JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Day cares are considered essential businesses and have been open in Florida amid the pandemic, but some are struggling due to the crisis.
Renee Johnson is a district manager for Learning Care Group, a large childcare provider with several centers in Northeast Florida, including Tutor Time.
“We are thankful we’re able to stay open for essential workers,” she said.
Johnson said the impact of the pandemic has been drastic. She said enrollment is down about 40% at the company’s schools in Florida, forcing some employees to be furloughed and some schools to temporarily be closed.
“Right now, large child care centers are not eligible for the CARES Act or small business loans but we are reaching out to legislators to hopefully change that," Johnson said.
According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, nearly half of the child care centers surveyed reported that they were closed. Of the ones that are open, 85% reported that they are operating at less than 50% of their enrollment capacity.
As leaders discuss plans to gradually re-open, Johnson said they saw an uptick in attendance for the first time since the pandemic started, offering a glimmer of hope that they will be welcoming more students back soon.