Childcare centers prep for reopen, operators see potential problems


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — May 31 is when Ohio daycare centers can reopen, which will give a lot of relief to parents who are heading back to work. One daycare in Hilliard said they are gearing up for the return of their kids.

“Safety is always a priority but it’s just heightened right now,” said Carol Haynes, the franchisee of Kiddie Academy in Hilliard.

Kiddie Academy, which is set to reopen June 2, is equipped with hand sanitizer, temperature checks, gowns, gloves, masks, and even face shields for when teachers have to feed infants. Classrooms will look different too as they will have dividers to help kids practice social distancing.

“We’re working really hard,” said Haynes.

She said as hard as they’re working, she sees some problems on the horizon. One is if they have to work long term with reduced teacher-to-student ratios. They will make less money to sustain the daycare and buy PPE. So, what she wants from state leaders is for help will a long-term plan. Haynes reached out to the Governor Mike DeWine’s office.

“What I want to talk to the governor’s office about is really for childcare a sustainability plan ensuring that all providers not only have access to PPE, but that PPE is sourced to us,” said Haynes.

Childcare centers are competing with other businesses such as salons, barbershops, and grocery stores, which need that same PPE as they continue business. For now, Kiddie Academy Director Caitlin Wallace said it has all the supplies it needs. She added they have plans in place to teach the kids when they come back and also train teachers.

“We’re going to take Monday to re-train our teachers before they come back with all of the kids so that we have all of the healthy, safe guidelines to follow,” said Wallace. “There are some changes to ratios and sanitizing and stuff like that.”

She said she wants staff members and parents to stay positive and be patient.

“Everyone is learning this new normal at the same time,” said Wallace.

Haynes said she will continue to reach out to state and government officials to see if there is any help they can provide.

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