CT day care centers considered ‘essential businesses’ during coronavirus outbreak


CONNECTICUT (WTNH) — The Learning Experience Day Care in Wethersfield is open and practicing good hygiene singing the “wheels on the bus go round and round” while washing hands.

Erica Escoffery teaches pre-school at the day care. Normally, she and another teacher watch 20 kids per class. Since coronavirus, she teaches only five students per class.

“It’s a dramatic change from my normal routine with the class,” Escoffery said. “It’s insane.”

According to state officials, child care centers are allowed to stay open as an essential service.

“We have the kids who are stuck; the parents literally have no other options,” she said. “Their jobs are not closing or they may have picked up other shifts just to accommodate themselves with other bills.”

“It’s very important if she doesn’t have day care, then I won’t be able to work,” Shanell -Banks said while picking up her 2-year-old daughter, Paige, from Happy Time — a licensed home day care.

“When they start shutting down health care and start shutting down super markets then parents will have a problem, but now not,” said Naomi Mitchell, who watches Paige.

Some programs have been shut down by local city orders. The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance spoke with News 8 via skype. Executive director, Merrill Gay, said this industry allows 171,000 parents to go to work.

“Having the child care to drop your kid off is every bit as important as having that bridge to get across the river,” Gay said.

The State Office of Early Childhood conducted a survey and reports only 1/3 of the providers are open. The industry employs 21,000 people.

Gay said she is not sure the programs will survive. And what about families who are still being charged tuition despite a center being closed?

“It is a dilemma for child care providers and for parents,” she said. “I don’t know that I have a good answer on that. It would be great if there was money in the [federal] stimulus package.”

Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is working to get money into the stimulus package to cover day care centers, the workers and the parents.

If you are a family who needs child care through the crisis call 211.

There is also a dedicated phone line for health care workers and first responders at (860) 756-0864.nMore information can be found online.

Open Connecticut KinderCare Centers:

Enfield – LEGO Creative Child Care Center
Center 301404

Newington KinderCare
143 Pascone Place, Newington CT 06111
Phone number: 860-665-0729
Contact: Jessica Paige

Manchester KinderCare
481 Spring street, Manchester CT
Phone number: 860-646-1610
Contact: Fiona Moylan

Farmington KinderCare
35 South Road, Farmington ct
Phone number: 860-677-1810
Conatct: Nicole Cherron

Bethel KinderCare
174 Old Hawleyville road.
Phone number: 203-792-6991
Contact: Wendy Meskel

Open Learning Experience Centers:

Cromwell-Rocky Hill
181 Shunpike Road
Phone number: 860-316-2766

New Haven
520 Martin Luther King Blvd
Phone number: 203-507-2405

274 South Main Street, Building A
Phone number: 203-304-9130

2285 Reservoir Ave
Phone number: 203-894-6641

88 Executive Square
Phone number: 860-785-8889

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