Children are not safe visiting their families or attending play dates, yet they are allowed to gather in groups for child care.
In a rush to assure essential service providers can continue working, risks to children are being dismissed. Essential employees certainly deserve child care, but they should never be asked to sacrifice their own child’s safety. Without personal protective equipment, caregivers are being exposed to a frightening virus by children who may or may not display symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control guidelines are confusing, impractical and ignore the basic operations of child care programs. They also give parents and child care providers the belief that adequate safety standards are in place. But if adequate safety measures actually exist for children and teachers, there would have been no reason to close K-12 schools.
Wisconsin is safer at home, and our young children are safest there, too. Our youngest citizens and their caregivers deserve protection.
Rhode Island has set an excellent example by closing all child care centers and partnering with Care.com to provide essential workers with child care. But Wisconsin can’t utilize existing funding streams to follow their lead. Legislators should act immediately to adapt existing funding sources to meet the current need.
Without action, we may only see the damage when this crisis passes, and our children have been harmed.
Abbi Kruse, Madison, executive director, The Playing Field child care center