Rainbow’s End staff say COVID-19 protections have been effective


Tiffany Young | @photographybytiffa

Rainbows End Preschool features an array of playground equipment Jan. 26, 2022 at SIU in Carbondale, Ill.

The Daily Egyptian received an anonymous tip that Rainbow’s End daycare was not taking COVID-19 cases seriously.

Upon hearing the negative concern, Director Rainbow’s End Director Karen Samuel said she’s heard no complaints from parents, guardians, or staff on how they’re handling COVID-19 at the daycare.

“We wouldn’t be quarantining kids,” Samuel said. “In fact, if anything, parents are complaining that we’re too strict because they’re missing work.”


All the protocols put in place have mostly stayed the same since the beginning of the pandemic, Samuel said.

“I was having a hard time this morning because [a parent’s] son was exposed to his grandma a couple of days ago,” Samuel said. “Now she’s got to quarantine, so she was in my office really upset because she’s having to miss classes, and that we can’t do anything.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, parents weren’t allowed to come into the building. Samuel and a student worker had to pick up children from the parking lot to bring them into the building, she said.

“When the parent came into the entryway, we took the child and the parent’s temperature before they ever came in the building,” Samuel said. “If they had a temperature [over 100] they weren’t allowed to come in.”

Now, children are escorted into their classrooms, and checked in by their teachers. Everyone in the building, including children over the age of two, is required to wear masks, Samuel said.

“It’s a little bit more of a challenge with the two-year-olds but we do have to encourage them to leave them on,” Samuel said. “The only times they don’t have to wear them are when they’re outside […] or when they’re eating or napping.”

At the height of the pandemic, it was easy for kids to space out in the daycare because many parents kept their children at home or found other care services. Now that the daycare is nearly operating at full capacity, serving around 100 children daily, they can’t space the children out, Samuel said.


Before the COVID-19 pandemic they would intermix classrooms, something they had to stop doing to prevent spread from one class to another, Samuel said, and student workers are limited to contact with two rooms during the workday.

“If someone does come down with it, then they won’t have infected the whole building,” Samuel said.

The staff emphasizes sanitization of things in the daycare and the daycare itself, Samuel said.

“We also put away a lot of the toys in the room, so there’s not as much of a chance for germs to spread,” Samuel said. “We had to leave things out for the kids to play with but we tried to minimize the toys in the room too.”

Taylor Griffin, who teaches a class of three-year-olds, said adapting to the COVID-19 protocols wasn’t too bad for the children.

“I can tell they don’t like wearing their masks, but they do really well,” Griffin said. “If they ever pull it down below their chin, we just have to give them a quick reminder, and they pull it right back up.”

Griffin said the children practice handwashing, and some of the children talk about COVID-19, having been pretty well educated on how they can keep themselves safe.

“We are constantly bleaching toys, and cleaning everything, and changing out extra masks if their masks get too wet,” Griffin said. “A lot of times they chew on it, or they’ll have runny noses.”

While in class, Griffin monitors the kids for symptoms. If anyone notices anything the staff will notify parents, and recommend the child be tested.

Senior student worker at SIU Gloria Stoltz said everyone in the building has been handling protocols well.

Stoltz said everything has been pretty easy with all except the youngest children.

“We try to keep the mask up, and we let them know we’re in the pandemic, and we’re trying to keep everybody safe,” Stoltz said.

With good communication between staff in the daycare, everyone is up to date with any adjustments to safety protocols, Stoltz said

“We have good bosses who tell us all the information that we need to know, and they keep us updated on all the information in the protocol as I go around,” Stotz said.

Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jamilahlewis. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.