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Local Daycares Struggling to Survive During COVID-19 Shutdown

With the shelter in place order nearing the end of its second full month and only the possibility of it being lifted at the beginning of June, many small businesses are struggling, including local daycares.

“I think the first couple of weeks we were just kind of in wait and see mode,” said Dev Singh, Co-Founder of Amazing Stars Montessori in Santa Clara.

Singh and his wife Anoma opened the center on Stevens Creek Boulevard just over a year ago, but now there’s no revenue coming in. Singh says they’re paying their employees what they can and try to support parents through Zoom meetings and worksheets.

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“We’re not [charging until] we come back…We’re able to support ourselves right now, of course, we’re not paying our rent or our lease,” said Singh. “We just kind of want to do the right thing, even though it puts a little bit more pressure on us.”

Michelle Hsiung, the owner of Children’s World Bilingual Montessori on Kiely Boulevard is in a similar situation, though she’s found a way to help pay her employees.

“We have been doing these online Zoom meetings,” said Hsiung. “We offer like a 30-minute morning and a 30-minute afternoon [session] for the kids. And then that’s how we stay in the business because we’re able to collect tuition.”

Hsiung uses the tuition to pay her employees and as much of the rent as she can manage.

“That’s how we’re able to stay in the business. But of course, it’s not for the long term,” said Hsiung.

Both Hsiung and Singh are anxious to reopen, but they know there will have to be some changes when they do.

Hsiung knows that she may have split classes between morning or afternoon or find another solution to adhere to social distancing guidelines. She says if changes need to be made, she will have to give priority to the children who have essential workers are parents.

Hsiung is also looking at what to do to make the school safer for when children return. She says she’s thinking about implementing some of the things they do in daycares in Taiwan.

“Everyone, including the toddler [has] to wear a mask. Every day they wear masks to school and the whole days, even [at] play time they have the mask on…I think that’s one of the things we have to bring to the parents,” said Hsiung. “Another thing they do is they have this temperature sheet. The parents [take the temperature of the] kids before they come into school. Then when they arrived to the school, the teachers take another temperature again.”

As for Singh, he’s also worried about social distancing when it comes to the kids.

“I think the main thing is the distancing as much as possible with kids, of course, the cleaning, and then also the sign in sign out where we can probably meet people out front or have like a touchless system,” said Singh.

“We’ve been reading [that] they want to keep groups of kids to like 10 to 12 in a group, and then also keep them in the same room with the same teacher, and not have them intermingle with or co-mingle with the other students,” Singh continued. “[The] good thing is for our school, we do have three separate classes, we’re licensed to 36 students.”

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