Wichita, Kansas (KWCH) – Temporary school closures due to a sudden rise in COVID-19 cases have some parents scrambling for childcare providers. this week, The Wichita school district announced that three of its elementary schools were out of classes Tuesday due to staff shortages linked to the disease and the inability to fill in those absences.
It’s a situation that is not surprising and likely to continue as districts scramble to keep students meeting face-to-face. Last week, Eyewitness News shared tips for staying proactive if your child’s school is temporarily closed. This includes talking to your employer about the possibility of working remotely, discussing childcare with people you trust, and, if your options are limited, seeing if there are daycare centers that allow enrollment.
Eyewitness News spoke with the owner of Roth Academy in Wichita, Meg Roth, who decided to open her own nursery after being unable to find a place for her children, who are between two and six months old.
“I love being a mother, so I knew being at home with my kids was the right thing,” Ruth said. To be able to provide that stability, comfort, consistency, and knowledge to other parents that I’ve been looking for in another daycare provider, I knew I could do this, so, I wanted to provide it to others.”
Ruth now uses her educational degree to care for her children and others. Although she does not accept applications for entry, she has given advice to parents in the same situation that I encountered.
“If you’re reaching out to daycare providers and you keep getting off work, there are places like Start Kids or KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment) that you can go to and say, ‘Are there child caregivers with job opportunities?'” ‘ said Ruth. “But honestly, the second best thing is to stay home with your kids, and that’s hard. Grandma or grandfather, but if you don’t have a family, it’s hard.”
Ruth said she knows the frustration of parents and that her inbox says it all.
She said, “A lot of people ask, ‘Hey, do you accept delivery? ‘Like, my business is closed. I need someone for today. It’s sad [because] You have to flip them around if you don’t have an open space. It’s sad and he’s like, ‘I hope you find something. If I hear anything, I’ll tell you.”
The new employer said it is not easy to find nursery school because proper licensing takes time.
“It takes a while for that to happen,” Roth said. “So I’m wondering with this wave of COVID if there’s another group of people who are going to stay home and try to do that.”
Wichita Public Schools said it hopes to give parents two to three days’ notice before the school temporarily closes.
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