Some parents worried about child care as districts discuss going hybrid this fall

Coronavirus

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — As students jump back into learning in a hybrid model, some parents said they’re worried about finding child care.

Governor Ned Lamont didn’t lessen their fears, saying it is going to be difficult. There are 206 school districts across Connecticut’s 169 cities and towns. Lamont pointed out that many of them are figuring out different ideas of what hybrid learning looks like. Is it going to be every other week? Is it going to be half days? The uncertainty makes it difficult for families with small children to find childcare solutions.

The distinctions mean there are different types of day care needs for different families who are trying to get back to work or even work from home with small children.

During his briefing Monday, Lamont brought in Commissioner for the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, Beth Bye, to talk about the different options, which many would not consider the best options.

“I think a lot of parents are going to find themselves in a bind,” Lamont said.

“At this point, we are about 50% of our pre-COVID capacity,” Bye said. “We just increased allowable class size to 16 per class, so that will bring us up to about 60% of our pre-COVID capacity.”

The state has been getting prepared too by ramping up child care programs across the state from 1,400 to 1,900. Officials said there are plans for more.

Jess Budri, who has a 3 and 5-year-old, said her husband is an essential, front line worker. Her current day care had to cut the class size in half, leaving her without child care.

“I am going to keep looking, and then, ultimately, if I have to bring someone into my home, I’m hoping I can find a college student that can be flexible, and maybe they will come here to do their learning while also working with my child or at least watching my younger one,” Burdi said.

“The age group that is going to be the most problematic are the 4-year-olds to the 13-year-olds, so you’re targeting that age group specifically,” Gill Peri, COO Connecticut Children’s, said.

Staff at Connecticut Children’s is planning to let their employees network among themselves through a portal as well as coming up with direct child care solutions.

“We are in final discussions with a third-party who are experts in child care as well as experts and role models in educational support,” he said.

“Having to choose, do I keep my job or do I stay home and parent my child through school? That is just incredibly sad for everyone,” Budri said.

There’s also another concern. The Governor says that about 30% of children working from home didn’t dial in for online learning. 

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