Child care has always been a vital resource for families and now its role is crucial for those who continue to work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Washington daycares have been cautious in their approach in addressing the virus outbreak and serving their families and children.
The Missourian contacted several daycares to find out how they’re handling the pandemic.
The Washington Montessori School is still serving its children, according to Director Jennifer Isgrigg.
“We will keep open until we are told not to,” Isgrigg said.
The school is following a strict cleaning regimen.
“We have a UV light in our building which disinfects the building,” Isgrigg said. “We also have additional filtration systems.”
The facility is regularly disinfecting common areas that children and staff come in contact with.
Isgrigg is making masks for children who are sneezing.
“Because masks cannot be found, I am making homemade masks for those who need them,” she said.
She also is making them for people in the community who wish to have them.
“They are not great by any means, but they are better than nothing,” Isgrigg added.
Anyone who would like to receive a mask should contact her at the school.
Isgrigg stated that the facility has not seen a huge decrease in attendance from students.
“Our numbers have not changed and I don’t expect to see a huge influx in our numbers,” she said.
The facility has limited public access. It also has stopped hosting tours for the time being.
Those who wish to enroll their children in school must be cleared by a medical doctor stating they do not have COVID-19.
For more information, contact Washington Montessori School at 636-239-5144.
Sisters Marcelyn Mohesky and Melanie Whited, who operate a private daycare in Washington, said they are “scared of the virus outbreak, but are trying to stay open.”
“I am 64 and my sister is 60,” Mohesky said. “We are trying to figure out what the best course of action is for our kids and us.”
Mohesky said they are aggressively working to be in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations along with county mandates.
“We are keeping our numbers at 10, including staff,” Mohesky said. “As the situation progresses, we expect to see the number of children who come to go down.”
Other precautions the facility has taken are parents are no longer allowed to walk into the facility, the public can not walk into the facility, and the facility is being regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Mohesky explained that the facility has a disaster plan in place that has been activated which they are currently following.
How the daycare will function going forward is still up in the air.
Mohesky said she is considering closing her portion of the daycare since more and more people are able to work from home. She said Whited will continue to stay open because she serves children whose parents are in the health care field and still have to report for work.
Little Rascals Preschool
Brenda Emann, the owner of Little Rascals Preschool in Washington, is “ensuring a clean and healthy environment,” for the children at the facility.
Emann said she’s following the state’s strict guidelines for cleaning and sanitation.
“We are cleaning constantly and are keeping limited contact with parents in the building,” she said.
Toys and common surfaces such as tables and doorknobs are being disinfected. Children and staff are constantly washing their hands, according to Emann.
“We have taken other measures like having children drink out of cups rather than using the water fountain,” she said. “We have also put away our sensory toys like playdough for the time being.”
Attendance has decreased somewhat, Emann said, which she believes is due to the fact so many parents are working from home and are staying with family members.
“I totally understand why parents have chosen to keep their kids home during this time,” she said.
The hours of operation at this time will remain the same.
“We have not been asked to expand our hours but are ready to help out,” Emann said.
There are a few openings at the preschool. The facility accepts children, ages 2 to 7, who are potty trained.
Children who are enrolled must be fever and medication free. Parents are required to fill out two forms issued by the state.
Those forms will allow for temporary care and for those wanting permanent daycare arrangements, additional forms are required, according to Emann.
For more information, contact Little Rascals Preschool at 636-239-5629.
Rachel Horn, the owner of Kiddos Korner in Washington, said her facility is up and running, and she plans to stay that way unless she is instructed otherwise.
The state has strict guidelines in terms of sanitation that the facility follows, Horn said, adding she has increased measures of disinfecting.
“Anyone who comes into the building must wash their hands,” she said. “Tables are regularly sanitized along with door handles.”
Horn said that attendance has decreased by half; the students who remain are all those whose parents are essential workers.
“Right now, we have a lot of children in the facility whose parents are first responders, health care workers, and factory workers,” Horn said.
The hours of operation will remain the same as of now. The facility is open Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., but Horn is prepared to make adjustments.
“By our licensing, we can stay open until 9 p.m.,” she said, but she would have to fill out a form to inform the state of this change.
Horn said she has not received any new requests for enrollment, but if she does there will be a screening process for those children.
Parents would have to provide a medical release stating that the child is healthy and does not have the coronavirus.
For more information, call Kiddos Korner at 636-432-5200 or Rachel Horn at 636-667-6059.
Kids Ahoy Learn and Care Center’s owner Bill Stewart and Director Christina Smith said they are taking the pandemic “a day at a time.”
According to Stewart, the Washington child care center has been in contact with the health department, social services, and other authorities to ensure compliance with government guidelines and precautions regarding the virus.
“As of now we are encouraged to stay open,” Stewart said. “And we plan to serve the community and be safe.”
Smith said the facility has taken extra health precautions to ensure proper sanitation.
“We are deep cleaning all the classrooms,” she said. “Staff and children are required to wash their hands often.”
Other precautions being taken include disinfecting tablets and common areas like door handles.
Smith said many children are staying home, which has resulted in a 70 percent decrease in normal attendance since the outbreak occurred.
Stewart stated that if the facility sees an influx in child enrollment, all children will be screened to ensure the safety of children enrolled and staff.