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Area day care centers in high demand

Parents want and need help caring for school-age kids who are not headed back to classrooms.

SCRANTON, Pa. — The school year is starting in a few weeks, and across our region, some parents are scrambling to find care for kids who would otherwise be headed back to class.

Day cares all over northeastern and central Pennsylvania have been busy, caring for kids, sanitizing, and more. Now, those day care centers are getting calls from parents about taking in school-age kids who may be learning remotely this year.

"I've been doing this for 33 years now and have never seen anything like this. Parents are very stressed because most of them are gone back to work, so they don't know what to do. They can't be home, they can't quit their jobs," said Lori Carey of Small Wonders Learning Center in Scranton.

Some day care owners throughout northeastern and central Pennsylvania said they want to help, but they don't have the space or the staff, including Blessings Christian Daycare in Rome, Bradford County. It opened for the first time during this pandemic.

"I've been looking for somebody that could come in and try to help our school kids do the online learning as well during the day. It's been extremely difficult. It's hard. I don't know what we're going to do because we don't have the space, but we'll do the best we can," said owner Katie Robinson.

Others said they have the space but are running into other challenges.

Newswatch 16 spoke with sisters who run a day care center in Frackville.

They may add staff to accommodate more kids but helping those kids with online schooling may not be possible.

"Especially if they're going to be doing remote learning live in the classroom, how would we be able to have all those different grade levels connecting one time to their teachers and just to have the staff for the online learning? It's just not going to be feasible here," said Jill Simons and Holly Bindie.

Day care owners said they are getting some guidance from state officials, but things seem to change all the time.

They are doing what they can but said they could use some help: some funding for staff or upgraded technology or supplies from the government.