Another option for childcare during these times. Hope this helps!
Coronavirus isolation and social distancing are on everyone’s minds these days. Social media is awash in posts about working from home and homeschooling in the face of widespread school closures and parents everywhere are wondering how to keep their children occupied for the next however many weeks. While several businesses have closed, many people whose occupations have been deemed as essential services are still expected to clock in every day. Their kids are likely out of school, but without the ability to isolate at home, where are their kids going?
Obviously kids of a certain age—teens and older tweens—can stay home unsupervised. But those with younger kids aren’t left with many options. Here’s how families are navigating child care during COVID-19 and curbing their risk of spreading the virus.
What Child Care Options Are Still Available?
As the common saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and many people are coming up with creative solutions to the burgeoning child care crisis. Grassroots child care co-ops and matching services are popping up across the country to fill the gap left in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Step Up To Sit, a child care matching program started by two Minnesota sisters, is just one example of people stepping up to help. The service matches families—especially those of essential workers—with child care volunteers and has been overwhelmed with requests since it launched.
Hannah and Rioghna Pittock were inspired to start the service when their mother, who runs a residency program at the Mayo Clinic, mentioned her concern that the hospital would lose workers. “[My mom] was concerned they would be understaffed if schools closed and there wasn’t child care available,” explains Hannah, who is a senior at the University of Chicago. “When Rioghna and my mom picked my brother and I up from college, we started brainstorming in the car. We built the form and social media on the drive home.”
At present, Step Up To Sit has matched numerous families with child care providers and has spread to metro areas around the country.
In Seattle, another initiative, HomeCare Pods by Weekdays, a technology company that matches parents with child care, launched March 13 in response to school closures and increased demand. “My company Weekdays helps women start and run their own in-home child care program,” explains founder Shauna Causey. “So, we were well-positioned to help during this time and were able to shift our resources during COVID-19 to support the community. Due to the rapid child care crisis created by the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re offering the matching service at no cost to families who need support.” HomeCare Pods limits the number of children receiving care to three per pod.
Teresa Nehls, a Seattle-area nurse and mother of two, says uses HomeCare Pods for child care coverage. “It’s been difficult because my husband still needs to go to work as he works in the airline industry,” explains Nehls, who is an ICU nurse. “I work nights and sleep during the day. Typically, my husband is at home at night, so he can attend to our kids then. But, it’s been difficult because normally our kids are in school during the hours that I get some rest before heading into work.”