Oakland day care sees 2 year waiting list vanish as families move out of state amid COVID-19

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- While the debate rages on about reopening schools, day care centers in the Bay Area have been quietly reopening, but in some cases, they're finding their regular clientele isn't coming back.

The Chatham School is used to having a full house, so full the family-owned day care center in the Oakland hills had a two-year waiting list for infant care.

But that was before COVID-19. Now, there is no list.

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Owner Maureen Vasquez say nine of her former clients, families with young children, have moved away in recent weeks, mostly out of state, which is back home for many.

"Colorado, Texas, Oregon," said Vasquez. "A lot of parents may not have a full-time job anymore. Or they are needing to search for a job, so by moving home to their home, their hometowns, they have their families able to help."

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Like most day care centers in the Bay Area, Chatham closed for two months when the pandemic first hit. It reopened with a small number of students, mostly those of essential workers, but the numbers are slowing rising.

There are many new safety protocols and much of the care has moved outside,in small groups or pods.

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"Everything is being sanitized daily," said Michael Vasquez, Maureen's son. "Kids are social distancing. We have a lot of procedures in place to make sure that's happening, to make parents feel safe that they can come back."

That loss of families, from this daycare center, may only be temporary because according to local realtors, there are many families moving into Oakland, especially from San Francisco.

At the Chatham School, they say they're ready to welcome those new families, safely.

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