As more workplaces begin to reopen, what is daycare going to look like? What should we expect from caregivers when it’s time to send our kids back to them, and what kind of questions do we need to ask?
A dear friend and fellow mommy had just read my article about “going back to work” and contacted me about the prospect of sending her toddler back to daycare. She was concerned about what to expect with sending her daughter to daycare during this pandemic. Like most families, she and her husband have been working from home while caring for their daughter. Now, their offices are reopening for business; they need to resume sending their daughter to daycare.
Under normal circumstances, getting back to “life as usual” sounds fantastic. I’ve written a few articles about finding daycare , topics to cover with prospective providers , and addressing safety with caregivers. My recent conversation got me thinking about the new concerns I have about my daughters’ childcare facilities when they eventually reopen.
Here are the top five questions I will ask my childcare providers:
What safety measures are you taking to protect yourselves?
Will all staff be wearing masks and gloves? How will we be able to identify you? Will employees be screened for fever before entering the facility?
What cleaning protocols have you implemented?
How often will shared items, like playground equipment and toys, be cleaned? Will students still have use of the water fountain or will they be offered an alternative? How will classrooms be disinfected?
What procedures/processes have you implemented to protect the children?
What will drop-off and pick-up look like? Will parent and child be screened for fever or cold before entering the building? How will snack time look? What plans do you have in place if there is an outbreak? How do you distance children during nap time?
What schedule changes should we be aware of?
Will the facility be resuming the same schedule? How will you handle outside play?
Consider your original contract and examine items that might be questionable.
For example, if the facility provides meals, what will they be doing differently? Will the facility be reducing the number of children they care for?
Beneath the cloud of a pandemic we still don’t have a vaccine for, resuming “life as usual” is a little scary. Every time I take my girls outside our apartment building, I wonder what they might be exposed to. Every time I return home from work, I wonder what I might be bringing home. So far, we are all still healthy. “Life as usual” is returning, even if it’s not happening as fast as we would like. If you need to send your children to daycare, ask the questions and do what’s right for your family.