Daycare options and safety during COVID-19 | #covid19 | #kids | #childern

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — As the state begins its phased-in approach to reopening businesses, schools remain closed leaving a gap in child supervision.Both the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston and the YMCA of Greater Houston said they are planning to provide their normal summer camps and programs, but they are still waiting for the all-clear from Gov. Greg Abbott.

“Right now we’re preparing for a robust summer with lots of programming geared to help mitigate the learning loss and to help with the social and emotional learning component. The kids have just experienced trauma so we know that they’re going to need that extra emotional support. We’re focusing on that with the hope that we’ll be able to open June 1,” said Mari Bosker.The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston is one of the largest organizations offering all-day child care.

They have 23 locations across five counties, serving more than 26,000 children.

Their summer program is $20 per child for the entire summer.

The YMCA also provides summer programs for around 3,500 children each summer.

For younger children, daycares and preschools that are open are only allowed to take children of essential employees.

Many daycares and preschools are accepting children of essential workers who are not already enrolled.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services is requiring parents to fill out a one-page form to prove they are an essential employee.

“This form is something that you have to submit regardless of the facility that you decide to partake in. They do ask that this form be filled out because they want to make sure that we are strictly staying within the guidelines of essential workers and not just resuming normal operations,” said Kai Sindhi with Guidepost Montessori in Katy.

If you’re looking for other child care help, Collaborative for Children and Care are ready to help Houston-area families.

Care.com in particular has collaborated with the State of Texas.

They are offering a 90-day free membership for all front line workers.

As daycares, preschools and summer programs begin to take more students Dr. Kesha Zaveri with Memorial Hermann said there are precautions these facilities should abide by.

She recommends dropping kids off to an employee at the front entrance so parents never enter the classroom.

She also thinks the facility should reduce all guests, suspend building tours and and mandate that all employees wear masks the entire day except when eating and drinking.

Children should wash their hands when they arrive and depart, before and after recess, and before and after eating.

“Hand washing technique has always been the most important way to help prevent the spread of infection. I have a one-year-old daughter and she doesn’t understand what hand washing is, but I practice it with her at least three to four times a day, even if that’s only at the end of the day when I’m with her. Eventually she is going to have to learn and that muscle memory is going to teach her,” said Dr. Zaveri.

She also recommends bathing children as soon as they come home each day from child care or summer camp.

Lastly, because they are now at higher risk of exposure at daycare or summer camp, you should reduce their time in other public spaces like the grocery store and restaurants.

SEE RELATED STORY: Here’s what you need to know about salon reopenings in Texas

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