Keep Daycare spot or withdraw until vaccine in place?

Hi parents, our daycare is currently charging 50% of tuition to hold our spot.  We have been struggling with a decision of whether it's even worth it to keep paying 50% to hold our spot, vs just withdrawing and keeping our child home and seeing how things shape up in the Fall (when another wave of the virus can hit), or until a vaccine is in place.  Even if daycares were to reopen, we aren't sure if we would be comfortable sending our child to daycare, since it sounds like kids can easily spread the virus as they can be asymptomatic or have different symptoms than adults.  How are other parents in similar situation thinking about this?  

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You are asking the right question and each family will be thinking about this differently depending on whether a parent is a stay at home or can continue to work from home and whether they have high risk family members.  We are young and healthy (so thankfully not high risk) and are staying away from all high risk family members, and since both parents need to work full time and working at home with children is insanely difficult we are going to send our little one to daycare the day they lift SIP and allow it.  So, we are still paying tuition since we fully intent to continue attending daycare the moment it is allowed.  If, however, I intended to leave my child at home for months after SIP is lifted either because I have no work conflicts or because we were high risk and could not afford the health risk, I would withdraw from daycare since a working vaccine is likely years away and this will continue to be an issue into the fall and winter of next year.  So it all depends on what are you going to do when they lift the SIP order and allow daycare but while there is still a risk -- will you send your child to daycare in the summer/fall/winter when it is allowed or keep him/her home to avoid the risk? 

We share the same concern with you. We have a 19-month old boy and he has been on the waitlists of a few daycares. Because of the COVID19 situation, we are also not sure whether we want to send our boy to a daycare even if we get a spot. But of course we have to figure out a way of childcare when we have to go back to our workplaces after SIP. We've started to look into nanny share, which is likely safer as our boy will be interacting with the nanny and one or two families that we know. Plus our boy will have one or two friends that he can grow together with. But we haven't made much progress in finding families who live nearby and have similar thoughts...

My husband is a frontline worker for COVID. We have three kids, no help and we work from home (and he goes to the hospital). We are asking the same questions. For us, it’s non-negotiable (the decision we made). But it’s a decision we have to make  based upon OUR circumstances. Our goal is to not get sick. There’s downsides to that. We will be social distancing our kids for at least 18 more months, which we know will probably have severe ramifications. Here’s what we tell people who are looking at us as a guide of what to do:

1. Do you need a paycheck? My guess is yes.

2. Are you prepared to handle this virus if you get it? My guess is that you don’t know.

3. Have you had the virus and recovered? If so, do you believe in herd immunity?

4. Do you have a plan if you get it? If you don’t, make one. We’ve had 18 friends and family get it and a plan is helpful. 

Ultimately, we have no idea what the future holds. My husband has his hunches but no guarantees and the same is true with are alternative possibilities. For some of us, we care more about the health aspects; for others of us, we need to put food on the table. For many of us, we care about both. This is a soul searching moment. What is your why? What is your reality? Can both realities co-exist? We are all getting through this. Everyone needs to be prepared to help one another - community will be everything, even if it’s not face-to-face. Some people are heroes because they are on the frontline. Some are heroes because they said, “I’m going back to work dammit to feed my family.” This is where we’re at, asking these types of questions. 

In the meantime, we have asked our kids’ school if they can observe classes online and do the work that way. We are still waiting to hear back. We would love to help the school stay in business during this challenging time. But we aren’t ready to send our kids back to school yet. 

I am with you! I don't know what we are going to do yet, my husband and I just started talking about it. He's working and I'm furloughed, when I was working it was extremely difficult for us to both work efficiently and watch our daughter. My job gave early June as a restart date but I doubt that will happen. But say it does happen, and I can start working remote again, it is very tempting to send our daughter back to daycare as soon as they open. Our daycare is on the extreme side of cleanliness, they are strict about sending sick kids home.

But is it worth the risk? We don't know what kind of safety measures the other families are taking or the staff when they go home. Social distancing is impossible with little kids and our babe is at the age where she wants to put anything and everything in her mouth. Given that children can be asymptomatic, it freaks me out that children could unknowingly spread it to each other and their families. 

We've done so much to protect our family so far, it seems too risky to send our daughter to daycare until there is a vaccine. I'm terrified of anyone in my family getting sick. I also wouldn't mind leaving my job and staying home with our daughter to increase our chances of staying healthy. I'm sorry I don't have an answer, I'm just writing to relate. I will report back if I find any articles or talk to anyone with interesting ideas on the topic. 

I would not count on SIP to be lifted in the fall or maybe even by next spring.  I'm a part time instructor and it's already been decided there will be no classroom instruction.  Last week we were told to expect same for Spring 2021.  Remember this is a virus so changes of "us" finding a vaccine is not very likely.  "Our" best defense is isolation and to let this thing burn itself out.  If we get this thing we still don't know if we develop and immunity or if we do, how long it will last.  I keep hoping we will find a miracle cure, but I think I would have better odds of winning the lottery 10 times in a row.  Keep your distance and stay healthy. 

Our family is having similar kinds of questions. Right now our comfort level with this virus has improved, as we are all at home with limited/no exposure. I am pregnant with our second, our first is almost 3. The idea of all of us going back to work and sending our boy to daycare feels scary. The idea of me quitting my job also feels scary for many reasons (retirement, stability, career), but I am willing to prioritize it in order to grow a healthy 2nd child. However, the idea of me and my boy staying home while my husband goes to work is unsettling, as he can then bring it home to us. Right now it is hard to figure it all out, as things are unfolding slowly. This will probably last a long time, so we will try to make a decision with that in mind. For now, we are both still collecting income, so we are still supporting our home based daycare center with a reduced tuition rate, feeling positive that we are supporting someones family during a time like this. In a way, it mostly comes down to money & health-- not an easy balance. We just have to do what we think is best (or the least damaging) for our family.

We withdrew and keeping him home until a vaccine in place. One parent whose job has been effectively canceled due to COVID19 will be homeschooling our older kid and parenting the 20 month old until there's a true public health solution. 

Not everyone is so lucky, I know, but I hope you can find a solution that works for you.

I wouldn’t wait for a vaccine.  There may never be one.  This is a PERSONAL decision and depends on comfort level.  Based on the data we’ve seen (no child fatalities in CA and VERY few for those under the age of 50), we feel comfortable sending our child to daycare.  We also are planning on discussing with our pediatrician but at our last visit she was more concerned about the flu for children than covid-19 (children this year have died of the flu in CA).  Also daycares and preschools are going all out to comply with guidelines - no sharing, regular cleaning, masks, etc.    But at the end of the day this is really a PERSONAL decision.  

This article was recommended by another parents group I'm in:

It made me pause a little bit and think maybe it'd be ok to send our daughter back... but I think my gut feeling is still no. 

Thanks for this post. It's helpful to hear what others are thinking. I don't think believe in waiting for a vaccine, because as another poster wrote, there may never be one. Regardless, keeping your child home until COVID-19 is better under control / passes is completely understandable. I will also share this recent commentary from the Journal of the American Medical Association on school closures and whether or not they are effective in controlling the pandemic. Food for thought: