On Tuesday, the Board of Health voted to allow the 3,000 childcare centers closed by the coronavirus pandemic to reopen July, 13, The City reports.
Many childcare centers across New York City have been lobbying to reopen as parents are called back to work, saying they are essential businesses. However, the decision came as a surprise to many who said they have had little guidance or support from the city or state government on how to reopen.
“I’m just about to lose my mind right now, I have to say,” Little Sun People manager Fela Barclift told The City. Barclift said she had started the construction of more hand-washing stations at the Bed-Stuy center, and would not be able to reopen anytime soon. “We don’t have support for reopening,” she said.
After the Tuesday vote, officials said transmission of the virus had been sufficiently brought under control, and parents needed safe childcare options as the city reopened.
City childcare centers will have to follow state guidelines, which include limiting class sizes to 15 children, requiring staff to wear face coverings and limit toy sharing. Face coverings are not required for children younger than kindergarten age, but are encouraged for older children. There are also new cleaning guidelines for reopening, that include frequent disinfecting.
Childcare centers that are able to reopen may now be able to benefit from state grants that allow centers to expand in size and access supplies and material including PPE. But many centers have said what they need is guidance and more financial support just to get the doors open.