Fighting to stay open: Daycare workers worry pandemic could spell out grim future

Local Coronavirus Coverage

TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, local daycare facilities are fighting to stay open for those who need it the most.

National research shows the coronavirus is threatening to throw an already vulnerable industry into a tailspin. With financial strain from the pandemic closing facilities across the country, many fear they will not recover.

But amid all the changes and uncertainty, some facilities are staying open. Holston View Pre-School and Daycare in Weber City, Virginia says they have seen a huge loss in students.

“We’ve dropped about 100 kids since March 13th,” says Savanna Doran, Holston View activities coordinator.

Facilities nationwide are losing money by the day as many parents can now watch their children while they work from home.

But, that does not mean the need is gone. What about essential workers, who have no other option?

“We have a lot of nurses, several doctors, people that work in the nursing homes, cops, even people in the food industry and they don’t have anywhere else to send their kids,” says Doran.

There also is the question of safety: daycare workers are deemed essential, but is it safe for them to operate right now? Holston View has had to implement a wide range of changes to keep their staff and students safe.

This includes checking temperatures of students daily, keeping parents from coming inside, routinely cleaning all surfaces and capping class sizes at no more than 10 people.

“We’ve had to set up classrooms in the gym, the lobby. We are doing everything we can to accommodate for those who still need us,” says Doran.

It is not without difficulty. Holston View fears for the future of their facility and others in the region.

“We are worried at the long-term effect. Will it be we have to lay off people? Could it mean eventually we have to shut our doors forever? Our income is less than half of what it normally is,” says Doran.

A group of lawmakers is asking the Trump administration to expand childcare options for essential workers during the pandemic. That includes Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.

“The very workers who we rely on the most are probably the group of people who have the most to be concerned about right now. If we can reduce that concern a little bit by providing resources for child care, then we should do that,” says Kaine.

The federal stimulus relief package passed by Congress included 3.5 billion dollars for a childcare development block grant.

The lawmakers are putting pressure on the administration to decide quickly what can be done, to not only help essential workers who need childcare, but also the small business facilities who are trying to survive.

“That’s gonna be our life line at this point really. If this goes on for a long time we will definitely have to look at whether we will be able to keep our doors open or not,” says Doran.

It is money Holston View hopes will help their business stay alive, both during and after the pandemic.

Doran says an additional struggle for the facility is not being able to buy food or cleaning supplies that they desperately need in bulk.

“We are having a hard time being able to keep as much stock in as we always have,” says Doran.

Currently they are accepting new students, ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. For more information on enrollment call 276-386-3149 or email 4robinhuffman@gmail.com

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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