By Nathan Ham
As more and more workers deemed as “essential employees” continue to be on the front lines of dealing with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, many are faced with the question of what to do with their children when they have to work.
Greenway Baptist Church’s Child Development Center is trying to fill the void left by schools by offering child care for these families.
“As of April 1, we became what is known as an Emergency Child Care Provider. Our license is for up to age 12 and we would take the extra children in starting in April and after that, it would depend on how long the COVID-19 crisis extends. Right now they would be coming in to take the place of our children that have chosen to stay home until after the pandemic,” said Phyllis Taylor, Director of the Child Development Center.
Workers can apply for a spot for their children and if they meet the eligible financial criteria set by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the child care fees will be covered by the state.
Some of the eligible essential business categories include emergency workers, first responders, public safety officers, hospital staff, healthcare providers, nursing and adult group home staff, child care program staff and food service staff.
“We wanted everyone to know that this is available for them as a community outreach if they do not have anywhere else to go,” said Taylor.
The Greenway Baptist Church Child Development Center has been in operation since 1981. All of the lead classroom staff have at least an associate’s degree according to Taylor and several have bachelor’s degrees. Children are provided with two hot meals and a snack each day and a large playground area to play in when the weather is nice.
The staff has been working diligently to follow all cleaning protocols to provide the safest possible atmosphere for children.
“We are cleaning constantly using state-approved wipes as a disinfectant. We are using a 1,000 parts-per-million bleach solution to wash everything that is high-touch areas approximately every 30 minutes. We have been trained to watch for any signs of illness and we’re taking temperatures at least three times a day,” Taylor said.
The normal hours for the childcare center are from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day, but Taylor says that if you are a second or third-shift worker and need child care, they will try to find a way for someone to provide childcare if at all possible.
“We feel that for the healthcare workers and people on the front line that have necessary jobs, we want to be there for them in any way, shape, or form we can find. I feel like that is a good way for us, as Christians, to reach out for the community to help with their needs,” Taylor said.
Childcare forms can be found on the NCDHHS website or can be picked up at the Greenway Baptist Church Child Development Center.
Phyllis Taylor, Director at Greenway Baptist Child Development Center can be reached at 828-264-3877.