Remote learning in fall raises child care concerns

Many parents will again be put in a position of assisting their children with online learning or seeking out child care.

Posted: Jul 29, 2020 3:50 PM
Updated: Jul 29, 2020 6:28 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- With a strong possibility that many school districts will not be able to immediately provide in-school learning this fall, many parents will again be put in a position of assisting their children with online learning or seeking out child care.

Gov. Kate Brown released guidelines Tuesday for in-person learning this fall. Whether or not schools can offer in-person classes depends on case numbers and positivity rates at the county level, and the requirements may be challenging to meet.

RELATED: GOV. BROWN ANNOUNCES COVID-19 METRICS FOR OREGON SCHOOLS

For many parents, moving to remote learning in the spring required shifting schedules in order to take care of their kids and assist with online learning. There is a strong possibility that the same may happen this fall while at the same time many parents are returning to work.

"It's a lot nicer to go to the store by myself because I don't have an 8-year-old saying, 'I want this, I want that,'" one single mother told KEZI 9 News. "It is a lot more difficult. I liked to get things done, if there were doctor's appointments."

Many child care providers are developing plans for how to care for school-aged children this fall, including Little Hoots Childcare in Eugene.

According to owner Trista Bahler, state guidelines have required day cares to slash their capacity throughout the pandemic. Right now, day cares can only have stable groups of 10 or fewer students per classroom. In mid-August, she expects the state to release new guidance increasing that capacity and requiring more personal protective equipment.

Even so, Little Hoots already has a waitlist for just toddlers and infants. There may be challenges if demand for school-aged day care increases. For instance, staff caring for students that are learning cannot assist students the same way a certified teacher can.

"After school is one thing, but trying to provide and do their school with them here could be very difficult, and we don't know what that will look like because we don't know what the expectations for those students are going to be," said Bahler.

She believes that there may be increased demand this fall, but many parents are waiting for firm plans from their school districts before seeking out child care.

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