Childcare Facility Plans to Open Doors to Kids of First Responders

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As child care facilities around North Texas grapple with whether to close their doors, Wonderland Montessori is working on a plan to keep its doors open for the children of first responders.

Director of Community Relations Shannon Blackwell said Wednesday attendance across Wonderland’s seven locations was down 75%.

She said closing the doors at most of the locations is inevitable, but school leaders were working on a plan to keep at least one location open to provide childcare for police, firefighters, doctors, nurses and the other professionals essential in the fight against COVID-19.

“Everything is very topsy-turvy all over in what’s going on in the world, and so our ability to be able to provide a familiar place for children is something that takes a lot of stress off of families and off of parents who do need to be out on the front lines doing their job and taking care of other people,” Blackwell said.

She said conversations with hospital administrations and local governments were underway to determine which facility they’d keep open and what challenges they would face.

“What is that going to look like for the staff? How do we keep them safe, especially with the limited amount of protective gear out there? I think those are all unanswered questions,” Blackwell said.

For now, she said they were focused on following state and federal recommendations to keep their buildings deep-cleaned and sanitized, to keep sick kids out by checking temperatures at the door and temporarily banning parents and other non-essential adults from the buildings.

Whichever facility they decide to keep open, they would allow enrollment for first responders whose kids weren't already part of the program.

Wonderland Montessori said it expected to announce a plan in the next day or so.

The school asked for forehead thermometers from anyone who might have them, and said they’re getting difficult to source which would make it tough to keep students and teachers safe.

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