FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Governor Andy Beshear moved the opening date up for some daycare centers, as well as releasing the guidelines for their reopening, on Thursday. In-home day cares can open June 8, while larger centers can open June 15.
With kids, cleanliness is key, so many childcare centers are ready to take on the extra cleaning measures laid out by the state, but it’s hard to be ready for everything.
“We’re going to be on our toes, and we’re going to be prepared, but why not wait a few weeks and be completely prepared?” Sharon Warfield said.
Warfield is the owner and director of Ready to Learn, and she’s worried about making sure kids over 5 years old wear their masks and stay a safe distance from each other.
“Imagine how excited the kids are going to be,” Warfield said. “They haven’t seen each other in nine weeks, so that alone, the excitement of that, is just going to be an adjustment. You know, making sure they are not touching each other or not exchanging or wanting to share.”
Warfield has confidence her long-time staff is up to the challenge, but it’s the ten children per room maximum that has her worried.
“I can’t afford to lose children at this point after being off,” Warfield said. “I mean, I still have debts that are incurred that have to be paid, and then, I know that to be able to have reliable dependable staff, which I have, I want to make sure that they’re compensated and that they’re not worried that their job is in jeopardy because we don’t have enough children.”
She has 62 children enrolled, and usually there’s 33 kids in the building at a time with only a handful of rooms for them to share.
“How do you determine that Mrs. Jones’ job is more important than Miss Smith’s?” Warfield asked. You can’t. How do you make that call?”
Warfield and her staff are brainstorming how to tackle new guidelines like having curbside drop off and pick up for kids and taking temperatures of everyone at the door. They also have to come up with ways to replace parent-student activities.
“This has always been the place where the parents are welcome at any time, you don’t have to call to be able to come,” Warfield said. “Our children are in for a new awakening.”
Children’s Academy owner Lana Judd has already started practicing a lot of the new guidelines before the business closed in March, like limiting the number of parents in the building.
“While we’ve been off, we’ve been getting face masks. I’ve gotten hand sanitizer, all the bleach I can get a hold of. I got the no-touch thermometer,” Judd said. “So, basically everything that the governor outlined already.”
With 147 children enrolled, Judd isn’t really worried about the limit on group sizes. She’s also been reaching out to parents to determine who needs child care immediately.
“You know, it could be some people are still working from home or they lost their jobs and don’t need it right away,” Judd said.
She shares Warfield’s worry about keeping kids masked up, but Judd feels everyone will catch on quickly.
Judd also said her center will have to stop bringing other people in for presentations, but she says they’ll be able to make it up by doing more activities outside.
“It’s important for the children to see their teachers again,” Judd said. “The children miss their teachers, the teachers miss their kids, so I’m really excited about June 15.”
For the full list of state guidelines for daycare centers, click here.