While the state of Oklahoma is considering closing schools through the end of the school year, most daycare facilities are still up and running.
Claremore area day care owners, however, have made multiple changes to the ways they do business in order to limit the spread of disease.
Agape Child Care Center Owner Karen Schmitz said, “We want to stay open as long as we can.”
Agape has taken measures of extra sanitation, including closing water fountains and asking children to bring their own water bottles; teaching students to wash their hands properly several times a day; and sending home children who show symptoms of illness.
“Our parents have been good about keeping kids at home when they are sick,” Schmitz said.
Homespun Daycare and Preschool Owner Savannah McDonald said, “we have several parents who are first responders and medical professionals, so we are trying to remain open for all of them.”
Homespun has asked parents who are able to stay home with their kids to do so.
A sign on the front door says, “Stop, please sanitize before entering the building,” with a stool and hand sanitizer sitting beside it.
Inside the doors, McDonald signs students in and out to limit parent-to-parent interactions. Parents are temporarily barred from entering the classroom areas. Kids are required to wash their hands up to their elbows when they first enter the building in the morning as well as several times throughout the day.
And because many parents are staying home with their kids, some teachers are now free to spend the whole day cleaning and sanitizing the facility.
“We are constantly cleaning and sanitizing right now … classrooms, toys, doors, door knobs, walls, tubs, cubbies, everything … even if we did it the day before, we are doing it again, for prevention,” McDonald said.
Claremore Children's Center Owner Bobbie McNair said operations at his facility are largely business as usual, because they make infectious diseases prevention part of their daily routine with a full-time janitor on staff and sinks in every classroom for children to wash their hands regularly.
Kurtain Klimbers Owner Kim Edinger said her child care facility has had most of their child health policies in place since the beginning of the flu season.
Parents and children have to wash their hands as they enter the facility and any child showing symptoms of illness is immediately sent home.
Teachers clean their classrooms twice a day with bleach and water.
In the wake of COVID-19, however, Edinger has waived tuition for families who are private pay and are staying home with kids.
“Obviously they are not working, so I waived their fees and held their spots for them so they don’t feel obligated to get out and pay for something they can’t afford,” Edinger said.
The biggest issue the daycare is currently facing is buying the appropriate amount of food and snacks while some grocery stores are limiting the numbers of items that can be purchased in a single visit.
However, Edinger said there is one thing she can’t emphasize enough to parents.
“If your child shows signs of illness, stay home.”