Many Working Families

Left Without Options for Childcare

 

By: Don Bryant     5-14-2020

MANSFIELD – Ohio is reopening. The economy is waking up. But as families return to the workplace, plans to reopen child care facilities will not happen until May 31.  

 

Governor Mike DeWine said Monday that he didn't want to rush a decision on child care because he wants plans to be based on science and safety. “It is simply too important to do so without making certain we have all the best information, that we have all the right protocols in place," DeWine said.

 

With employees returning to work, the bigger concern for Richland County residents is what to do with their children as daycare centers remain closed.

 

Christole Harris, owner of Lorine's Little Learners Child Care and Learning Center at 276 Harker Street in Mansfield, says her company is following state guidelines and will continue to do so, but would like to see things reopen.

 

“Typically we provide service for 40 children. The Mansfield center is closed, but our Dublin center is open with only 18 children enrolled. I do believe it's safe to open with precautionary measures in place.”

 

Harris says keeping children safe under her care is her number one priority.  

“Right now, we are not allowing parents to walk through the building to help eliminate the spread of outside germs, children with ANY type of illness are not permitted to come to daycare and staff that are ill are not permitted to come to work. Temperatures are taken daily and there's even more cleaning and sterilizing.”

 

Governor DeWine said he understands the issue, but would not offer a solution for working parents at this time.

Governor DeWinesaid on Thursday that daycare facilities in Ohio can reopen on May 31.

Butler resident, Brittany Bowman, believes the governor should have prioritized the needs of working families in his reopening of Ohio’s economy.

 

“90% of the economy will be open again as of tomorrow [Monday]. But no decisions on child care centers. DeWine is disregarding every single working parent right now. No suggestions, no alternatives, no paycheck protections, no unemployment provisions,” Bowman said.

 

Before the pandemic, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services had 3,500 licensed child care center facilities throughout the state, providing services for more than 215,000 children every day. Although the majority of daycare centers in Ohio remain closed; many are open and have been asked to follow CDC recommendations: Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open.

 

As to whether these guidelines are feasible for daycare center owners like Christole Harris, she says,

 

“Some of these extra precautions make things harder as far as staffing because I need more staff than normal, even though there are fewer children. But it’s for the safety of everyone, so we do it without complaints.”

 

As far as it goes for busy working moms like Brittany Bowman— Lt. Governor Jon Husted says, “Ohio isn't currently denying unemployment to parents who don't return to work because they lack child care.”

 

But at the end of the day, that’s not saying much. 

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