Childcare Providers Prepare For Influx Of Enrollment, Adjust Protocols

Thursday, July 30th 2020, 6:28 pm
By: Chinh Doan

TULSA, Okla. -

Update: Cherokee Nation Child Development Center in Tahlequah will reopen on August 7.

Many childcare providers said their enrollment is constantly changing, as families are still trying to figure out plans for the upcoming school year.

Providers said their biggest challenge is how to keep children and staff safe during a viral pandemic.

Caitlin Martin with Avant Garde Preschool and Early Learning Center in Tulsa said the business has three locations and cares for children from 6 weeks to 8 years old.

Martin said workers sanitize several times a day, have temperature checks for all children and staff and remind employees what they do outside of work matters.

“We're making sure that they understand how to protect themselves outside of here, making sure they're not traveling, that they're basically just going to work and then home and not exposing themselves to other people,” said Martin.

Martin said there was a drop in enrollment at the start of the pandemic, when many adults were home.

Now, the business said it is is preparing for growing interest as families consider options outside of traditional schooling.

"We'll be retaining them because we are private, fewer numbers in the class size than what your public schools would look like,” explained Martin.

Meanwhile, an employee at the Cherokee Nation's Child Development Center in Tahlequah tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, forcing the center to close until at least Friday, August 7.

"That'll give us time to do the pre and post testing, as well as the sanitation in the space as well," said Todd Enlow, chief of staff for Cherokee Nation.

Enlow said the tribal nation also has staff analyzing data and doing testing to help leaders make the best decisions.

Martin’s advice for families looking for childcare: No matter the size or type of childcare you're looking for, do research based on the child's needs.

Martin also recommended asking about specific cleaning and safety protocols.