Frontline: Day care stays open for kids of essential workers
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Many families in South Lake have one or both parents who were deemed essential employees and need a place for their children to go while they are at work.
Step by Step Early Learning and Childcare Center has kept open their doors to children of essential workers.
“Whether they are children of police officers, hospital employees, grocery store workers, somebody has to take care of those kids,” said Dainer Bailey, who owns Step by Step with his wife Candice.
The Baileys aren’t taking any new kids and they are taking precautions to take care of the children who are still coming to daycare.
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“We’re being responsible to the nth degree,” Dainer said.
They are limiting the class sizes. They have about 30 children, 20 staff on site and nine classrooms so they are able to spread out.
There also isn’t recess or social times.
In addition, parents are only allowed in the lobby unless their temperature is taken and their hands are washed. The children’s temperature is also taken, and hands washed before they can go to their classrooms.
If a student goes homes early or doesn’t come in because they don’t feel well, they have to stay out of the facilities for 14 days.
The Baileys said there is, “a lot of hand sanitizing.”
“At the end of the day, there is a ton of cleaning that is done,” Dainer said.
“Anything that can be cleaned is cleaned,” Candice added.
Step by Step is continuing to pay all of their staff. The employees that are home are receiving training so when they come back, “the daycare is better than before.”
The ones who are still coming into the facilities are being paid an extra stipend because of the added risk of exposure they are taking on.
In addition, Candice is on a county-wide task force that is coming up with a plan for childcare if the virus gets worse in the community and planning on how to stay safe once the shelter in place order is ended.
“I want people to know there are people in the county who are working on these problems,” Candice said.
At the end of the day, the important thing for the Baileys is that the children have a safe place to go.
“It gives the kids a sense of normalcy in a really scary time,” Candice said.
“It’s not just a business for us, we’re a part of this community,” Dainer said.
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