Some Bay Area child care centers close due to lack of guidance, funding for COVID test kits

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Several child care centers and preschools have reported positive cases and have had to close. Many of them are being affected by this latest wave, and are encountering unexpected costs.

Chatham Nursery School on Redwood Road in Oakland is quiet Monday, after administrators made the tough decision to temporarily close. Two kids tested positive for the omicron variant and other little ones were exposed by siblings who attend schools elsewhere.

"We felt it was our due diligence to make sure, with so many cases that occurred over a Saturday and Sunday period that we were informed of, that we had to close," said Mike Vasquez of Chatham Nursery School.

The decision is especially hard on parents who work full-time.

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Like most child care centers, Chatham had closed for two months when the pandemic first hit.

The nursery school says the health system is so overwhelmed, it's still waiting on guidance from them. The other pressing issue is the cost of testing. Unlike public and private schools, Chatham gets no outside funding.

They could never afford to pay for weekly test kits for their 120 kids.
"That's 120 tests every Sunday that we need. There is no way we can fund that," added Vasquez.

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"Our youngest children are not able to get vaccinated," explained Gina Fromer, CEO of the Children's Council of San Francisco which has updated its website to include resources available to help child care centers weather this new storm.

"What we want early educators to know is that there are resources, grants and loans and rent relief programs they can apply for. They need to visit Children's Council dot org or give us a call at 415-343-4669," said Fromer.

Meanwhile, centers and preschools that have had to close are hoping this will short lived for the benefit of the children.

"They will bounce back but it's still hard to go back and forth, back and forth, to get into the routine that they are so used to," expressed Vasquez.

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