Childcare & Preschool during SIP

Parent Q&A

Preschool Openings in Berkeley Given Covid May 22, 2020 (1 responses below)
Do preschools accept new kids now? Apr 29, 2020 (3 responses below)
Childcare during childbirth with shelter in place? Apr 8, 2020 (2 responses below)
Daycare Tuition during shelter in place Apr 6, 2020 (4 responses below)
Child care tuition during shelter in place Apr 4, 2020 (11 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)
  • 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! 

  • 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.

  • Hello, 

    We are due with our second end of June, and have a one and a half year old. We had already arranged with her home-based daycare that when I went into labor, our first born would stay there until we got back from the hospital as she would be the most comfortable spending the night/extended days there. However, with COVID, she's no longer going to the daycare as we're not essential workers (though they're still open and serving essential workers). If shelter in place is still happening in June/July, do you know if I'm still able to send her to the daycare just while I'm in labor? Not sure what the procedure is for childcare for medical reasons...(note, we don't have family in the area).

    I don't have official knowledge, but as a mom of two in daycare, I do think it depends on the daycare. I know some daycares have closed, but ours has not, and this is because (I believe) state and national guidance have exempted daycares from school closings. My best advice would be for you to talk to your daycare and let them know your need. They may be able to provide care for you, or else, perhaps they could arrange for an in-home provider that would be familiar to your family already. As it is a very fluid situation, I think the more transparent everybody is about needs and limitations for what can be offered, the better the chances are that you will be able to work something out. June/July may still be far off, but I'd start the conversation now. If you get the sense that they won't be able to help you, maybe you could start hiring a sitter just for familiarity and use that person down the line to care for your daughter while you are in the hospital. Good luck!

    Your daycare will likely be able to accept your childcare since it is only for a day or two and you have a medical need for childcare.  But if nanny/babysitter/friend is a possibility, you might want to consider that instead.  Since the daycare is open for essential workers and those workers are still out there in the community and some might be health workers working with sick folks, the risk of your child catching a virus in daycare is higher than if you just used a nanny or sent your kid to a friend for a day or two.  If you were an essential worker and needed the daycare then the risk is bearable as children are for the most part doing ok and it is the same risk as any other essential worker family taking on, but consider if you are willing to take the risk for having your child exposed to several (10-12) kids of workers who are not currently sheltering in place just for one or two days of childcare and potentially bring it home to a newborn baby. 

  • 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

    (11 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.