Children of essential workers to fill daycare slots first; At least 900 centers approved

Child care centers statewide are under new guidelines after Governor Mike DeWine announced a stay-home-order for Ohio on Sunday.

All child care centers will have until Thursday to get approval to remain open throughout this pandemic by submitting an application.

Under the stay-at-home order, we can expect more kids to be kept home with their families, but essential workers, such as first responders and healthcare workers, will still rely on daycare.

“We’re doing everything we normally do, we’re just doing it more,” Childcare Wonderland Owner and Director, Terita Carey said.

Carey is getting ready to tweak the way her daycare is run as she awaits approval for the “pandemic child care center license.”

“Beginning Thursday, March 26th, child care providers must have a temporary child care license,” DeWine said.

There are just three guidelines to follow. No more than six children should be in one room, and they should be with only one adult. Child care centers will also have to limit parent interaction when a child is picked up and dropped off. Lastly, if a daycare employee’s child is enrolled at the center, the parent will have to be assigned to the same classroom as their child.

Around 900 daycares have already received the license, but others will be closing down, limiting the number of slots available.

“This is a time of national and state emergency. We must reserve these slots for people who are directly involved with health care or first responders,” DeWine said.

Children of non-essential workers will be able to fill the remaining slots.

“We have like seven children in the whole building,” Carey said.

She’s hoping to fill the empty slots soon under the pandemic license, but for her regularly attending children who will be kept home, Childcare Wonderland will freeze their payment.

The center will also be checking children’s temperatures and looking for signs of illness on their way in the door.

“We serve breakfast, lunch, and snack, so their children will be fed, and I think that will help to bring down the stress levels of those that do have to go to work,” Carey said.

The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services will be monitoring these child care programs via telephone and onsite visits to make sure those guidelines are being followed.

Click here for the list of child care centers that have been approved for the license.

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