GLASTONBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut has lost tens of thousands of daycare spots due to the coronavirus pandemic. That means thousands of parents who cannot go to work because they have to stay home with the kids.
In Glastonbury, many teachers were telling their administrators that they could not come back to school because they had lost their daycare, so the district created a solution.
They call it the Early Learning Center. It is housed in the back of the Eastbury School. It is basically daycare for kids 4 and under, who have a parent or guardian working in education.
“We had teachers that wanted to teach and no child care for their kids,” explained Glastonbury Board of Education Chair Doug Foyle. “So our administration came up with this idea, this plan. It was going to be tight and we’d have to work hard.”
That hard work has now allowed 33 educators to go back to the classroom. School officials gave Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz (D – Connecticut) a tour of the Center. Like most things regarding education in the pandemic, this was put together in a hurry with little precedent, but it is working.
“The kids seem to be learning a lot and are very very engaged,” Bysiewicz said. “We think that this can be a model for other towns and other cities across our state.”
Possibly best of all, the Center is not costing taxpayers a single dime.
“Our program is self-funded so tuition will cover the cost,” explained Glastonbury schools assistant superintendent Matthew Dunbar. “We are not looking to make a profit. We are looking to make sure there is not an additional cost to the taxpayers. Certainly, having our own building that is already paid for is a great help to us in making sure we can make this program work financially.”
Glastonbury is using a hybrid system for upper grades, so teachers with older children can simply bring them to school on the days they’re supposed to be home, and they can do their distance learning from a special room inside the school.