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Childcare Discovery Center remains open

2 COVID cases reported in one classroom

While many essential workers such as nurses and other health care professionals are busy trying to keep the community healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of their children are being cared for at Childcare Discovery Center.

But keeping children and staff at the child care facility healthy has proven to be quite a challenge, according to owner Tammy McNeil.

Two people at the center recently tested positive for COVID-19, McNeil said. Those people are under quarantine for 14 days and the classroom has been closed down, she said.

Despite the two cases, the facility at 2329 First Ave. S. remains open.

“We are doing everything we possibly can to keep kids safe and staff safe,” McNeil said. “It’s just not a good situation no matter what. It’s something everybody right now is dealing with.”

“We have to follow all DHS guidelines and that’s kind of where we are at. Trying to keep anyone that has any kind of a symptom from coming in the building. But some people don’t have symptoms so that’s the problem. No matter what we do it can still sneak in there.”

McNeil said the recent positive cases do not define an outbreak.

“Our DHS consultant said it would have to be throughout the classrooms instead of just one,” she said.

The center closed for a week in September after one employee tested positive for COVID-19. The decision to close the entire facility at that time was based on the fact that the affected employee had so much contact with other employees, rather than contact limited to one classroom.

It marked the first time in the center’s 20 years that it closed for that length of time.

The center cares for an average of about 150 children per day, according to McNeil.

McNeil said children are, for the most part, confined to the same classrooms with the same teachers throughout the day.

“Everyone is wearing masks,” she said. “We do cleaning and sanitizing throughout the day. We do temperature checks throughout the day on staff and all the kids.”

McNeil said everyone needs to do their part to slow the spread.

“Stay home if you’re sick,” she said. “If you’re under quarantine, stay home. That’s the hardest part is getting everyone on the same page.”

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