PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5)- With schools already in session or just about to start, working parents are struggling to figure out where they can safely send their children during the day. Many child care facilities have either limited their capacity to allow for social distancing or even closed.
Just as rapidly as the situation with COVID-19 has evolved, the child care industry is adapting-- in some cases, quicker than schools can, said Director of the National Child Care Association Cindy Lehnhoff. “Because young children are building their immune system, and there’s always that concern, but we’ve been doing that 20-second hand washing for many years.”
Marcia Mintz, CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of the Valley, says her organization is prepared to help.
Lehnhoff said there are specific things parents can watch out for when making sure their childcare center is safe, like what protocols are in place during drop-off and pick-up. “Child care centers that are doing a really great job are not allowing parents in the facility or not allowing them to go past the front office and taking your child’s temperature… they also immediately are taken to wash their hands.”
But how useful is this information if you can’t find adequate care?
Director of Anderson Preparatory Academy Tara O’Neale said that, for the first time in years, child care facilities that are open do not have a waiting list and parents should take advantage of this situation. “We do have room. What is happening in the industry: a lot of centers are having difficulty having staff or enrollment because of the fear of catching COVID.”
Half of the Anderson Preparatory Academy parents are medical workers, and O’Neale is keeping her business afloat by adding virtual learning classrooms. “The front room will be for my older students [who] can navigate online by themselves, and I have one set aside that I am actually transforming this weekend into a kinder classroom for those kinder babies [who] don’t know how to work a computer.”
For a list of open childcare facilities open in your area, visit the Arizona Child Care Research and Referral website by clicking here.