Daycare difficulties: Operators deal with staffing challenges during pandemic

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s one of the most important decisions a parent can make: Finding the right daycare for their child.

But right now, it’s the daycare operations with an important challenge: Finding staff and enticing candidates.

Las Vegas daycares say it’s as bad as it’s ever been. Staff are hard to find, hard to hire and hard to keep.

Daycares are trying to increase pay to entice people to apply.

The only problem … many applicants never show up.

It’s a national problem, especially when — by law — child care facilities have to have enough workers for the families they serve.

In Ohio, Dayton’s Victorum Learning Center takes pride in providing consistency.

Director Loren Nelson says they’ve maintained weekly and daily cleaning routines.

“Sanitizing every touch surface, every high touch area, to go alongside our day-to-day daily cleaning regimen,” Nelson said.

Students follow a hand-washing schedule.

“It’s almost like a stop drop and roll but we’re stop, dropping and washing our hands,” Nelson said. “We’re scrubbing them up and ABC’ing it.”

But the center is not immune to staffing challenges.

“We have struggled with finding high-quality educators to meet the demand of the childcare need out there,” Nelson said.

Dennis Grant leads United Rehabilitation Services. He says vaccination is the best defense.

“Ninety-five percent of our staff are currently vaccinated and we’re happy about that,” Grant said. “And actually we’re thrilled that over 95% of the adults we serve in our program are also vaccinated.”

They also have a very strict screening policy.

“Screening individuals when they attend — whether adults or children — and also screening adults that transport them to make sure we’re taking temperatures to make sure we keep everyone safe,” Grant said.

United’s daycare is only at 65% of normal enrollment.

“Without any additional staff, we have two classrooms that are closed — one of our preschool classrooms, as well as one of our infant rooms,” Grant said.

The center is working on ways to help head-start students keep their masks on.

“We can’t give them treats and candy and snacks throughout the day, but we can give them lots of stickers,” he said.

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