Child-care centers ride out the pandemic

Local daycare owner Lakesha Thompson. Photo courtesy Thompson

Finding a safe daycare is essential for parents.

A local child care facility, Bright Stars Learning Center, has successfully conquered the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“My husband always told me it was a dream of his for us to own a childcare center. That vision led me to take the courses and open up the facility on June 4, 2018. Since then, I have grown a bigger passion for children and what we do in the community,” said owner Lakeisha Thompson.

The deadly virus caught the nation off guard in February when the disease made its entrance in the United States. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, corporations were forced to close temporarily to slow the spread of the virus. The government declared that only essential workers were authorized to continue going to their jobs.

Bright Stars Learning Center was one of the lucky few that did not have to shut down.

“Working through the pandemic was very challenging in the beginning because we did not know exactly what we were up against. We were constantly in fear of contracting the virus or losing the business. It was rewarding when we qualified for the PPP loan, which provided additional funds for the employees payroll,”  Thompson said.

Several new methods were put into effect immediately to reduce any chances of the staff and children catching the virus. All staff members are required to be in uniform and masks must be worn at all times. It is mandatory for children who are age 2 or older to have on a mask as well. Anyone who enters the building is obligated to have their temperature checked.

“I have been in the childcare industry for over 25 years and have never experienced anything like this. It was overwhelming not knowing from who or when I may contract the virus. I made it my priority to teach the kids how to protect themselves from getting the disease,” said Bright Stars Learning Center employee Tamiko Glenn.

Other local daycare centers have been able to recover from the pandemic and adopt the new safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“I am very happy that we have begun transitioning back to normal full-time hours. The pandemic caught us all off guard. We are excited about welcoming new students and keeping everyone as safe as possible,” said Heaven Sent employee Kiara Mills.

Both facilities are now accepting new student applicants at this time and have returned to full-time hours this October. All kids and their parents or guardian must complete a form at the center’s location, and provide proof of a negative test, to qualify.