As parents return to work, demand for day-care centres to reopen rises
But child care centres are waiting for directions from the State government before re-opening their premises
Childcare is proving to be a hurdle for parents who have been asked to report back to work. With COVID-19 cases falling and more people getting vaccinated, many firms are making it mandatory for employees to return to offices at least thrice a week. However, for nuclear families and working parents with young children, this is proving to be difficult as schools have not resumed physical classes and childcare is hard to come by.
Only a handful of day-care centres have opened. Most continue to remain closed as owners and staff are wary of dealing with the consequences should a child contract COVID-19 on their premises. Running a day-care centre with just a few children as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 is not financially feasible, and we don’t want to take the risk of children contracting the virus, said many day-care centre owners.
For parents, this is proving to be a problem. Sachin S., said his firm is no longer offering work-from-home as an option as all employees in his company have been vaccinated. “My wife too started going to her office premises last month. We are finding it difficult to take care of our three-and-half-a-year-old son. We have been dropping off our son to his grandparents’ house every day, but this is not a feasible option in the long run,” he said.
Another parent, Vasavi M., said that although a dozen parents had petitioned the day-care centre they used before the pandemic to re-open, the owners were awaiting more clarity from the State government.
But there is no clarity on which government department day-care centres fall under – the Department of Primary and Secondary Education or the Department of Women and Child Development. While pre-schools fall under the Department of Primary and Secondary Education, there continues to be ambiguity over who regulates day-care centres.
In fact many schools and preschools that run day-care centres are planning to reopen these facilities by the end of the month. However, managements said they will not reopen primary classes.
Pruthvi Banwasi of Karnataka Council of Pre-Schools said that this ambiguity has created confusion. “Some have reopened after taking consent letters from parents stating that they have no objection to their children attending it,” he said. Others have adopted a wait-and-watch approach.