NEW YORK - For the first time since early spring, Avrohom Raskin is taking his three small children to day care. The experience, he knows, is going to be much different for them.
On Monday, the city's Department of Health allowed about 3,000 child care providers, like Kiddie Korner in Downtown Brooklyn, to reopen, more than three months after the pandemic forced them to close.
The centers have enacted safety precautions like temperature checks, and activities that allow for social distancing.
“We’re nervous, as parents but we make sure they wash their hands and everyone around them," Raskin said. "And we trust this school that they’re taking the safety precautions, we have to continue living our lives.”
According to the health department, no more than 15 children will be allowed in a room at a time. Instructors, teachers and caretakers are required to wear masks, but children are not.
There will also be daily health screenings, cleanings and limited sharing of toys and supplies.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot told NY1 that given the younger ages of children in daycare, reopening will be trickier than that of schools in the fall.
“There are a lot of moving parts, and this young age group is a little bit more challenging than school children, if you will, but there are many similarities," she said.
The centers are especially important for parents who are starting to go back to work or have been struggling to work from home.
“We didn’t have any daycare," said parent Jeremy Feinstein. "And we just had to split the day and neither of us could work full time even though we both have full time jobs.”
Sheli Man-Steinberg, the educational director of Kiddie Korner, said ten kids are expected this week; typically they would have closer to 40. She's just glad to slowly bring the community back together.
“It just feels very nice, you see it was like exciting for them and their excitement gives us a reason to continue doing this," said Man-Steinberg. "it’s a very hard time”
City regulations say if a child or a staff member does get diagnosed with coronavirus, the childcare centers are required to report it to the department of health. Parents will also be contacted.
New Yorkers should check their individual centers for reopening schedules and protocols.