Private preschools across the country have been laying off staff, closing permanently and even have their businesses being levied on by banks for defaulting on loans as a result of restrictions associated with COVID-19.

President of the Private Childcare Providers Association Nisha Hoyte said some preschool owners have lost their investments, and some have had their properties seized as they struggle to keep up with mounting bills.

“Some of our colleagues too have been faced with closing permanently because they have been evicted from their rental spaces and some are even having their assets seized, which is very harsh during this time. Our sector is the only one that has been shut down permanently without being able to open in any capacity at all,” Hoyte said.

Hoyte appealed to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly to meet with the preschool owners as she said many of them cannot qualify for state assistance because they are not VAT registered.

“That is why we are asking the government to have a meeting with us so that they can understand where our issues are, what our concerns are, and revise maybe some of these loans to help our private school sector.”

She said the group wants a definitive answer on whether or not schools will be reopened for physical classes in January 2021 as she said this will determine if school owners should continue to rent spaces and expend overhead costs or shut down permanently. (SR)