“We were determined to remain open,” recalls Weekday Education program director Brooke Child. “As soon as we knew that we could qualify as an Emergency Childcare Provider, we began taking the steps necessary to remain open during this crisis.”
Baptist Children’s Homes’ (BCH) premier weekday education programs –– the Robert Idol Child Development Center and the Fleshman-Pratt Education Center in Thomasville –– began offering childcare for children birth to twelve years old as an Emergency Childcare Provider to essential workers on April 1. Only licensed childcare programs that have met additional health and safety protocols and satisfied other requirements specified by North Carolina’s Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) are authorized as emergency providers.
“Essential workers face tremendous stress,” says Child. “Healthcare workers, law enforcement, first responders, truck drivers intricate in delivering food and supplies are all working to help the general public. As they do their important jobs, we can help reduce the tension and stress in their lives by caring for their children.”
So many childcare centers in the county are closed. Less than fifty percent qualified as emergency providers and the county has a large number of essential workers.
“Our daily goal is about meeting needs and helping families feel as normal as possible during these very trying times.” says Child. “We needed to be here for them.”
BCH childcare centers had many of the necessary protocols in place. Child says it only required the Centers to ramp up what they were already doing. Enhanced protocols include only center staff are allowed in the buildings, temperatures are taken multiple times daily –– including taking the temperatures of staff. Health checks are performed daily as well.
“Parents are encouraged, if they are able, to keep their children at home with them,” says Child. “Our focus is on keeping the children safe. I remind our parents daily to follow the coronavirus guidelines as a family, minimize their exposure –– no trips to stores with children –– and limit their exposure to grandparents and older family members. Children can carry the virus. Keep your kids and your family safe.”
Article written by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor