Wash hands 100 times a day: Bay Area child care providers face severe problems as they reopen amid COVID-19 crisis

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- As we see progress in reopening the Bay Area we know we'll have to adapt to a much different world and that different world very much includes day care centers.

Education and the changing workforce are two of the key issues ABC7 News is committing to in the effort to Building a Better Bay Area.

Jessica Darabi-Everett usually has 100 children enrolled at her Love & Care Learning Center in Walnut Creek. Now there are just 10 children in her care. Gone is the 2 to 3 year wait list as some parents report they've lost their job and others are just reluctant to return.

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"It's hard to say if we can except new children because the restrictions the state gave us don't allow us to operate at our full capacity," she said.

They are also running low on hard to find PPE.

It's a situation facing many child care facilities and family homes across the state of California. At the end of April, UC Berkeley's Center for the Study of Child Care Employment found:

  • 34% of child care centers were open

  • 72% operating home-based childcare were open

  • 62% said they were having trouble getting sanitizing supplies

  • 62% said they were having trouble getting sanitizing supplies

And as you might expect, many are on the edge financially.

Tara Family Child Care operates out of owner Tara Talebzadeh's home. She's very worried about many things, especially since she was closed throughout the month of April. This month she has reopened and says she is making sure children wash their hands 100 times a day and is sanitizing the floor every night.

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"I know it's much more work for me, but I have to make money," she said. "Some of my parents are not comfortable to bring kids to the daycare."

She adds that many are working from home and are saving money themselves. She usually watches over 10 to 12 children on a given day. Right now there are only four.

Researcher Sean Doocy with the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment says, "We are seeing a lot of programs closing and losing their livelihoods."

He thinks the situation may get worse this summer as more people go back to work and find limitations and closures prevent them from finding a spot for their child.

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