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Florida child care centers remain open as coronavirus concerns grow

Posted at 7:26 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 20:28:21-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — At a time when public schools are closed across the state, day cares can still choose whether they want to stay open.

In Florida, day cares are considered private institutions and look to the Florida Department of Health for direction.

According to the Palm Beach County Health Department, officials cannot close a child care facility under the current circumstances without a state order.

"Child care programs may choose to remain operational at this time, even though several child care owners have made the decision to close," said Palm Beach County health officials said in a statement.

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The Whiz Kids Early Learning Enrichment Center has two Palm Beach County locations and will continue to stay open and assist working families who are relying on them during this time of uncertainty.

"We are open because we have a service to perform for the community and we know parents have to go to work," said Sydney Ross, Executive Director of Whiz Kidz Early Learning Enrichment Center.

Ross has been operating her learning centers in West Palm Beach and Lantana from nearly 20 years.

"We’re going on a day-to-day basis because we don’t know what’s going to happen. We’re asking our parents to keep their child home if they’re sick or manifesting any type of symptoms. It’s part of our normal health policy which is strict, but it’s going to be even more strict," said Ross.

RELATED: All public and private K-12 Florida schools closed through April 15

The Palm Beach County Health Department is encouraging child care owners and operators to use information from the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make operational decisions.

Providers are advised to monitor updates from the Florida Department of Health regarding recommendations for operations.

To learn more about the current guidance for child care centers and K-12 schools in Florida, click here.