July 9, 2020 5:47 PM
Preschool Promise programs are getting ready to welcome new students – but fewer than usual due to the pandemic.
According to Preschool Promise officials, classes are forced to operate at reduced capacity due to state restrictions on child care centers.
“Having the ability to have a safe place for my kids to go so that we could still get work done is huge for us,” said Jamie Fisher, an essential worker who just enrolled one of her four children through Preschool Promise at Wenzler Day Care and Learning Center.
“This is a rarity that we had room for the new family that you interviewed today,” said Benita Wenzler, the owner.
Wenzler told 2 NEWS her facility now operates at roughly 50 percent capacity.
Preschool classrooms in Ohio are now each limited to nine children, according to Robyn Lightcap, executive director of Preschool Promise.
“We hope as we get into the fall and schools begin to reopen that perhaps the state will make adjustments to support families,” Lightcap said.
Although some places are still working on reopening plans and others still have spots available, many preschool programs are already full for this fall, Lightcap said
Preschool Promise is currently running a pilot program to potentially offer virtual preschool classes in the coming months that would supplement in-person instruction, she said.
“Even if families do choose to go back, there’s obviously the possibility they’ll be in and out as positive cases arise and they close down for a couple of weeks,” Lightcap said. “So we want to make sure that learning doesn’t get interrupted.”
Preschool Promise is working to obtain federal funding for its providers to help make up for the revenue lost due to limited enrollment, Lightcap said.