What will childcare look like during and after Shelter in Place?

Hello BPN parents.


I am the mother of a 2-year old and like everyone else, childcare is very much up in the air during Shelter in Place. Some people I know are still having their nannies come over, mostly because they are working from home or essential workers. Those of us with babies and toddlers enrolled in daycare have had to juggle work, home, and childcare alone at home, in isolation.


As of today, our toddler is still enrolled in a Montessori daycare/preschool, and April's tuition has been waived, but the question that I think a lot of parents have is, what about May? June? And, thereafter? If elementary, middle, high school, and even college campuses aren't planning to go back until the Fall, at best, then what does that mean for daycares and preschools? More importantly, if COVID-19 and social distancing is forcing us to rethink and change the way we interact with communities and large groups, then how does it change the landscape of childcare institutions? How are the norms going to adapt, like classroom capacity, shorter hours, staggered drop-offs/pick-ups, mandatory masks and gloves for teachers and staff? Are there going to be any other types of childcare resources for us, and if so, what are those resources going to look like? Is anyone giving up their daycare space and looking for alternatives? Would love to hear people’s thoughts and feedback.


Stay safe and in place :-)

Mariana

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We secured a solo-care nanny part-time, who is furloughed without pay from her office job.  This works for us, as she can work for us for the duration of this situation, until both our daycare and her employment re-open.  We deliberately chose someone who is taking SIP seriously (limiting exposure, etc.).  While it does open us to some exposure, the reality is that we're likely in this until Sept/Oct when - at the earliest - a vaccine would be available.  We can't afford to juggle work and childcare until then, and with every company stretched thin, the best thing we can do for our family is remain high performers to increase the security of our jobs.  Our daycare waived tuition, so we have more financial flex than some still paying partial tuition.  We also have a guaranteed spot when they reopen.  Honestly I cannot fathom anyone on a waitlist being willing to pay full tuition indefinitely until schools re-open, so I think if folks are more forceful about refusing to pay for services they can't use, they will be more successful in getting a tuition waiver and having the flex to do something else right now.  There will be no need to maintain distancing once there is a vaccine so I don't foresee any reason or need for centers to be dramatically changing schedules, services, protocols, etc. in the future.  Very few will be re-opening before they can justify doing so with business-as-usual practices to their municipalities, as operating under the SIP regulations for centers is essentially impossible (it prohibits a floater teacher, and given need to maintain ratio, for anyone to take a break you need an extra full-time person assigned to each room - and no daycare has margin to hire *more* staff as they - on average - already only have a 1% profit margin!)

My family looked at the worst case scenario and devised a plan based on that. First of all, I'm high risk and my job is mostly canceled because it relies on in person interaction for most of it. So my career has been impacted and I'm staying at home and homeschooling the kids. Without a vaccine in place we would never send our older kid back to public school nor our younger kid back to daycare. What's the point in saving a daycare spot that we can't even use? So we withdrew our younger kid and will send him back after there is a vaccine. For our older kid, I hope the schools would not penalize us for keeping him home this fall, but home is where he will remain without a vaccine available. And I would hope that if this continues into the fall, that the schools have the good sense not to open schools back up. 

If you're in a 2 parent household, either you work it out together for a longterm way of caring for your kid and getting your work done, trading work and childcare hours, or someone's work is impacted for the duration of this pandemic. I don't see any other way. 

My child attends small in-home daycare and I expect those to become more in demand as they are much smaller.  My child is at home now since I'm able to work from home but as soon as SIP is lifted and attending childcare is allowed he is going back right away.  The daycare is small and I feel safe him attending over the summer (we are lucky not to have anyone high risk at home) even if the older school aged kids need to stay home (we are skipping camps this summer).  We are continuing to pay the in-home daycare for now but I'm hoping that by June the SIP will be loosened a bit and they will be able to re-open.