Day cares insist they're safe, despite staff shortages
Many parents are wondering if sending their kids to day care is safe while COVID-19 numbers are so high.
Young children still can't get vaccinated, but day cares insist they're safe, even as more staff are out sick with COVID.
News 12 first visited Bridgeport's Alliance for Community Empowerment before COVID and even then, they were struggling. Now, sometimes classrooms have to shut down because there simply isn't enough staff.
"We are operating 100% of 15 of our sites. Classrooms do open and close due to exposure as well as folks resigning," said Dr. Monette Ferguson, executive director of Alliance for Community Empowerment.
Like schools, day cares are relying on rapid tests. Sen. Richard Blumenthal wants Washington to send more.
"Our economic recovery depends on people being back at work. Moms and dads simply can't go back to work if they don't have someone to care for their children," said Blumenthal.
Federal relief money has kept many day cares open. Connecticut expected to be short 50,000 day care slots, but during COVID, only 1% of centers have closed.
The bigger challenge is getting parents to feel safe sending the kids back.
"All our centers are cleaned and scoured and sanitized regularly. All of staff are vaccinated. Our new staff are vaccinated. And those who are on the fence are testing weekly," said Ferguson.
Staff who test positive staff have to quarantine at least five days, and kids - even longer.
"We still maintain a 10-day quarantine for the children because of the inability for all children to strictly abide by wearing a mask 100% of the time," said TEAM Inc. President David Morgan.
In day cares, everyone age 3 and up must wear a mask.
If you're considering a facility, take a tour in person and ask questions -- including what the center's exposure and positive test policies are.