Safety’s a priority at child care services for essential workers during COVID-19 crisis

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Essential workers now have a place to take their children while working during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The need comes after 5,398 child care operations closed because of coronavirus. The Department of Health and Human Services says that’s about 31% of facilities statewide.

KXAN Investigators are looking into safety measures that are being taken because of concerns from parents worried about the coronavirus and the operation of child care facilities.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of East Williamson County says that’s a priority. The organization started day camps Monday morning for 5 to 12 year-olds. 

The focus will be on academics, healthy lifestyles, along with good character. The organization is also providing two meals and a snack. 

Nurses will be screening the kids and staff along with taking temperatures. 

“We will operate under 8:1 staff member ratios. So, eight kids in a classroom to one staff member,” explains Daniel Hall, Vice President of Resource Development. “We are in the business of serving youth that need us most. To just sit around and have our hands tied and not be able to do so in this current environment was not a solution that we are willing to accept.”

Day camp operations are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and include three locations in the surrounding area:

  • 2500 North Ave. in Taylor
  • 1200 W. 17th St. in Georgetown
  • 107 N. Main St. in Lampasas

Qualified families include government staff, first responders, Texas National Guard along with healthcare workers and families employed by an essential business. There is an $50 weekly fee per child for the day camp.

The YMCA of Austin is also offering child care for kids 3 to 12 at three locations. A sack lunch is required. Operations are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday at the following locations:

  • The Southwest Family YMCA, 6219 Oakclaire Drive & U.S. Highway 290 in Oak Hill
  • The East Communities YMCA, 5315 Ed Bluestein Blvd. & E. 51st St.
  • Hays Communities YMCA, 465 Buda Sportsplex Drive in Buda

Cost is $50 per day for the 9-12-hour-day program, or $40 per day for eight hours or less.

A spokesperson says children will be divided into small groups throughout the Y facilities, and proper social spacing will be maintained at all times. 

Safety measures include, parents dropping off and picking up outside the facilities, staff and children’s temperatures taken, and if any child shows signs of illness then they will be sent home. 

A spokesperson says there’s also a nine children to 1 staff member ratio and they will keep a six feet distance along with deep cleaning daily with hourly wipe-downs.  

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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