Parents searching for childcare options as Ohio schools plan to close due to the coronavirus

Posted at 10:29 PM, Mar 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-12 23:23:19-04

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio — Parents are starting to scramble trying to come up with childcare plans during an unexpected spring break extension.

Governor Mike DeWine ordered all K-12 schools to close for three weeks starting Monday.

Since the spread of COVID-19, Areial Morrison and her husband have strategized how to protect their two-year-old daughter.

“There’s so many factors and there’s so many unknowns of what you have to do but you’re gonna have to do what’s best for your family,” Morrison said.

But they never imagined the possibility of her daycare closing.

“I’m in that mode now of planning like well what can I do? Where can I send her?,” Morrison said.

Daycares were not included in the governor’s orders, but Smarty Pants Learning Center announced it would close on Friday as a precaution.

“Nobody wants to hear that,” Director Marleese Chapman said. “We know all our parents work. They go to school, some of them don’t have family members to help.“

Chapman says they’re working to figure out a plan to help parents by staying open. She assured the center would not be closed for long.

“We plan on this weekend getting together, contacting all our parents with a definite plan,” she said.

Morrison says though she’s concerned as a parents, she’s also concerned for her students.

“I can think of five students right now that I’m concerned with like they don’t have a great environment to go home to,” Morrison said. “Some of our students are parents at home themselves you know or the second parent so that’s an added stress onto them.”

Since DeWine’s announcement, school districts have announced plans to accommodate the extended break. Cleveland Metropolitan School District officials are asking students to take home all personal belongings before leaving school Friday. They say teachers will also be sending students home with materials to work on during the break. We’re told parent teacher-conferences will go on as planned on March 16 but will be held during regular school hours.

In Akron, students in grades 2-12 are being asked to take home portable Chromebook devices for classwork. Kindergarten and first-grade students be given classwork to be done while they are off. A statement on the district’s website mentions, teachers will work on final details for student’s work and food assistance during the first week of break.