GREENSBORO, N.C. — More than 100 day care centers across the Triad have closed.
Across the country, the child care system has suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Stay and Play in Greensboro, owner Karen Root already came close to closing.
In July, with the help of clients and an anonymous donor, she was able to keep the lights on and doors open for a couple of months.
Now that money has run out, and so has their time.
“We’re making $20 or less a day,” Root said.
There are untouched toys in the empty room at the child care center.
“I don’t have any children here except my own,” she said.
Root was hoping that things at her hourly day care would get better now that the pandemic has been going for six months.
“We probably lost 70-80%, if not more, of our business,” she said.
Day cares across the Triad are seeing low enrollment, forcing them to close.
“They just can’t make it financially,” Michele Rivest said.
Rivest is the Policy Director of the North Carolina Early Education Coalition. She says the child care system is on the verge of collapsing.
“Parents have less income and less resources than they did before the COVID pandemic,” she explained. “Without a work force, we just won’t see the pre-COVID kind of numbers we had seen in child care.”
As of June, Rivest said 34 child care centers have shut their doors in Forsyth County. In Guilford County, 135 day cares have closed. Rivest said most of these places won’t reopen.
Nancy Simpson, the director of the Faith Wesleyan Christian Academy in Greensboro, says she’s thankful they were able to stay open.
“The church has helped us, and we’ve had donations,” she said.
That, paired with some grants from the Department of Health and Human Services, helped them stay afloat.
“The lowest [enrollment] we had was 34,” Simpson said. “We’re up to 101 right now, which is wonderful, but we’re praying for more.”
They usually have 150 kids or more enrolled. Simpson told FOX8 they’re still operating on a tight budget.
“If it stays like this, we’d have to make decisions within the next couple of months. How to restructure things,” she explained.
Simpson said she hopes the state provides some additional support to help keep these day cares open.