KDHE addresses question of daycares being open while schools are closed

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The Kansas Department of Health and Environment Friday addressed a common question that's followed the state's decision to close schools for the rest of the school year: How can daycare facilities still be open?

The KDHE says it encourages childcare providers to continue business for the greater good of the community, needed to help employees coming to work.

"Childcare is a critical service to the state," says KDHE Secretary Dr. Lee Norman. "Especially since employees are having people at home, they still need childcare when they go back to work."

La Petite Academy in Wichita is one of many childcare providers in the state staying open with support from the KDHE despite growing COVID-19 concerns. Daycare operators (corporate and private) who spoke with Eyewitness News this week say they'll continue to stay open until the Center for Disease Control or state and local health officials ttell them to close their doors.

"At full capacity, we don't have a room that has more than 20 kids in it, but right now with a lot of kids being gone, we don't have a room with probably more than 10 right now," says Plymouth Preschool Director Sarah Spurgeon.

Another daycare owner who spoke anonymously with Eyewitness News says she thinks it's important to keep childcare options available for medical workers who are essential to the community.

"We have ton (of parents) that are nurses and they understand the drasticness of the situation," she says. "But they're also working overtime right now."

Choosing not to remain open, the YMCA Friday notified parents that its early-learning centers will be closing next Friday (March 27).