By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
The owner of a Yukon childcare center says her facility will remain open and fully staffed as her employees follow enhanced safety protocols in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“We’re on it,” said Kimmi Stanley, owner of Childhood Learning Academy at 445 E Main.
The Oklahoma Childcare Association and state Department of Human Services want centers to stay open “as long as we possibly can so we can provide care for children of our parents that have to work – especially hospital employees and emergency personnel,” she added.
Gov. Kevin Stitt has declared a state of emergency in Oklahoma due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Canadian County and the City of Yukon this week issued disaster proclamations.
Many retailers and restaurants have closed or reduced their hours until further notice to limit the risk of the virus spreading.
“Our parents have been great and want us to stay open – because most of them are still working,” Stanley said. “They’re thankful that we’re still open.”
Stanley, who has owned Childhood Learning Academy for seven years, wants her parents to know that “we’ll always going to be available to them – unless we’re forced to shut down.”
“When school has closed, we have always been open,” she said.
Oklahoma schools are closed at least through April 6, leaving many parents having to figure out who will look after their young children during the day.
The center has 15 regular employees.
“We’ll have to have additional staff,” Stanley said. “We already had that planned this week for spring break. We’re prepared for that and will continue to be prepared.
“We’ll have to see what happens over the next couple weeks; I’m sure our enrollment will increase. Just like everyone else, we’re going to ‘wait and see’.”
‘RAMPING UP’ SAFETY
Childhood Learning Academy follows established sanitizing protocols from the Oklahoma State Health Department.
“We’re continuing to do that, just ramping it up more,” Stanley said. “We’ve always had hand sanitizers by the front door and encourage anyone who walks in or out to use them.
“We’re also limiting people who come into the center.”
Childhood Learning Academy employees are ensuring that everything is sanitized properly, and the children under their care are thoroughly washing their hands. The staff also is taking temperatures to see if any child is running a fever.
“We’re reiterating all of those things that we’re already doing, but ‘amp-ing it up’ some more,” Stanley said.
“We are taking our precautions – above and beyond. Our number one priority is the safety of our students and employees.”
Childhood Learning Academy has capacity for 146 children from age 2 years through sixth grade. The center has a separate space upstairs for school-age children.
Stanley is the owner and Lisa Garrett is the longtime director.
“We’re all in this together,” Stanley said. “We don’t know what the future holds. We just want to reiterate that we are there for our parents. They’re thankful that we’re there. And that means a lot to us.
“They trust us with their children, and that says a lot about our center.”