How Might We: How might we facilitate connections between local public schools and childcare providers?
Info gathered: Organizations that are not official childcare providers but have capacity to offer emergency childcare services (e.g. YMCAs) are confused about whether they are/will be able to offer emergency childcare services to healthcare workers’ children. They have heard conflicting information from the Governor’s office, NC DHHS, and healthcare systems.
A source of ours shared that The University of Washington’s healthcare system is contracting and paying the owner of several local daycare centers to oversee the emergency childcare needs for healthcare workers. Since caring for children of healthcare workers poses an elevated risk to the childcare providers, the providers are being paid 1.5x their typical hourly rate. The healthcare system and daycare owner did not want to assume this risk so childcare workers are voluntarily working and sign a waiver. They have the same providers and children together every day to mimimize the number of contacts and have considered assigning providers by family instead of age of child to minimize exposures.
A NC DHHS childcare health consultant referred us to resources that King County (Seattle) has put forth regarding childcare and COVID-19:
Guidelines for gatherings of children and youth while schools are closedUpdated COVID-19 Public health recommendations: implications for childcareCommunication fact sheet from childcare provider to parent
Public schools are being asked by different government groups to provider support, staff, and/or facilities. There needs to be more coordination of asks among groups making requests of schools.
Duke and WakeMed have gathered data from their healthcare workers to assess the need for emergency childcare. We are working with UNC Health Care to gather this information, too.
For those who have capacity to offer emergency childcare services, here are the things they request:
Clear guidance about which orgs can/cannot provide emergency childcare to healthcare workers’ children.
Clear guidelines, recommendations, and protocols about how to safely run an emergency childcare site amidst COVID-19 above and beyond the guidance already put forth by NC DHHS.
Funding. The organizations need to be able to pay their workers, funding for resources (e.g. thermometers and other equipment needed), funding for space if they aren’t able to use their own facilities (hoping that public school districts could waive rent associated with typical facilities use agreements), funding for utilities if they are using other spaces, and funding for thorough cleaning.
Other cities and states are also thinking about COVID-19 and childcare providers so we will need to keep tabs on what they are doing. We have not seen specific guidelines or protocols yet about how to provide safe childcare amidst COVID-19. We have collected a list of questions and are circulating it to childcare health consultants, childcare providers, infectious disease and pandemic preparedness experts, and government officials to generate answers as quickly as possible.
If outside organizations are using school facilities, it’s important to figure out the legal documents (MOUs, facilities use agreements) and who is going to pay for utilities and cleaning. Schools have re-emphasized that having boilerplate language for these agreements would be helpful for their own legal counsel to expedite the formation of these partnership. In addition, some school and district leaders were aware that there are many childcare and school workers who are currently out of work and not being paid. There was interest in creating solutions to provide work for those who are currently in that situation.
If emergency healthcare is provided external to UNC Health Care, is UNC Health Care able/willing to cover or subsidize costs for healthcare workers?Who is qualified/equipped to answer the questions generated about safe childcare amidst COVID-19?How do we continue to support and not duplicate other efforts across the state? How do we partner with other government agencies and stay connected with their efforts?