What parents should know about coronavirus as kids return to babysitters, day cares and camps

Reopening states after the COVID-19 lockdown raises unnerving questions for working parents who depend on some form of child care, from nannies to day camp.

Instead of coming home with a snotty nose, is your child going to bring back the coronavirus? And how do you know your in-home babysitter or nanny, even your child’s teacher, isn’t a symptom-free spreader?

Funding for childcare centers crucial to national recovery, advocates say

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, along with other senators, called on Congressional leadership to allocate at least $50 billion in emergency funding to stabilize the childcare industry. The National Women’s Law Center estimates that at least $9.6 billion is needed each month to preserve the nation’s childcare system during the pandemic. According to a letter, many childcare centers projected at the beginning of the health crisis that they could not remain operational if they had to close for more than two weeks. Many across the nation have been closed for longer than that, the letter states.  The letter said that keeping childcare functional is “critical for getting families back to work and school as we recover from this crisis.”

“The profound gaps in our childcare infrastructure already cost American families and the economy about $57 billion each year in lost earnings, productivity and revenue,” the letter states. Nearly 500 organizations around the country signed the letter.

Low pay: A stumbling block for quality childcare

Michelle Masiwemai — like many early childhood workers — is a mom. But her job at a Las Cruces home-based child care center didn’t pay enough to support her 8-year-old daughter, who lives with her parents in Guam while she and her fiancé try to get on firmer financial footing. The daughter of two educators, including a kindergarten teacher who now teaches early childhood education at the college level, Masiwemai was raised in a family of 10 children. 

“My whole life I’ve been around children. I was a babysitter. I was the little girl who took care of all the little kids at the parties and planned all the activities.