ST. CLOUD -- Daycare providers in the state have been asked to step up during these troubling times, however many providers are facing significant financial challenges.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has declared daycare facilities as an essential business, but with many families unemployed at this time, many kids are staying home.

Chad Dunkley is the CEO at New Horizon Academy and the President of the Minnesota Child Care Association. He says they have been working with families during these hard times.

We were very clear to our families this week, that if they give us notice they are not attending the following week, we are not charging and we will save your space. Once this virus finally goes away we are going to make sure we keep spaces for families who are sidelined right now.

Dunkley says their 70 facilities, including St. Cloud and Sartell, can only run about half capacity right now but have room to help more families.

He say they are implementing best health practices to make sure their facilities are safe for kids, staff and parents.

Dunkley says there are concerns several daycare facilities may not reopen once the pandemic is over.

Unfortunately, childcare providers are relying on the tuition of families. When you lose 70% of your tuition in a week, some providers who are closing their doors right now will not reopen. I think there will be a bigger childcare crisis when this is over.

The governor recently signed a relief package to help child care providers cope with some of the loss from tuition.

Dunkley says to date they have not had anyone test positive for COVID-19.

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