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Iowa’s U.S. Senator, Joni Ernst, released a bill proposal that would issue grants to local child care providers in need as a result of the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic. 

The Back to Work Child Care Grants Act of 2020 would reportedly support daycare centers so that parents can continue to return to work as the economy slowly reopens.

“Iowa families depend on the survival of our existing child care providers. In my conversations with our moms and dads and providers across the state, I’ve heard consistently—even before COVID-19—about the struggle to find quality, affordable child care, and I’ve worked to fix that,” Senator Ernst said in a statement on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, this pandemic has only made our child care crisis worse. In addition to the support we helped secure in the CARES Act, this new proposal will help relieve anxiety for families by ensuring our kids are in safe environments and stabilizing the child care sector as a whole.”

The COVID-19 pandemic did not cause the county’s daycare facilities in St. Ansgar, Osage and Stacyville to close for any extended periods of time, but the proposal stated that even drops in enrollment numbers as parents are laid off and furloughed, and consequently are keeping their children at home, can be devastating for the industry. 

The grants could be used for the following daycare expenses: sanitation and other facility cleaning costs, including deep cleaning in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak; recruiting and compensating child care staff, including professional development; fixed operating costs, such as payroll, utilities, rent and mortgage, and insurance; purchasing supplies and equipment necessary for child care, including PPE; replacing materials and supplies that are no longer safe as a direct result of COVID-19; expenses caused by enhance COVID-19 protocols; supplies and equipment for supervising children during nontraditional hours; and reimbursement of such expenses that were accrued before receiving the grant. 

The bill will now be sent to Congress for deliberation. 

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