NAPLES, Fla. — The playground at Precious Cargo Academy will be empty soon following a decision to close its doors.
“I would absolutely mark this to the pandemic because the preschool has been operating for over 20 years," said Rev. Dr. Dawson Taylor, Naples United Church of Christ Senior Minister.
Taylor said Precious Cargo Academy became a non-functional operation. Some of the problems within the daycare were caused by COVID-19.
An evident decline in enrollment and other pandemic pressures led to the committee's decision.
“Parents had to make decisions and had to prioritize where their resources were being spent. Then, there were decisions that I think families had to make about the safety of their children," Taylor said.
"Families have to make decisions for themselves about how they'll protect themselves."
Taylor said there was a two-thirds reduction in enrollment. On top of that, the daycare experienced difficulty hiring teachers and staff.
“What it really boiled down to was that we continue to watch the preschool lose considerable amounts of money," he said.
Taylor shared a story about a little girl who had to say goodbye to her classmates.
“I’m aware of a little girl who sent goodbye packets home to her classmates and said, if you want to get together after the school closes, please let my mom know. So that we can all play together have a play date, you know. I think every family is having to make decisions for themselves about how they will grieve," he said.
Families and teachers were told within 24 hours, said Taylor.
“We wanted clear communication with our staff who we are so grateful for the service they have given," Taylor said.
The daycare set on the corner of Crayon Rd. and Seagate Dr. for 20 years will ultimately close its doors on October 22.