KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s a challenging time of year for day cares as staff members work to keep kids healthy, but are up against a wide range of viruses and high expectations.
“You’ve got ratios, the spread of the contagious disease,” explained Mary Bowlin of Little People Preschool. “You have the employees that are working there. What if they become ill?”
Those are just some of the challenges that appear when you know what’s floating around. There’s, even more, when the virus is a mystery.
“Do they really have the flu or do they really have strep throat or do they really have the flu,” said Bowlin.
That’s why Little People Preschool tries to prevent diseases in the first place. But if a kid does get sick, Bowlin says there’s only one place that child should be.
Recently, there’s been talk on social media about sick child day cares, which are centers created for working parents who can’t stay home with their sick kids. Although Tennessee doesn’t have any sick centers, it hasn’t stopped the discussion.
However, day cares like Little People Preschool say such centers could cause more problems than solutions.
“If you’re grouping children like that and then this child has strep instead of the flu or this child has this instead of that, then you’re cross contaminating and then they’re going to still be sick,” Bowlin told WATE. “After they’re finished with whatever they have because then they’re going to catch this. Sounds like a big mess.”
Despite those challenges, some parents say a sick day care is just what the doctor ordered when it’s impossible to take off work or find a babysitter. No matter which way you lean, the point is currently moot seeing as one of the closest sick day centers is located about 240 miles away in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Bowlin also mentioned Tennessee day cares face strict regulations when it comes to sick children. This means other states may be able to have sick centers because their regulations may not be as strict as Tennessee’s.
WATE also reached out to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for its opinion on sick daycares. We received the following response:
“East Tennessee Children’s Hospital encourages all parents to keep their child home if they show any signs of illness and make an appointment with their pediatrician. A pediatrician will give guidance for when the child is able to return to school or daycare based on their diagnosis and treatment.”