Day cares in Wisconsin use extra precautions as children under 5 remain unvaccinated

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) — The ABCs and 123s were once the center of day care learning. Now, it’s all about washing hands, wearing a mask, and avoiding germs. With precautions like wiping down toys and wearing a mask, Grandma’s Arms Learning Center in Onalaska is doing everything it can to slow the spread of COVID among children.

“They’ll try to pull my mask down, and I’ll be like oh, I can’t all the germs. I really can’t do that,” said Desiree Running, director of Grandma’s Arms.

Local day cares are doing everything they can to avoid shutting down because of COVID. Sproutlets Daycare in Holmen believes teaching kids about masks is important.

“It’s our responsibility and our duty to tell the kids, hey you know what? You need to wear a mask,” owner Azmina Brennan said.

Since the start of the pandemic, Sproutlets has been forced to shut down once.

“We got tested positive and you know, I had to shut the daycare for three weeks,” Brennan said.

Shutting down isn’t the only obstacle some day cares have had to face. Grandma’s Arms Early Learning Center is facing a staffing shortage. Four teachers are currently quarantining, leaving other teachers to take on multiple classes.

“We’re trying to accommodate and get like our substitutes in and figure out ratios with the children,” Running said.

Communication is key to keeping the day care running, Running said.

“I keep telling the girls please let me know if you’re sick or if your child at home is sick,” Running said. “Because we do have some pregnant moms and we just don’t want to give it to them.”

An important message the staff are also sharing with kids.

“That way we’re stopping the spread for the little ones as much as possible,” Running said.

Kids under the age five are one of the only groups that are still ineligible for a vaccine. Running believes that, as the kids at the day care who are older than 5 get vaccinated, the spread of COVID will slow down in day cares.

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