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


ticket prices SLC...
Mark Jones

SLC International Airport to add another international nonstop flight

A new nonstop international flight between Salt Lake City and Frankfurt, Germany will begin Monday, May 23.
1 day ago
A McDonald's in Russia...

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald's said it's the first time the company has ever "de-arched," or exited a major market. It plans to start removing golden arches and other symbols and signs with the company's name.
1 day ago
wholesale inflation utah interest rates...
Aimee Cobabe

Wholesale inflation impacting businesses all across Utah

In one example of wholesale inflation hikes in Utah, the owners of South Salt Lake's Left Fork Grill say they have to keep updating their menus because of rising prices.
6 days ago
EPA grants three Utah organizations funding for environmental cleanup...
Waverly Golden

Three Utah groups receive nearly $6 million for environmental cleanup

The EPA has announced three Utah organizations that will receive nearly $6 million in funding to advance environmental cleanup.
6 days ago
FTC building. The FTC filed a complaint against Lions Not Sheep....
Aimee Cobabe and Samantha Herrera

Utah-based company under fire by FTC for “made in the USA” claims

The Utah-based company "Lions Not Sheep" signed a settlement over a Federal Trade Commission complaint against the company's labelling.
6 days ago
A customer pumps gas at an Exxon gas station, Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Miami. U.S consumers have s...

US inflation hit 8.3% last month but slows from 40-year high

Consumer prices jumped 8.3% last month from 12 months earlier, the Labor Department said Wednesday. That was below the 8.5% year-over-year surge in March, which was the highest rate since 1981.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.

Tax Tuesday: Key Information Before the Filing Deadline

Businesses can receive a credit of up to $5,000 per employee in 2020 and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021.
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Daycare enrollment dropping due to COVID, some centers struggle to stay open