Childcare centers in Kentucky are gearing up to reopen Monday for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
Kentucky is putting in place dozens of new requirements to keep kids and staff safe as they return to childcare facilities.
"Parents and children have been out of childcare since mid-March, so this is a big change," said Shannon Starkey-Taylor, CEO of Learning Grove.
Learning Grove in Covington is reopening four of its childcare centers in Northern Kentucky on Monday and Starkey-Taylor said the centers are ready to hit the ground running. But for families getting ready to send kids back to childcare centers, things are going to look and feel a lot different.
"We want people to ease their way back in," said Starkey-Taylor. "Parents make extra time for that transition. Maybe expect some extra tears as children are transitioning back."
Kentucky allowed at-home daycare facilities to reopen last week, but mandated that larger childcare centers wait until June 15. Some of the new rules for facilities include limiting group sizes to only 10 children, making sure the same staff members work with the same kids each day, staggering playground time and eliminating center-wide events and field trips.
"Obviously, children's safety is the utmost importance. It’s the top thing that’s on our mind," said Starkey-Taylor.
In addition to social-distancing rules, Kentucky is requiring childcare centers to come up with customized plans to clean and sanitize their buildings and everything inside more frequently. Childcare staff also must go through new training on cleaning procedures and the use of personal protective equipment. Childcare centers will also be checking the temperatures of every child as they come in, and at Learning Grove, no parents will be allowed inside.
"So you can imagine, with young children, they’re touching everything," said Starkey-Taylor. "Bathrooms and high-touch areas will be cleaned at the top of every hour and then we will do thorough cleanings in the evenings."