COVID-19 guidelines set to expire for Texas childcare facilities

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Health and Human Services Commission says it is considering a new set of COVID-19 guidelines for childcare facilities in the state. That’s because the current guidelines are set to expire on Dec. 21.

Bright Beginnings Childcare in north Austin is one of the licensed childcare providers still operating in Travis County this year. As more people began to work from home because of the pandemic, the demand for these providers shrank, leading some to shut down completely.

“That has greatly impacted our financial stability” said Patsy Harnage, who is the director of Bright Beginnings Childcare. “We were at 100 kids before the pandemic, and now we are 60.”

The Texas Workforce Commission subsidizes child care for low-income families, but providers would need to be at 80% capacity to receive those funds.

According to HHS, there were 547 licensed childcare facilities in Travis County last year. Surprisingly, that number is holding steady, which is good news for anyone considering an end to working from home.

Michael Gonzalez, who sits on the executive board of the Texas Association for the Education of Young Children said, “There will be a need for more providers, because people will be looking at going back to work next year.”

Gonzalez also added childcare facilities throughout the state are struggling to keep up due to a lack of funding and a shortage of cleaning supplies that are desperately needed to stay open.

Childcare experts say parents who are concerned about exposing their kids to the coronavirus can request a personal walk through of the facility after hours to view their safety precautions first-hand.

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