KERSHNER: Plan for child care capacity helping area get back to work

COVID-19 continues to cause widespread disruption on operations and revenue for businesses throughout the Dayton area. Governor DeWine’s recent announcement to restore pre-COVID child care classroom sizes was an essential step in restoring our economy.

There have been significant changes to the workplace environment, both for businesses that remained opened at the start of the pandemic as well as for those businesses that have reopened in recent weeks. The decision to restore child care classroom sizes comes just in time, as many working parents look to safe, quality options for their children, with the approaching school year bringing unique challenges to the workforce. Many school districts are planning the academic year with a range of in-person, hybrid and virtual settings, which brings an increased demand for working parents whose children will complete learning on a mixed or virtual schedule.

When child care centers were ordered closed on March 25, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine created Temporary Pandemic Child Care Centers for essential workers, and about 1,200 programs operated throughout Ohio during the time centers were closed. On June 1, child care centers were permitted to open, but they reduced class sizes leaving creating an impact on Dayton area businesses and the children in need of care while their families work.

Now, as the economy adjusts to the new reality and employees in the Dayton-area have returned to their jobs, it is clear that access to affordable, quality child care continues to remain essential to helping employers find and keep employees. In addition to offering peace-of-mind by enabling working parents to enter, re-enter, or stay in the workforce, licensed child care provides early learning, social-emotional development and a safe environment for Ohio’s youngest citizens.

Prior to resuming normal child care classroom sizes, the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce was concerned about any loss of capacity that would put extra pressure on parents who must have child care to stay in the workforce. Access to safe, quality care allows parents to be more reliable, focused employees.

Child care providers play a significant role in our communities and are an essential service provider that allows other businesses to flourish. Child care providers are the workforce behind Ohio’s workforce, and it is critical that parents have all available child care options that they need to get back to work.

Chris Kershner, CAE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

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