TOLEDO, Ohio — Daycares have continued to be an essential service for so many going back to the start of the pandemic. But not all are back to full capacity.
Kynard Child Development Center in west Toledo continues to operate at limited capacity.
Childcare has been a pivotal service for so many, especially front line workers, during the most difficult times of the pandemic.
"The last year has been challenging," daycare owner Stephanie Kynard said. "But these last couple of months going into 2021, things have been looking better."
Kynard has operated her daycare for 17 years. She says state guidelines allowed for full capacity to return back in August but she has chosen not to return to full enrollment, even with half her staff vaccinated.
"It's a personal choice that I'm making, basically to be sure that the children are in a safe environment, a clean environment and we still want to be able to socially distance the children," Kynard said.
Some essential worker parents like Tiandra Horn, an STNA medical worker, said she is so thankful the daycare remained open throughout the pandemic.
"Some people lost their jobs because they didn't have daycare," Horn said.
Horn is also happy the daycare is keeping enrollment limited at around 24 kids down from full, which is nearly 40 kids, and believes it's why they've only had one positive COVID case.
"She just took precautions," Horn said. "You couldn't bring anything in, she took temperatures, she did everything she was supposed to do and it really helped because I still had to work."
Kynard says the pandemic seems to have shown people how critical childcare work is.
"They've always appreciated us," she said, "but I think they need us now more than ever, so they really appreciate us."
Kynard doesn't plan to go back to full capacity anytime soon but says she looks forward to that day.