Siouxland daycare centers overcome challenges, prep for new year

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Child care centers have faced many challenges throughout the pandemic. From dealing with a sudden and increased need, to having a limited staff because of COVID-19.

At Storytime Preschool and Child Care, it’s been a constant battle between not having enough kids enrolled because of COVID-19.

“There would be days where we’d have to like cut staff, send them home a little early if the ratios gotten lower,” Sarah Franco, Co-Director of Story Time Preschool and Child Care, said.

To having more kids than staff can handle.

Franco said parents have already called to ask if there will be availability once Sioux City schools begin next semester in a hybrid learning model, which is why Franco said additional federal aid toward child care couldn’t come at a better time.

“We’ll use the money for obviously for more staff, to increase our staff numbers, with the kids coming back into the centers. Definitely with the cleaning costs because we’re having to spend a lot of money out of pocket on these extra cleaning supplies,” Franco added.

One day care center in Jefferson, South Dakota, also feels the financial pressure.

“It was really stressful right away, I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay everyone,” Erin Hammitt, Director of St. Peter’s Child Care, said.

She said numbers are beginning to increase, and she’s calling in extra resources.

“Most staff came back that was gone before we had a couple that was older that didn’t come back, so we’ve hired a few younger ones. We’ve gotten help with colleges not being in and having online classes, so we’ve had lots of college students filling in,” Hammitt said.

She said daycares can always use financial assistance and she’s looking forward to receiving another round of aid to help her center stay open.

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