Triad child care providers getting ready for start of school year

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On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced schools will reopen in the fall, despite a surge in COVID-19 numbers across the state. It left parents scrambling to figure out after-school plans.

Child care providers in the Piedmont Triad said their phones have been ringing off the hook for the past week or so.

At Johnson’s Daycare in Greensboro, parents have been calling and asking whether they have enough room and how they plan to navigate picking kids up from school.

But it’s something they and other child care facilities across the Triad said they’ve been anticipating and are prepared for regardless of what the fall semester looks like for students.

“I have been having calls and like I’ve been telling the parents, let’s see what Governor Cooper is going to state,” said Margie Johnson, owner of Johnsons Daycare.

Child care providers got that answer this week.

While it’s a relief for some, it left parents with a lot of questions about what this means for child care services.

“We have been getting phone calls from Headstart and going back to school, what is our plan? Do we plan to be open? Do we plan to pick up?” said Deloris Jackson, owner of CJ’s Childcare.

Jackson said since the pandemic, she and her staff kept children spaced out in classrooms, have given teachers face shields and have even made games for the children to learn more about precautions surrounding the virus.

Deloris said they have been prepared even before Tuesday’s announcement.

“Even if it’s remote teaching, half a day, three days, whatever they decide, this line of business we have to be prepared for it,” Jackson said.

While some day care owners told FOX8 it has been confusing that schools have been closed while day cares have stayed open, overall, owners said they understood why it has been vital for them to stay open for parents like Erica Stone.

“I’ve been working as CNA during the pandemic,” Stone said.

She’s also as a part-time waiter who said she relies on CJ’s Childcare despite her concerns of exposure to the virus.

“I thought about it, but then I was like, you know what? I still have to take care of myself doing health care work and make sure he’s got somewhere he can go to that I can trust,” Stone said.

For those parents who simply can’t afford the costs of child care during this pandemic, or are working from home, Johnson said her day care has come up with creative ways to keep kids involved by incorporating “Learning with Ms. Margie.” It is an online learning coarse for kids at home.

“I go out and do virtual field trips for my kids to see every day and the parents are tuning in and they love it. They want more and more,” Johnson said.

She said they’ve been getting calls for weeks from parents and they’ve continued to assure them their facility is safe and they are prepared.

At both CJ’s and Johnson’s, parents aren’t allowed to go inside classrooms.

They have staff ready to assist if they do get an influx of students. Many child care providers across the Triad said they will have a cap for the number of children they will take.

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