Child care centers modify protocols to improve child, worker safety

Published: Oct. 9, 2020 at 5:53 PM AKDT
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WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - Recent COVID-19 cases from staff and students at school facilities that have since resumed in-person classes have caused some schools in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Kenai Peninsula Borough to modify protocols for child care center. The challenges of meeting in person are an obstacle some child care centers have been dealing with for months.

After the shutdown that began in March, CCS Early Learning reopened in June with reduced capacity and protocol in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Despite having what it believed to be the best plan in place at the time, a few positive cases of the virus in June prompted the center to temporarily shut down.

“Modifications we’ve made since then is we have really worked hard to have each of our individual classrooms become its own kind of bubble,” CCS Early Learning Executive Director Mark Lackey said. “So children in a single classroom, teachers in a single classroom. No more one staff member going around the entire building to give bathroom breaks because that contaminates bubbles.”

Lackey says that the the situation schools are facing is similar to the one the child care centers face. Both organization provide a service that supports the the education of young people while watching children while parents work.

“We’re in really close communication with the Mat-Su Borough School District, so we learn an awful lot from them, and I think they probably learn some things from us as well, it’s been a really good dialogue back and forth,” Lackey said. “The biggest impact to us so far has been they’re in the exact same situation I just described. They’re having to adjust and balance this risk of providing services and keeping their workforce in tact. And so when they isolate a bunch of kids because they’ve been in close contact, they’re doing exactly what they have to do, but that impacts our employees. They have to take care of their own children and quarantine and those types of things. So then we’ve staff members that are impacted in that way.”

Lackey said that, overall, the community has done a good job in working together through the situation.

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