Half of Vermont child care providers reopen in 1st week

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) About half of Vermont's registered child care providers reopened this week.

Child cares that were not open during the pandemic for essential workers' kids got the greenlight to reopen on Monday.

Data we got from the Agency of Human Services shows of the 1,100 or so programs in the state, about 550 of them are expected to welcome kids back this week. And 500 of those requested Restart grants from the state to help with the financial costs of reopening.

Vermont Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith says getting half open is a success.

"Again, it's the choice of the particular child care center of whether they want to open. But the choice of at least 50% that are opening is something that I think is a good start for us," Smith said.

What's still unclear is if any programs have closed permanently as a result of COVID-19. We know there are at least seven fewer active licenses now than before the pandemic hit. But the agency told us they're not sure how many permanent closures are due to the pandemic because programs close for a variety of reasons.

The University of Vermont's says their Campus Children’s School will remain closed this spring, and will not reopen. The university says they are contacting families whose children were enrolled in the program.