Kindercare closing centers: We’re sorry, this center is closed
As schools, businesses close in Minnesota, most child-care centers stay open
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Gov. Tim Walz urged child-care providers to stay open even as he ordered the closure of public schools across the state, and most day care centers and preschools did so Monday.
New Horizon Academy, the largest day care provider in the state, remains open. KinderCare, which has dozens of locations in the metro area, has closed centers in California, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia and New Jersey, but not in Minnesota.
“This is a fluid and changing situation, but in keeping with our governor’s request, it is our plan at this point to fully operate our early childhood centers,” said Michelle Basham, CEO of the YWCA, which operates five centers in the Twin Cities.
As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Minnesota continued to rise Monday, with multiple instances of the virus passing between people locally, day cares and preschools have emerged as one of the few places in the state where significant public gatherings are permitted, and even encouraged, by state officials.
On Sunday, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended an end to gatherings of 50 or more people, the Department of Human Services sent a note to providers urging that they stay open to allow Minnesota’s workforce, especially health care and emergency workers, to perform their day-to-day jobs.
“We need you and your staff to stay well and stay open to provide a safe and nurturing space for our children,” the note said.
The DHS also launched a hotline for child-care providers with questions. The number is (888) 234-1268.
As Walz pointed out Sunday, children are less likely to get sick from COVID-19 and if they do, “their cases are typically mild,” but they could be carriers of the virus. The White House on Monday advised Americans not to gather in groups of 10 or more.
Some child-care providers have decided the risk is not worth staying open.
Aleph Preschool at the Beth El Synagogue in St. Louis Park, which has 180 prekindergarten students, closed Friday and said it will not reopen until April 20.
The preschool is housed in the same building where the congregation meets for Shabbat, so the synagogue decided to close to protect older members, said Matt Walzer, managing director of Beth El.
“To be consistent with taking care of our community as a whole, we can’t have 180 kids coming in and out of the building at any point in time, because that puts the rest of our community at risk,” Walzer said. “We all agreed this is not a matter of if we’re closing, it’s a matter of when we’re closing. And if we feel like this is a ‘when’ not an ‘if’, why are we waiting?”
At Aleph Preschool, all staff will be paid during the closure, Walzer said, and parents can be refunded for their children’s fees, or reclassify the money as a tax-deductible donation to the synagogue.
Child-care centers that are staying open are establishing new procedures to limit the spread of the virus.
New Horizon made a rush order for extra thermometers to more frequently take temperatures of children, staff and parents, said Chad Dunkley, CEO of New Horizon in Minnesota. Its leaders are considering not allowing parents to enter classrooms. Staffers are more often cleaning and sanitizing toys, equipment and door handles.
“We’re evaluating constantly improved best practices to reduce the possible spread,” Dunkley said. “We’ll continue to monitor this on a daily basis and hopefully it doesn’t get worse.”
Dunkley said New Horizon locations can abide by the CDC’s recommendation that not more than 50 people gather in one place by only allowing one class at a time to use the playground, and by shutting down indoor playrooms and other common areas. No class is larger than 30 students, he said.
One child-care provider, Tierra Encantada, sent a letter to parents at four Twin Cities locations on Friday saying that staff will start checking the temperature of each person who enters the building, starting next Monday, March 23. Anybody with a reading above 99.9 degrees will be turned away and not allowed into the building for 48 hours.
The YWCA will close its Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning because it is connected to Minneapolis Public Schools. Attendance at the organization’s early childhood centers, which serve about 500 children in the Twin Cities, was down on Monday, The Y’s Basham said, but nobody is being discouraged from dropping off their kids at day care.
“We are encouraging families to make the best decision for their family,” Basham said. “We are all sort of working through this. The situation is changing as we talk.”
California child care centers closing is bad for everyone
The coronavirus pandemic has decimated child care centers in California, with many closing permanently. The consequences will adversely affect children, parents, center operators and the state economy.
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Across California 8,500 licensed child care sites have shut down since the pandemic began, taking with them tens of thousands of child care slots for kids who need care while their parents work or attend school.
The decimation of the child care industry has dire implications for the state going forward:
- Children unable to get into licensed child care could suffer educationally and miss the stability of a safe, familiar provider.
- Unemployed or underemployed parents now have even fewer affordable options for child care, potentially delaying their re-entry into the workforce as California struggles to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
- Thousands of women of color, who represent the majority of the child care workforce, are now out of work.
Both the permanent and temporary closures hit an already precariously positioned child care industry suffering from chronic low pay, a lack of providers and high costs.
“The pandemic shed this bright light on so many systems in our country that are clearly broken or poorly built before the pandemic — and child care is just one of them,” said Keisha Nzewi, director of public policy for the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network, a nonprofit that helps connect families with child care providers. “In child care the problem is that although it is a public good, it’s not treated as such.
“Child care providers are paid poorly and at the same time parents cannot afford to pay more. ”
Experts and advocates hope a new and record-breaking infusion of federal money will buoy the industry for now. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan President Joe Biden signed into law last week includes $39 billion to bolster the child care industry. California is set to receive $3.8 billion of that money, half of which is for stabilizing the child care system and to provide more assistance to families, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy. Congress wants the states to receive the money by September but experts believe it will land sooner, possibly in the summer. States have until September of 2022 to commit the funds and an additional year to use it all.
“The pandemic shed this bright light on so many systems in our country that are clearly broken or poorly built before the pandemic — and child care is just one of them.”
Keisha Nzewi, director of public policy for the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network
Money is expected to start flowing to providers and families before the end of this year, said Christine Johnson-Straub, senior policy analyst at the Center for Law and Social Policy.
The state’s portion of the money will go to the California Department of Education, which will work with the Department of Social Services, which oversees child care licenses, to distribute the funds, Johnson-Straub said.
California has two types of child care facilities: large centers and family care homes. Centers tend to be larger and more expensive while in-home care providers, who can serve up to 8 or 14 children depending on size, accept the majority of low-income children who receive state child care subsidies.
Among in-home family child care sites, 14% shuttered — a loss of some 3,635 sites — between January 2020 and January 2021, according to newly released data from the Child Care Resource and Referral Network. Among larger centers, 33% closed, accounting for 4,873 centers. These are both permanent and temporary closures.
“There is always a need to invest more in the child care system in California,” said Kristin Schumacher, senior policy analyst at the California Budget & Policy Center. “We know it’s critical for working parents and our economy. We cannot recover from this pandemic in a recession until we have a stable child care system that parents can rely on so they can return to work.”
In March 2020, when the state’s shelter-in-place order began, some parents kept their kids at home if they could, while others lost jobs and surrendered their children’s slots in child care sites. Many sites closed. When they were allowed to reopen several months later, they did so under new restrictions that limited how many children they could care for while also requiring strict disinfecting regiments and social distancing.
“I never imagined it was going to be a year and I would lose all my staff, clients, children.”
Cynthia Bassett, child care provider in San Bernardino
In San Bernardino, child care provider Cynthia Bassett took Gov. Gavin Newsom’s advice at the outset of the pandemic and closed her in-home family child care for the first time in 21 years. Bassett is 68 and has asthma, two factors that put her in a high-risk group for COVID-19. When she hugged her little ones goodbye and shut down last March, she thought it would only be a couple of months before things returned to normal.
Now, one year later and after finally getting the vaccine, she is trying to reopen. It’s like starting out all over again, she said. None of her little charges are coming back, and only one of the four part-time staff members she had to lay off is able to return.
“I never imagined it was going to be a year and I would lose all my staff, clients, children,” said Bassett. “Now, with reopening, my concern is still finances and the disinfecting and the cleaning and the (protective gear) and even the staff. We are still dealing with the pandemic. It’s not over.”
Bad for children
Child care is part of the foundation for youth learning, according to Dorian Traube, associate professor at the University of Southern California School of Social Work.
Traube studies early childhood education and said if toddlers and preschoolers are missing out on learning opportunities, it could leave some unprepared for school in the future.
“This is fueled by the American idea that child care and early education are two separate topics when in fact, child care is early education,” said Traube. “We know it’s one of the most important developmental periods.”
If toddlers and preschoolers are missing out on learning opportunities, it could leave some unprepared for school in the future.
Nzewi disagrees with the notion that families that are keeping their kids at home or cobbling together care with trusted loved ones are causing their kids to miss out on learning. But she does argue that having routine and stability is important for kids. And having stable child care provides that, especially because circumstances with family, friends and neighbors may change if they get a job or have to move or rearrange their own schedules.
“So many of us were cared for by our nanas, our titis, our nonas, our mom’s best friend, the people that our parents or families trusted the most. There is no harm there — learning happens everywhere,” she said. “Children don’t necessarily lose anything in development, but kids of many ages like to know what to expect. Stability is only a good thing for children.”
Bad for the parents (and the state economy)
Unemployed or underemployed parents now have to scramble even more to secure child care slots for their kids. That makes it harder for families, especially women, to go to or get back to work, and could impact economic growth coming out of the pandemic.
“As more and more people become vaccinated and schools start to reopen and the economy starts to move forward, it’s going to be critically important that parents have safe space for their children while they are at work,” Schumacher said. “It’s already really difficult to find affordable care, sometimes impossible if you earn low wages.
“If part of our child care supply has evaporated it may be just impossible.”
Bad for child care providers, who were already in a tough spot
Child care in California has been in a perilous position for decades. Providers operate on razor-thin margins and get paid less than living wages, while parents can hardly afford the fees. Government subsidies have not kept up with inflation, and only help a fraction of kids who qualify because the lack of providers leaves low-income families in the lurch.
“Fundamentally this is an under-resourced system that has not been invested in for decades. And what we had going into the pandemic was something that was stitched together through the hard work of a female-dominated industry (of workers who were)sacrificing their own wages to provide enough care for number of kids they could,” said Rasheed Malik, senior policy analyst for early childhood policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
Malik’s research has found that 6 in 10 Americans lived in a child care ‘desert’ — pre-pandemic. It wasn’t an issue only in low-income communities, but was also ubiquitous in middle-class, median-income neighborhoods. The pandemic only made that worse.
A Play set in Cynthia Bassett’s backyard in San Bernardino on March 16, 2021. Cynthia is waiting for people to enroll their children into her day care. Until then toys and play sets are unused. Photo by Shae Hammond for CalMatters
Nzewi points to child care’s slavery era roots when white children were cared for by enslaved Black women. After the Civil War, mostly Black domestic workers continued to care for children and often were paid in hand-me-downs or food instead of in dollars. Eventually, the ranks of domestic workers grew to include Asian women and Latinas but the structure remained the same: little pay or recognition.
“Primary providers of care, whether it’s for children or elderly, (are)Latina, Black, Asian and immigrant women, and it is okay in our country to pay them far less for their work,” Nzewi said. “Their work is not monetarily valued in a significant way and what that means for us is, those are the women who are caring for our children and those are the women we woefully underpay and continue to do so quite easily. ”
The median hourly child care wage was $13.43 in 2019 in California, according to The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley. The result: 17% of California child care workers live in poverty, the Center at UC Berkeley’s Early Childhood Workforce Index found. Now roughly one in four child-care jobs in California have been lost, said Schumacher, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
For Bassett, who is waiting for children to enroll in her program, help can’t come soon enough.
She eventually qualified for unemployment, but it didn’t cover all of her expenses.
“I was very depressed at times because I was isolated,” she said. “I was used to having 14 little ones running around, and all of a sudden ‘Poof!’ it’s just me by myself.”
More than 12,000 coronavirus cases have been reported at California child care centers
Experts aren’t sure if the numbers are good or bad because of the number of variables involved and lack of similar data. Child care providers hope new relief from the state will help.
by Elizabeth Aguilera
Burgeoning child care union secures COVID-19 relief funding approval
The state Senate budget committee approved disbursement of $144 million in federal funds to give child care providers some financial relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. If approved by the Legislature, it will be a major win for Child Care Providers United, which is still negotiating a master contract with California.
by Elizabeth Aguilera
Playgrounds stay open: State backtracks on outdoor play area ban
Amid pushback from parents and lawmakers, the state modified its strict new stay-at-home order that had closed outdoor playgrounds to slow coronavirus spread.
by Elizabeth Aguilera
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In Satka, parents oppose the closure of one of the kindergartens: details
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Author Satka worker
Photo: Alina VILKOVA.
Why kindergarten No. 10 is being prepared for closure in Satka and what parents are not satisfied with in this situation – let’s figure it out together.
Parents of pupils of MKDOU “Kindergarten No. 10” turned to the editorial office of “Satka Rabochy”. They said that the preschool they take their children to is closing. But the parents do not agree with this decision and are going to “defend their kindergarten.”
The administration of the Satkinsky municipal district explained to us that the consequences of the decision to liquidate kindergarten No. 10 are currently being assessed. This assessment is a commission, the commission includes, among other things, representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Chelyabinsk Region. The main reasons for considering the issue of liquidating the kindergarten are the decrease in the contingent and the lack of prospects for its growth, and the condition of the building. Currently, a specialized organization is conducting an inspection of the building, the results of which will be taken by a commission decision.
However, the parents of the kids are sure that both commissions are a mere formality, and the decision has already been made. It remains only to recognize the building as dilapidated and emergency.
– There are rumors that a hostel or a hotel will be built in the kindergarten for athletes who will come to the Sports and Sports Complex for competitions, – parents of kindergarteners say. – Well, that’s why no one thought about the kindergarten before the construction of the sports and recreation center? And now we have become objectionable. We are told that our kindergarten is dilapidated, it was built back in 1938 year. Although in fact the building looks great, the networks and electrical wiring have been changed. The only problem is the facade, but it just needs to be repaired. The houses nearby were built in the same years, but they are suitable for habitation – they have repaired and you can continue to live. And our kindergarten – why not?
Parents do not want to hear the words that the building of the kindergarten may be dilapidated and dangerous and may pose a threat to the lives of their children. They are much more concerned that if the kindergarten is closed, they will have to transfer their children to another preschool institution and take them there by minibus.
– Okay, in summer, but in winter? – they ask. – For residents of Tsyganka, Finsky, 1 quarter – this is the only kindergarten located nearby. We are told that we have a small kindergarten, but it is profiled, with a speech therapy bias and for children with disabilities, with delayed speech development, speech therapists and psychologists work with children. The nearest kindergartens are No. 33, on Teatralnaya Square, and No. 35, which is in a deplorable state. But in all groups from 25 children and more. There is a speech therapy group in kindergarten No. 40 on Bakalskaya Street, but there are already 32 children, and where are our children? Who needs them there? And how to drive them there, to such a distance? We have attendance of more than 50%, this is the norm.
However, the parents agree to leave the building of the kindergarten on the condition that they are provided with another, nearby, so that it is convenient for them to take the children, and they leave the former team of employees, which is highly praised. Otherwise, they intend to defend “their garden” – an appeal has already been written to the governor of the Chelyabinsk region, a petition to the public, a group has been delegated to receive the deputies of the Satka Assembly and the Legislative Assembly.
The department of education of the Satka district notes that the decrease in the number of pupils of preschool educational organizations is a problem that is relevant for the Satka district. Every year the number of kindergarten students decreases and, as a result, there is a need for optimization in order to effectively spend budget funds.
Kindergarten No. 10 has been operating since 1940. There are four groups in kindergarten. While the standard number of pupils is 80 people, the actual number in the last three years has averaged 58 people. And during March 2023, groups were attended by 30 to 36 people. From September 1, a decrease in attendance will be recorded, the planned number of pupils is 43 people.
– Compliance with the rights and guarantees for kindergarten students will be ensured, – says the head of the education department Elena Baranova. – Parents of pupils will be offered places in other kindergartens that are geographically located near their residence and meet the regulatory requirements for preschool educational organizations. The rights and guarantees of kindergarten employees, provided for by the norms of the current labor legislation, will be observed, work will be carried out on the employment of kindergarten employees in other educational organizations.
Added at 15.25:
After the publication of this material, Olga Yanakova, head of kindergarten No. 40, contacted the editorial office of Satka Rabochy. She asked to note that in the MKDOU “Child Development Center – Kindergarten No. 40” all the current standards for the occupancy of groups are observed, and the words that there are already 32 children in the speech therapy group of kindergarten No. 40 are just a personal opinion of worried parents of kindergarten No. 10 pupils, which is not supported by anything and does not correspond to reality.
We draw the attention of readers to the fact that direct speech in texts is always a quotation of the opinion of the respondent, which is not confirmed information, with the exception of the comments of an official.
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Video: Will the second building of Kindergarten No.
8 be closed or repurposed in Kamen-na-Ob?
“Why did our kindergarten come under closure? For what reason did the second building of kindergarten number eight become economically unprofitable for the authorities of the Kamensky district? Who made such a decision? – ask the parents of children attending a kindergarten on Gvardeyskaya Street, 2. – Our kindergarten has the most favorable conditions for children, and when compared with other preschool institutions, we consider our kindergarten to be the best. It is warm in it, an excellent repair has been made, friendly teachers, tasty food, the territory is fenced and a cozy playground is provided for children, all amenities are at the highest level … “
A little over two weeks ago, rumors spread around Kamen-on-Ob that the city plans to close two buildings of kindergartens No. 8 and 18 at once, located at 2 Gvardeyskaya and 37A Gaidara. And if the rumors about the second one have so far remained at the level of rumors, then the kindergarten in the area of the railway district is definitely planned to be closed, or rather, re-profiled into an institution of additional education. At least, this is what Oksana Ivanova, the head of the Department of Education of the Administration of the Kamensky District, told the parents at the general parent meeting in the preschool educational institution.
According to the parents, after Oksana Ivanova’s incomprehensible explanations of the reasons for closing the kindergarten, the children’s legal representatives decided to contact the Kamenskie Novosti journalists in order to make the public aware of this situation.
The meeting with parents took place on March 27 at the main entrance of building No. 2 of kindergarten No. 8. Mothers vied with each other saying that this kindergarten has become a second home for kids, where they are loved and looked forward to. Many of them, after long wanderings from one preschool to another, and mostly not because of their whims, finally found the best preschool institution with excellent teachers and conditions for teaching their children.
“At the meeting, Oksana Ivanova confronted us with the fact that our children would have to look for another kindergarten,” says Irina, a parent of one of the preschool children. – Yes, we were offered to choose any garden that we would like to go to and even go with the whole group, but when asked why this building was being closed, we were initially told that it was not economically profitable. It is unprofitable to pay the work of employees. Today, fourteen people work here, while serving twenty-eight children. The kindergarten is designed for 46 preschoolers. And no matter what arguments were given to Oksana Alekseevna, she did not even take them into account.
Parents note that there is another kindergarten in the Vokzal area – 189th, but, in their opinion, the conditions in it are not so wonderful. In winter, this preschool institution has an unfavorable temperature regime, children often freeze in groups.
“In order to preserve our corps, we offered Ivanova to transfer one group of children from kindergarten No. 189 to us. To which the head of the Education Department replied that she was a very flexible person, she was ready to meet us and gave permission to attract children to preschool, but not through transfer from other kindergartens,” continues Irina’s story. – It turns out that only parents and employees are worried about the preservation of the second building of kindergarten No. 8, but not the Department of Education. Ivanova was not even able to explain to us what they plan to do here after closing. Yes, she explained that due to pre-school education, the Kamensky multidisciplinary educational center will expand. But what directions?.. Apparently, she has no strategy, no plan, no alternative.”
In fact, the conversation with Oksana Ivanova and Tatyana Osadchenko, the chairman of the territorial organization of the all-Russian trade union of education of the Kamensky and Krutikhinsky districts, according to the parents, was in vain.
1 of 9
“After the meeting was over, we were at a loss and caring parents remained, continuing the conversation that it was wrong and we would not let the garden close,” says Irina. – And then Oksana Alekseevna returned to us with a specific statement that the children from the one hundred and eighty-ninth kindergarten would not pass to us and they would not be issued a ticket. We are supposedly stripping that kindergarten to keep ours. I would like to note that no one is given vouchers to our garden at all. If given, the children would be normal. With all this, a teacher is required in the preschool educational institution on Gvardeyskaya Street.
As for the employees, according to the parents, everything has already been decided. Many agree to be laid off, someone changes their place of residence, someone was offered a place in other preschool educational institutions, one teacher retires, the teacher in Irina’s group refuses to change her job. In turn, parents do not want to change their kindergarten, where their children stay all day long, and are ready to fight for their corps to the last.