Some Fargo daycares report an increase in calls for fall enrollment as school year remains uncertain

Published: Jul. 17, 2020 at 6:08 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - During normal times, one state group says that there are about 30,000 children in Cass County that need child care.

Mix in the Coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty of in-person school resuming in the fall, and child care providers in Fargo tell us parents have been busy calling them for a spot.

Terry Graalum owns Kids Kingdom off of S University Dr. It’s an hour daycare facility.

“We take kids hourly, sometimes spur of the moment, sometimes longer hours, where not everybody’s job or life fits into that 9 to 5,” Graalum said.

Her model gives parents flexibility as there’s no contract tying a child down for a number of months.

“We take their temperature right when they come in the door, and of course, if they’ve been sick or anything not to come,” Graalum said.

As some parents fret over whether classes will be online come August, those who still have to work are relying on child care now more than ever.

Daycares we spoke to in Fargo said they are either full or have parents on a waiting list.

Jeff Sprecher of the Rainbow Center for Children said he’s often fielding several calls daily from parents wanting his service. He’s preparing to offer a kindergarten class if Fargo Public Schools chooses to do remote learning this fall.

“We’re meeting with a teacher from Fargo Public Schools next week to see what we can do,” Sprecher said.

Sprecher added that if it wasn’t for a state grant, he would’ve closed his doors in April.

Putting your child in one of these facilities can be expensive.

According to 2019 data from Child Care Aware, it will cost a Cass County family on average about $7,700 a year for an at-home provider. If the family wants a center, the average cost jumps to about $10,000.

“The children in Fargo-Moorhead and the families in Fargo-Moorhead need to feel that there’s a plan in place and need to feel like they can trust our leaders to make the best decisions,” Chelsey Steinlicht, owner of Bright Futures Learning Center, said.

Steinlicht said she understands some parents may not be able to afford her services and is helping a few families with the cost.

“Our goal at the end of day is to make sure that our families have the support from us. And that we are able to be there consistently for the kids during this somewhat unknown time,” Steinlicht said.

Bright Futures is doing health screenings regularly and parents aren’t allowed inside without a mask.

Furthermore, the daycare provider is working with the North Dakota Department of Health to do weekly COVID-19 screenings for any family for free, according to Steinlicht.

Copyright 2020 KVLY. All rights reserved.

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