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Oklahoma Childcare Centers Struggle To Stay Open During Pandemic

A photo of a child playing with car toys.
Sandy Millar / Unsplash

Despite pleas from the state to stay open, 747 of Oklahoma's 3,000 childcare centers have shuttered because of coronavirus fears. They have capacity for almost 40,000 children.

A Department of Human Services spokeswoman says 25 previously closed childcare centers have re-opened and that the state will continue providing resources to keep those still operating from closing.

Childcare centers, like Wovenlife in Oklahoma City, are vital. That center’s executive director David Wood says they’ve gone from seeing 80 children a day to about 20.

The drop in children attending and a subsequent drop in funding will make staying open financially difficult. But because of the center's proximity to the University of Oklahoma Medical Center, he wants to keep it open for the parents on the front lines of the pandemic.

"That’s our goal absolutely," Wood said. "I guess it really just kind of depends on how long this circumstance lasts."

Department leaders have said the work centers like Wovenlife do is vital to helping care for children whose parents are on the frontlines fighting COVID-19.

Robby Korth joined StateImpact Oklahoma in October 2019, focusing on education reporting.
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