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How will daycares adapt to removed COVID restrictions?

Virus Outbreak Child Care
Posted at 5:17 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 15:09:21-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Daycare owners and workers said they are excited about Governor Andrew Cuomo lifting COVID-19 restrictions on child care facilities, yet confused about what that announcement really means.

"I think there is a little bit of confusion just from reading the Facebook forums and the different conversations that are going on with them," Danielle Kinsman, owner and director of Jumped Up Jelly Beans, said.

Tuesday, Governor Cuomo announced COVID-19 restrictions would be lifted on daycares, but some are holding off on making any changes.

"We are governed by the OCFS (New York's Office of Children and Family Services). That's the agency that comes out and makes sure we are following all the rules. We have not heard yet from them, so at this point we're all staying where we are. We're all still wearing our masks. We're still doing the screening until we get word from them," Carie-Jo Cleary, education coordinator for Ripen With Us Child Care Center, said.

Yet according to Governor Cuomo, daycares no longer have to have capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screenings and contact information for potential tracing.

Daycare workers said dropping social distancing makes things a lot easier.

"There's a lot less sharing going on which is one of the main things you teach children to do. It becomes very hard to explain to little ones why they can't go give their friend a hug when they haven't seen them for a long weekend," Kinsman said.

They said one of the most helpful changes will be no longer having to screen people who walk into the building.

"I can't have somebody in a classroom if I have to have somebody screening people. With the announcement, that was exciting because it leaves me an extra staff person," Cleary said.

Daycare workers said removing these restrictions will save them a great deal of time and money as well.

"We have provided masks for all of our staff. The cleaning I like so I'm going to make sure we're still doing that, however we did invest a lot of money in different chemicals and different cleaning things," Cleary said.

With capacity increasing, daycares are prepping for more kids as parents return to work.

"I've been blessed to actually have a few extra staff members looking for positions so when that happens we're all set to go," Kinsman said.

"It would really be nice again to fill up all of our classrooms. We'd be really excited to see that," Cleary said.

New York's Office of Children and Family Services tells 7 Eyewitness News in a statement:

"Given New York’s progress and the diminished risk of COVID-19 within the community, New York State has lifted most COVID-19 restrictions, except the mask requirement for unvaccinated individuals and in certain settings (e.g., health care) as advised by the CDC. Masks remain strongly recommended, not required, for children in child care settings and camps when indoors, consistent with CDC guidance."