Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently mandated schools remain closed until April, but daycares are open, meaning extra work is needed to keep children and staff safe.
Local daycares are having parents stand outside and taking temperatures of everyone entering to ensure coronavirus does not spread.
“We’re taking temperatures and making sure they don’t have a runny nose or coughing,” said Judy Alvizo, director of Happy Days Daycare. “Parents must stay right at the door.”
Blue Bird Kids’ Academy is also taking temperatures of all staff and kids, said owner Kerry Fryer. The daycare normally takes care of kids after school but did not last week. Fryer plans to be open for service this week if they can remain open.
“We sanitize already so it is just doing extra things,” Fryer said. “As of right now we already do the majority of what we’ve been told to do.”
At Triple L Ranch, the daycare is doing what it usually does plus extra measures.
“We’re keeping class sizes down,” said Triple L Ranch director Summer Bolado. “We’re doing lots of extra cleaning, washing hands right when they come in in the morning.”
The daycare is also doing a deep cleaning and sanitizing.
“They’re still being kids but we’re trying to stop them in between and doing extra sanitizing of the toys,” Bolado said.
It is necessary for daycares to stay open for families who can not have kids at home and rely on schools to take care of them during the day, Alvizo said.
“It is a little bit hard but we’re doing the best we can with what we have,” Alvizo said. “We understand we’re staying open for parents that do need to work so we’re here for them.”
Happy Days Daycare averages about 70 to 80 kids a day so far, which is lower than typical attendance. Many families are keeping kids at home, Alvizo said.
“It is a little bit hard but we’re doing the best we can with what we have,” Alvizo said. “I understand we’re staying open for parents that do need to work we’re here for them.”
Triple L Ranch has about half the attendance it usually has, and Bolado is bracing for possible closure.
“We really are kind of waiting for emails from Health and Human Services to see how they want to proceed,” Bolado said. “We have no idea what they entail for next week. Some employees don’t have family close by or friends since so many people are new (in New Braunfels) so they don’t have a lot of options if we do close.”
Boland said families have been supportive of the daycare, offering to bring milk, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer. She is worried if they will need to close but focuses on each day since something new always happens.
“We’re just taking it day by day and seeing what our options will be,” Boland said.
Blue Bird Kids’ Academy is averaging about 87 children per day. About 40 of its after school kids have stopped coming. Fryer said these are decent numbers, but worries about families and her employees if the daycare is told to close.
“Pretty sure we’ll lose some (workers) if we close,” Fryer said. “They don’t get paid for vacation or holiday pay, it’s just straight pay. Closing will definitely be a burden to our staff and our community and me being a business owner.”
Paige Ubiles dropped off her 3-year-old daughter at daycare last week and said working from home while homeschooling would be stressful. She also has an 8-year-old son.
“I’m appreciative they’re still open but most likely it’s not going to last long,” Ubiles said. “I just hope they really are checking everybody and making sure they’re going off CDC guidelines and making sure everyone is safe.”
Ubiles also said she has had to pick up the legwork for her job, so that is an extra strain on her time.
“I’m definitely overwhelmed,” Ubiles said. “I wish I didn’t have to choose between being a good employee and being a good parent.”