Manager Carlos Gil of Little Castle Child Care is taking the coronavirus pandemic very seriously.
"I think that they should close the whole city," Gil said. "It’s super serious, it’s deadly."
Little Castle is one of several day cares and after-school programs in the area that have closed to prevent the spread of the disease to and by children.
Mayor of Augusta Hardie Davis Jr. and Mayor of Grovetown Gary Jones both recently passed orders for certain businesses to close their doors to prevent large gatherings, but childcare programs that are not part of a school system have been exempt from these orders.
As such, some have chosen to stay open, although with certain changes.
Small Wonder Playcare assistant director Tracy Cunningham said they will continue to remain open, but will no longer accept new children. Chastity Williams of Busy Bees Childcare & Preschool and Catie McCauley of the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta said their centers, during this pandemic, are exclusively caring for the children of first responders and essential personnel.
"We are open now for only critical need parents who have to go to work who do not have anyone else that can possibly watch their children while they’re at work," Williams said. "Also, we care for a lot of parents who work in the medical field, so, with that, we’re having to keep those children."
"The crisis program is, essentially, offered in four of our locations. We’re working with agencies, hospitals, and government agencies who are in need of childcare for their workers," McCauley said. "Depending on the need, we have the opportunity to expand that further."
However, for those families who are not first responders and essential personnel that need someone to care for their children during the day, multiple day cares have said they are still open and are still able to accept new families. Those include Childcare Network, Angels in Training, and Jazzy’s Little Treasures Childcare and Learning Center.
Best Friends Child Care Center, Royal Kidz Christian Learning Center, and Child’s World are also open, though new families should call ahead for availability questions.
The CDC encourages families and teachers to follow the standard preventative measures i.e. washing hands thoroughly, avoiding people who are sick, clean and disinfect surfaces, and launder items including washable plush toys.
Though the Boys & Girls Club has closed its six locations in the Augusta area -- three in Augusta, one in Washington, one in Thomson and one in Sandersville -- its Club Marketing and PR director Maria Henry said the clubs will continue to offer other services while the facilities are deep cleaned and sanitized.
"[We are] continuing to serve dinner and then working with schools to have them serve breakfasts and lunches so at least the kids have somewhere to go for a meal, and then we’re also working with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to offer apps for the kids to access education from home," Henry said.
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