JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Amid school and business closures because of the coronavirus outbreak, some parents are wondering, “What about day care?”
That’s been one of the most commonly asked questions to come into the News4Jax newsroom since the outbreak began. While some Jacksonville day care facilities have shut their doors, others remain open.
At Kiddie Korner off Kings Road, the owner said things are business as usual. But she has posted multiple signs outside before parents walk in to let them know when it’s not safe to bring their children inside.
Salena Walker told News4Jax she has been spending extra time spraying down surfaces and sanitizing her daycare center to make sure she’s providing a safe and healthy environment for those in her care.
“I am still here to do a service and be open for the community,” Walker said. “In the midst of everything, we still have to be here for the working parents.”
Yet Walker has tightened up some policies over who’s allowed inside. For instance, she’s asking that parents take their children to the pediatrician if they have a runny nose, fever or cough.
“We need a doctor’s note saying that they are clear to come back to daycare before we will allow them to come back,” Walker told News4Jax.
Though Walker typically sees about 26 children walk through the gates at Kiddie Korner, it’s been unusually quiet lately. None showed up on Tuesday, and only two showed up the day before.
Some parents are so concerned about the virus, they’re keeping their children home. One mother said she pulled her daughter out of day care for two reasons: health and civic responsibility.
“The more I read about it, it seems as though to flatten the curve, to keep this from spreading and becoming a bigger issue, it is our duty to keep ourselves away from each other,” Courtney Cronin said.
Across town, an assistant teacher at UNF Preschool is self-quarantining at home for 14 days while her mother undergoes testing for coronavirus. Those test results are pending.
Through it all, parents continue to wonder at what point day care facilities will be closed, especially since some of them host more than 50 children under one roof.
News4Jax reached out to the Department of Children and Families for guidance on this issue, but at the time of this writing we have not heard back.