Kama‘aina Kids, a major child care provider, is keeping its preschools open to serve those in need, such as health workers and first responders, while public preschools and private providers such as Seagull Schools have suspended operations.
“We think that it’s important that there’s care provided for the children of essential workers — the doctors, the ambulance drivers, the firemen, the police,” Kama‘aina Kids President Ray Sanborn told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “We are asking, if you can stay home with your child, please do that. If you are essential and you have to have a place for your child, we are available for you.”
Kama‘aina Kids has 22 locations serving about 2,000 children. Sanborn said many parents are keeping their children home, which will make it easier to follow guidance limiting gatherings of more than 10 people on its campuses.
“Our enrollment is down — parents are staying home with their children,” Sanborn said. “Preschool is really small groups, it’s not more than 10 kids, so we can work with them.”
He said school staff are taking extra precautions to ensure cleanliness at facilities and that children stay well.
“We’re trying to be as responsible as possible,” Sanborn said. “We are looking at the child. If they have any signs of illness, we are taking their temperature and asking parents to pick them up immediately. We did a lot of cleaning, and we are cleaning on a regular basis.”
All public preschool classrooms that operate on public school campuses have shut down for two weeks’ spring break, through March 29, following the same schedule as the state Department of Education. The YMCA of Honolulu also announced Tuesday that it would close its facilities and suspend all programs as of 6:30 p.m. today through March 29.
A major preschool provider, Seagull Schools, suspended operations from Tuesday through March 29 at its five early learning centers.
“While this decision was not easy, Seagull leadership feels that this decision is most prudent given the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Hawaii Department of Health, and the White House, which urges people not to gather in groups of more than 10 people,” Megan McCorriston, chief executive officer, wrote in a letter to families. She said they hope to resume operations March 30.
KCAA Preschools of Hawaii are on spring break and scheduled to reopen Monday but might extend that closure.