Daycare during Covid

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi BPN community! I could use some advice. Our small daycare is not requiring teachers or kids 2+ to be masked since CA’s “reopening” in June. Since the delta surge, I’ve expressed my concern and to the daycare director and asked that they revisit this policy, shared data and resources, and tried to understand her perspective. 
    The director feels the other precautions they’re taking are enough: she implied all teachers are vaccinated but couldn’t confirm for employee privacy reasons, parents don’t bring kids with any symptoms without a negative Covid test or dr note, the kids are outside a lot, they have air purifiers… but the fact that they essentially will not even have teachers wear masks is alarming. This school is otherwise highly recommended and we respected the director and practices before this issue. I get that small daycares often take time to implement new policies but at this point, it seems she’s willfully ignoring science and licensing requirements. The daycare has not had any Covid cases and most parents seem to take Covid precautions seriously but I don’t know them well.

    I really don’t want to take my kid out of our daycare (and I’m not sure we could even find an opening at an alternate, and we can’t afford a nanny share), but it seems like we may have to move in that direction. Any advice or other things to consider, fellow parents? We can’t not have childcare again. Would sending our kid masked while waiting to get off a safer daycare’s waitlist be something you’d consider? Thank you!

    [Moderator note: There is a similar question from a week ago - see No Masking at Preschool]

     If your kid is old enough for preschool, you might try enrolling them somewhere with openings that has covid policies more in line with your own priorities and the CDC recommendations. Preschools seem to tend to be less pricey than daycares and nanny shares. It’s late in the year to apply and enroll, but some places will still have spots. Looking for an outdoor-only place is another option, and one that we have chosen for our son for preschool.  Good luck! This is a stressful time for everyone 🍀 

    Whoa.  No masks on the teachers?  That would be a hard no for me.  That is just a nightmare waiting to happen with Delta.  Our friend's 1yo got very ill from COVID she caught at daycare about 2 weeks ago.  She had about a week of fever, vomiting, diarrhea, cough and then developed pneumonia and spent multiple nights in the ER with difficulty breathing.  I understand the kids not wearing masks 100% reliably when only 2 but our best protection for our children who cannot be vaccinated is that ALL of the adults around them must be fully vaccinated and wearing masks 100% of the time. 

    Well, unfortuantely for that director they have no choice. They are actively breaking the law by not requiring masks indoors for anyone over the age of 2 regardless of vaccination status. There are also special COVID rules that all licensed daycares must follow to be able to operate. I would inform them of the current mask mandates and report them to the health department as well as the licensing board. Also, as a parent to a 2.5 year old in daycare...I would look for a new daycare ASAP. They sound like they don't actually care about the health and safety of children.  

    We’re new to daycare, but ours is taking things very seriously. Adults wear masks, kids above 2 wear masks, we were all reminded of the illness policy last week. Plus lots of cleaning, filters, etc etc. our provider has made me feel as comfortable as she possibly can and I definitely trust she’s doing the best she can given the circumstances. I’d connect with other parents at your school to see if anyone else wants to push the issue, talk to the director again, and get on some waitlists elsewhere.

    I'm an administrator for a small preschool so am on top of regulations. For the first 8 months or so of the pandemic it was utterly confusing because there were directives coming from the state and county health departments as well as child care licensing and things didn't always align but we were always told to go with whatever was most restrictive. The Alameda County health & Berkeley health departments hosted super informative webinars for child care schools so the resources are out there to get informed, and licensing sends out updates to all licensed facilities. Now the regulations are pretty clear cut, child care licensing is having everyone follow the state and county health departments which  both say that everyone over the age of 2 in a child care facility is required to wear a mask indoors regardless of vaccination status, except when napping or eating. Masks are optional outdoors for vaccinated adults. Our staff has chosen to mask outdoors so that there is no concern with getting close to the kids who are of course unvaccinated and due to concern about the Delta variant impacting children.

    Your teachers are correct that preschools can't legally require nor even ask about the immunization status for a vaccine that is not required by law. However, the teachers can opt to disclose their immunization status if the wish to. We gave that option to our staff and everyone has openly shared that they are vaccinated. 

    If the teachers aren't masking indoors or you have other concerns about whether or not they are following health department regulations you should call licensing and file a complaint - this will trigger an inspection which isn't as harsh as it sounds as preschools are supposed to get them annually anyway (either surprise or announced, in person or virtual) -- more inform on that is here: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/ccld-complaint-hotline

    You can also look up any preschool's inspection and complaint (if any) history here: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/community-care-licensing/facility-...

  • No Masking at Preschool

    (12 replies)

    Hi Parents,

    Our preschool currently does not require kids to wear masks.  In the past, when the question was asked, the rationale was that it's too hard to keep masks on kids.  I have many concerns about this in light of the Delta surge and looking for feedback from other parents on 1) does your daycare/preschool require masks for kids 2 and up as per CDC recommendation?  2) any advice for approaching this topic with the Director?

    thank you!

    Our preschool (Broadway Children's School/Oakland) does require masks for all children. I believe the director had noted that it was a recommendation or requirement from the state board. They have back-up single-use masks (with fun prints!) for kids to try if theirs from home aren't comfortable, and if that doesn't work, the kiddo is sent home to try again the next day. They also had plans set up that if kids were having difficulty with their masks that they would be moved away from the other kids until the issue could get resolved. Only one of the 3-4yo's had problems (and eventually worked it out), the others had no problems. It helped that all the teachers and helpers wore their masks 100% of the time to model the behavior and that the kids had been practicing wearing masks at home. It also helped that they had easy-to-understand rules for when masks could be taken off: only during snack time when the kiddo was sitting in their socially-distanced snack spot, which itself was visually marked with a colorful hula hoop.

    My tips: help them locate fun back-up masks, suggest ideas for making it easier for kids to understand (model the behavior, clear rules), and ask other parents to also express their concerns to the director.

    1) Yes, our preschool requires masks. We enrolled in Feb 2021, when vaccines weren't out yet. I had pointed out to the director our child wasn't accustomed to masks, and she said that wouldn't be a problem because since everyone wears masks on campus, our child would learn just to do it as well. This turned out to be true. 2) No practical advice comes to mind. You would be essentially lobbying to change preschool policy, which I think is totally doable, but I have no experience in that kind of effort... perhaps if you talk to other parents and get their buy-in to ask the preschool to change policy? It depends on the preschool. If a co-op, I can imagine this being possible. Our preschool is fairly 'top-down', so because they already had the policy in place, we felt comfortable going with then. Good luck... 

    Our preschool does not require them but "encourages" them for the 2s and 3s class. The 4s class is "strongly encouraged" to wear masks. When this started (at least in the 3s class) I often didn't see many of the kids wearing them. But the longer they've had that expectation in place the more and more of the kids have been wearing them. With the move to the 4s class, my child seems to be wearing his much more consistantly. I think this is practice, age and the teachers gentle reminding and encouraging.

    Hello,

    I recommend you most certainly talk directly to the director of your school.  MOST preschools and elementary schools are enforcing masks.  It is a false statement to say that children cannot get covid, or pass it along to others.  While we are enjoying excellent protection from the vaccines, the state of things is clear--we can still get sick.   I personally know of a PE teacher from a local Waldorf based school, who indeed did get sick w/ covid last year.  Excellent contact tracing revealed it was from the student body.  (this was CONFIRMED, not conjecture).  The resistance to masks is dangerous.  Small tykes can handle it if they can blow their own noses, or feed themselves!  We see kids all over the place masked, they are fine.

    Masks were required this past school year for our son's preschool class (age 3) except during nap time and when eating (they were distanced for both). The school's 2 year old class had the same rule and these rules continued over the summer even when rates were low. I think it is reasonable to recognize that 2 and 3 year olds are not going to be perfect at this but that is no reason to not try. Yes, there will be times where one of two of them have their masks below their noses, or off completely. But teachers should be expected to remind them to pull them back up or help them do so. After about 3 weeks in school, my son was completely fine wearing a well fitting mask throughout the entire school day. Talk to the school to see if they are considering an alternate approach and practice extended mask wearing at home for a few weeks. Also, find a well fitting mask - we found halo masks to be the best fit for him but happy masks were a close second.  

    Hopefully this is no longer an issue because the CA dept of public health is now mandating masks for everyone over 2. If the school hasn't started requiring this they're in violation and it's very serious  - call the office that issues their license they have a hotline: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/child-care-licensing

    Hello! My 3yo attends Little Tree Montesssori and they absolutely enforce mask wearing for all kids. To be fair, I have been training my daughter to wear a mask since April 2020 when she was 2. I totally understand how difficult it can be to enforce it, but it is most certainly not impossible. I would approach it with them honestly and ask what their policy is on keeping the kids safe from covid-19 and what protocols they have in place for sanitation and what happens if a family gets sick. Understanding their whole approach to the pandemic might help guide your decision on whether or not your kid is safe there.

    Yes my child's preschool has a strict mask policy (for the whole last year) and it has been no problem. As a result my child is great with a mask at parks/playground etc. I'm now sending my kid in a N95 equivalent mask due to Delta. In fact my youngest child's daycare will have a mask policy for 18 months and up. For the youngest ones, it is about helping them with it and easing into it. But yes, especially over 2 years old masks should be required and teachers can help with that. 

    Our preschool starts at age 2 and everyone wears a mask. I was pretty skeptical last summer when my kid (then 4.5) went back to his preschool, I thought there was no way the kids were going to wear masks. But they all saw each other in masks, and they did fine. Kids are so adaptable, especially at preschool away from their parents! Here's a resource with some good talking points for advocating for mask requirements: https://yourlocalepidemiologist.substack.com/p/advocating-for-kids-resou...

    That would be a dealbreaker for me (though I appreciate that finding a spot at an alternate preschool is easier said than done, so you may not have the option of switching). My kids' old preschool, and all of those our friends' kids currently attend in Oakland and Berkeley, still require masks for all kids and teachers. Parents report that kids seem to have no trouble with this (and this is what I've observed hanging out with friends with preschool-aged children--many are much better maskers than adults!) There are undoubtedly individual kids who struggle with masks, but the preschool should be dealing with those cases one-on-one. Most significantly, this is not currently the preschool's decision to make, assuming you are in the Bay Area--there is currently an indoor mask mandate for all schools for children age two and older in both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties (and most of the region). If they are not enforcing that, this would be my entry point as a parent. Good luck!

    My kid’s preschool requires all kids to wear masks, except when they eat, drink and nap.  All teachers and staff are fully vaccinated and wear masks as well.  Since preschoolers are still not eligible to be vaccinated and can still transmit the virus and get very ill, if I were you, I would directly raise my concerns to your school director and see if they will change their policy.  If they don’t, I would probably pull my kid out of the school.  Best of luck!

    Our preschool requires masks on all kids. My kids (4yo and 25 months old) don't have an issue with keeping their masks on. Anytime I do pickup, dropoff, or see pictures of the kids at the preschool, all the other kids have their masks on too. Seems like a nonissue to me.

  • We adore our daycare provider. We were giddy to send our second kid to them. It is a small, nurturing in home care situation. However, they won’t get vaccinated against covid. Ideally they would get vaccinated. Any advice on gently and respectfully encouraging them to do this? 

    I would first ask what is making them hesitant to get the vaccine and provide resources from reputable sites like the CDC. Then maybe appeal to their conscience. If one of the kids got COVID and died or had serious illness, I imagine they'd feel awful. They may be part of a community that may have had historical and understandable distrust of medical providers too so maybe coming from mother to caretaker, the appeal will be stronger. It makes me wonder if they get their flu shot too. Unfortunately, this would be a deal breaker for me....

    I think your chances of getting them to change their mind are nil. However, I think we all have a responsibility to protect our community, and I think talking to the unvaccinated is part of this responsibility. I would suggest that instead of trying to encourage them, you open a conversation. Talk about your experience with vaccination and covid. Ask them about why they are hesitant. Listen respectfully. Do not argue, counter, or discount. Use "I" messages and express your feelings, perhaps disappointment. Ask to revisit the conversation later. her 

    The other possibility is get others to join the effort. Gather all the families that use the provider. Determine if you are all on the same page. Work together to get what you want. 

    Pull out your kid and run. I assume they are probably anti mask as well. The Delta variant is a real deal. Your kid WILL get sick. It's just a matter of time. I would not risk it whatsoever for your child or for your whole family. Breakthroughs are the norm nowadays, vaccinated or not.

    I personally would get another daycare ASAP. In my opinion a childcare provider that refuses vaccines is essentially saying they don't care about the health and safety of the children in their care. We toured a daycare at the beginning of the pandemic that refused to wear masks! I couldn't believe it. 

    Vote with your feet and your dollars. Do you really want someone with this type of judgment caring for your kids?

  • Preschool / daycare hours

    (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. 

    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."

    I have been asking my daycare (berkeley) every other month about this, trying not to be a nag because we work in healthcare and if anything our hours are longer than normal right now. They said they are going to update us in the late spring, but the hope is to increase the house a little once the teachers are vaccinated fully and there's more guidance. I can't wait, it's been a long year of juggling daycare, but I'm also grateful ours didn't close!

  • Reduced hours at childcares during COVID

    (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.  

    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.

  • Our Preschool not requiring masks for kids

    (16 replies)

    Hi all,

    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. 

    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. 

    It is not difficult to get 2-5 years old to wear a mask. My kids preschool has been doing it successfully since they've been back this past summer. The kids adjust easily and it is definitely the best way to control this pandemic. My understanding this is a requirement for licensure and your childcare is not following the guidelines. All the info should be on the county childcare licensing page and also of course the CDC and local DPH websites. 

    My sister in Chicago said even with masking requirements, 5 kids came down with COVID at her kids' elementary school the first week school was in session and so she will only have her child learn virtually until Spring at least and reassess.  It's a difficult situation.

    My child's preschool (in Berkeley) requires masks and it is no problem for the kids. Because they are not expected to social distance, I would be uncomfortable if they didn't and wouldn't send my child. My friend's kids' preschools (in the Bay Area and beyond) also all require masks. I know some pods don't require masks but that also makes me uncomfortable. I also like the my child is now very used to a mask and we expect our child to wear whenever out of the house. I would have thought the city/state guidelines require masks above age 2. If I were you, I would look into the city/state guidelines and perhaps they are on your side and that will convince them. If not, I would talk with other parents and see if you can all agree and they contact the director and let them know.

    Our preschool in Oakland doesn't require the kids to wear masks. They reopened in June and we haven't had a single person in the community come down with Covid. The teachers wear masks and get tested once a week. Parents have the option to test their kids weekly too. It is a small school and each class is kept separate, there is 3 total, each with 10 or fewer kids. I have no problem with the kids not wearing masks and I trust the families of the kids he spends his days with to adhere to a certain lifestyle to keep us all safe. 

    My daughter graduated from Blue Skies from Children preschool in Oakland, before the pandemic.  But I spoke with some parents who were still there, and they said Blue Skies is following the same protocol as your school:  masks on the teachers and parents, but not the kids.  With the express reason that learning social skills is the most important thing kids get out of preschool, and that process is too hindered by not being able to see each other's faces.  I heard they did not have virus outbreaks there, but you could check that with the school or other current parents.

    It sounds to me like your school's teachers are making the right decision about what's best for the kids.  I'm just a parent who has seen two kids grow up.  Including a kid who currently has to wear a mask at his preschool.  Which I think is the wrong decision, that's been detrimental to the kids' social development.  So granted, I'm not a medical provider, but I can't tell from your comments that you're any better informed about weighing health risks than I am.

    Our preschool also does not require the kids wear masks. They do have a lot of other protocols in place. We have been reopened since June as well with (knock on wood) no COVID incidents. 

    Our child is not yet in preschool but in seeking one for this year, I specifically sought one that did NOT require masking of young children.

    The schools I found that did not require masking have not had any outbreaks - not have the schools that do require masking. I am not aware of outbreaks in daycares or preschools in the area.

    In addition, based on the data I have reviewed and research available, it has not appeared to me children 1-10 (in particular) seem to be particular spreaders or particularly vulnerable, do you have other data available on children? I'm happy to share (exchange) materials on the topic.

    In the end, I chose the route I did because I did not want my child to mask because there "might be" an issue (when we have 1 year worth of data that appears otherwise). I also chose our school because offering her a "normal" social-emotional experience (especially during these times) felt worth the "risk" as I interpret it.

    My son has been in preschool 3-5 half days a week since June 2020 and kids do not wear masks. There are 10 kids and 3 teachers. Teachers do wear masks and they spend most of their time outdoors. There have been no COVID cases. Some families are essential workers and work in hospitals. We have had 3 scares with common colds going around, but everyone has tested negative. 

    The daycare for my four year old has not required masks for kids in their infant through pre-K program. Masks are required for staff, parents, and kids in kindergarten and up (afterschool program). The daycare has been following this protocol (along with lots of hand washing; not rotating staff; not allowing parents/outsiders to enter the classrooms) since June, and I am not aware of any COVID cases within the daycare community. Knock-on-wood!

    Everyone at the in-home daycare where our child goes wears masks. They started in Sept when the smoke meant lots of time indoors with windows closed. The kids (2-3 years old) tolerate them well and only take them off to eat and nap.

    According to Alameda County's DPH, "children in childcare are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings unless they cannot tolerate wearing one." That's for children 2 years old and up. Quote from this website: https://covid-19.acgov.org/schools under Childcare -> Child Care Provider FAQ (ACPHD, 9/24/2020)

    I hear your concern! We have our 4 yr old in a parent coop pod with 3 others. Because the earlier coronavirus was less likely to be transmitted to and from kids we decided on no masks or distancing for the kids. Word is that the new variant might be equally contagious for kids — we are considering introducing masks for the kids. 

    Our preschool/daycare had the same policy (masks only required for adults). They've been open since June, but only recently changed that policy (November) for all 2yo and up. I would recommend reaching not only with the teachers/staff, but also other parents! The change at our school was somewhat spearheaded by another set of parents (who are also in healthcare) who first brought it up to the other parents, and received a lot of support. The realization that masking would help contain the spread of other viruses (cold/flu) made it a no-brainer!--school policy is families must keep kids home if they have any symptoms such as coughing, runny noses, etc. I don't think the teachers want to fight with kids about masking, and so making it clear that kids are willing and that parents are supportive is helpful, I imagine. 

    2) We had an entire family come down with COVID in December, including the 1yo in my daughter's toddler classroom. Obviously, 1yos are not masking thus this boy was sharing a classroom, unmasked, with Covid for 3 days. No one else got sick. 

    I hope this helps. Good luck! 

    Our preschool has strict cohorting and mandatory masking for teachers and kids except when they are eating or drinking outside. Parents must be masked and do not go past the vestibule at drop off or pickup. I am also a healthcare worker and this was important to me. I have been incredibly impressed with the director, the teachers, and how easily the kids have complied (my son joined this preschool in August but I believe they reopened with this policy in June). Feel free to reach out to me directly if you want to discuss further. We go to the El Cerrito location of Mi Mundo and cannot speak more highly of the staff and school.

  • Denied spot in daycare because of my job

    (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? 

    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!

    I might consider contacting the Alameda County Department of Public Health. I know the county's guidance suggests that "Group child care should be prioritized for use by essential service employees and those who would otherwise not be able to work."

    IMO, your daycare is at least acting immorally and I suspect the Department of Public Health might have a few choice words for them.

    I'm not sure if there's a legal prohibition on what your daycare is doing, but worth a shot to call and ask the Department of Public Health.

    http://www.acphd.org/media/560647/acphd-child-care-guidance-20200319.pdf

    I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. I’m also a medical provider and was really worried about exclusion from social pods but never imagined the exclusion would be institutionalized in this way. I know everyone is afraid for their families right now and there may be a particularly vulnerable kid at the daycare. However I feel like the right thing to do would be to quietly withdraw your kid not make a scene about excluding another family. 

    Wow, that's awful. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I saw several preschools actually reopened spots for fall specifically to essential and frontline workers and gave them a priority. I hope you found one like that where it's a better fit!

  • Hi all,

    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+ :( 

    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!

  • To daycare or not to daycare?

    (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? 

    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. 

    Good luck!

    TL;DR: The decision is based on your family's risk tolerance and your son's temperament.

    My son went to a daycare starting around 7 months and switched to a nannyshare at 14 months, at the start of the pandemic due to daycare closure. We thought the nannyshare was temporary until we noticed that my son feels more secured, is more social, and thrives better under more 1-on-1 attention compared to a daycare environment. We decided to keep the nannyshare until there is a vaccine in place, both for my son's developmental benefits and for safety. We love nannyshare even though it's not risk-free, because my son gets a friend to play with and has more attention. 

    If your daycare is small (e.g., less than 8 kids and 2 or more caregivers), its risk level is proably on par with a nannyshare. You can always have your son attend the daycare now for a couple of months, get a feel for it, and then decide whether to stay.

    I'm sure every parent is struggling with this decision right now. Since so little is known about Covid-19 and young children, there is no right or wrong answer, you just have to choose what is best for you. That said, an 11 month baby does not NEED peer socialization. Babies at that age are only dimly aware of other children, and they don't actually start playing with other children until they are much much older, 2-4 years old. You are NOT doing any developmental harm to your baby by keeping him at home and having loving interactions with grown-ups! And if you lose your place in daycare, you'll get another spot somewhere else. So don't get bogged down by those factors at least. Good luck!

    With so many unknowns for us it came down to balancing our (informed) sense of risk, our need to actually get work done and feel sane for several hours a day, and our instincts about the daycare place and the other families there. When we balanced those (particularly the sanity during working hours aspect), we made the decision to go back to daycare. Emerging evidence seems to suggest reduced risk of infection in younger kids, so the science seems leaning toward it being safe-ish, especially if the adults are wearing masks and there's increased handwashing and outside time. I think you're totally right about social development. The transition back to daycare was really tough for our 2.5 year old after months of just family but he's doing so much better now and is happy to participate at school and talk about his day.

    Plus, if you go to daycare and don't feel safe, you can pull the kid out and go for the nanny/family thing...you won't know until you try! and expect lots of crying at the beginning...from everyone

    Hi there,

    We have a 3.5 y/o in preschool and an 11-month-old in a nanny share, and we also agonized over whether and how to restart childcare after shelter in place. Ultimately we decided that the precautions in place at school, plus the ones we agreed to take with the nanny and the other family in the share, made us feel safe, and that the benefits to the kids were worth it. Preschool has a long list of ways to keep everyone safe, probably similar to what your daycare has in place -- masks, distance, lots of cleaning, lots of time outdoors. At the nanny share, we're doing all pickups/dropoffs outside with masks and distance except when we're literally handing off the baby -- so, rather than looking at it as a social bubble, we're doing everything we can to minimize contacts between the adults. Only the nanny and the babies are together without masks. Results after a few weeks are that both kids are really happy and we have some sanity + mental space. It's not an anxiety-free choice, but it's for-sure the best one for us.  

    I have a 9 month old foster baby living with us who recently started daycare. Like you, we were also concerned that he was under stimulated and bored being only with adults (and we are not first time parents!). I do think that the fact that we were not able to take him to playgrounds or to meet with other children and babies was starting to have a negative effect on his development. I have been impressed with our daycare's commitment to keeping everyone safe as much as possible. Of course it's a risk, life is full of them. With the information we have at this point (babies rarely having serious symptoms, rarely infecting adults), it seems safer than the otherwise lifelong emotional and developmental risks, but who knows- 

    Your child is still in the parallel play phase, so your son would probably get less out of being with other kids than you think. If your child were closer to 2 (or older than 2), the issue of their development would be more of an issue. I think girls become social and move out of the parallel play phase a bit earlier?? So, at 11 months he might get sufficient "social" time through some sort of "pod" arrangement with some trustworthy families of similar-aged kids so your son can have a playdate a couple of times a week. For us, there was a big change in the style of play when our son was closer to 20mo-2 and at that point he seemed to get something out of playing with other kids and going to library story times etc. He had a little friend who is 3 months younger and it was interesting to see this developmental pattern repeated with his friend as well. So, if it's development you're worried about, I don't think preschool is a necessity, and you should do what works financially and risk-management wise. 

  • Masks at Daycare?

    (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!

    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.

    Our preschool which has kids 18 months to 6 years has all providers wear masks.  I have seen photos from preschool though throughout day where masks may be pulled down during instruction which I prefer.  It will be easier for kids to communicate and listen to instruction in addition I'm a firm believer of children seeing facial expressions at this age in life.  Part of the reason we felt comfortable with sending our kid to school is by discussing this with 2 pediatricians from our practice who both said kids are not big spreaders of Covid. 

    I'm only looking at daycare/preschools that are taking the risks of this virus very seriously. Many are requiring all staff to wear masks, including Guidepost Montessori, which is where I'm currently leaning towards. I have a beloved babysitter watching my daughter (19mo old) a few times a week (for about 4 hours a day) and she has not had any trouble wearing a mask the entire time and my daughter has not shown any possible negative reaction to it. She's very used to seeing them at this point and will remind us if we don't have our masks on when leaving the house. I think it's a very reasonable and smart expectation at this point. For me, if a place did not require them, it would reflect poorly on their judgment and safety concerns for their staff.

    Our daycare (18months - 5 years) does have masks on kids older than 2, teachers, and parents. It's the only reason I felt safe sending my kid back, as my husband and I are working from home. They take off the masks for snack and nap time, but when the kids are playing together they are masked. They have school-only shoes, get temperature checked at arrival, and use lots of handwashing and sanitizer. We sign them in with our own pens, as to not share. We also bring home their bedding every day.

    My kid likes his mask and is excited to be back in school. He's learned that we wear masks around everyone who is not our family to keep everyone safe, as we don't know who is sick. For me, non-masked caregivers would be a deal breaker.

    Our daycare does not wear masks and I'm OK with it. Like other comments have said it helps for children to see our mouths when speaking. There aren't as many kids at our location (as normally) and the kids spend a lot of time outside, so I feel like they are mitigating as much risk as they possibly can given the circumstances. 

    All the caregivers at our daycare are wearing masks (kids are not). My son is totally used to seeing adults in masks, so he wasn't scared, and recognized his teacher instantly even with the mask. This does make me feel more comfortable.

    At our daycare all caregivers wear masks and so do most of the older kids - but not because the kids are forced to but because they really want to (I think they think these let them look like superheroes or something :)). All younger kids (ours is 1.5y) are not allowed to wear masks due to the suffocation risk. I am a big proponent of masks in general but I also think that all the kids and caregivers of a given daycare will spread their germs among each others anyway with or without mask (although likely faster in the latter case).

    In our daycare (tri-valley, Alameda county), all staff, including all teachers, wear face coverings. Parents also wear masks at drop-off/pick-up. Kids seem to be perfectly fine with that. 

    Wearing masks for staff is the right thing to do -- it's one of our only current tools against controlling COVID-19, and it's also a state requirement.  Both my little ones are in daycare/ preschool, and all the staff wear masks. My 20 month old just started daycare a month ago, and I had to hand her off to strangers with masks. She was used to seeing masks and adjusted quickly. Sorry you have to deal with this!

    Here's a link to a State of California web, "COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Child Care Programs"
    https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Infection-Prevention-in-Childcare-Programs-Guidance.pdf

    We have a rental property with six women.  (One of them works at a day care.)  She spent last weekend with her sister who now has COVID symptoms.  She doesn't have any symptoms yet, but that can take 2-4 weeks.  In the mean time we have to assume all of her roommates have the virus and that it is being spread to the kids and family at the day care where she works.  (I don't know if she has or will tell the familes at the day care where she works.)   

    On the other had not sure if at a daycare environment if we can prevent the spread of COVID.  Yet at the same time hospitals in the Bay Area are near capacity due to COVID speading faster than it has in the past.

    This virus doesn't care about peer pressure or politics.  I would read the latest research on the spread of COVID at day cares.  Remember it's not so much your child get the disease.  But your child brining it home and infecting your family. 

    Best of luck with this.  In the mean time wear your mask and practice physical distancing. 
     

     

    Masks required for all caregivers at our preschool in El Cerrito/Kensington.  They also have a bunch of edited rules including:  no parents inside, disinfecting policies and more.  That said, they will not freak out when kids get close to one another, and are still encouraging play together outside.  Biggest different:  all children are in pods and not interacting with one another, and caregivers are limited to ONLY their pod.

    I appreciate this grounded and safe approach to pre-school because I firmly believe keeping schools open is necessary.  Kids need school.  In person school.  Not a zoom.

  • 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?  

    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: https://www.wired.com/story/the-case-for-reopening-schools/

    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: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2766114

  • 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

    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.  

  • Daycare Tuition during shelter in place

    (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!

    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”.  

    We are with Kindercare, and they are not charging while they are closed. They have been sending daily lesson plans too, but as my husband and I are working we haven't been doing them :)

    It seems that some of the smaller daycares (mom and pop ones) are charging while larger ones aren't

  • Child care tuition during shelter in place

    (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.

    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.  

    Hi,

    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...

    Hello, 

    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. 

    Hi! I requested that my automatic payments be canceled until the pandemic is over.