GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio — Many parents across the country were forced to become home-school teachers, practically overnight, as governors ordered schools and day cares to close to due COVID-19.
However, for some parents with jobs deemed essential, finding child care has been a struggle.
“When our day care closed we literally had 48 hours notice,” Jamie Hayhurst said.
When Governor Mike DeWine ordered schools and day cares to close due to health concerns, Jamie and Mark Hayhurst were at a loss were at a loss about where to send their six children.
“Being in the essential industry of steel I’ve continued working during the entire pandemic,” Jamie Hayhurst said.
Both parents work in essential fields and were relieved when their area YMCA was granted the special pandemic day care operating license.
“We were fortunate enough to have things fall into place and able to stay working,” Mark Hayhurst said.
Kim Curry of the Garrettsville YMCA said considering lengthy commutes for families was a priority in opening the facility.
“There are many essential workers in this town and many of them drive quite far,” Curry said. “So they need to have something that would have the long days that we put in.”
Curry recognizes the importance of providing the service for families so parents can continue to provide financially for their children.
“We’re all local. We all want to do what’s best for our community,” Curry said, “So it does take a village to raise a child, if not all of them that we have.”
Michael Van Meter comes to the YMCA five days a week where teachers are on site to help with online classwork.
“I get dropped off. I get my temperature taken,” Van Meter said. “We come up here and do homework, wash our hands. We do projects like growing plants and watering them.”
While many future plans are still up in the air, Curry said the staff there is planning accordingly for families who typically rely on summer camps for childcare.
“It’s just a matter of what our CDC precautions are going to be. We don’t know what all that’s going to be,” Curry said, “We don’t know what the licensing is going to be, but we’re planning ahead for summer camp.”