Long list of precautions, but Northern Va. day care centers to open Friday

As Northern Virginia enters Phase Two of the lifting of coronavirus restrictions on Friday, day care centers in the area will be allowed to open their doors.

But, they will have a long list of new health regulations to follow.

“It is definitely going to be not quite what the children were used to before,” said Gina Flacco, a mother in Fairfax, Virginia.

Flacco has a child at Winwood Children’s Center in Fairfax, which will open on June 15.


“They sent a list of procedures of what they will be following,” Flacco said. “There can only be 10 people in a classroom, including the teacher.”

According to the list of procedures emailed to parents, everyone who enters the building will have their temperature checked, and will be asked a series of questions about whether they have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with the novel coronavirus.

Teachers and school staff members will try to keep kids at least 6 feet apart, and they will be cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day, paying particular attention to high-touch areas such as doorknobs and counter tops.

When dropping off children, parents will be told to stay outside rather than take their child inside the building. A staff member will instead greet the child outside and escort them in.

“We understand that this may make for a harder drop off, particularly for the first few days,” Winwood staff wrote in an email to parents. “This practice will further protect the health and safety of all our children, teachers and families by limiting the number of people to which your child is exposed.”

Though Winwood staff members will be required to wear masks, that requirement does not extend to the children, because face coverings can be a strangulation hazard for young kids, according to Winwood’s email.

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“If you would prefer that your school age child (age 5 or older) wear a mask that you will provide for him or her while at school, we are happy to discuss this with you,” Winwood officials said.

According to Flacco, even though the experience will be different, it will give parents a much-needed break.

“I do feel a sense of relief like maybe things are slowly starting to return to normal,” Flacco said. “We’re all in a similar situation with small kids. We’re trying to work full-time, and it has been a huge challenge.”

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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