The Coronavirus is making headlines and with it, tension is growing. People are rightly concerned about if, when, and how it will impact their communities, their families and themselves.
What Do I Need to Do?
To keep you and the population around you safe and healthy, pay attention to credible sources of information about the disease. The Centers for Disease Control has a thorough website with updates of the latest information about COVID-19.
In terms of individual protection, there are measures that you and your family can start adapting today (i.e. thorough hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently). Here’s the full CDC preparedness recommendation.
The top prevention bullet is to avoid people that are sick. Because there are still many unknowns about the virus and how it spreads, many global government officials are warning that school and office closures for up to 14 days are possible in places where the virus has been identified. School closures have already affected families in the US.
Child Care in Emergencies
One thing we know for certain—when schedules are in flux and changing, child care is always an issue families need to address. In light of the Coronavirus, extra precaution and layers of communication need to be considered within your child care conversations.
What can parents do? In addition to stocking up on supplies and re-enforcing proper hand washing practices, you should be building an emergency back-up child care plan.
If there are school or work closures in your area:
- Are you able to work from home for 14 days straight?
- If you’re working from home, are there times you’d need a sitter so you can focus on work?
- If you’re unable to work from home, do you have a network of potential caregivers you can call on?
In states of emergency, there’s no guarantee you’ll be affected but it’s important to have a plan.
- Do you have a regular on-call sitter?
- Do you have a back-up to that caregiver in the event your go-to is sick?
- Have you connected with your child care team about COVID-19 concerns and discussed potential scenarios?
Most families find it beneficial to have 2-3 potential sitters on hand under regular circumstances.
Communication is Key
It’s also important to remember that caregivers will be in the same boat as you are. Communication is always crucial. When talking to your child care team, you should openly discuss the following:
- Symptom monitoring
i.e., What will you do if the caregiver or child start to display even acute symptoms?
- Prevention Expectations
i.e., Will you expect the sitter to take on more duties like disinfecting spaces more than usual?
- Cancelations + Schedule Changes
i.e., Are there protections you can provide for last-minute cancelations?
Again, all of these measures are simply precautionary. In the event your community is affected by preventative school/work closures, you Again, we hope these measures are simply precautionary. In the event your community is affected by preventative school/work closures, you don’t want to be scrambling to address unexpected child care needs. Take this moment in time to connect with your support team and make sure you’re on the same page.