FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — This week, the Child and Youth Services’ Hourly Care program announced its intention to reopen Dec. 1, resuming a limited schedule for Fort Leonard Wood children from 6 weeks to 5 years old.
The daycare service shut its doors in March to limit the spread of COVID-19, and staff said parents may need to renew their annual registration with CYS due to the extended closure.
Hourly Care’s adjusted reopening schedule is from 8 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at Child Development Center, Bldg. 614. Parents must make reservations with CYS as walk-ins are not accepted, staff said.
“They can choose an hour, if they just want to use one hour for a doctor’s appointment or something quick, or they can choose the whole three hours in that block,” said Jennifer Chapman, Child Development Center facility director.
According to Chapman, the daycare program has implemented measures — masks, frequent cleaning, distancing and decreased room capacity — to limit the spread of the virus.
“While we are shortening our hours, we are doing so so that we can close and clean,” she said. “We are going to start out with very small ratios (of children to staff) in our classrooms — a lot smaller than our families would have seen before.”
Staff will close rooms after each group of children leaves and clean before the next one arrives, she added.
“With our limited operations, we will not be serving breakfast or lunch,” said Tamara Smith, CYS coordinator. “That’s something important for families to know — if they’re going to sign up for the morning portion, they definitely want to have their little one have breakfast before they come.”
Until the center can determine that mitigation actions are working, spots for the program will be limited, according to CYS staff.
“We do have all our staff required to wear masks,” Smith said. “We also have hand-washing stations for when you come into the facility.”
She added that parents should be screening their children by asking questions about how they’re feeling.
CDC staff are excited to once again fulfill Hourly Care’s primary mission of caring for the installation’s families, Chapman said.
“We have a great staff here,” she said. “We had a huge group of families that utilized us before COVID, and since March, not being able to see the families and the children that we served for so long has just been really hard for all of my staff. So, all of the staff are super excited about it.”
Smith said the program is reopening at an opportune time for families.
“It’s such a great opportunity, especially this time of year, when families are getting ready for the holidays and they’re getting ready for shopping,” she said. “They’ll have an opportunity to drop their children off in a CYS facility, knowing that they’re going to get quality child care during that time, and they’re able to go and run errands, maybe catch up with some friends for a little bit … This is just another thing that we’re excited to open up to parents.”
Indeed, the program will be open and available for daycare appointments during Holiday Block Leave, Smith said. However, Hourly Care will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Parents have 30 days after enrolling their children to deliver vaccination and necessary medical records to CYS. All children participating in CYS programs must be immunized for the flu prior to Dec. 31, Smith said.
The Hourly Care program’s cost to parents is $5 per hour.
To register children for the Hourly Care program, parents must first register with CYS, which can be started by filling out the appropriate forms at https://leonardwood.armymwr.com/programs/parent-and-outreach-services.
If parents and their children are already registered with CYS, they can register with Hourly Care by calling Parent Central Services at 573.596.0421 or 573.596.0238.