Child care tuition during shelter in place

Hello! I’m curious how other parents/daycares are addressing tuition during the shelter in place. We are keeping our kiddo home, and have been for the past 3 weeks now. When we thought the shelter-in-place was going to be a couple or few weeks we were fine with continuing to pay full tuition. Now that the order will be in effect for a couple of months at least I was expecting to hear from our daycare about some kind of temporary policy that addresses tuition for those families not receiving child care services during the shelter in place period. So far our daycare has not mentioned tuition in any of the covid-19 communications and updates. Are other daycares addressing tuition? Are parents requesting temporary suspension of tuition or discounted tuition? I of course want to support our daycare and the teachers, but we’re facing our own economic challenges through this crisis. I appreciate any information you all can offer. Thank you, and stay safe and healthy.

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Every daycare/preschool and childcare center is handling it differently.  Our daycare is open for essential workers and for those who are not essential or are otherwise not attending left it up to the parents to decide how much they can contribute.  It is a small in-home daycare.  My child is not attending but we are continuing to pay in full since I really like them and want to help support them, but I'm not sure what others are doing.  My after-care provider is charging 50% but also allowing kids to withdraw and stop paying without it affecting their eligibility for care next year, though they will have to re-enroll if school is back in session this year (which is unlikely to happen).  We are paying the 50% as we can afford it, but I know many have withdrawn for the year and used their deposit to cover the notice period and so are no longer paying.  


My daycare has not communicated much. I've actually had to reach out regarding this. We paid the full amount for March. I didn't expect a refund for march and they stated they would not refund me due to their expenses and paying the assistants. I understand. As for April, I inquired and have not gotten an answer as to how tuition would be handled. They stated that they might charge 25% of the month's tuition for them to hold my spot. At this point, i expressed that i may have to pull my daughter out and re-enroll once this is all over with. I'm taking a chance, but the daycare was not full to begin with and some families may not come back. i would love to continue to be able to pay them, but that all depends on my job and finances as well. Does your daycare have a policy or handbook? Hang in there. 

Stay safe, Stay Healthy and Stay Home

I think every daycare is handling it differently.

We have kids in two different daycares.

One is not asking for payment for the month of April. The other is asking for "at least" half.

My daycare stopped operating since the shelter-in-place order. They normally charged by the hour, not by monthly tuition. And we pay for the total number of childcare hours at the end of the month. We have not paid a single cent since the daycare closed, and it seems that the owner intends to keep it that way. Needless to say, we are so grateful. 

Our preschool is being great about this. They are closed completely but are providing once a day Zoom classes and just this week we received materials for our kids to work on independently at home. They had talked about reopenning for kids of essential workers, but having talked to those families they decided to remain closed. We paid in full for March (since we pay at beginning of month) but at the end of March they let us know that they were prioritizing paying their teachers and venders. They hoped that those of us who could would pay tuition in full for April but if families couldn't they would prorate tuition or work with a family to figure out something with them. Our contract with them says that if the school is closed for some kind of emergency situation, we still have to pay tuition but they said they would not be enforcing that clause. They sent out a thank you email this last week letting us know that enough families were able to pay enough tuition to make their payroll. 

Our daycare is a small family-run opération like many in Berkeley. We want to support them so they’ll still be able to run post-quarantine. That being said we are also taking a pay cut, so this month we paid half our usual tuition which is hopefully enough to help them pay their bills. Families that could afford it paid in full. I think this is a situation we’ll have to take month-by-month but for now I feel good about paying half...


Our daycare has been closed since the third week of March as well and we did not expect to receive any portion of the tuition back, which was fine considering the times we are in. However, we did expect some sort of formal communication from management, we received no emails until early this month. I emailed multiple times trying to figure out what tuition would be. They sent out a survey and our only options were: Pay full tuition, 50% +$200 for teacher fund or 50%. Basically we were told to pay even though no service is being provided. This is a big daycare center with tons of kids, I can not imagine all the other parents having 50% of tuition laying around at the moment while they have to watch their own children. Daycare wants us to take care of their teachers (which I greatly respect) but who is taking care of us when we lost our jobs? At the same time I saw them posting available sports during this time, which just seems like double dipping now. The government is offering grants to institutions why should the burden to take care of staff fall on the parents alone? We will have to pull our child out but we can not get a clear answer to what is happening with our deposit either. Response times are slow. This could have been avoided with a transparent zoom meeting (or similar) but now it appears as if they are making up different tuition and payment policies depending on their email correspondence and how persistent parents are. 

This is tough for all of us and we are already continue to pay our house cleaners (full) since they can't apply for government funding. Daycares and their staff can. 

I have friends whose daycares decided not to charge the parents or left it up to how much they can contribute. We would have been happy to contribute to a teacher emergency fund or see part of our deposit go to that but their non-responsiveness and way of communicating shows greediness and no compassion.

I believe the way daycares and their management handle these times reflects greatly on the overall values of any daycare and might not be the place to want to be in. Going forward, April will not be the last month under shelter, this will likely be extended, parents might still not have a job in May or June, and this pandemic my be seasonal. Asking daycares what they did during this time will be crucial.    

Stay safe and healthy! 

I'd work with your childcare.  Ours had us pay tuition for the first 3-week period, but offered a discount of 1-2 weeks to those with demonstrated financial hardship.  Then they emailed us this Monday noting they'd waived April tuition, to allow folks to pay for other childcare or needs as they saw fit.  our center is affiliated with a large church, and they are fortunate to be able to use reserve dollars to keep things afloat - I sense this is exceptionally rare though.  Talking to other friends, most schools are asking for 50-75% of tuition for April to allow them to have enough to pay their teachers.  A few schools waived tuition, but noted they were furloughing teachers without pay and asked families to hire them for 1:1 care to provide income.  I would push on your center - there is a high degree of administrative "laziness."  They feel overwhelmed and most aren't great at HR anyway - so they don't know that the CARES act provides $600/week *in addition to* to the maximum unemployment folks can get from the state of CA.  As a result, they think doing a temporary furlough where they pay health insurance will leave teachers unpaid or cause them to "quit."  When in fact many might make *more* than they usually do.  (This was the intention for workers like ECE folks who would otherwise spread contagion by not staying home and engaging in higher risk childcare work in homes.).  Your best bet is to rally other parents and together ask for the tuition break!

My daycare has not been very forthcoming with info during this time. I have had to reach out multiple times to get info. We paid in full for March with no refund, which I fully expected and understand. Then in order to keep her spot and not lose our initial deposit we have to also pay for April. They gave us the choice of paying full price to support staff, or keep her spot by paying 50%. We are only paying 50%. Personally, I understand wanting to support the teachers who are out of work, but a lot of people are out of work right now, thats why they expanded unemployment coverage. I think its not quite fair to have us keep paying, but I'm also not willing to lose her spot because it is a good daycare. Essentially we are stuck between a rock and a hard place, its quite the business model. Good luck!

My daycare is a large daycare and is remaining open for anyone who wants it, not just essential workers. Because so many of us are keeping our kids home, they have a small number of kids to care for and are keeping them somewhat apart and sanitizing. They reduced April tuition by a couple hundred dollars, but May will be same. 

We withdrew, because retaining a spot is not as important to us as the health of our family. We're paying May as a courtesy, but beyond that we're done. Folks might see things differently, but we don't see our child going back until a vaccine is in place. 

We stopped sending our daughter to daycare mid-March, paid the full month. We also paid for the full month of April knowing that we'd still be keeping her home. At the time, we were fine paying full price to keep her home because we love the daycare and said we'd keep supporting them while we both had jobs. Two weeks in to April I was furloughed... We were just sent an invoice for May... I recently read that shelter in place will be in effect for the bay area through the end of May . We aren't able to pay full price but want to keep our spot, I just wrote our daycare about a reduced rate for May. I will report back on what I hear, I hope it's 50% like others have written about here. 

When I think long term, I wonder if it's even worth paying the 50% to hold our spot... I work in corporate food service and sometimes I doubt I'll have a job to go back to. My company estimated a June 1st return date but I doubt that now. I might be staying home longer than I imagine and therefore it wouldn't be worth paying $ to hold a spot that she might not need for a while.