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COVID-related daycare closures force parents to scramble

The director of Oregon's Early Learning Division said the state still requires a 10-day quarantine period for daycare employees exposed to COVID-19.

SCAPPOOSE, Ore — The latest wave of COVID-19 is hitting Oregon daycares, leading to temporary closures that force parents like Erik Granum to scramble to find child care elsewhere. 

Granum said his child's daycare in Scappoose temporarily closed after a COVID exposure. 

"Basically they reached out to let us know that one of the children at the daycare center — their sibling had been infected, and they were precautionarily telling parents to come and pick up their kids," said Granum.

He said he later learned a number of staff at the daycare had been exposed, which extended the temporary closure. 

"So from that point, we went from a hopefully two-day shutdown ... to an indefinite, at least weeklong shutdown," said Granum. 

RELATED: Rise in pediatric COVID cases in Oregon

Alyssa Chatterjee, director of Oregon's Early Learning Division pointed out that in cases like Garnum's, a daycare has to shut down and wait on COVID test results before reopening. 

"We don't have substitute pools like we have for K-12, which even K-12 is having trouble with substitutes," said Chatterjee. "So it is a challenge of our system and it's one of the challenges that exist because it's a system that's built on the backs of parents."

She said the state will continue to require 10 days of quarantine for daycares rather than five days to ensure safety when there's a positive COVID case. 

RELATED: Portland Public Schools updates COVID policy for athletics, performing arts