Effective immediately, all parents in Texas can begin taking their kids to childcare facilities again. It’s a resource previously only offered to essential workers during the state's stay-at-home order. Now facilities are preparing to open under new rules and protocols.
Childcare has been RJ Bradley’s life's work. She runs Kids Place Learning Center in Seagoville. She said this is first for her.
"It’s been totally crazy. I have been in this business for over 46 years," she said. "I’ve never had anything happen like this."
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Since the pandemic, an average day at her facility hasn’t been the same.
"You go from having nearly 100 kids enrolled to down to like 25," said Bradley. "So your income goes down the drain."
So, Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement Monday came as a relief for her and friends in the business.
"I have a friend with a facility near Dallas. We had just spoke last week and she said she might have enough money to stay open one more week. And this is the week," she said.
Childcare facilities can reopen immediately with minimum standard health protocols. This includes disinfecting and social distancing procedures as well as drop off, pick up and screening protocols.
Class size ratio requirements have changed for certain age groups. It’s a modification Bradley said will impact her bottom line.
"When enrollment starts up we can only have 10 kids per one teacher for the older ones, three years and up. And we used to have a lot more," she said. "Now were going to have to hire more teachers because our groups have to be smaller."
Abbott's Minimum Standard Health Protocols can be found here.
Still, Bradley said she will do whatever needs to be done to safely welcome back children.
For the purpose of the order, "childcare center” refers to both regulated child care centers, temporary licensed child care centers, home providers, and youth development organizations.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.