Parents shift schedules under modified school plan amid pandemic

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ST. JOSEPH, Ill. (WCIA) — As school districts start to announce their reopening plans, some decisions are causing parents to readjust their plans in ways they never expected.

The St. Joe school district just approved a split morning / afternoon schedule for students, bringing half the kids in for 3 hours from 8:00-11:00 and the rest from noon-3:00. Across from St. Joe grade school, Leslie Landreth keeps busy looking after the kids at her home daycare. She says, “From the phone calls I’ve been getting there’s a lot of people looking for care.” She believes the increase in phone calls likely comes from an influx of parents needing to shift their schedules.

The school district’s decision has left some families trying to figure out new day care schedules to fit around the modified school day. Brian Golish is a father of three kids. He says, “It’s hard going from having daycare, something that was very reliable and we could drop the kids off any time and they’d be ok, to now going into a situation where we’re balancing both the daycare schedule and the school district schedule and keeping everybody happy.”

One of his kids will be starting kindergarten this year. He’s also a teacher in Danville, so he has a lot to consider before the school year starts. Golish says, “For us in august, obviously there’s a lot of nerves because I need to be at school and if all of a sudden the daycare ends up closing and Danville and St. Joe are on two different schedules that’s going to create a lot more anxiety for us.

Both parents and day care providers say one reason why it’s so difficult to plan their families schedules is because COVID-19 guidelines are constantly changing. Landreth says, “I think the biggest struggle is just not knowing. When you don’t know the plan you can’t plan yourself. The biggest thing we have seen from our standpoint doing the daycare, especially since I have stayed open during all the phases, is that everything changes. So when you get a plan in place that changes again.”

Ultimately, some parents say they’ll just have to wait until right before school starts to make any decisions on childcare. The St. Joe school district sent an online survey asking parents for their preference of morning or afternoon classes. While there’s no guarantee, they said they’ll try to accommodate everyone’s requests.

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