COVID-19 cases in Texas daycare reach record highs

From August 19, 2020 to August 12, 2021, child care centers reported more than 200 cases daily three times. It has happened eight times in the last three weeks.

DALLAS: Texas child care facilities face a record number of daily COVID-19 cases for several weeks.

And, unlike the last case period in the winter, local child care directors say this time there are many more children who test positive compared to employees.

Child care centers, along with before- and after-school programs, must report COVID-19 cases to the Texas State Department of Health Services. These cases are reported daily here.

Jamie Pryor is one of those people. She is the area principal for Primrose Schools, a system of private preschools in the North Texas area.

Its program has three schools in Dallas, one in Plano and one in Frisco.

Each school has approximately 150-220 each and 30-45 staff members, depending on size.

Pryor said last month that COVID-19 cases have increased and that the focus of its facilities has changed a lot.

“It’s more of a health job now, watching how the kids feel,” Pryor said. “We’re really keeping a close eye on every disease. Every cough, every nose, every fever.”

Pryor said they have adhered to most of their safety measures which include the mask requirement for students and staff, social distancing and temperature controls before parents enter the facility.

Even with these safety measures, Pryor said his team is constantly working to provide their children with the maximum interactive experience possible.

“We want to provide children with an environment where there is a sense of normalcy,” Pryor said. “Trying to give them everything we’ve always done, but so that everyone is safe.”

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Marcial Oquendo is a pediatrician at Oak Cliff Pediatrics. Pryor’s desire to give children a social environment was echoed, especially for the little ones.

“The risk of getting COVID, especially for children, versus the risk of not sending them to school … there is no doubt that sending them to school is much more important for their mental health. for their learning and their ability to understand the world, ”Oquendo said.

As a father of two, Oquendo said, although there will still be a risk that children may take COVID-19 if they go to school, this is similar to the risks that parents must take every day with their children. .

“There are things that won’t be locked in at home again, doing remote learning,” Oquendo said. “I don’t think there is a single parent who has sent their child to school without wondering if he will be okay for that day. Even before COVID was a thing. We need to understand that mental health is a important component of the consequences of what the pandemic is doing for our children. “

The number of daily cases of COVID-19 for both children and employees in daycare centers and school programs in Texas, according to state data.

From August 19, 2020 to August 12, 2021, child care centers along with preschool and extracurricular programs reported more than 200 cases a total of three times a day, according to data from Texas Health and Human Services.

From August 13 to September 1 this year, this has already happened eight times.

Early Care and Education is an organization that has five care centers and early education in North Texas in three different counties.

Director and owner Tym Smith said that while he has also recently seen an increase in cases among his children, he noticed something specific that caused this increase.

“The big difference in how things have really collapsed is when you started going back to school,” Smith said.

Since public schools are regulated by the Texas Education Agency and daycare centers are regulated by Health and Human Services, Smith said this has caused a lot of confusion and inconsistencies.

“It’s become a disaster, honestly,” Smith said.

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Smith said the response needed to a positive case for a public school is much looser than what a daycare should do. And the protocol for children who were exposed to someone else who tested positive for COVID is also different, according to Smith.

“If we have a positive case, we’re basically going to shut down for 10 days,” Smith said. “It’s a complete opposite protocol.”

Smith said he has recently been making many phone calls with school districts and medical centers in North Texas and the state, trying to find out if there can be more consistency between the different types of educational facilities.

“We will continue to have these kinds of problems if it is not resolved,” Smith said.

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