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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Marshall

Family Child Care Provider, Whittier, CA

It has almost been 9 months since Covid-19 Pandemic began. What was to be 3 weeks of lockdown has turned into long term chaos. Our entire daycare schedule and curriculum has changed. We’ve had to make fast, necessary adjustments to meet the needs of all the children ages 2-12. Guidance from county and state officials has generally been given out to home daycares a few months too late. By then we had already been forced to figure out what were best and safest practices for the whole child. We’re proud to announce that we’ve been on point with their guidance once it arrived.

Aside from basic health and safety precautions, we were faced with distance learning in August 2020. We walked into this online world blind, without training, or having the slightest idea of what we were to face. Again, we were armed with the will to learn zoom and do whatever it took to help the children in our care succeed in their school year. To provide a safe & learning environment. That is our job, and these essential working parents are trusting us by placing their children’s education in our care. Every parent wants what is best for their children and that is exactly the quality of service we set out provide. Being a mom of 4, I understand and care for these families, the parents, the children, and I want what's best for them as well. During the first 2 weeks of Zoom, all we did was trouble shoot. I felt that I was in the middle of a triangle between the student, teacher, and parent. We had to get Zoom login & passwords from the parents, whose kids’ teachers had e-mailed to parents. Sometimes they didn’t work so we would go reverse on the communication triangle. We asked every parent to get hot spots for each student. We bought each child individual supplies, a box with pencils, crayons, scissors, glue, etc. Then, We almost lost our sanity, listening to multiple teachers teaching lessons at the same time. We rushed to buy earphones for those children whose parents couldn’t afford them. And why aren't you in class, where is your teacher?, we would ask the children, as they shrug their shoulders. We soon discovered that every teacher had a different schedule. Some kids went to recess, some didn’t. Some had lunch time earlier, some later. They all end class at different times. Holy Moly Macaroni. How and when would we feed the students? We set up a table with fresh fruits and vegetables, individually wrapped snacks that they can grab as their class schedule permitted. We encouraged bathroom breaks, hand washing, and stretching out, followed by lunch and homework.

As we go through the second COVID wave, the most recent changes are mandatory face coverings for adults and children, 100% of the time. Children in our care seem to be doing very well with their studies. We’re so proud of their resilience. This time around, our home daycare is better equipped. We are blessed to be fully stocked with food, milk, paper goods, cleaning & disinfecting supplies. We are so grateful to Options for Learning for their generous monthly PPE donations. They have supported and helped keep our home daycare at Zero COVID infections.

If I was asked about changes to food program, i would propose that DURING a pandemic, we got reimbursed the maximum amount of money, just as we do by subsidized care because attendance drops and food cost rise. That would alleviate food reimbursement reduction stress in an already difficult time. Looking forward to brighter days.

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