Indiana day care centers make COVID-19 changes

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indiana’s child care centers are deemed an essential service during this stay-at-home order. 

Some wonder how that may impact the spread of COVID-19. 

The state is implementing guidelines and workers are quickly trying to respond. 

Just like people at home, daycares are having trouble finding some of the essential supplies during this pandemic. 

Empty shelves have some centers asking for donations. 

“We have had lots of parents donate bleach wipes and we have of course purchased what we could get to too," said Beech Tree House Child Care Center Director Heidi Dowell. "Probably the number one thing that we need is high-quality thermometers.”

They’ve tried to buy them but shelves are empty. The state now requires everyone who enters a child care center needs to have their temperature taken. They have slower acting thermometers right now, so, this process takes a while. 

“We want to do the right thing for the children, we want to do the right thing for the community,” said Dowell.

She said Beech Tree House Child Center is following state guidelines, keeping classes small and catering to the parents who need care the most. 

“We serve so many medical personnel here, we have military kiddos, we have first responders kiddos so we wanted to make sure that we were here for them and we wanted to make sure that we were protecting them,” said Dowell.

If someone were to get infected with COVID-19, the state has demands. 

“We would definitely have to report to the licensing agency," said Dowell. "It would expect us to close things down to get things clean. I don’t know exactly what that would entail because it hasn’t been our experience and hopefully it’s not going to be, but we would certainly follow any guidelines that they gave us.”

Not every center is able to remain open during this time. That's one reason getting kids to care has been a challenge for the state. Funding is being offered to both parents and centers struggling during this time. 

“This is very difficult," said Dr. Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Supt. of Public Instruction. "We are trying to determine region and areas within the state where the need is the greatest.”

Dowell said staying open during this time wasn’t an easy choice. 

“It has been something that I have really had to reflect about," said Dowell. "It was an important decision to me.”

However, she feels it was the right one. 

If you are a parent in need of child care resources due to COVID-19, click here.

To learn more about how the state is keeping current child care centers safe, click here.

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