Daycare during Covid
– Apr 6, 2021(4 replies)
Hi parents, I’m aware that during the pandemic many daycare’s and preschools shortened their operating hours so that teachers can stay with the same pod throughout the day. Now that things are slowly reopening up and more and more are getting vaccinated, I’m curious if your schools have plans to return to pre-covid hours? Ours (in Oakland) don’t have plans to and I’m wondering if that’s just the new normal or if it’s unique to our school.Apr 6, 2021
Ours isn’t going back to pre-covid hours. It’s super frustrating as a medical worker as my hours haven’t changed. Would love to follow this thread.
Hi - This! We are in a similar boat. Our daycare hasn't indicated any plans to return to prior hours yet (in Berkeley). With the "full reopening of the CA economy" scheduled for June 15, I am hoping that the childcare regulating agencies will provide updated guidance on relieving the pod requirements and will allow "mixing". I have to assume this is coming if they are forecasting full returns to school as part of the "reopening of the CA economy". The limited hours are really taxing...
Here's what our preschool wrote to us about the hours for next year: "If covid-19 restrictions are still in place, the 2021/2022 hours will be similar [8 hours, with staggered drop-offs]. Once restrictions are lifted, the hours will increase most likely to 9.5 hr/day."
– Feb 9, 2021(3 replies)
Hi parents, i'm beginning the daycare / preschool search and am finding that a lot of places are operating at reduced hours and late morning start due to COVID, i.e. 8:30. How do working parents manage around these hours if you have a job that requires early start like 7am? Do you hire help in the mornings to bridge the gap? I would imagine it would be difficult to get a nanny to come for just 1-2 hours in the morning? Would love feedback on what other parents are doing. Would note that both my husband and I are on the same early work schedule so it's not possible to stagger our hours unfortunately.Feb 9, 2021
Most preschools and other in-person programs right now require you to only be in one childcare "pod" so you may not be able to hire outside childcare in addition to the preschool (our school doesn't allow it in order to keep the bubble contained). So it's worth checking with the places you are considering to make sure they would allow that if you need it. I think it is actually not necessarily hard to find someone for just a short time in the mornings, for example a student or someone with another 9-5ish job who wants a little more to supplement. I've heard of people hiring morning nannies even in non-COVID times because very few daycares or preschools start before 8.
I'm responding not because I "have it figured out" , but precisely because I don't, and I feel that that can be just as valid (and maybe helpful) input as any other... Our preschool doesn't open until 8:30 now, and I work from home. My first work zoom call is often at 8am. I'll get everything ready, feed him breakfast, and give him the iPad to get thru my meeting, and then when that's over (between 8:30 and 9) I put him in the car and race the 10 minutes to school (5 min for drop-off), and 10 minutes home. My work only sort of loosely knows this is happening. We're all just doing our best. Sometimes my mornings are extra-crazy because I'm trying to catch up from falling behind (that 30+ min I wasn't working), sometimes it's OK. Occasionally my Mother in Law can help and drive him to preschool - those mornings are nice. Good Luck!
We had to negotiate with our jobs that each parent can arrive at work early 2-3 days a week, and the other 2-3 days they will be in later (but can stay later as well!). We both work about 9-11 hours a day not include commute time, so even without covid we had to make this compromise with our work. We found that we were not the first people to have young children at our jobs, and they were able to accommodate us. Might you consider broaching the conversation with your supervisor or with HR? You are a caretaker, and they have a certain obligation to reasonably accommodate you.
– Jan 13, 2021(16 replies)
I'm a medical provider in Berkeley whose daughters attend preschool here. Since March and when school reopened sometime in June, our school has not required the children aged 2 to 5 years, to wear masks. The staff masks and they require parents to do so on pick up. As a PCP, and one who now specializes in COVID, I’m a little confused by this protocol. With that said, I understand that developmentally it’s difficult to understand partially verbal kids when they are masked. I’m wondering if you know of any other schools who are doing the same thing and if so, they have been Covid free. I’m also wondering if anyone has any tips to convince my school to require masks until at least, we have some local herd immunity. You’d think my medical expertise would be enough, but alas, it is up to the teachers. Thanks for your time.Jan 13, 2021
Our home daycare required masks beginning in December for kids over 2+. The kids take them off inside to eat and sleep (which they do a lot.) They don't seem to mind them. That said...in January all the kids and at least 3 parents got Covid. We're all ok. The teacher and her family did not get Covid so hopefully at least wearing masks for them helped.
My kid's school (18 mos - 6 yrs) only recently started requiring masks, and even now only for kids 3 and up, and only while they're indoors. There have been no covid cases among students or staff, but requiring masks in school will do nothing to prevent it getting in in the first place, so who knows what would have happened if someone had been infected. We felt ok about this because they spend a ton of time outside and are very well-ventilated inside. (But I do feel better now that they're wearing masks.)
Our preschool does not have mandatory masks for the children. The kids 3.5 years and younger tend to not wear them while the older kids (3.5-5) do "wear" them. Having watched the kids from afar and during pick-ups, the kids seem to be touching their faces significantly to adjust their masks. In addition, seems by pick-up no kids are wearing them. While masks are good for kids in theory, the behavior of kids shows that masks will probably not be worn effectively with kids under 5. Also, last time I checked, WHO recommended kids under 5 not to wear masks.
Also, we've had one staff member test positive for covid, but no one else in the school tested positive. Seems that masks for adults and trying to keep air flow moving in the classroom has been successful thus far.
– Sep 22, 2020(6 replies)
I am an essential healthcare worker for Alameda county. I am currently on parental leave, I will be resuming work in November. I had applied for a spot in a lovely daycare in Feb and from the ongoing communication it appeared that they would have a spot in November and we would receive paperwork to finalize our spot. Then last month some of the existing families in the daycare were concerned about the additional risk I would bring and were not keen that our family join the daycare. I explained to the owner in brief the risk and all the precautions we would be taking. But a few days later we get notified via email that, they would prefer everyone to have equal risk and so they cannot offer our family the spot. I am beyond disappointed that this is happening . While I understand that the owner is doing their best to keep their business afloat but is this legal? Can they discriminate like this?Sep 22, 2020
I don't know the legal aspect, but regardless of the legality, you don't want to be somewhere that people aren't comfortable having you/your child participate. It won't end well for anyone. We just switched daycares because of COVID-related issues and I was surprised that of the 6 places I contacted, 5 had, or thought they would soon have, openings. I was impressed with all of them in different ways (especially what they were doing around COVID) and NONE of them asked me anything about my job or what activities our family engaged in outside of daycare. They only told me about what THEY were doing to mitigate risks and what they asked of families (things like temperature checks, staying home when sick, communication, etc.) I would strongly encourage you to just look for something else that feels like a good fit for everyone. There are options out there.
I don't have any advice on the legality of this but I wanted to empathize. I have been profoundly disappointed at how little childcare support there has been for essential workers in Alameda County throughout the pandemic. I am also a healthcare worker and bristle every time I read an ad for a "safe" childcare or distance learning pod of work from home families. They feel very painful and remind me that we are not all in this together. I might reach out to your employer if you work for a larger institution to see if they have any formalized childcare options for staff as this is unfortunately not an uncommon issue right now. Best of luck to you and your family.
Wow, that is insulting in too many ways. What about grocery store workers? Firefighters? EMTs? Doctors? Other hospital workers? Anyone else working with the public? What about any of them or any daycare workers? Are they going to turn all of them down? What about careless people who do end up socializing improperly? Who else are they going to turn away? They're taking a risk keeping their daycare open, so this is not fair. I'm so sorry. As if you don't have enough stress and pressure in your life as a healthcare worker in these times. This is shameful, unforgiveable, and definitely illegal. I don't know if I would want my kid in a place that has that kind of attitude anyway. They should be reported, but you may want to just move on to a much more respectful and sensible daycare. Shame on them!
– Aug 10, 2020(1 reply)
I'm looking for an attorney that specialized in contract law. Specifically I'm looking for someone who can give legal advice about what my options are regarding my day care. My day care refuses to re-enroll our child unless we sign a ridiculous covid waiver form/contract addendum (which is within their right), but now they won't return our deposit and first month's tuition. More specifically they've just completely ghosted us and won't answer our emails. Can a daycare even refuse to re-enroll and not return a deposit if you don't agree to a contract modification?
They also owe us a partial refund from what they received from the PPP, but now they won't even acknowledge our existence. All and all we're probably out 10K+ :(Aug 10, 2020
I can't speak to the deposit issue (though will say that the conditions for a deposit refund were very explicitly spelled out in our preschool's contract, so it's worth doing a close reading to see if it also is in yours). For the PPP, though, tuition refunds are not an allowable use of PPP funds, so it's possible that they made this promise before being advised that it was not permissible. In an ideal world they would just be honest and say so, but I can imagine they may just be dodging questions about it in the interim to avoid confrontation. I would not expect to see that money back, and would probably just focus on getting the deposits refunded (or, depending on your goals, on getting your child enrolled without the waiver requirement). Good luck--hopefully someone can provide an attorney suggestion!
– Jul 20, 2020(9 replies)
Hi fellow parents,
Long time reader, first time poster. My husband and I are trying to decide whether or not we should send our 11 month old son to daycare next month. He was admitted into the daycare of our choice after being on a waitlist since December. If it weren’t for the recent rise of Covid cases, I think we’d feel comfortable sending him. The daycare sent us a long and detailed list of ways that they are keeping everyone safe. However, we’re concerned about the risks of exposure especially as we have been sheltering in place since March. My husband and I both work full time and we are blessed to have had family live with us for the last 7 months to help with childcare. They are scheduled to leave us next month.
If we delay his enrollment, we’d be put back on the waitlist with no estimated date given for when he’ll be re-admitted. We could temporarily move in with my parents for a month or so and then look into hiring a part time nanny until things get better and/or his name gets called again. Our jobs are flexible enough to where we could work off hours, and be with our son when the nanny is not around.
Our concern is that we’d be hindering his development by keeping him home. At the present, his only interactions have been with adults and he’s had very little experience playing with other babies. We’re worried that he’ll be bored or under stimulated and that this will hurt his social skills in the long run. Can you tell that we’re first time parents? 😂
We’d love to hear insight from other parents who have children in daycare or have a nanny. How are you managing any concerns about keeping your children (and yourselves) safe?Jul 20, 2020
We had concerns sending our kid back to preschool so the first person we spoke with was our pediatrician. We actually spoke with 2 pediatricians in the practice. I would recommend speaking with your doctor. Both of ours were encouraging sending our child back to school especially with precautions in place. Data has shown young kids are not spreaders and cases are mild.
A recent article said there have been cases "linked" to California daycares (eg a parent had it from work) but not one case of a child to child spread and that's out of 35k+ daycares licensed in the state and daycares have been open for months (and some never closed).
We had exactly the same thoughts when our daycare reopened in June! We were concerned about the risks of exposure but also that we would hinder our son's (18 months) development by not having any interaction with kids his age.
We eventually decided to send him back to daycare based on a few things: 1) Regarding our child's safety: Current research shows that young children are less likely to catch COVID and are less likely to spread it (so far, there have only been very few COVID-related deaths in the US among children under the age of five). 2) Location of the daycare: Berkeley (where our daycare is) has been doing pretty well in terms of COVID cases and new infections. 3) Risk for others: again, young kids have consistently been shown to be slow to spread the disease and we are not living and are never in close contact with any people that are at high-risk who could be severely affected by the disease. Plus I am also fortunate to be tested for COVID every two weeks at work. 4) Our daycare has been doing an AMAZING job implementing all COVID-related regulations and policies including keeping children in small pods of 3-4 (there are 10 kids in total) and wearing masks at all times.
Taken all these things into consideration we felt personally comfortable sending our son back to daycare. I completely understand parents who don't send their kids back to daycare/school though! It could very well be that we also change our minds in a few weeks, especially if cases continue rising. But for now, we fell very good about our decision!
I am not sure this helps I just wanted to share our thought process :).
My girl is 17 months old and we put her back in daycare when they reopened in June. They are keeping the classes small and having cleaning protocols. Honestly I think its less about the daycare itself and more about how compliant the other families are about wearing masks, social distancing, etc in their daily life. Our daycare has asked parents to keep kids home that have any signs of illness, or if anyone in the household as any signs of illness, asked us all the be responsible in our daily lives, if we have to fly anywhere we must self quarantine at home for two weeks before bringing her back in.
With that said, you can't really control anyone. Its definitely a gamble, but one hat we felt we had to take. We are both working from home and could NOT do so with my daughter home. Before COVID she constantly had some sort of cold from daycare, since going back she hasn't even had a single sniffle. I think they are keeping things really clean.
We have family that can help us vs daycare, but our family doesn't really follow social distancing and mask wearing so I feel like they are more of a danger to her because they don't sanitize the enviornment like a daycare would.
– Jun 24, 2020(13 replies)
HI everyone, our daycare has recently fully opened up but none of the staff or teachers wear masks, and when we inquired about it, they seemed to imply that's just the way it is and that they are not going to force anyone to wear a mask. They ask that parents wear masks during drop-off and pick-up. I'm curious what other daycares are doing in terms of asking staff/teachers to wear masks? I've heard of some reasons against it as young children can be scared of masks, but in this environment with COVID cases still rising so quickly in our county (we are in Oakland), it seems like wearing masks for teachers/staff is the right thing to do? Curious what other daycares are doing. thanks!Jun 24, 2020
Our daycare does not use masks either and I'm happy about it. Parents have to wear masks and kids take off outside shoes upon entering or the shoes get wiped clean. Young kids learn so much observing teachers expression and watching them speak (key for speech development) that it will delay young kids' development to be around masked caregiver all day long. Our daycare is small and young kids cannot wear masks anyway so as long as the caregiver are ok not wearing masks (it is home daycare so they are all owners or their family members) as a parent I'm happy with it.
At our school (Little Elephant too!) in Berkeley, all caregivers wear masks.
Wow. I assumed every school/daycare was. Our preschool (Colibri in Oakland) all the teachers are required to wear them. It is optional for students (I don't think any are). Parents must wear them at pickup and drop off.
– May 5, 2020(10 replies)
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?May 5, 2020
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.
– Apr 7, 2020(3 replies)
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 :-)
MarianaApr 7, 2020
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.
– Apr 6, 2020(4 replies)
I am wondering what other daycares in the area are doing in terms of tuition for April. Ours was closed for 2.5 weeks in March when the pandemic started and we paid in full and no discount was offered. For April, they are charging parents 50% of tuition while the daycare is closed. i am curious what other daycares are doing for April (and I am asking specifically about Daycares, not preschools or private schools for older kids where teachers are offering online curriculums). This is a really tough situation for everyone and I've seen a whole range, from full refund to charging full tuition so very curious to hear from more parents. Thanks!Apr 6, 2020
Ours is also charging 50% to hold our spot. If we stopped paying she would lose her spot and our 1 month deposit. It really doesn't seem fair, but its what we have to do I guess!
Our is a small in home daycare and they left it to the parents to decide what to do. We are paying in full since we can afford it, I believe some others are not paying or paying partially. They are still open for essential workers so are not completely out of revenue since the kids of essential workers still attend and pay the full fees.
Same situation for us: closed for 2 weeks in March, charged full tuition; charged 50% in April. The explanation was that this (and other measures) will allow the daycare to keep all the teachers employed. The teachers prepared some resources for us and recorded some “reading circles”.
– Apr 4, 2020(12 replies)
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.Apr 4, 2020
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.