Parents scrambling to find child care options

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Parents have less than a month until the start of the fall semester, which will be remote for the majority of Unit 4’s students.

One unofficial option for care after school in the past may no longer be a given.

The Champaign Public Library’s Board of Directors voted to temporarily change the Code of Conduct to require kids 15 and younger to be accompanied by an adult. The change was created in order to prevent overcrowding in the library during the pandemic. Library officials anticipated an influx of students looking for a space to spend the day in if they are unable to be in their classrooms. They were also concerned that it would be hard to enforce social distancing and masks with higher numbers of people in the library.

The board’s proposal initially said the adult (parent or caregiver) would need to be over the age of 21, but agreed to lower that down to 18. Only one board member, Rajeev Malik, voted against the revised plan. He said he was worried about the added burden of responsibility that would be placed on library workers to identify whether or not a caregiver was actually 18.

Meanwhile, some parents have written about their concerns to WCIA, particularly in terms of finding child care options for the fall.

Kari Britton, a daycare director with a school age program, called the situation a “logistics nightmare,” because they cannot accommodate children K-5 all being online at the same designated times in the center’s e-learning space. She said staggering the children’s 2.5 hour sessions throughout the day would have helped.

“We also have to have the right amount of staff available,” she wrote. “For my own children personally I can make it work only because I work at the daycare and we are going to take our staff children full time. If I was anyone else trying to hold down a different job this wouldn’t work.”

Another parent, who did not wish to be named, stated in part:

“I absolutely feel cornered into a hole. A very deep hole. As a teacher in 116, that is across the street and has a MUCH different opening plan (I’m on the committee and have been a huge part of that planning) I feel like I am left with no choice but to take leave from my job as a teacher, teacher leader, department chair, part of a much bigger spectrum than just my classroom because I have no other option as a single mother. I am now forced at looking at options to take FMLA and collect unemployment because I can’t leave my 2nd and 4th grader home alone…”

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