Day Care Centers Continue To Cope With Coronavirus

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
Although day care centers in Warsaw had low enrollment for about a month in the spring, they have remained open throughout the COVID-19 crisis because they are deemed essential businesses. They have seen attendance gradually growing during summer months to their capacities, and have been making changes in daily health protocols to provide safety for children, staff and parents. 
Miss Rhonda’s Daycare Center, located at 29224 Benton House Avenue, has a capacity for 56 children and is following Missouri state guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Owner Rhonda Flynn was advised to “Do the best you can,” and to make sure that no more than 10 people are in a room at one time. Hand washing was also at the top of the list of safety procedures to follow.
“The major change we made was to prevent parents from coming into our building,” said Flynn, who has owned the daycare center since 1998. “They drop off and pick up children from our porch. Masks are not worn by our 12 staff members or the children, but no one is permitted to enter the building with symptoms of an illness, and must wait 48 hours after being sick in order to return to the center. We do more cleaning than usual.” 
The day care center accepts children from birth to 16 years of age. When children arrive at the center, they wash hands and then are separated into playrooms. Children are alternated between the playrooms and outside activities so that they are not all together at the same time. There is a big area for older kids, and they are allowed one hour of tablet time when younger ones are taking naps.
When asked if she had the same children for years at a time, she said she was watching kids as they grew up who later enrolled their children in her day care center.
“When public school starts, there will be some openings for new children, and if schools have to return to virtual learning, we are making space for those who have to return to Miss Rhonda’s Daycare Center,” said Flynn.
Miss Rhonda’s Daycare Center can be contacted at 660-438-5437.
Miss Gail’s Play & Learn Child Care, is located at 1018 Redbud Drive. The owner, Gail Wallace, bought the center a year ago when it was called Children’s Palace, and it has a capacity of 65 children from six weeks to 12 years of age. It is at full capacity at this time, and employs 13 staff members.
“We have only had to decrease traffic through our building due to COVID-19,” said Wallace. “We have parents sign in at the front of the building instead of going with their children back to classrooms. We don’t wear masks, but we do a lot of cleaning, sanitizing and hand washing, generally following the health department’s guidelines. The State even told us that we could increase enrollment if necessary.”
Miss Gail’s Play & Learn Child Care can be contacted at 660-438-4003.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidelines for day care centers as follow.
“If possible, child care classes should include the same group each day, and the same caregivers should remain with the same group each day. Consider creating a separate classroom or group for the children of healthcare workers and other first responders. •Consider whether to alter or halt daily group activities that may promote transmission. Keep each group of children in a separate room. Limit the mixing of children, such as staggering playground times and keeping groups separate for special activities such as art, music, and exercising. If possible, at naptime, ensure that children’s naptime mats (or cribs) are spaced out as much as possible, ideally 6 feet apart.”