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Stories, Stats, Impacts: Wyoming Public Media is here to keep you current on the news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

New Map Lists Childcare Centers Still Open For Business

As the COVID-19 pandemic ramps up, there's concern that health care workers and other essential personnel will have trouble finding reliable childcare. So, the Wyoming Department of Family Services spent last weekend creating a map of all the childcare centers that are still up and running.

Korin Schmidt, the department's director, said, right now, lots of people have friends and family to help them take care of children due to spring break. But as that informal support network goes back to work or gets sick with the virus, health care workers will need reliable childcare.

"I think where we're really going to tease out how much need there is going to be over the next week or so when those facilities that would otherwise open are not opening and when families are getting to a point where they no longer have informal supports to rely on," she said.

Schmidt said the longer the crisis wears on, the greater the need will be.

"If we start to experience more illnesses, and we see the current workforce that has figured out childcare, if we see them becoming ill, and aren't able to go to work, then we're going to start looking for who else can work," Schmidt said. "And if childcare is the one thing that's standing in the way of somebody being able to go to work that's going to become, I think, a bigger conversation."

Schmidt said people can use the map to find childcare centers that are open, but they'll still need to call to find out if those centers have slots available.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Melodie Edwards, at medward9@uwyo.edu.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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