Child care centers concerned about limiting capacity

Emily De Vito
Updated: June 18, 2020 06:07 PM
Created: June 18, 2020 12:14 PM

ALBANY – The state has issued re-opening guidelines for childcare and day camp programs. However, childcare centers that have been open throughout the entire pandemic are concerned about now being lumped in with those day camps.

Mercy Cares for Kids partners with St. Peter's Hospital and has been open for essential workers. They have been following strict guidelines amid the pandemic.

"Parents no longer come in the building," explained Executive Director Theresa Joslin. "We have the same two teachers every morning meet the children at the door, greet them, do a daily health check, take the temperatures of both children and staff. We have kept each classroom separate; we have made sure that we are not mixing age groups. We've increased our cleaning procedures the hospital helped us get a new disinfectant that's kills everything."

However, on June 8 Joslin said they received new guidelines, and she was concerned about the mandate that says only 10 children are allowed to a classroom.

"We were told only 10, 10 in a classroom," said Joslin. "I have parents that have paid 50 percent tuition to hold their spot in a way to support the financial loss and now I may have to tell them I don't have a placement for them."

Joslin said right now, having 10 children in the room is fine because not all of the children are at day care currently. However, she said as more parents are going back to work and planning for the fall she said she does not know what to tell them. Joslin said this is not a sustainable business model.

"If I am kept to the numbers that look like we will have, because I don't see how I can safely divide rooms, I'll lose 30 childcare spots that's a loss of $400,000," said Joslin. "I don't know of any company including one as large as St. Peter's that can sustain that. So you're going to have day care centers close or decided not to reopen until this change."

Joslin said she understands the need for guidelines, but says now is not the time to limit capacity.

"Playgrounds are open now and you can have 25 in a group in a home, but now only 10 children in a classroom," said Joslin. "The messages are mixed and I think we just need to get back to our, let us do our job."

Joslin has concerns that parents will be left with little childcare options

"My fear is we're going to end up with people leaving their children with elderly grandparents, with the next door neighbor or possibly alone because there's no place else to put them," said Joslin.

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