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Health Checks And Hand Sanitizer: What's It Like Having A Baby At Daycare In The COVID Age

Genessee Semler and her daughter Fin
Genessee Semler and her daughter Fin.

For many parents, navigating childcare for the first time is a minefield. KCLU News is following the story of a Ventura County mom as she navigates first-time parenthood in a pandemic.

Genessee Semler is picking up her daughter from childcare in Thousand Oaks, at the end of the day.

There’s a security guard at the front gate where temperatures are taken at drop off.

Most parents are waiting outside for their children to be delivered back to them.

Because her daughter Fin is seven months old, Genessee is able to go inside the gates.

This is pre-school in a COVID age, full of health checks and hand sanitizer.

"At this daycare they take our temperature, they take her temperature. They take hers every couple of hours or every hour, they do a wellness check," Semler explained to KCLU.

We first met Genessee when she was expecting Fin – she went into labor on the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration - so she’s as old as his presidency is.

"So she's seven and a half months old now. She started daycare in July," said Semler.

"She was not good the first week, she cried," continued Semler "But there's an app, so we get updates all the time. We get pictures of her. We get told when she eats, poops, sleeps."

Semler says that as well as navigating the high cost of childcare, finding one which was a match for her daughter was more than just balancing affordability against quality of care.

"This area, if you look up the Wikipedia entry, which I did years ago, they talk about the demographic being Caucasian with a growing Asian population.

"I was concerned. She's mixed. That she wouldn't have people that look like her mom. She sees people that look like her dad all the time" said Semler.

"I'm really glad to see that where she's going now - I just picked her up and there's three other Asian American kids there. It's nice there is that diversity.

"I don't want her growing up feeling the way sometimes I felt growing up in this area, which was kinda...isolated. I want her to feel very comfortable and not even think about it," she said.

And we will continue to follow Genessee’s journey with Fin.

Caroline joined KCLU in October 2020. She won LA Press Club's Audio Journalist of the Year Award in 2022 and 2023.

Since joining the station she's won 7 Golden Mike Awards, 4 Los Angeles Press Club Awards and 2 National Arts & Entertainment Awards.

She started her broadcasting career in the UK, in both radio and television for BBC News, 95.8 Capital FM and Sky News and was awarded the Prince Philip Medal for her services to radio and journalism in 2007.

She has lived in California for ten years and is both an American and British citizen - and a very proud mom to her daughter, Elsie.
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