SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- State leaders are warning of a daycare shortage this September due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With more people heading back to work and more schools staying remote, there is a heightened need for child care services in the state.

However, the problem is that centers are limited on how many children they can take in due to coronavirus restrictions.

“On March 16, we had 225 children. Now, we have 64. That’s quite a difference,” said Alina Mazzaferro with Giggle Gardens Learning Center.

With this supply and demand imbalance, Mazzaferro told Western Mass News they are working hard to increase their enrollment numbers under the new restrictions.

“We’re in our fourth week and everything’s been great so far. We do follow all the state guidelines and the CDC,” Mazzaferro noted.

At the center, parents wait outside, students are kept distant, and sanitization stations are easily accessible.

“We will open up and have more enrollments. We do have a waiting list, but we don’t feel comfortable adding more children until we feel like we have our processes down pat,” Mazzaferro explained.

They are also in the process of developing a new program for students who are remote learning.

“One thing we are blessed with is a very large building and so that gives us the capacity to have the room for expansion and one of the thoughts that we had is, if the state approves it, is a distant learning at the daycare with tutors to come in and help children,” Mazzaferro added.

Although they are trying to get as many students as possible off the waiting list, at the end of the day, safety is their top priority.

“A lot of parents are worried, but you can see by the video all the precautions that we take,” Mazzaferro said.

As to her advice to parents hoping to get a spot, Mazzaferro added, "You’re welcome to call and get on a waiting list…We’re going to be calling those children and asking them to come join us."

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