CINCINNATI — With Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement Thursday allowing daycares to reopen starting May 31, centers across the state are rushing to make sure they’re ready to reopen and keep children safe.
The state released a new list of requirements that outline everything from group sizes to temperature checks inside childcare centers. See all of those requirements attached to the end of this story.
For daycare centers like The Learning Grove, it’s just a matter of meeting those standards before their doors reopen across the state.
The Learning Grove, which cares for more than 3,000 children in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, is working its way down Ohio’s mandatory checklist to make sure every child is safe.
“We haven’t been sitting flat-footed, but boy we’ve got a lot of work to do to get it all up and going,” said Shannon Starkey-Taylor, CEO of The Learning Grove.
She says conference rooms might turn into temporary classrooms with portable sinks, and parents will experience dividers if rooms are big enough to divide up.
When they reopen childcare providers will have no more than one staff member and six children in the room at a time. They must also perform mandatory on-site temperature checks to make sure no one is running a fever higher than 100 degrees, and everyone will follow a rigorous hand washing routine after nearly every interaction.
And, as Starkey-Taylor points out, they’ll be doing all of that with less money.
“Anything that the state can do to make childcare providers financially whole as we provide for smaller group sizes would be important,” she said.
Vanessa Freytag, president and CEO of 4C For Children, says despite the challenges ahead, including deciding who gets a spot when centers reopen, daycares are eager to get back to business.
“If there’s any way to make this work with the other supports that they’ll need, they’re going to make it work,” she said.
And as parents return to work, Freytag wants them to be confident knowing their childcare provider takes the extra steps to stay safe.
“We hope that parents are comfortable, that they know that their childcare provider is a professional, that training long before the pandemic happened was there for sanitization,” she said.
And like many things these days, childcare providers will have to learn to adjust to the new normal.
“Things might ebb and flow and we might have to make course corrections, so we’re all going to have to remain flexible,” Starkey-Taylor said.
For the full list of requirements for childcare providers and guidance for parents, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.