Childcare centers adapting to ‘dramatic’ changes during pandemic

Childcare providers adjusting to 'new normal' amid COVID-19 pandemic

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Ohio is closing in on three weeks into the ‘new normal’ for childcare centers in the state.

Governor Mike Dewine ordered all childcare centers to operate under a temporary pandemic childcare license beginning Thursday, March 26.

The order limited the maximum number of children allowed in a room to six. Facilities must also have a rigorous cleaning schedule.

The program will operate until April 30, with the potential to extend and adjust as needed.

“This is a dramatic change,” Dewine said at the time. “But it’s necessary to minimize the risk to these kids.”

Initially 1,500 facilities in Ohio applied for the license to operate, with 161 of those facilities in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Candice Morgan Hemmingway is assistant director for the Learning Care Group, the second-largest for-profit childcare provider in North America with facilities in Liberty Township, Monroe and Dayton.

“When they told us we were going to be a pandemic center, we were all scared," Hemmingway told FOX19 NOW. “But we were excited because we knew the those little ones were going to be safe with us.”

“We are still keeping the children in the state-of-mind of learning," she explained.

The pandemic centers are open to provide child-care to essential workers. Hemmingway estimates 35 percent of the students in the Cincinnati area are new to the facility.

“We try to reassure them that we will keep normal as much as possible inside these four walls,” Hemmingway said. "I do not know what is going to happen, but we want to make sure our little ones are safe and happy when they are here.

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