Early School Dismissals for High Heat Can Mean Daycare Scramble
Dave Franzman, Reporter
CENTER POINT, Iowa- Dozens of eastern Iowa school districts quit early again on Wednesday due to the heat and humidity. And for parents and daycare providers, that triggered another rush to pick up kids sooner than expected.
For some parents, it’s merely a bit of inconvenience or no big deal at all.
Yet for daycares that watch kids after school, it triggers a scramble to bring in employees early and also means a bit of extra daycare expense for parents
When Center Point Schools let out early due to heat, the staff at Children Prevail Daycare have to shake up the schedule a bit. Owner Gidget DeSotel said she keeps the youngest kids outside longer letting them play in the sprinkler so they don’t take their naps at the normal time. That’s because the older after-school kids tend to wake up the younger ones when they come early.
“There is scrambling to find employees to come into work early. Some of them have plans and they can’t come in (on short notice). So it can be hard to find enough employees,” DeSotel said.
And DeSotel said when she needs to bring in her workers early to pick up kids at school, it adds to her expenses. And she has to pass the cost along to parents.
Every early school dismissal day means $10 more, per child, for those in the after-school only program. She said a few of her parents actually figure out it’s cheaper to get off work a little early rather than pay more for daycare. Adam Lnenicka, a bricklayer, was one of the examples. He has a child in daycare all day and two more who come in for the after-school time only. He quit work a bit early on Wednesday to pick his kids up at school and take then home rather than take them to the daycare.
“I decided to picked them up and go with that, you know,” Lnenicka said.
DeSotel said at least five parents called on Tuesday, the first early dismissal day for Center Point, to ask about drop in care. Many daycares can’t do that because they have to plan out staffing ratios to comply with state rules. For other parents, though, a bigger issue is simply missing the notice that school is getting out early.
Another Center Point parent, Toodie Hunt, didn’t know that was happening on Tuesday. So she had two kids waiting at school and she was somewhere else.
“The school secretary called me and said we had early dismissal so I was in Cedar Rapids at the time and it’s like ‘augh’ I’ll be right there,” Hunt said.
Parents will need to stay in practice for the early heat dismissals. Many districts that dismissed early have already said they’ll do the same the rest of the week.
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