Parents scramble to find child care as military facilities remain closed due to main breaks

After a day of shutdowns, the military’s child development centers are scheduled to be closed again Tuesday.
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 4:49 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 18, 2022 at 12:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - At least 11 child development centers on Oahu were closed again Tuesday as crews work to make repairs to the Navy’s water line. The situation is leaving thousands of military families scrambling for child care.

Capt. Mark Sohaney, commander of Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, said the closure of child care facilities is impacting about 3,000 families. The commander said that one might open for mission essential personnel, but he didn’t elaborate.

“They need to specify whose mission essential,” said Kalana Webber, of Hale Moku military housing.

Webber, who works full-time, is among the military families facing another day of disruptions.

For Webber and her active-duty husband, it’s a question of who cares for their 1-year-old son.

“Today, my husband stays at home, but he won’t be able to do that, so tomorrow, I’ll stay home,” said Webber. “It’s like we kind of switch in and out.”

Iroquois Point Elementary to reopen but 11 military childcare facilities are still closed as Navy water main repairs continue.

The state Department of Education said Iroquois Point Elementary has adequate water pressure to flush toilets so the school will reopen on Tuesday.

It’s a big relief for single mom of nine, Leipunahele Cleaver.

“I’m probably going to send them, I don’t want to, but they’re hungry for education,” said Cleaver, who lives in Kapalina Beach Homes.

She appreciates the boxes of water the military gave her, but she’d like more support.

“How come we don’t have the water trucks in here to supply us?” asked Cleaver. “It’s really frustrating and it makes me feel like I should not have moved in here.”

The commander said there’s still no timeline for repairs.

Families with both parents working, should contact their chain of command if they’re unable to find childcare.

On Monday, Army officials rescinded the boil order for Aliamanu and Red Hill families.

But all other Navy properties are advised to boil their water for at least a week because of possible bacteria contamination.

“My goal here is to really make sure I have the pulse of the community as we move forward throughout this difficult challenging repair,” said Sohaney.