink how we handle operations to meet the needs of these unprecedented times,” she said. “We’ve had to shut down our usual business model and work within the parameters given to us by the state and the CDC. We’ve also needed to stay abreast of all the relevant information in order to use it to pivot our operations. There are decisions being made every day along with support from our franchise home office team.” 

One of the first changes the center made was to implement strict guidelines in which children must be picked up outside the premises. The staff is also taking children’s temperatures daily and logging the information, sanitizing all surfaces and being very diligent about cleaning. 

“When it comes to enhanced safety protocols, we’ve been using hospital-grade cleaning products, wearing masks in the classroom and implementing screening procedures to ensure that no one has been exposed to COVID-19,” said Weimer. “Also, we’ve created capacity restrictions so that no more than 10 people are in the classroom at a time, including staff. We are used to having 18 to 20 kids in a classroom, so this was a major change for us.” 

Since Weimer was not charging the previously enrolled families that were unable to attend the center, she applied for alternative funding in order to continue supporting staff, utilizing resources such as SBA loans, the CARE Act and PPP loans. Still, despite these challenges, Weimer and her staff are proud to be providing aid to those who are saving lives everyday.

“Lightbridge Academy looks at the community as part of our Circle of Care and we are proud to be able to support the children of parents who are on the front lines,” said Weimer. “When the crisis first hit, many of these families didn’t have the child care they needed, especially hospital workers who were self-isolated to avoid exposure. This was a major consideration when deciding to open back up—this created additional stress for the doctors and nurses who were already making exceptional sacrifices. It has been humbling to hear how grateful they are and we are honored to play a part in helping them along this difficult journey.”

After an extremely successful start to 2020, this crisis may have temporarily slowed down operations for Lightbridge Academy, but the brand’s CEO Guy Falzarano is confident that franchisees will be positioned for success as centers reopen nationwide.

“One thing that has become clear during this pandemic is that we are indeed an essential service and that parents rely on us in good times and bad,” said Falzarano. “Safety and security is top of mind for all working parents. As a result, we have developed the gold standard for health & safety called The Lightbridge Promise. All our centers are investing in a state of the art, air purification and filtration system which is similar in design to what you find in healthcare. This, in addition to our enhanced protocols, ensures that families feel comfortable and truly experience peace of mind entrusting their children in our care.”

While child care will always be an important service, more than ever, people need the security of knowing they can go to work and provide for their family during a crisis like COVID-19. “We make sure our families know that their children are well educated and cared for so they can perform their essential role in the community,” said Weimer. “This is also part of Lightbridge Academy®’s Circle of Care® philosophy, in which we provide nurturing care to not only students, but parents, staff, owners and the community. Our goal is to help everyone—when we serve one of us, we are serving all of us.”

The startup costs for a Lightbridge Academy franchise range from $549,228 to $737,635. The franchise fee is $40,000. To learn more about franchising with Lightbridge Academy, visit https://lightbridgeacademyfranchise.com/.

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.

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