PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — All child care centers in Rhode Island have been asked to shut down as state leaders seek to stop the spread of coronavirus.
“The nature of this virus is evolving,” Gov. Gina Raimondo said Monday.
One of those centers is the Boys and Girls Club of Warwick. Executive Director Lara D’Antuono released a statement saying: “It’s important that you know the safety and protection of your children is the number one priority of Boys & Girls Clubs of Warwick. We are doing everything possible to keep our club members, staff and volunteers protected from the COVID-19 virus.”
D’Antuono said it’s “eerie” to have no children roaming the hallways but conceded that everyone must do their part when it comes to fighting the pandemic.
“This is a fluid situation and the governor asked that all child care centers close, so to accommodate her request, we made the very difficult decision to close,” she said.
More than 1,000 families in the area rely on the Boys and Girls Club’s services, according to D’Antuono.
“We know so many people that rely on us for their quality child care but it’s our obligation to do whatever we can to stop this virus from spreading,” she said.
D’Antuono said surprisingly, parents and grandparents have been fairly understanding.
“We haven’t had many calls looking for alternative care,” she said. “I think most people are listening to the request to contain this.”
Some parents told Eyewitness News they’re taking advantage of the family time.
“Just make the best of it, rolling with the punches, just like life sometimes,” Eli Ezer said.
Michael Church and his daughter Alana said it gives them more time to be together.
“I’m sad that school is closed, but I’m happy too because I get to hang out with my family more,” Alana said.
And D’Antuono said while she knows people need child care, hopefully everyone will continue to see the silver lining.
“This is an opportunity we are never given,” she said. “We have the opportunity right now to have uninterrupted family time to get to a baseball game or soccer game or get our work done. You have the gift of your family right now — use it.”
City officials said they are working on a plan to provide child care for first responders and healthcare workers.