KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — Child care facilities in the city of Kyle will be allowed to reopen on Monday, April 20, with some restrictions.
Mayor Travis Mitchell told KXAN News the announcement will come this week.
Mitchell ordered facilities to close on March 19 with an emergency order, and then passed an emergency ordinance last week, originally keeping facilities closed through the end of April.
“I was praying and praying like what am I going to do?” says Kim Perez, Little Leaders Childcare center owner.
For a small business like hers that serves about 25 children, Perez and her assistant director, Shelby Borski, say the rules were particularly straining.
“If no changes were to have taken place or any option for like loans or anything, yeah, we would have definitely had to close, for sure,” Borski says.
Mayor Mitchell says day care operations will now be allowed to reopen as long as they abide by the following rules:
1. All childcare must be admitted through the governor’s Front Line Child Care program.
Thousands of essential workers qualify for child care under Governor Abbott’s program. The website indicates that the following essential workers are given priority:
- Healthcare and pharmacy workers
- First responders
- Workers in child care services, in support of workers in other essential functions
- Critical infrastructure workers in grocery, utilities, and trucking
- Other identified infrastructure workers, which include critical state and local government staff; mail/delivery services; nursing homes, home health care and other direct care providers; banks; gas stations; military; and restaurants and other food delivery
2. All staff must wear masks.
Currently, the Front Line Child Care program directs facility owners to CDC guidelines, which recommend but do not require masks.
3. Each room will be limited to a maximum of five different households
The State of Texas allows 10 people per room. There are currently no restrictions on how many children from different families are able to mingle.
“If children are coming as individuals from different households, they will be limited to five per room, which is a tough standard for a day care operator to manage financially but we feel that will do the best job for us in terms of keeping us safe while still allowing for daycare facilities to operate in the city,” Mitchell says.
“We’ve started regrouping some of the children so that we could properly plan for the correct ratios,” Rhonda Paver, owner of The Stepping Schools.
Paver has two facilities with about 300 children in Kyle.
The mayor also says all other state guidelines must be followed, which include picking up and dropping off children outside of the building, taking the temperature of everyone that comes inside and restricting child-to-employee ratios to maintain safe distances.
Operators say they’re grateful for a step toward normalcy.
“Even with the limitations that we’re happy to comply with, we are excited to be back into our home bases with our home teachers,” Paver says.
“We feel ready, we’ve been ready, we feel excited again to see the kids and see the families and to help again,” Perez says.