RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC)— Daycare providers is another industry hit hard by the pandemic and some local providers are voicing their opinions about how their centers can reopen safely.
Senator Mark Warner and Virginia’s First Lady Pamela Northam visited the Children’s Museum in Richmond Friday. They discussed some of the challenges that early childhood educators faced during the pandemic, how they can reopen safely for the upcoming school year and how they can use the federal funds.
Warner said the federal government earmarked $40 billion for childcare providers across the nation.
“Some of those dollars have not actually gotten into the community yet. There will be dollars to get these centers reopened,” he said.
Warner also said the funds will go toward personal protection equipment and other necessities to keep the centers open.
“Many of these childcare centers will be able to come back. They’re gonna play a critically important role this summer,” said Warner.
The money could help daycare providers like Jermeisha Justiniano, a former childcare provider in Chesterfield. She took care of children for a decade.“I’ve been doing childcare for over half of my life,” said Justiniano.
At 14, she began babysitting children. After obtaining her license, she transformed her home into a daycare center and created a close bond between her family of five and her students.
“Sometimes parents would send me messages saying ‘My child did this and they said they learned it from Mrs. Meisha!”
Last year, Justiniano had to close her business because of the COVID-19 restrictions on capacity and spacing, food and cleaning supply shortages and a dwindling numbers of kids.
“It was a tug on my heart and I kind of felt like I was letting them down,” she said.
She is transitioning back into the workforce and has found a new career path that suits her family’s needs.