As many businesses temporarily suspend their operations during the COVID-19 crisis, there are extensive discussions centering on the significance of having childcare services remain available to assist the parents whose occupations provide essential services to the public.
Already working endlessly and courageously, these brave workers need to be assured that their children will be cared for if they are to fully focus on their daily, wearisome duties.
Joyous Montessori, a school system that concentrates on early education in Keller, Lewisville, and Fort Worth, Texas, has expanded on the value of childcare services. During these difficult times they want to highlight a few areas and specific facilities that have implemented notable measures to look after the children of our indispensable workers.
Institutions Doing Their Utmost
In Mira Mesa, San Diego, a preschool continues to open its doors, but owner Holly Weber insists that this decision will constantly be monitored and, if necessary, re-considered for the well-being of the children and their families.
Were anyone in her center to test positive for the coronavirus disease or exposed to someone who had been infected, she would be resolved in closing the facility.
Although the disease does not seem to pose as large of a threat to young children, Weber is ensuring that the same health precautions are followed to prevent kids from transmitting the illness to parents or grandparents.
New York has seen the majority of its childcare centers shut down. A family daycare, located in Staten Island, is one of the exceptions that has sought to stay open.
“We look around and everyone else is closing. We’re the last people standing,” says Gladys Jones, owner of the daycare.
A childcare facility in Oklahoma City, intends to persist in its operations for the foreseeable future, upholding extra precautions to do so. Staff sanitize the rooms day-to-day and the facility is adamant in not accepting any children who are ill.
Crucial as it is for childcare services to support parents who work as scientists, doctors or in various other necessary roles, Joyous Montessori states that it is equally vital for the mental welfare of the children themselves in this uncertain, unprecedented time.
Several states and institutions are working to uncover how they can increase enrollment, as they create a line of communication between childcare centers and the workers who urgently need them.
Washington, D.C.’s Children’s National Hospital is in the process of developing its own database, hoping to connect its employees to options that are presently available.
In New York, upwards of 100 members of Early Childhood Educators (ECE), a network of roughly 500 New York City childcare providers, have replied to requests from the city and a union serving health-care works to confirm that they have ample room to take in the children of first responders.
Oklahoma State Department of Human Services Director Justin Brown issued a state-wide letter to all childcare providers this month, stating that the industry is imperative to a community’s capability to respond to a health risk such as COVID-19.
“Widespread closure of childcare facilities will dramatically impact the ability of first responders, such as health care providers, to remain available to serve their communities. It is critical that you do all you can to remain open,” he wrote.
Joyous Montessori on a Call for Greater Help
Currently, there are a number of childcare programs that are still lacking in enrollment, with families opting to keep their kids home because a parent recently lost a job, works remotely, or is acting out of trepidation.
Data collected by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Early Care & Education Consortium indicates that programs throughout the United States lost nearly 70% of their daily attendance in a single week of the pandemic.
Leaders and proponents in the childcare industry are prompting the federal government to provide emergency assistance to programs, reminding it that a large portion of this sector can be permanently closed without proper aid.
A federal economic stimulus bill passed this week did supply some financial relief, which includes $3.5 billion dollars in grant funding for emergency workers’ care. However, advocacy groups maintain that additional support is required in the next stimulus to serve the present emergency needs and fend off the possibility of indefinite closures.
Multiple states, New York being one of them, have now classified childcare programs as being essential businesses that are permitted to continue running while other businesses are decreed to close. A few of these same states are even advocating that these facilities prioritize the families of first responders.
Last week, the Hunt Institute in North Carolina launched a website that tracks state directives and policies concerning early education and the pandemic. Its objective is to create a learning resource for government officials and policymakers, where they can eventually distinguish the best applications.
Providers, along with state and local leaders, must work to help these programs remain functional so that the children of first responders and essential service workers are profoundly tended to, says Joyous Montessori.