State offers aid to daycare centers as childcare demand increases

Coronavirus

Child daycare remains a vital necessity for working parents especially as more are returning to work, but limited space could be an issue for some preschools.

Many preschools and daycare centers did not shutter over the state’s COVID-19 emergency proclamation, these facilities continue to care after the children of essential workers.

St. Mark’s Preschool with Kamaaina Kids remained open, the center’s director, Leslie Colby, said they followed the state’s safety guidelines to keep the kids and staff safe.

Colby said, “We do the health checks every morning, temperature checks, we do the handwashing, and we have to do a lot of sanitizing and disinfecting.”

Only staff and students are allowed inside the facility and they are keeping the children at least six feet apart.

Governor David Ige’s latest proclamation allowed all other childcare centers to reopen by following the state and CDC guidelines.

Childcare providers could apply for funding to cover cleaning and sanitation, each facility requires deep cleaning before welcoming back children.

The Department of Human Services, Director, Pankaj Bhanot, said the $11.9 million funding was directed to the state through the CARES Act.

Bhanot said, “This particular effort is exclusively focused on stabilizing and supporting childcare providers across the state.”

Part of the new childcare center guidelines restricts the ratio of nine children per one staff member, which reduces the number of spaces available at the centers.

“The current guidance from the CDC and across the country that’s what all childcare facilities are looking at,” Bhanot said. “I am absolutely aware this is not going to be sufficient as our economy continues to reopen in an incremental fashion.”

Bhanot said the ratio guideline will continue to adapt as more industries reopen, however, Colby said they are already seeing more children coming back.

Colby said, “People are wanting to come back and we’re trying to accommodate them the best way we can, but everyday people are calling, everyday people are knocking on our doors.” 

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