day care facilities

North Texas Day Care Centers Remain Open, Following New State Regulations

From limiting entrance to checking temperatures, day care facilities receive instructions from Texas Health and Human Services

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While many school districts are closed indefinitely across North Texas, it’s not the same case for day care facilities.

Many are open but with new requirements by Texas Health and Human Services.

The agency regulates the state’s 17,000 child care operations.

The state says they’re taking pro-active measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“The main reason we’re staying open is this community needs us,” said Bruce Schultes, owner and president of Stepping Stones Academy.

The Keller day care center has opted to remain open.

“Doctors, the police officers, the ER nurses, we have telecommunications people here that are required to get to work especially with everyone working from home,” he said.

“The reason that we’ve decided to stay open is because of them.”

The center typically counts 100 to 130 children in attendance, but Schultes acknowledges they currently have fewer than 100 children.

“A lot of kids are not coming in because their parents are choosing to keep them home,” said Schultes.

NBC 5 was not allowed to gather video inside the facility per state regulations.

But the day care shared video clips showing how they are following new state regulations that require checking each child’s temperature at drop-off before being allowed inside.

The same requirements are required for any visitors:

An HHS requirement limits the people allowed inside to: operation staff, persons with legal authority to enter including law enforcement, HHSC Child Care Licensing staff and Department of Family and Protective Services staff. Professionals providing services to children are also allowed entrance.

Parents or legal guardians who have children enrolled are allowed as well.

If anyone has a 100.4 temperature or above, they are not allowed entrance, according to HHS.

Stepping Stones Academy tells NBC 5 so far no one has had to be turned away.

The daycare also shared a video clip showing the cleaning process using a fogging disinfectant.

With some exceptions, drop-off and pick-ups should be done outside each building.

In Dallas County, authorities said allowing day care facilities to remain open unlike restaurants was because day care facilities tend to exercise social distancing on a regular basis, but more-so now given that many parents are keeping their children home.

“Day care is a necessity for many families to put food on the table and pay the rent,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Monday.

The owners of the daycare in the Tarrant County community of Keller agree.

“We do have families that are saying we have to go to work and this is a place where we can bring them [our children] and we’re a family,” said co-owner and vice president Donna Andrews.

The state also states day care facilities must ensure each child is provided individual meals and snacks. ‘Do not serve family style meals’ states a press release.

Child care providers are highly encouraged to contact the Child Care Licensing (CCL) team at MSC@hhsc.state.tx.us. ‘CCL is prepared to answer questions, provide technical assistance, and grant regulatory flexibility to operations when needed to protect children in care,’ according to an HHS press release.

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