Though Oklahoma schools are closed for weeks and businesses are closing their doors, the state’s Department of Human Services is asking childcare centers to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The department’s director Justin Brown says in a letter to childcare professionals, it’s vital that childcare centers stay open to care for the children of medical workers and other first responders. Brown also recommends that childcare centers take basic steps to reduce spread.
The situation is difficult for childcare centers, says David Wood, president and CEO of Wovenlife, a child development center based in Oklahoma City. Wovenlife is located near the OU Health Sciences Campus and many parents there come in scrubs, meaning their work is incredibly valuable. But if a case is discovered at the center he thinks it’s likely they would close.
"We’re dancing a fine line of providing the care of what our community needs and trying to be cognizant of the needs and fears of our own employees," said Wood.
Children appear less likely than the elderly to be affected by the coronavirus, though Oklahoma reported its first case of a child four or younger Wednesday.