Some Daycare Centers Remain Open For Children Of Essential Workers

From WNIJ reporter Peter Medlin:

While most daycare facilities are closed, some in Illinois remain open for families of essential workers.

KinderCare is one of the biggest daycare providers in the country. Around a quarter of its locations are still open across Illinois.

Dee Cottman says the company had to choose locations mostly based on their proximity to hospitals. She’s a district leader for KinderCare and oversees more than a dozen of its facilities in northern Illinois.

Along with extra building sanitization, Cottman says they’re also stepping up health screenings for their students.

“We have temperature checks with a health and safety manager to bring them into the building. So, parents do not enter at this time,” said Cottman.

She says the company also cut class sizes down to 10, and stopped students from moving between classrooms to limit exposure.

KinderCare educators choose whether they’d like to teach, and the company has been utilizing staff from closed locations.

Cottman says some students have been wearing protective masks, but it’s more common for teachers to do so.

They’ve also had some age-specific conversations with students about safety. One teacher wrote and drew a book for their kids about why people wear masks.

“Masks don’t have to be scary. And you know, your doctor who you helps you wears masks, and going through some visual aids for them which has been really great,” she said.

KinderCare’s prices have not changed due to COVID-19, but Illinois is offering financial support to help essential workers pay for childcare.

Several KinderCare locations throughout northern Illinois remain open, including one in Aurora and two in Rockford.