HOUSTON - Texas daycares are beginning to open back up this week after Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday they can open immediately.
“It’s been very tough for child care centers over the past couple of months,” said Bob Sanborn, president of Children at Risk.
The two-month economic shutdown brought child care to a screeching halt, but as more coronavirus regulations are stripped away, parents are heading back to work and needing child care again.
“We’ve been affected by the COVID, and we actually had a reduction greatly in our enrollment,” said Deana Kindt, owner of Little Explorers Academy in Spring.
Little Explorers Academy shrank to less than 20 percent of its normal clientele when the economic shutdowns began in March.
They only stayed open for the children of essential workers.
But with the newest phase of reopening, more parents are going back to work, and more children are back in child care this week.
“We have seen a huge increase in our enrollment already, so we have actually doubled from where we were last week, and we also see a steady increase coming all the way through July,” said Kindt. “There are still some parents choosing to stay home.”
With the return to a fuller capacity, the daycare is adding safety measures. All staff has been tested for COVID-19, tours are being postponed, and class sizes will stay smaller.
“We have implemented some of the protocols—some that result like parents just dropping off and picking up at the front door instead of coming all the way into the building,” said Kindt.
Kindt says her business opened a year ago, so it’s been an extra tough two months for business.
“We’re grateful that we were able to get on the second round of the stimulus money some of that so I can go ahead and bring my teachers back to work,” said Kindt.
With a crippled economy, many parents are now struggling to afford child care. Kindt says many of the parents she works with are applying for the NCI program which provides financial assistance for preschool and daycare.