Daycare enrollment dropping due to COVID, some centers struggle to stay open

Jan 4, 2022, 7:43 PM
(File photo: The toddler room, provided by the University of Utah.)
(File photo: The toddler room, provided by the University of Utah.)

SALT LAKE CITY — COVID-19 is making a bad problem worse for daycare providers across the state.  Officials say many parents are taking their kids out of daycare, and the centers are having a hard time surviving. 

COVID-19 and daycare

Some daycare industry analysts say enrollment has been “roller-coastering” since the beginning of the pandemic, but things have become especially bad in recent months.  Helping Hands is a nutrition program that works with home daycare providers and daycare centers, and Director Susan Ison estimates larger daycare centers have about 60 percent the enrollment they had before the pandemic.

Ison said, “We have a couple that are higher than that, and we had one that has to close completely just because they couldn’t get enough children in to be able to continue to pay their teachers.”

While the larger centers may have been hit the hardest, Ison says the smaller home care providers are also struggling to find enough kids to care for.

She said, “We have a couple that are licensed for 16 and only have four in care.”

What’s the problem?

What’s causing this?  Ison believes there are two problems working against care providers.  One, Ison says many parents are pulling their kids out of daycare, fearing they’ll be sickened with COVID-19.  Plus, many parents have found efficient ways to work from home. And parents don’t need to leave their children with anyone else during the workday.

Michael Diehl with Utah State University says centers in the far north part of the state haven’t been impacted as badly from COVID-19, partly due to operators reaching out for financial assistance.

“There have been additional funds coming through with Child Care Licensing to help providers stay afloat,” Diehl said.  “Then, there’s also has been some additional emergency COVID funds.”

However, he says enrollment appears to be dropping steadily every month, which is a terrible sign for many daycare providers.

He said, “I think if it continues the route that it’s going, we’ll definitely see some that shut down.”

Read more:

Today’s Top Stories

All News

After six years leading USU, and an overall 32 year career with the school, President Noelle E. Coc...
Simone Seikaly

USU President Noelle E. Cockett will step down

USU President Noelle E. Cockett has been part of the college's community for 32 years.
2 months ago
A national survey finds Utah the third safest state when it comes to drunk driving fatalities....
Simone Seikaly

Utah one of the leading states for low levels of drunk driving

SALT LAKE CITY — Forbes Advisor has ranked American states to determine which have the highest number of drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes. Their results put Utah third in the nation for the lowest rate of drunk driving. The District of Columbia and New Jersey each ranked higher than Utah when considering this data. […]
2 months ago
free transit rides...
Elizabeth Weiler

Free public transit rides come to Heber Valley

HEBER CITY, Utah — In the summer of 2022, Wasatch County Council approved a sales tax which is now providing funding for free public transit rides throughout Heber Valley.  Wasatch County and High Valley Transit entered a three-year, $3 million agreement to offer public bus transit services between Wasatch and Summit Counties, along with micro-transit […]
2 months ago
carbon monoxide poisoning...
Ali Litzinger

Carbon monoxide poisoning on the rise in winter months

SALT LAKE CITY — Winter is approaching and officials want people to know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Last year, nearly 200 Utahns were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.  The flame in a gas appliance should generally be blue, with some orange. If the flame is mostly yellow, it’s giving off excess carbon monoxide.  […]
2 months ago
nichole olsen was shot and killed outside a nightclub in dowtown salt lake city over the weekend....
Elizabeth Weiler

Man arrested for murder in weekend shooting outside nightclub in Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY — A Southern Utah man has been arrested and booked into jail in connection with the shooting death of a Salt Lake City woman over the weekend. Nichole Olsen, 29, was shot and killed outside a nightclub near 300 S. West Temple in Salt Lake City around 2 a.m. Sunday. Police have […]
2 months ago
A “for sale” sign is displayed outside of a house in Layton. 
Photo: Shafkat Anowar, Deseret Ne...
Adam Small

Salt Lake seeing highest drop in home sales, national report finds

Utah's home sales are dropping fast according to a new national report. Prices have dropped by 48% in the last 12 months.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Daycare enrollment dropping due to COVID, some centers struggle to stay open