COLUMBUS, Ohio — As many Ohioans have already begun returning to work, with others to follow in the coming days -- access to childcare is still very much a necessity.
I wasn’t able to ask a question at Gov. Mike DeWine’s daily press briefing on Tuesday, as time restrictions ended the briefing before my turn came. As a result, today’s “Ben Asks a Question” piece will be about a recurring issue brought up by other reporters at Tuesday’s briefing.
Ben Asks a Question is a feature we started as a way to help give you a voice during Gov. Mike DeWine's daily press briefings. Since then, Ben has gotten hundreds of questions a day. If you'd like to ask a question, find us on Facebook and feel free to message us there, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WMFD-TV of Mansfield, Ohio’s Jack Windsor asked Dewine about childcare on Tuesday. Windsor mentioned that childcare facilities are able to be “pandemic certified,” and asked why DeWine's administration is still not allowing childcare facilities to open up as many parents are returning to work.
DeWine said that while kids are more likely to recover from COVID-19, the real risk lies in them bringing the virus back home.
“Data in regard to childcare is different, and it’s difficult -- and here’s why it’s difficult,” said DeWine. “We do know that statistically, kids are not impacted nearly as much as older people are. But the real concern always, with childcare, is that you’re mixing a bunch of families, and these kids -- social distancing is pretty hard for a two-year-old, three-year-old. And they go back home. One of them has come in, they’re not showing symptoms, they don’t have a temperature so they’re not excluded, but they’re carrying it and then they spread it, and then it goes back to 10 families or 20 families or however many families that child has come into contact with.”
Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton touched on the subject as well, telling Ohioans she and her team have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out the issues revolving around childcare in the state, while trying to make sense of the available data.
“I know we’re going to be talking about childcare in the next day or two, it’s something that we’ve really been spending a lot of time in the policy,” said Acton. “There’s studies from around the world, there are studies from China that said the rate of transmission was a third as much, but then studies from Germany really did show a risk … We have had cases in childcare actually, cases both in kids and also in the workers there. But we have not seen a widespread spillover into the community. But it’s something that is very important -- because if we are going back to work, parents need childcare to be able to do that, and we know there are some consequences of kids not having a safe place to go.”
Childcare facilities in Ohio have been closed since March 26. As of Tuesday, there is no set date for facilities to resume operation.