Child care facilities allowed to open at full capacity starting next week

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — State officials announced Friday that childcare facilities will be allowed to open at full capacity with updated COVID-safe practices starting next week.

Marissa Hines, with Little Butterflies Learning Center, said the state’s announcement came at the perfect time.

“The excitement but then also the little stress,” she said.

Hines said business is starting to pick up as more parents return to work.

“Every week we get a couple more phone calls inquiries wanting tours, so that’s good that’s good news,” Hines said “People are starting to go back to work and feel more comfortable bringing their kids.”

Hines also said she will have to hire and train new staff in order to meet the demand.

“Take all the protocols that we do to make sure it is COVID-safe and healthy environment for the parents and for the kids as well,” she said.

Starting Monday, all staff will be tested monthly instead of bi-weekly.

“We still mandate the masks for all children over the age of three, unless they’re eating drinking or napping—and of course for all adults,” said Elizabeth Groginsky, secretary of the Early Childhood Education and Care Department.

“We were able to update the distancing requirement based on the CDC guidance that they only now need to keep children three feet apart instead of six feet apart, recognizing when possible because babies and toddlers need to be close when you’re caring for them,” Groginsky added.

There will also be different quarantine requirements for staff members who are fully vaccinated.

“They know what to do, and they have the supports not only in their facility, but also for our department to get training to get access to help. And so they will take immediate action, and families can know, they’ll know what’s happened in their facility,” Groginsky said.

“Even after hopefully once, if everything goes back to normal or what normal will look like—we will continue doing certain things” Hines added.