Miami Valley day cares unsure how increased class size will impact funding

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – On Monday, child care centers in Ohio will be permitted to return to pre-pandemic class sizes. However, two Miami Valley directors of child care facilities say they’re still in the dark over what funding will look like to help cover rising costs.

“It’s been a tremendous challenge because we have the added cost of sanitation, personal protective equipment,” said Dennis Grant, executive director of United Rehabilitation Services of Dayton. “Here we are just days before the reopening and we have no idea what [a] subsidy will look like. That’s a concern for us. We have no idea the level of risk we are taking by moving forward and trying to keep the children we serve safe.”

Grant says because URS serves many at-risk children, adults and families, they’ve made the executive decision to keep class ratios at the level that they are. They’re currently operating at 40 percent capacity, but need a large number of teachers and staff to maintain the socially distanced class sizes. This has put a strain on the facilities funds but as of today, they have no positive COVID cases among any of their students, staff members or employees.

“We take this very seriously. So even though the governor has said we can increase the number back to pre-pandemic levels, at URS we have decided to continue to evaluate that,” said Grant.

To make up some of the cost, URS is holding their 17th annual fundraiser, the Rubber Duck Regatta in September.

Meanwhile, Wenzler Daycare and Learning Center in Kettering has plans to increase the class ratios under the new guidelines although they also have no guidance on whether they will continue to receive funding for doing so, or how much.

However, Benita Wenzler, day care director, says the new guidelines will help her teachers and staff that are currently spread very thin.

“This is whats going to give us the breathing room because its been very stressful. It used to be that you could combine [classes] but we can’t [now] because of the coronavirus. This will just help the stress go away,” said Wenzler.

However, Wenzler says right now they can’t enroll new students to the day care.

“We are not adding more students because we feel that we worked really hard to stay healthy and to get organized and to even get used to the new system.”

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