After 70% of Louisiana’s child care centers closed by the end of April due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many now are reopening as the businesses face higher costs due to necessary safety measures and reduced class sizes.
Considered “the business sector that supports all sectors,” child care centers and the families they serve will face new challenges from the pandemic, The Daily Advertiser reports, which experts say will have far-reaching effects.
“If we do not have safe places for children to go and grow, not only will people not be able to go back to work but we also will see learning gaps that are significant,” says Jessica Baghian, assistant state superintendent of education.
Libbie Sonnier, executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, says costs could go from $12,000 a year to $16,000 a year, according to averages included in a cost modeling report by the institute.
“Without a robust early child care and education sector Louisiana will struggle to get back to work,” Sonnier says.
In response, the policy institute is recommending that Louisiana use $46 million from one-time, COVID-19-related federal funding to support the reopening of child care providers and to help them operate within smaller group size requirements “while keeping tuition within reach for working families.” Read the full story.