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‘Nobody has availability’: Parents left scrambling after daycare closes toddler and infant daycare rooms

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 5:52 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - If you’ve been looking for childcare recently, you know there are many challenges.

Daycares across Charlotte have waitlists of months and some more than a year. Those centers are trying to hire qualified employees, but they say those previously in the industry have changed careers or are looking for other work.

MORE: ‘It was very overwhelming’: Childcare staffing shortages affecting Charlotte, pandemic partially to blame

Now, some employer vaccine mandates are coming into play for one daycare center in Charlotte.

Families with infants and toddlers says their daycare program at Calvary Church was suddenly ended without much warning.

“First I read it. Then I had to re-read it, and re-read it and re-read it,” said Julia White, whose 14-month-old son attends the Calvary Church Child Development Center. But come next Friday, that won’t be the case anymore.

“Basically it was telling us that all the infant and toddler classrooms, almost 45 kids total, are being closed,” she said.

Parents were notified via email that due to impending staff departures; the infant and toddler programs were closing effective October 22, giving parents two weeks to find new care. The rest of the daycare will remain open.

“I immediately replied back and said is this a joke...I mean I was literally like it’s not April Fools. How in the world can they treat us like this?” she said.

Calvary Church sent us this statement saying their “priority is to protect the health of the children they serve.” The church said they mandated vaccines for teachers a few weeks back, telling them they would be required to be vaccinated.

In a statement, a Calvary Church spokesperson said “The priority of Calvary Child Development Center is to protect the health and safety of our children. We believe the best way to do so is to surround our children with vaccinated teachers. Unfortunately, we have had to close four rooms due to personnel departures related to the vaccine.”

But without teachers, many parents are scrambling to find care for their babies in an already competitive market.

“My husband and I spent the entire next day calling every single daycare in the surrounding area. And nobody has availability. Nobody,” said White.

Nationally, one in three childcare centers is considering shutting down within the next year, according to a report from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Calvary Church went on to say in their statement that they “are working to recruit additional vaccinated personnel and will update families if our capacity increases. We will continue to do everything we can to keep the children in our care safe and healthy.”

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