SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — With a special temporary license from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and the smooth sounds of a soprano saxophone, a South Euclid daycare continues to stay open so the parents of the center's children can keep working.
Located on South Green Road, the Learn, Play and Grow Childcare Center blends into the neighboring strip mall. Sprawling into the nearby parcels, the daycare center can accommodate more than 100 children ranging from infants to school-aged children. However, after obtaining the state's special temporary pandemic license in late March amid the spread of coronavirus, the bustling center now houses about 30 children, said owners and operators Althea and Andrea Cavor.
"All of [the children] come from essential workers," Althea Cavor said. "We have a parent in particular that is a nurse. That's one of the reasons why we went ahead and applied for the pandemic license for childcare, to be able to service people like her that don't have family but her and her husband."
According to state data, more than 170 childcare centers have obtained a pandemic license to continue to operate.
As part of the license's requirements, the childcare center had to amplify its sanitation protocols and equipment. The center also implements social distancing procedures, the Cavors said. Sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the center and parents are now required to drop their children off at the front door. To limit the spread of coronavirus, parents are not allowed inside the center.
"My friends ask me, 'Andre, man, are you really still open? Are you serious? Your daycare is open?" Andre Cavor said. "I say, 'we have to be accountable for our clients.' If we're not doing it, where are they going to go? These parents have jobs still, regardless of what the situation is. We still still have a responsibility and we have to be accountable for that."
The Cavors said daycare staff has implemented the coronavirus into their lesson plans as a way to teach the children about germs, how they spread and how important it is to regularly wash your hands. When the anxiety begins to set in, Andre Cavor, a national recording artist, will play a quick tune on his saxophone.
The children enjoy it as much as he does.
"It keeps me sound. It keeps me together. Music soothes me," Andre Cavor said. "When I'm blessing others or they're enjoying it, I'm blessing myself as well to help me deal with what's going on."
Because some of their clients work in healthcare, the Cavors said they have come to terms with the possibility that they too might contract the novel coronavirus, despite all of the increased sanitation procedures the center has implemented. However, to ensure that their clients can continue working, supporting their families and, possibly, saving lives, the Cavors said it is a risk they must take.
By doing what they do, the Cavors said their clients can continue doing what they do.
"You always hear praises for people on the front lines -- firefighters, policemen, nurses, doctors -- but you very rarely hear someone say kudos to the daycare providers. We're on the front line also. We're fighting this fight with you," Althea Cavor said. "You kind of look at it like, 'hey, I signed up for it. That's how it is for us.' Worst case scenario, we catch the virus. Worst case scenario, we might go into the ICU. Maybe one of us will die or both of us will die. But the truth of the matter is we fought that fight."