Some metro Detroiters concerned about open daycares during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 12:02 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-20 17:19:07-04

(WXYZ) — The wheels are in motion for Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order to allow disaster relief emergency child care for essential workers. It allows pop-up day cares in schools and hospitals and empowering existing daycares to expand capacity, as well as extend hours.

Now more than ever, we need our first responders and medical staff to be able to go to work. With schools closed, what can they do with their kids while they work? It’s a problem Governor Whitmer is aiming to solve with her executive order, but some fear it creates more problems.

Some worry that expanding day cares without equipping them could be dangerous.

Candice Stegink has a 3 year old little girl who loves her Belleville daycare, but since the pandemic was declared, she’s no longer going.

“We could get sick, our parents could get sick,” Stegnik says.

Schools have been closed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and the state has limited gatherings to a maximum of 50 people. The Belleville daycare Stegnik uses is licensed for over 60 and now is allowed to take more.

“When the governor expanded the number of kids that can go to daycare during a pandemic, it’s highly concerning,” Stegnik says.

Meanwhile in Commerce, Rebecca Allor feels differently.

“Relief, complete relief,” says Allor.

This order means her business, Rebecca’s Learning Center, won’t have to close. It also means she can better serve the families in her area.

“Our goal is not to pack the center, but to be there for the people that actually need it,” says Allor.

The governor’s order expanded daycare specifically for emergency personnel, which includes first responders and medical personnel. The order allows Rebecca’s Learning Center to be open around the clock.

“We’ll be open 24 hours, if the parents need that. It’s not for everybody, but we have doctors and nurses who bring their children here and they have told us it has been really crazy. I’m just hoping that I can be of service to them.”

Stegnik understands the need for child care, but fears the governor's executive order will work against the CDC’s national health goals.

“It’s about the bigger issue of flattening the curve, we aren’t flattening the curve by sending our kids to day care,” says Stegnik.

Allor says she and her staff are taking additional measures to disinfect every thing the kids and parents touch. She is separating kids into groups of ten or less into different classrooms. Trying to make hand washing fun for the kids and ensuring they do it multiple times throughout the day.

Before dropping their kids off every day she is also requiring parents to fill out a symptom checklist.

“If they have any, we ask that they immediately remove themselves from the building,” says Allor.

She’s doing everything she can to ensure Rebecca’s Learning Center is a safe place to offer families the support they need during this pandemic.

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