Wisconsin News

Child care centers full when schools close

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - Local day cares are typically pretty full on school cancellation days. They're prepared for the cold by preparing staff for an extra few bodies. Day care providers monitor the weather closely so no matter when the snow and cold cancels, school they are ready.

When school closes working parents need to take their kids somewhere.

"One of the things that we're trying to do is on the one hand provide our parents with enough warning so that they can make the necessary adjustments to their schedule," La Crosse School Superintendent Randy Nelson said.

Some parents take their kids to a sitter, some can call in to work for a personal day and some parents call a day care center.

"As the owner of a day care center I'm probably watching the weather long before the parents are," Sprout Childcare owner Sherry Picha said.

And day care providers are ready.

"That means that on Sunday night, we're planning on finding a teacher to cover the school-aged classroom," Red Balloon Child Care program director Sara Shread said.


Having that extra staff member on hand isn't the only way providers prepare.

"So we make sure we have extra food for those days that that would come up," Shread said.

Even if you don't have a day care provider, places like Sprout and Red Balloon have some options.

"So there are drop-ins that someone can call and just by chance if you have room then they can get in. Or we do take school-aged no school day contracts," Picha said.

A no school day contract means a parent can bring a child to that provider on a day school is canceled and parents will only pay for those days their child attends.

"So we actually sign a contract at the beginning of the school year with that parent that provides care for their child when it's no-school days," Picha said.

So if parents choose this option, they won't be left in the cold when Mother Nature forces school districts to close.

"At the end of the day, what you're really doing is making sure that what you're providing is safety for children," Nelson said.

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