Daycare deals with enrollment rush as school divisions go virtual

Daycare deals with enrollment rush

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (WWBT) - School systems continue to discuss how students will get back to learning this fall, which has parents scrambling to figure out what they’re going to do when classes start.

Parents’ concerns are extending to child care centers, like the Cedarhouse School in Chesterfield County.

Owner Elizabeth Bale says the phones have been ringing nonstop since some local school districts announced virtual school semesters. She says their main concern is all the logistical work in getting their classrooms in place while dealing with all the new enrollment as they inch closer to September.

“We’ve had many phone calls and emails the last couple of weeks, and in particular today, since the news came out yesterday, asking us what we’re planning to do and if we can help them with their kids,” Bale said.

As a private institution, school staff members are flying by the seat of their pants as they navigate how to open in COVID-19 times. On a normal summer break, 175 kids would be in the classrooms of the Cedarhouse School, taking part in “lots of different programs.” For example, Bale says the school “brings in lots of different animals, we have petting zoos and jugglers and magicians. We take the school-age kids out on field trips all across the city.”

But this new, socially distanced school year draws new challenges.

”We’ve got to figure out if we’ve got the staff available to help the kids, we have to figure out what kind of technology we need, what kind of bandwidth we need, and just how do we structure the day?” Bale said.

She adds that there are regulations from the state and the county in terms of the number of people in the rooms, but she calls it “frustrating” since the district’s public schools are going to remain closed.

In the meantime, she says she's trying to assure parents that the school is working through the kinks for a safe and smooth semester.

“It’s just a lot of changes going on. It’s definitely a different year for us, but we’re doing the best we can. We’re trying to figure things out for our parents,” she added.

The Cedarhouse School is still set to open up, as scheduled, after Labor Day.

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