Childcare & Preschool during SIP

Parent Q&A

GMIS Preschool Information? Aug 4, 2020 (0 responses below)
Is your preschool implementing a COVID surcharge? Jul 18, 2020 (22 responses below)
Looking for a preschool in COVID-19 time? Jul 3, 2020 (2 responses below)
Nanny and Family Agreements During COVID-19 Jun 29, 2020 (9 responses below)
Preschool Pod - how much to pay teacher/caregiver? Jun 26, 2020 (1 responses below)
Masks at Daycare Jun 24, 2020 (13 responses below)
Preschool Openings in Berkeley Given Covid May 22, 2020 (1 responses below)
Keep Daycare spot or withdraw until vaccine in place? May 5, 2020 (10 responses below)
Do preschools accept new kids now? Apr 29, 2020 (3 responses below)
Preschool Distance Learning & Tuition during Shelter-in-Place Apr 27, 2020 (7 responses below)
Start preschool in the fall or wait? Apr 13, 2020 (1 responses below)
Daycare Tuition during shelter in place Apr 6, 2020 (4 responses below)
Child care tuition during shelter in place Apr 4, 2020 (12 responses below)
Planning for newborn childcare during Covid 19 shelter-in-place Apr 4, 2020 (2 responses below)
Au Pair "Training" During Quarantine Apr 4, 2020 (9 responses below)
Nannies allowed under new SIL restrictions? Apr 2, 2020 (6 responses below)
COVID-19 and nanny Mar 29, 2020 (21 responses below)
What is your daycare doing during the Covid19 closure? Mar 25, 2020 (3 responses below)
  • GMIS Preschool Information?

    (0 replies)

    Is anybody else currently sending their kid to GMIS preschool? We're supposed to start there at the end of the month but we haven't been able to get a response to emails or phone calls for the past month. I'm not sure how they plan on handling health safety or if the school is still planning on being open.

    If any other parents have heard anything or been able to get in touch with anybody at GMIS, it would be great to hear from you. Thanks!

  • Hi all,

    our preschool is looking to add a substantial surcharge to regular tuition (20-30%) and has stated that this is what preschools do these days. Has your preschool been adding a surcharge or planning to do so? If so, how much? 

    Thank you!

    Nope. We recently decided to switch from our larger preschool to a smaller one, so there's less chance of spread of germs. And neither of them had upped their prices at all in this time. In fact, the larger preschool had a "pay what you can" policy during the shelter-in-place shutdown, just to help pay the teacher's salaries. Adding a surcharge in this situation seems a bit out of touch to me. I haven't heard of other places adding charges. We're all struggling to get by!

    My son is at Little Beans preschool and they have not implemented any surcharge or change in tuition. I don't know what they're doing for tuition for new students, but their policy has always been that tuition rates for existing students are frozen from when the child starts at the school until they age out.

    Our preschool has not added a surcharge but they were lucky in that the space they have been using can be configured to split the kids in to separated groups up in mostly outdoor areas. I'm sure some schools are limited by their available space and the challenge of keeping adults spaced apart. To achieve the teacher spacing we have had a reduction in our daily hours by 1 hour. I also believe most of the parents were paying full tuition (by choice) during the first few Covid months. I can easily imagine scenarios where a school might need to increase tuition by 20% to cover extra supplies, spacing, and a reduction in children as some parents opt to keep them home. I do think you'd be well within reason to ask for an explanation of the increase. If you don't like the explanation, you'll probably find that there are openings elsewhere right now.

  • Looking for a preschool in COVID-19 time?

    (2 replies)

    Our son is approaching 1 year and the adage in bay area is to start looking even earlier than this. Have mostly been dealing with work stress and keeping baby at home but trying to figure out how to enroll or even learn more about Pre-schools when now its near impossible to visit them to better understand whether they'll be good.

    Any advice? Resources or links are super helpful.

    I don't have any general advice, but (depending on where you're located) I'd recommend looking into OrcKids in Albany. We've sent both our kids to their original location Sunflowers in Oakland and I'd recommend them to anyone! We've been happy with their precautions (masks for grownups and lots of handwashing). I'm pretty sure they have openings in Albany and they're being careful to schedule tours when there aren't kids there, which I think is a good sign of how seriously they're taking health and safety even though it does make it less convenient. 

    I’m going to possibly ruffle some feathers, but I say wait until you have a better handle on what your child’s temperament, interests and development trajectory are. The differences in my kids have been striking and each has needed a different preschool  environment. There would have been no way I would have been able to know what each kid’s needs were that early. Even though we waited, even then the program we picked for one was not a good fit and we transferred out early on. The other only spent one year in a placement then switched out the next year.  I swear not everyone gets on a waiting list when their kid is in utero! And with COVID-19 you will have no way of knowing if whatever program you choose two years in advance will even still be around when your kid is preschool age. Relax and enjoy your remaining time with your kid. It goes by so quickly!

  • Nanny and Family Agreements During COVID-19

    (9 replies)

    Apologies if this has been posted elsewhere.

    Since our day care closed permanently (due to COVID-19), our family has transitioned to a nanny to provide care for our kids on a part-time basis. What expectations, specifically around wearing a mask, have other families asked of themselves and of their nanny's to keep everyone as safe as possible?

    Hi! We have a nanny for our now 19-month-old daughter. And as you probably know, keeping toddlers indoors for long periods of time in a small apartment can drive everyone crazy, especially when she's used to being outdoors. Our Nanny has stayed working with us since the start of SIP, and she has strolled around the neighborhood with our daughter. When she goes out she wears a mask. Inside the house, she doesn't need to. We are a shoes-off household, and maintaining good hygiene and wearing mask outdoors for adults has been the main rule. She has not been in contact with too many neighborhood kids, and other nannies until recently. The rule is for adults to maintain social distance with masks. With the children is to maintain good hygiene (washing their hands frequently and wiping down toys). It's all-new territory for us, but I understand how precious and important it is for children to have social interactions for their development. I hope this helps! 

    We haven't asked our nanny to do any of that as we have accepted the risk of getting Covid by sending our older child to preschool and having a nanny in our home.  I'd prefer if our nanny didn't wear a mask so our child saw the facial expressions of the nanny at this age in life (he's only 5 months).  However, if our nanny asked to wear a mask, we'd respect her wishes.  In addition, our nanny sees her family (which we would never ask her not to do) but she has let us know outside of her immediate family, she takes precautions.  

    We needed help but wanted to make the situation as safe as possible for our caregiver. So, we asked her to wear a mask at all times, we have spray bottles of sanitizer around the house for her to use and ask that she use it on herself and our daughter when she comes in. We also leave all the windows open and make sure the house is cleaned before she gets there and we wear masks at all times when in the house with her. We also limited her to only four hours at a time, and asked her to spend as much time as possible outside with our daughter. She has been fantastic about all of that and it makes me feel better as her employer knowing that I am trying to limit her possible exposure as much as possible while she is providing me with an enormously beneficial service. Just be upfront about it and make sure they know you are taking their health and safety very seriously.

  • Our beloved preschool has closed, and our family is looking to start a preschool pod with other families.

    Total number of children would be around 3-5 kids.

    Seeking advice on how much to pay? Our pod leader might be a former preschool teacher or director.

    Families would host the pod and provide all the materials. Should we treat this like a share situation? Looking for advice.

    Hi, I'm so curious and thankful to see this post! We are planning to do the same! I'm both terrified and really excited.

    Currently we are planning to have a much loved pre-k teacher as educator and are in the stages of imagining what our set-up will look like. We are thinking 3-4 kids, a shorter day, and wondering about $12-$15/hour per kid. (Still very much figuring out the finances of it). We are also planning to have a "guest" art teacher 2x/week. We are now planning to rotate between two homes versus staying at one and the families would provide some back-up with set-up and support if needed and provide a break for the teacher.

    Writing this I realize just how much we still have to figure out but are trying to do the best we can to keep the kids engaged and socialized. Be well. :)

  • 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!

    RE: Masks at Daycare ()

    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. 

    RE: Masks at Daycare ()

    At our school (Little Elephant too!) in Berkeley, all caregivers wear masks. 

    RE: Masks at Daycare ()

    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.

  • Hello,

    Our family of three is planning to relocate to Berkeley(space, the beautiful flowers, the list goes on) from San Francisco. Our 3.5 year old son goes to Katherine Michiels School in San Francisco. Will preschool admissions in Berkeley occur at their regular rate or will they slow down because of the need to maintain space in the school area? Does anyone know if this has happened already? My concern is that it would make finding a vacancy that much harder(or impossible) for maybe the entire next year.

    Kind Regards


    I think you might have to reach out to your preschools of choice and inquire. Our preschool (open for essential workers) is enrolling because there are kids leaving for TK and K, and they'll need to fill the spots. Good luck! 

  • 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. 

  • Do preschools accept new kids now?

    (3 replies)

    I was wondering if anyone knows if preschools are accepting new kids now with a start date after the SIP is lifted (we are not essential workers so kids are home now).  I was having a hard time getting my preschooler into a preschool of my choice but I am hearing that a lot of people are now withdrawing from preschools to avoid having to pay and several preschools are low on enrollment.  Do you know if preschools are trying to fill those spots now?  I'm ok paying tuition during the pandemic and support the preschool with the hope that in a month or two when this is over my kid will have a spot.  The preschools I'm looking into are year round so the summer coming up is not a concern.  I'm going to try to send some emails but wanted to check to see if anyone went through the process since if new students are not accepting now that it will be a waste of time to try applying since I don't want to pay several application fees to just get on long waiting lists I have no chance to get off of until my kid is in school. Anyone in this situation or tried contacting the preschools about this?

    I've contacted 6 preschools. 4 of the 6 got back to me and said they were planning to open in Fall 2020 as of now. 3 of them had availability for Fall 2020. The other 2 that did not get back to me - I suspect some preschools will also unfortunately be permanently closing. Reaching out directly and following up with questions has been where I've gotten my questions answered. I feel fairly confident I can get my son into *a* preschool in Fall 2020, but I am not sure if there will be guidelines in place that limit enrollment and/or restrict hours. In other words, I am casting a wide net and not trying to have my heart set on the top choice. No one has mentioned application fees and putting me on waitlist, though I'm still in preliminary talks with everyone.

    I know my kid's school is not accepting new students right now, because they can only open with lower numbers due the restrictions on group sizes. 

    I know our preschool in El Cerrito is accepting new students and is currently open following the new state guidelines. I think it's probably a preschool by preschool basis.  Also, our preschool has seen a decrease in enrollment due to lay offs and people feeling uncomfortable sending their kids to school during SIP.  So depending on where you are located, I would think you will be able to get your kid in preschool as enrollment has decreased.

  • Hi preschool parents! As the time for decisions for next year's enrollment nears, I'd like to make an informed decision about what different preschools are offering in terms of tuition discount and distance learning, in case we encounter an ongoing intermittent shelter-in-place scenario. I'm particularly interested in the 2yo to 5yo age group. Thank you for any information you can provide at this time!

    1. Is your preschool in-home or commercial?
    2. Is your preschool open for children of essential workers?
    3. Is your preschool offering tuition discount or reimbursement for children who are distance-learning? If so, how much or % reduction?
    4. How many online lessons per day is offered to your child? How many lessons per day does your child attend (realistically)?
    5. Has your school offered a plan for reopening?


    1. I am in a commercial preschool that is on the larger size (maybe 80 kids?)

    2. my preschool is not open for essential workers

    3. They are asking if we can to pay the full amount, which we did.

    4. they probably have some type of activity each day. Whether it be a class check in or a larger music class.  Realistically, we are going to 2 a week.  My daughter is in the 2s class and can't focus on zoom for that long.  She also gets very sad seeing classmates when she can't be in school.

    5. We don't have a plan for reopening.  My understanding is that many of the preschools have no additional information than we have and as waiting to see what classroom requirements will be to figure out what they can realistically do.  I get the impression they hope to be able to be open in some form this summer--but no guarantees.

    • Our preschool is in a large combo daycare/preschool center in Berkeley. 
    • After evaluating they opted to not be open for essential workers because it would be too difficult to meet guidelines (not enough teachers without floaters to provide the breaks which are disallowed under the new rules). 
    • The center is affiliated with a larger nonprofit that is using reserves to pay salaries.  We paid in full for all of March (were given the option for a 1-2 week refund if we demonstrated financial need).  We have not had to pay for April, and were just told we do not have to pay for May. 
    • We get a handful of activities, videos, etc. from teachers each week - nothing live and no connections with other students/parents.  We typically read the suggested e-book and watch the teacher videos (2-4 min each) a couple times that week. 
    • The school has written a plan that is going to the nonprofit leadership for approval, but we have not been given a copy of the plan.

    Margins are crazy-tight on daycare and preschool - less than 1%! - and friends who study ECE say 50% of centers will likely close and not re-open due to these shutdowns.  So food for thought may be that by paying some/any tuition they request is an investment in your child having a place to go when things do reopen.  Our family is lucky that we haven't had to pay, but we'd be dipping into savings to contribute to our preschool to ensure it remains open and teachers are cared-for if we did.  It's already excruciatingly difficult to secure a spot, and if our center closes, we know we'd be up a creek without a paddle!  We have done virtual info sessions with other preschools but many of them have told us a spot is very unlikely as they will probably have to reduce class sizes to meet any kind of new standards that emerge for fall!

    1. non-profit
    2. yes, starting next week
    3. yes, parents are asked to contribute "a fair share" to cover operational costs only
    4. between 2-4 per week (depends on classroom, we have several), we also get daily activities per email including recorded story time and activities that parents can print or show kids on tablets/ computer; we attend all, but my kids realistically only participate for 20-25 min - some days they refuse to be seen; overall attendance is around ~50%
    5. No. It's not possible because there is currently no timeline for when any childcare facility is allowed to open for non-essential workforce families. But the reopening plan for essential families scales. 

    Hope this helps! Good luck! 

  • Start preschool in the fall or wait?

    (1 reply)

    Hello BPN Community,

    I am wrestling with the decision whether to send my son to preschool in Fall 2020 (he will be 2.5 at that time) vs. keep him with his current nanny for another year.  I know this is a very personal decision and others have posted about this.  One school we looked at is Children's Workshop Oakland and skimming BPN for reviews I find only a few very brief (though positive) comments.

    Does anyone have recent experience with this school and would you be willing to share your thoughts (privately or publicly)?  

    Thank you in advance!

    hi!   I can't comment on the particular daycare center but I am an educator and we are being told that we might still be teaching online in the Fall.   So for safety's sake, I'd encourage you to postpone your decision at least until January 2021.   He can enter mid-year or just wait until Fall 2021.  good luck during these difficult times. 

  • 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 :-)


    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”.  

  • 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.  


    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.

  • I am giving birth this week to my first child and have not secured childcare.  Originally, my husband and I were going to start looking in March and take our time through the process.  I'm an educator and my husband is self-employed so we have some flexibility, and were hoping to secure something by July.  With Covid 19 and California's shelter-in-place order I'm not quite sure how to navigate this at all.  We are mostly interested in a nanny share.  Thanks for any insights!

    My experience with both my children (5 and 10 mos) was that things fell into place with a nanny share about 6 weeks or so before we needed care. It can feel like you're cutting it too close but families and nannies often aren't looking before then so it can be hard to find something much earlier. So if you're hoping for care in July, you can at least wait it out for another month or so to see where we are with the epidemic and stay-at-home orders. 

    There is no reason you can't reach out and start talking to families who might be posting about nanny shares now. You don't typically meet in person until you think you're a match anyhow, so if you see a posting that seems promising, reach out, say hello, start a convo and meet up later. Also agree that you don't need as much lead time for nanny shares as you do with daycares, so 4-6 weeks is a good window. 

  • Au Pair "Training" During Quarantine

    (9 replies)

    Hi All, 

    Would love your advice on the following matter. We have an AP who has been with us for 2 months (this is our 5th AP). I had concerns early on but was willing to give it the 60 days to get to know each other, etc. Long story short, we had a plan to rematch (unbeknownst to her) and that fell through due to Shelter in Place. While I am SO grateful to have childcare, wondering thoughts on either a) best approach to bringing up our concerns and training her to our level of expectations OR b) if we should just let it go since this is literally during a global catastrophe and she is able to more or less care for our children while we work. 

    Would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks so much! 

    Hi! This is such a tough question. We are on our third au pair and have also not been totally satisfied with all her choices. But I think for everyone involved this may not be the time to rock the boat. She is probably feeling a lot of disappointment about her experience abroad not being what she expected. And your kids are probably feeling some sense of the world not being normal, no matter how old they are. If she is giving you what you need to be able to work, I would try to make the best of it and keep the relationship as positive as possible. Maybe choose one or two areas to provide guidance as gently and positively as you can?

    Let it go and be thankful that you are so privileged! 

    Oh, my. Unless she’s literally setting the house on fire, I’d sit tight, be cool, and thank my lucky stars for the extra support. It’s hard to overstate the difficulty of WFH full time without the benefit of an extra pair of hands. 

  • Hi parents,

    Are nannies and babysitters allowed under the new shelter in place restrictions (which took effect at the end of March) for non-essential workers? I can’t seem to find clear language about this, especially for Alameda county.

    My understanding is that nannies are not allowed for non-essential workers unless the nanny is a live-in and quarantines with you.  Though take a look at list of essential workers carefully as you might be surprised to find that many people who are able to work from home nevertheless can be classified as essential workers and so there is an interpretation that would allow them to have a nanny to be able to get their essential work done even though they are working from home.  

    Yes.  Home-based care for children is allowed in Alameda County.  It is not within the city of Berkeley (they have their own health dept) which has restricted care to that for essential workers only.

    It's quite clear, they're only allowed for essential workers. To the previous poster: trying to interpret the definition of "essential worker" to include non-essential jobs undermines the spirit of the law and increases both your COVID footprint as well as the risk for your family and your nanny. 

  • COVID-19 and nanny

    (21 replies)

    Hello families-

    I'm interested in knowing what families are doing with their nannies during this period of time.  I am an "essential worker" and need to go into my office periodically, but I am mostly working from home.  I had my nanny with us the first week of the shelter in place and then gave her two weeks off with full pay.  This is an unprecedented crisis- how are families handling paying their nannies if they are not working during shelter in place?  Should we pay them indefinitely if this continues beyond April 7?  I'm interested to hear how others are handling this situation. 

    RE: COVID-19 and nanny ()

    We sent our nanny home a couple weeks ago. We gifted/granted her some pay when we told her we would discontinue having her for awhile, and then helped her apply for unemployment (we pay her via payroll, so she's eligible). She is receiving some unemployment, not close to what we were paying her, so we'll have to evaluate as this goes on, if that's enough for our nanny. We want to support her if we can, and she's also helping run errands for us in between too.

    RE: COVID-19 and nanny ()

    Hey Oakland Fam- If you plan on retaining your Nanny maybe speak to her about a reduction in pay for now and/or set up Zoom sessions and keep her engaged as well. 

    RE: COVID-19 and nanny ()

    If you have been paying your nanny “on the books” (ie paying taxes) then she should be eligible for unemployment insurance. If you have been paying under the table then I think you have a moral obligation to continue paying until the crisis is over, at least as long as you still have income since she will have no income protection otherwise. 

  • Is it possible for a daycare to offer anything useful online for 2-year olds? Our daycare is sending lots of email advice, and trying to organize sing-alongs, but I find this more frustrating than useful. Is any type of remote care or instruction possible for the under 3 set? We also have a 5 year old, and for that age, zoom circle time and other online content seems useful. Our daycare is also trying to figure out what to do about tuition for the coming months. Any insights from what your daycare is doing would be helpful.

    Our daycare is not doing much for the 2-year-olds, and I'm not mad about it. The teacher called to check in. I appreciate her concern, but I'm not sure there's much to realistically expect of these folks, remotely. We are paying them to watch our kid while we're at work, and they can't do that now. My 2yo definitely doesn't understand Zoom meetups. Right now, our family hasn't lost income, and so we are going to continue to pay the daycare, even though he's not going. I know our daycare doesn't have a financial cushion, and I want the staff to keep getting paid. I want them to be able to pay their rent. And I want them to still be in business when we're all allowed out of our houses again, so I'm sending my usual tuition checks as scheduled. It is understandably a different calculation for those who are out of work right now. 

    Ours so far is remaining open, but only the essential worker parents are sending kids at this time. Husband and I are both working from home with our 2 and 4 years olds home until who knows when. 

    Months ago we had planned to move the 2 y.o. to preschool April 15. In light of SIP and worry for our daycare provider’s income being impacted, we decided to pay for an extra month) even though our daughter will not be going. Our daycare provider has always been there for us and as long as we remain able to (or both have our jobs), we want to be there for her.  That said, I fully understand that everyone’s situation is different right now and we are all just doing the best we can. 

    Zoom does not work well for the little ones so doing daycare instruction online is not very helpful.  Our daycare is just close for now and we are still paying the usual tuition.  Once shelter in place is lifted and they re-open we are looking forward to going back, and in the meantime we have a parent's group online where we exchange pictures of kids so kids can browse picts of each other.  My kid loves it.