Over the weekend, Gov. Chris Sununu ordered all public schools in New Hampshire to close for three weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This order did not, however, include the state’s child care and day care facilities, many of which are still open.
Donnalee Lozeau is the executive director of Southern New Hampshire Services. That organization oversees many of the state’s child care facilities, including the Head Start preschool and day care programs.
"What we're trying to do is stay open as long as we possibly can to help people stay in the work force," Lozeau said.
The state has mentioned the possibility of relaxing child care licensing guidelines for the time being to allow organizations like Head Start to take in children displaced by school closings.
Lozeau said their centers are able to remain open, in spite of the virus, because there are things they can do that public schools can't.
“For instance, it’s easier for us to make sure a sick child doesn’t come to school than it is for a public school," she said. "We serve children 0 to five [years old]. They don’t eat unless their hands have been washed. You’re not going to see elementary school teachers, high school teachers, following kids to lunch making sure they wash their hands.”
However, other child care providers in the state, such as the Boys and Girls Club of New Hampshire, have decided to close operations until schools reopen in April.