Chatham Preschool on Redwood Road in Oakland was quiet on Monday after administrators made the difficult decision to temporarily close. Two children have tested positive for the omicron variant and other little ones have been exposed by siblings attending schools elsewhere.
“We felt it was our due diligence to make sure, with so many cases occurring during a Saturday and Sunday period that we were made aware of, that we had to shut down,” said Mike Vasquez of Chatham Nursery School.
The decision is particularly difficult for parents who work full time.
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Like most daycares, Chatham had closed for two months when the pandemic first hit.
The preschool says the health system is so overwhelmed that it is still waiting for their advice. The other pressing issue is the cost of testing. Unlike public and private schools, Chatham receives no outside funding.
They could never afford to pay for weekly test kits for their 120 children.
“That’s 120 tests every Sunday that we need. We can’t fund that in any way,” Vasquez added.
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“Our youngest children cannot get the vaccine,” said Gina Fromer, CEO of the Children’s Council of San Francisco, which updated its website to include resources available to help daycares weather this new storm.
“What we want early childhood educators to know is that there are resources, grants, loans and rent relief programs they can apply for. They should visit the Children’s Council dot org or call us at 415-343-4669, “Fromer said.
Meanwhile, centers and preschools that have had to close hope it will be short-lived for the benefit of the children.
“They’re going to bounce back, but it’s always hard to go back and forth, back and forth, to get into the routine they’re so used to,” Vasquez said.
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