PC Tots Manages COVID-19 Cases In Teachers
The Summit County based non-profit daycare PC Tots was closed for a couple of weeks this month due to COVID cases occurring in each of their facilities.
Julie DeLong is the interim executive director of PC Tot’s. The early childhood care center provides affordable, sliding scale daycare for nearly 70 children. They have 19 teachers in two facilities. They shut down entirely in March in response to the COVID-19 orders and with protocols in place, were able to re-open in May.
Earlier in October, one of the PC Tots teachers tested positive which triggered closing the facility and initiating contact tracing.
“We worked with the State Department of Health and they issued testing for the teachers. And all of them had to get tested and quarantined for two weeks. And then, as well, our families and kids had to be contact traced and that was through the Summit County Health Department.”
DeLong says the tracing was efficient and showed no children with symptoms. However, a week later, another teacher tested positive in their second daycare facility.
“Initially, maybe we thought we could leave one center open and only close that center. We ended up having to close both. Neither of them had a very severe case. They had what they deemed as, felt like a cold and a couple of days where they felt crummy and then were OK. They quarantined and did everything right and they're back at work with everyone else.”
De Long says families were very understanding about the closures. Most of the children are back although some families are pursuing other child-care arrangements because they can’t miss work and can’t risk another shut down. DeLong says it’s very difficult, but parents managed in a variety of ways.
“One family called grandparents in another state and who had some vacation time and took time off work to come to Utah and take care of the children, so that these young parents could continue going to work. Some had to miss work. Anecdotally, I asked specifically some of the parents what they did? And some just simply had to take time off. A couple of them juggled childcare between mom’s and dad’s and other family members, aunts and uncles, just trying to help figure it out. I had had one dad say you know we've seen CEOs of companies with five- year-olds playing behind them because there's just nobody else to help them take care of their kids."
They’ve made additional changes with more frequent temperature checks. Teachers are social distancing from each other and closely following the CDC guidelines. Teachers wear face coverings all day but children from infants to 3-years-olds are not required by the county ordinance.
As interim director, Julie DeLong will be there for another couple of months assisting in the search for a new permanent director.