DALLAS - As some non-essential businesses were allowed to reopen on Monday, some of those working parents trying to return to their jobs were lacking child care options. The latest effort to jumpstart the economy tackles that concern.
Childcare centers can open for everyone: both children of essential workers and non-essential workers. But it could take childcare centers some time to meet all of the guidelines.
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Hudson and Lucy went to daycare Monday for the first time in six weeks. Their father, Andrew Alder, had been running the show from home.
“It’s surreal. I miss them at home, but I’ve been able to get so much more done,” he said.
On Monday, Governor Greg Abbott announced that childcare facilities can reopen for all children starting immediately. The exception is for those who are sick.
It’s a life changing announcement for working parents. Families must monitor themselves and their children for illness. Parents will not be allowed inside daycares for pickup or drop-off.
“I think it may be a little bit too soon, but we can’t just keep going on like this for so long,” Alder said. “I mean, sooner or later, you’ve got to get out there.”
Tina Green owns Fair Oaks Day School on Walnut Hill in Dallas. She watched the governor’s announcement.
“It gave me goosebumps,” she said. “I was so excited.”
Green says she’s already taking every precaution outlined by the state. Based on the new checklist for childcare centers out Monday, she will have to start hiring.
“You just need more staff, from what I saw today,” she said.
The state now requires childcare centers limit class sizes, separating children into smaller groups and keeping one teacher to one class. That means more staff, and finding them may prove difficult.
Green says she will likely need to hire 5-10 more employees, which will be difficult with her budget.
The governor also announced Monday youth camps can resume in summer 2020, with new procedures including health and hygiene training for staff and enhanced cleaning. Each camp should also “develop a management plan for infection outbreaks.”
Camp Cimarron is already canceled for this summer.
Kidventure day camps in Dallas already put out a statement detailing daily temperature checks and sanitization procedures.
The Texas Education Agency is allowing in-school summer school, but in-person learning must be optional.
Like all of us, Alder hopes that we don’t see a resurgence.
“Hopefully, in two weeks, we don’t see a large spike in cases,” he said. “And we can continue to do this and avoid any secondary spikes in COVID-19.”
A big requirement for all of this reopening is making sure parents and workers are aware of any symptoms developing, any changes in temperatures, monitoring whether anyone is getting sick and having those people stay home.