PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — As many parents head back to work, we’re on your side with resources to help you find childcare.
In a letter, the Virginia Childcare Association asked Governor Ralph Northam to expand the 10 person per classroom rule, to 15 to help meet the needs of more families.
This is an issue local childcare providers have been struggling with.
However, Governor Northam still encourages the 10 person gathering rule. He did address daycare concerns during a press conference last Wednesday.
“During phase one, our childcare centers will continue to prioritize the children of all working families while abiding by social distancing and cleaning requirements … the health and safety of children’s families and staff is a top priority,” Northam said.
He also shared information on the Virginia Childcare Aware agency, which is funded by the Department of Social Services (DSS). The agency helps parents find childcare.
Right now, there are more than 250 childcare options in Hampton Roads. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the list only includes providers that are open and accepting new children.
The website allows self-search, or you can call the hotline (1-866-KIDS-TLC).
If you call the hotline, a specialist will help you find a list of childcare facilities and also teach you how to safely find a daycare, by looking up care records.
Sarah Vaughan, Child Care Aware of Virginia’s community service coordinator, said as the state re-opens, finding childcare could be more challenging.
“Everyone is opening at different times. Some people had to loose their spot in childcare. So, now they are in a spot where they are having to find something else. We are here to help parents as they are returning to work and as they are having to find a brand new program,” said Vaughan. “We know that, sometimes, when it is hard to find care. You may turn to options that are not as safe. We are here to help in that process.”
Dr. Jane Elyce Glasgow, Executive Director of Minus 9 to 5, an organization in partnership with Eastern Virginia Medical School, said there are several resources available to assist parents.
“There are a lot of options out there for childcare and parents. You may spend a little more time trying to locate that care,” Dr. Glasgow said.
“There is lots of places that are open. Just their capacity is reduced in order to safely take care of children. So, while there is lots of care out there. It is going to look different then what it looked like in the past because centers are having to use much smaller group sizes, which limits the number of children they can enroll,” Dr. Glasgow said.
Dr. Glasgow said while you search, you want to make sure a childcare facility is following new state guidelines such as temperature checks, small group sizes, no visitors and cleaning procedures.
“All of the changes are about ensuring that children are safe.”
Right now, there is no representative on the Virginia COVID-19 taskforce, but Dr. Glasgow says the state leadership group that she is a part of has worked closely with the governor’s office.
“I believe that there is some representation, it maybe helpful to have some information from childcare providers, but I think that there is. The governor does have a specific group of people who are working with him on childcare.”
WAVY.com has contacted the governor’s office with concerns about representation on the taskforce. We have not heard back, we will continue to follow that part of the story.