The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Daycare Providers Seeking Balance

 

April 15, 2020

Forrest Hershberger

Children at Tina's Day Care celebrated Easter last week with an Easter Egg Hunt. Pictured from left, front row, are Adrea, Brylynn and Sophia; back row: Kai, Addy, Letti, Avacyn and Thea.

The house is cleaned, meals are prepped and the first of several doorbells ring. The door opens to frantic smile and a child hurrying to his other home, the home-based daycare.

While much of society is told to clean diligently, the practice is habit for daycare providers. Their first priority is the children they are taking care of, and then the family. In doing so, a licensed child care provider has an extensive list obligations they must meet, many of which almost prepared them for the directives set in place in reaction to the coronavirus.

Tina Taylor, who has been a licensed daycare provider for many years, says the challenge is knowing how much to do without overreacting.

"It's hard because I don't know how serious to take it," Taylor said. "I'm stuck in the middle."

"The middle" for Taylor and other child care providers is the balance of keeping children healthy and safe without becoming too fearful.

She is licensed to take in 10 children besides. She currently has eight. She can accept up to 12, if she has a helper with her.

"As far as my daycare go, I'm hurting a little," she said.

So far, there isn't any limits on the number of children she can accept because of the COVID-19 virus. The decrease, according to Taylor, is likely due to the number of parents who are not working because of reductions in business. On April 9, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts expanded the statewide Directed health Measure, closing more personal service businesses such as beauty/nail salons, barber shops. However daycare facilities can stay open within the limit of 10 children per classroom, excluding staff.

She said some of her impact is the trickle-down. If businesses have to reduce their interaction with the public, many will have to reduce staffing. If parents aren't working, they don't need daycare. If they don't need child care, people like Taylor feel the pinch.

State regulations for a home daycare control much of what officials are encouraging for the general population; constant cleaning with a proper cleaning product, hand-washing, covering a cough and sneeze and good personal hygiene. Taylor says that because of the concern for SIDS, there can be nothing in the bed with a sleeping child, and each child has his or her own towel, which must be washed daily. Taylor has chosen to rely on wipes more than towels.

The run on toilet paper at stores is a frustration for her as a childcare provider and a parent.

Parents of her daycare children are viewing the COVID-19 similar to Taylor: where is the line between being properly prepared and overly afraid.

"They're kind of along the same line as me. They're concerned, but not real concerned," she said.

 

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