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Daycares employ safety procedures to keep doors open

Temperature checks and hand sanitizer have become routine for children at the Kid’s Korner Learning Center, said Director Melissa Boye.

Even the infants put their foreheads out to the thermometer waiting for staff to take their temperature before they enter the building, said Boye.

“They will put their foreheads out waiting for us to take their temperatures and it’s a little sad,” said Boye. “They know to get their hands ready to sanitize too. We have sanitizer spray. They know they’re going to get their hands sprayed.”

The daycare staff used to like having parents come in the building and interact with kids and teachers, but state mandated measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have kept parents out of the daycare building for months. Parents not being allowed in the building can be a little isolating for parents and staff, said Boye.

“I think sometimes they feel a little out of the loop, because they can only rely on our private Facebook page or us passing a message from the parents to the teachers,” said Boye.

First Step Learning Lab owner Wanda Worley said many of the sanitation measures like temperature checks and sanitizing children’s hands before they enter the building may be things she continues at her tutoring and childcare business even after the pandemic.

“I think that it is going to stay like that, even when things get back to normal,” said Worley. “I think I’m just going to keep it like this in the future. Especially when flu season comes around. It’s safer for everybody to just follow this, especially since everybody’s so used to it now.”

Although the COVID-19 prevention measures have stayed the same since March, business has improved at Kid’s Korner in recent weeks. When parents were home from work, business at the childcare center had been reduced. However, most of the parents who had stopped bringing their children to the daycare began returning at the end of May and the beginning of June, said Boye, because employers brought the parents back to work.

The daycare is operating at approximately three quarters of the capacity it was at before the pandemic, she said. Boye said the center was able to stay open because many of the parents were essential employees, with jobs in the medical field or law enforcement.

At First Step Learning Lab, the summer program, which is only in its second year, is significantly larger than the previous summer with 20 children enrolled and over 50 on the waitlist.

Worley said she thinks the business’ focus on tutoring has helped with the growth.

“Everyone went on to the next grade without finishing out their last grade,” said Worley. “They’ve kind of fallen behind and we just want everyone to stay updated and a lot of parents find homeschooling during this time difficult.”

Some of the kids at her childcare facility lost family members to the virus, said Worley, and many of the older children have had questions about the state of the world.

“I’ve had a lot of kids in our smaller group ask me, ‘is the world sick?’ or when are they going to let us go do other stuff, because a lot of our trips got cancelled due to COVID-19,” said Worley.

Older children have had more questions about when schools will be open, said Worley.