(NewsNation Now) — Day cares nationwide are struggling to keep doors open amid surging omicron cases. Since the pandemic, nine percent of all day cares in the U.S. are permanently closed, according to Child Care Aware.
“I have never missed one day of work in the 31 years until this all came down on me,” said Jan Munday, owner of Weekdays at Munday’s in Illinois. She says she was forced to close her day care for 10 days after testing positive for the virus.
Maryellen Waters, owner of Sugar Plum Tree Preschool, says she’s facing a similar problem.
“We’ve had to close for two weeks every time somebody has come here with COVID,” Waters said.
As a result, parents must take off work using vacation and sick days to care for their children while school is closed.
Munday says she’s doing everything in her power to keep students and staff safe and to keep the doors open.
“We have to make sure all services are cleaned at least three times a day, and it’s a time-consuming process when you are collecting toys throughout the day, and making sure they’re fed and they are fed safely,” Munday said.
In Ohio, Loren Nelson, owner of Victorum Learning Center, says keeping a facility is half the battle.
“We have struggled with finding high-quality educators, really to meet the demands of that child care,” Nelson said.
Munday says she worries about returning to the classroom amid Illinois schools COVID protocol.
“If they get sick with COVID they don’t have to leave their classrooms, they just have to double mask. How can they be more effective, teaching with a double mask and not taking time off when they are COVID positive?” she said.
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