New state rules mean big changes for local daycare center

Coronavirus

The owner of one Trumbull County center said she's not sure her business will survive this

CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Daycare centers across the state have new rules and guidelines to follow later this week under an order by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

Centers are making drastic changes to their daily operations and to stay open, they’ll need to be approved for a temporary pandemic license.

“I want to be here for the people that need us,” said Susette Zickefoose, who owns Cortland Playroom Preschool. “That’s the biggest point. That’s why we’re here.”

Zickefoose’s daycare is one of more than a dozen in Trumbull County already approved for pandemic childcare.

Her center has already been extra careful by sanitizing toys, surfaces and entire rooms often but starting Thursday, it will be operating under a special license and new guidelines.

Governor DeWine announced the changes Sunday, which also drastically reduce the number of children allowed in each room.

“We can only have six children in a classroom per teacher, which is going to be really hard,” Zickefoose said.

As part of DeWine’s daily afternoon briefing, he specified who the childcare slots would be reserved for.

“We are prioritizing these slots. Again, this is a time of national and state emergency. We must reserve those slots for people who are directly involved in health care or first responders.”

Her center’s enrollment has already dropped to a quarter of what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Zickefoose said, financially, it’ll be a challenge.

“I know the governor and everybody is doing what they need to do, but it is really hard.”

She’s not sure her center will survive it.

“Who knows? But it’s sad. It’s affecting everybody.”

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