“It’s personal to me”: Daycare workers continue to care for essential workers’ children amid pandemic

“It’s personal to me”: Daycare workers continue to care for essential workers’ children amid pandemic
Daycare workers in the New Orleans area are working to ensure other essential personnel can continue with their jobs. (Source: wfie)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -As adults worry about the uncertain future surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, Melika Honore tries to erase all those fears for the children.

“So I have to continuously remind my staff and myself we’re their other mothers, we’re their family members, we’re telling a lot of stories about what germs are now of course what viruses,” said Honore.

Honore directs the Children’s Place Love Center and Learning Academy. It’s one of the few daycares across the metro area still open. The governor’s mandate allows for child care centers to stay open to help care for the children of essential workers, a responsibility Honore takes seriously.

“We have police officers, nurses, doctors, restaurant workers they still have to work and we have some childcare facilities open to children now because I didn’t want the children at the facilities where they were working,” said Honore.

With new sanitary measures, parents picking up and dropping off their children aren't allowed inside the classrooms, and children immediately wash their hands when they're inside.

“Every child that walks in the building we take a temperature scan we document the temperature,” said Honore.

Honore says they’ve been working with state and local agencies as one of the centers to help place and care for children during workers’ shifts. Some parents telling us they were thankful to get placement during such an uncertain time.

Kristina Ricci who works in a primary care physician's office has been bringing her daughter here since before the pandemic.

“It’s a huge help, a huge help especially with the schools out for a whole month,” said Ricci.

As an essential worker, she says she continues to report to work day after day, now with increased vigilance, but fewer concerns about who would look after her daughter.

“For us, things haven’t really changed much except we’re trying to do more TeleMed visits trying to keep people at home as opposed to trying to come in,” said Ricci.

For Honore, it’s personal, to give families and their children a safe place to go during such an uncertain time.

“The daycare first opened after Katrina, we’re hearing the same things then has now, they’re so grateful, they’re so thankful.”

Honore said they are still accepting children, parents just need to call for help with placement.

For workers seeking childcare assistance from the Louisiana department of education during the Stay Home mandate, click here.

Copyright 2020 WVUE. All rights reserved.