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Many Parents Uneasy About Child Care During COVID-19


According to the Virginia Department of Education more than 40% of preschools and daycares in Virginia are still open. And yet a tiny percentage of parents have opted to use them.

That’s the finding of a recent survey by Voices for Virginia’s Children.

The advocacy group polled more than 800 parents across the state.  It found that in early May 90% still had their children at home and 70% planned on keeping them there in the coming months.

Emily Griffey, policy director with Voices for Virginia’s Children, says the top concern for parents was safety.  “The overall takeaway is that we need to help parents ensure that child care can be a safe place for their kids and that they’re doing what they can to follow the CDC guidance to keep their facilities safe.” 

Griffey recommends child care providers and summer camps be forthcoming about HOW they’re protecting children and staff.  “Here’s what we do for cleaning. Here’s how we’re keeping kids safe by only allowing drop off outside the door. Here’s what we’re doing to wear masks and it’s a fun environment because they’re cute superhero masks.” 

Parents surveyed said they’d like more guidance from government officials... and more flexibility and paid time off from employers. 

If you’re a parent looking for child care, state officials have made resources available. Click here for more information. 

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Mallory Noe-Payne is Radio IQ's Richmond reporter and bureau chief. She's covered policy and politics from the state capital since 2016. She was a 2020-2021 recipient of the Fulbright Young Journalist Award. She spent a year in Munich, Germany researching memory, justice, and how a society can collectively confront its sins. Her Virginia-based coverage of home healthcare workers, voting rights, and Richmond’s Slave Trail have won national news awards.