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As child care centers prepare to reopen, directors worry about financial impact

Posted at 8:52 AM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 10:58:20-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Child care centers can reopen June 15th, and while it's a day providers and parents have been waiting for, one director says there's a lot of concern about the future of some centers.

Smart Beez Learning Center in Lexington is just one of many preparing to reopen. Director Roaa Jarrar is worried some of the state's guidelines may actually lead to more closures. Specifically, the mandated ratio of one caretaker to ten kids and no interaction between groups.

"When we cannot merge classrooms and children early in the morning, that means I have to have a teacher in every classroom by 7:00," said Jarrar. "Me and a lot of other day care owners, we had to reduce our hours because you cannot have the same teacher in the classroom for twelve hours a day, five days a week."

Coming off of three months without income and now having to meet these payroll needs, Jarrar says centers could take a financial hit. She also says some families won't be returning when the center reopens because they had to find alternatives during the closure.

"Talking with other directors and owners, it's going to be a huge loss monthly, so we are definitely going to be seeing a lot of centers closed if they haven't already," she said.

Day care centers have received state funding, though, and Jarrar says she and others are waiting for more to become available.

"They are forced to open day care centers simply because without them, parents aren't able to go back to work. So, I really hope that we will get more funding from the state," she said.

Jarrar says many centers were relying on money from insurance companies, but she says their business interruption claims were denied, even though they were forced to close by the state. She says about 80 centers across Kentucky are planning to sue their insurance companies.

Despite the concern, Jarrar says she's looking forward to seeing most of her kids again. There will be new health and safety measures taken once the center reopens. Parents and kids will be given temperature checks every day, and while masks aren't required, parents can request kids ages five and up to wear them.