Katmint; Daycare; COVID-19
The Katmint Daycare in Bedford-Stuyvesant has had to recently close two of three of their centers amid COVID-19. Photo Source: The Katmint Learning Initiative

As New York City recently had a Phase 1 reopening this Monday, parents continue to share their concern in returning into the workforce as childcare is sparse, reported CBS New York.

In April, the NYC Health Department mandated a shutdown of all independent, education-based childcare centers and preschools. To deal with little to no tuition coming in, many childcare centers had to greatly adjust just to stay afloat.

The Katmint Learning Initiative, an education-based child care center in Bedford-Stuyvesant had to recently permanently close two of their three centers and lay off half of their staff.

“It hurts every day,” said Andre Farell, the owner of Katmint. “I pray that we are able to remain standing and be here for everyone post-COVID. Because if not, I just… I mean, who’s gonna care for the city’s children?”

Farell continues to worry as his finances worsen. And he is not alone in his struggles: Sharifa Hodges, founder of Seneca Village Montessori in Crown Heights says childcare providers like her are running out of time.

“We still have to pay insurance. We are paying our payroll loss. We’re still having to buy supplies. All those things and expenses do no go away,” said Hodges. “Without aid, the child care industry is just going to be demolished.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio says it will be months before the city can allow child care centers to reopen to normal capacity. And members of Congress have proposed a $50 billion bailout for the child care industry within the next nationwide Coronavirus relief package.

But, according to the Centers for American Progress, a drastic 50% of New York’s child care suppliers can easily disappear without adequate federal funding. Fully functioning childcare is the backbone of the working family and without them, the city simply cannot reopen.

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Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at Williams College majoring in Political Science and Art History.

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