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Ohio day cares prepare for eventual closure; parents should, too

Gov. Mike DeWine (R - Ohio) said during a news conference Sunday it's not a matter of if he will issue an order, but when.

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Day cares across Ohio are preparing for an order to close their facilities due to the coronavirus.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R - Ohio) said during a news conference Sunday it's not a matter of if he will issue an order, but when.

"To do this abruptly overnight doesn't make sense, but it's coming," DeWine said Sunday.

At Columbus Early Learning Centers, leaders are coming up with their plan for when they close. They want to be able to support their staff and continue their mission of serving 300 kids and their families.

"We're looking at doing things like sending diapers home, sending activities home for families to be able to have for their children to do, figuring out how we can still do our food assistance programs even if we end up closing, especially since we might be closed for a while," said Dr. Gina Ginn, Chief Executive Officer.

While day cares prepare, parents need to as well. It's important to come up with a plan ahead of time.

10TV talked with Sarah Pontious from Action For Children. The organization provides resources for both childcare providers and parents. Pontious said while parents are in a tough spot right now, they don't want to hire just any person to watch their child when day cares close.

"Friends and family, neighbors that they trust - that they know their children will be safe there," she said.

Action for Children has dedicated a portion of its website to answers to common questions providers and parents are asking right now in light of the coronavirus.

Childcare experts say it's important while a child is out of school or day care, they still have a routine. You can make a schedule for your child to follow that includes both learning and playtime. You can also leave time to answer any health questions they might have.

While there is no order yet, Ginn fears closing day cares will have a major financial impact.

"I really do feel like we could see a lot of small businesses close because of this and childcare centers might not be there for families to go back to because they can't withstand something like this," she said.

United Way and the Columbus Foundation are accepting donations to help nonprofits like Columbus Early Learning Centers during this time. Click here and here to learn more.