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Coronavirus In Ohio: Daycares Must Close Down Or Limit Kids This Week


Many daycare centers will be closing Wednesday under new rules by the Ohio Department of Health. Starting Thursday, March 26, the daycare providers will need a "temporary pandemic child care license" to continue.

LCD Academy in Gahanna services about 70 children on a normal day, but did not receive the special license.

“I know that everybody is not going to get it,” says Kedada Bethel. “Because if everybody was going to get it, what’s the point of limiting or not opening centers? So, I’m not really sure. And I know there’s a lot of uncertainty going on with just about everything.”

Bethel says her daycare, which opened in 2017, does receive state subsidies for about half of the children it cares for. Although the state would continue providing that subsidy for another 21 days, she says it’s not enough to continue to pay her workers.

Under the order, a provider can only care for up to six children in each room.

“If I were to go by that rule, then I could not take any more than 42 kids because I have seven rooms and I could put six kids in each room,” says Bethel.

Bethel says she has tried to update her parents about the changes.

“I have some families that will come in and say, 'I don’t know what I’m going to do if you close,'" Bethel says. "I don’t have a backup. Then I have some families, the parents are salaried workers and they can afford to stay home, and work from home and keep their parents. But, not all parents have that luxury.”

Like many businesses impacted by coronavirus-related closures, Bethel says her staff is worried about their jobs.

“For my staff, there’s a lot of fear, because I can’t offer them anymore than what I’m already doing," says Bethel. "Once we stop working on Wednesday, I won’t be able to provide salaries for my workers past Wednesday.”

The temporary pandemic child licenses remains in effect until April 30.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.