One Cleveland daycare chooses not to increase class sizes despite Gov. DeWine giving the green light

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Cleveland (WJW) – Health, safety, sanitation and germ control … the building blocks of childcare, even before the pandemic.

In operation for more than 30 years on Cleveland’s west side, the owner of Happy Works Daycare, Inc. says they will not return to pre-pandemic class sizes, despite Gov. DeWine’s announcement that they can return to “normal.”

“Some are okay with everything that’s going on. Some are scared, as soon as their kid has a little sniffle they take them out,” owner Dana Kuznik says. “For my teachers, myself and even my family, we’re gonna keep at the lower ratio size and not go to full capacity.”

Kuznik says currently, class sizes are 9 students to 1 teacher and 6 to 1 for pre-schoolers.

She says a majority of the day is already spent on sanitizing, hand washing and temperature checks.

More kids, she says, would mean even less time for learning.

“Going to the bathroom alone, it takes about 15, 20 minutes,” she says.

Near the start of the pandemic, daycare centers were forced to close and then allowed to reopen months later, with limited teacher to child ratios.

Now, DeWine says operators will be given the option to return to their normal class sizes or opt to keep their limited ratios and receive a state subsidy instead.

“If we pull together as Ohioans, over the next 2, 3 4 weeks, we can remove some of this ambiguity some of this uncertainty and creative a pathway … the pathway is to go down in cases and we need to see that all over the state of Ohio,” DeWine said.

Kuznik is confident that her center will continue to comply with stringent health and safety requirements; even as the state adjusts its policies.

“It’s hard to wanna take on new families when my families right now are in a hard place where they’re not sure what’s to come next,” she said.

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