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Child care providers want to get back to full capacity

Posted at 3:19 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 18:07:29-04

Child care services are back open to non-essential employees with some new restrictions.

The mandate states no more than 15 people per classroom with a ratio of one adult to 14 children. That's for child care centers like Celebree. Typically, they can handle a lot more kids and staff members in one classroom.

Celebree is a school for children to have fun and learn, preparing them for kindergarten while their parents work.

"Preschool is all about learning and social and emotional learning, some of these children haven’t been back in the classroom environment for three months. Socially and emotionally I believe it’s damaging. They miss their friends, they love their teachers they wanna come back here and see their friends and get back to their routine," said Richard Huffman, the President and CEO of the Celebree in Towson.

Right now, their location is about half capacity. They want to get back to full capacity, which is 140 students.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, they were only open to essential workers. Now, they're slowly working to get their numbers back up.

"Parents are eager to return to work and parents are also eager and their children are eager to return back to school, even if they can work from home they’re still eager to get their children back in preschool and the school they left originally," said Huffman. "Working from home and having their children home is not working, parents are excited for their children to return."

Huffman said they've always had strict cleaning regulations. Now, they have to do temperature checks and parents aren't allowed to walk their child back to their classroom anymore. They call it kiss and go.

"They're taking all the precautions there is. I don't worry about that," said Judy Njenga. She's been bringing her four-year-old son to Celebree throughout the whole pandemic, something she's grateful for. She said, "this is the best thing that’s ever happened to us and him. It gives us a piece of mind that we know he is safe he is taken good care of and we don’t have to worry about that."

The kids love being at Celebree too.

"Because I get to see my friends and play with them," said Alex Martin, also known as Cowboy Alex.

This Towson Celebree typically has different adult to student ratios depending on age groups. For two-year-olds it's one adult to six children, with 12 kids in a classroom, for three and four-year-olds is one adult to ten children, with a max of 20 kids. For five or older, it's one adult to 15 children, with 30 students max.

Right now, with the state mandate there is only allowed one adult to 14 kids in one room. Typically, Celebree can fit more students. They want to get back to full capacity.

Out of 26 Celebree locations in Delaware and Maryland, they typically have hundreds of kids. When children of essential workers was only allowed they only had 380 students. Now, they're back up to about 700 but still have the room and capability to bring back more students and teachers.

They are having summer camp this year. For more information about the state mandates, click here or for more information about Celebree, click here.