Should we send our kids to daycare starting in June?
April 30, 2020 7:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm curious to hear from others about how they plan handle daycare and summer camps from June 1st and beyond.

It's somewhat of a long story, but bottomline: My wife and I are able to keep our kids out of daycare until at least June 1st, without interrupting either of our abilities to work from home. That all changes once the clock strikes June, however, where we'll either have to (Option A) send our 3-year-old and 3-month-old to daycares, or (Option B) each start working every other day to take care of the kids.

At this point, we're learning heavily towards Option A. That said, I'm really curious to hear what other people's general thoughts are on leveraging daycares/summer camps starting in June. FWIW: We live in Houston, a giant city that has (at least to date) faired pretty well in the pandemic.

I realize that everyone ultimately has to define their own unique risk envelope, but I feel like I need to hear other people's thoughts/opinions in order to define mine on this topic.
posted by JPowers to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The available research, which is inadequate, indicates kids are very unlikely to get Ill with coronavirus, but may be important sources of disease transmission. So from what we know now, the risk is probably not to your kids, but to you and the people you come into contact with. Also to the daycare workers.
posted by latkes at 9:08 PM on April 30, 2020

June is incredibly optimistic. Coronavirus scientists caution against reopening schools
posted by tiny frying pan at 4:49 AM on May 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

Denmark has started to reopen nurseries and primary schools for the last 1-2 weeks. I did a very cursory search and couldn’t find anything about a spike as a result but you could look into what exactly they implemented and how that is going. There will be various experience values over the next couple of weeks as various places are easing restrictions.

The other factor is what measures your care providers are implementing to keep everybody safe.
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:09 AM on May 1, 2020 [1 favorite]

What kind of day care? If it's a big center with lots of kids, I would strongly say no. But the day care my son was in at that age was home-based, six kids (of which yours would be two), and I would have considered it after discussing with the owner what her plans were (whether she had expectations for her families to be isolated, etc.).

If I could put together a nanny share with one other family, I'd be even more inclined to do that, to create a small, closed isolation group.
posted by gideonfrog at 6:12 AM on May 1, 2020 [4 favorites]

Echoing gideonfrog, I would think it would depend on the daycare. I have kindergarten students right now who attend daycare while their parents are at work at a local hospital. This is an emergency community daycare service that was put together for children of essential workers that is hosted in an empty school facility and staffed by licensed childcare workers. The groups of children are stable, meaning no drop-in kids and no switching between groups, and staff are taking temperatures and asking health screening questions prior to kids entering the building. They are also following all hygiene, distancing, and sanitizing recommendations. I have seen some communications from the school/daycare because I am on mailing lists, and I give them an A+ for clear, concise, positive messaging that puts the health of our children and families first. So, knowing all that, I would be confident having my child attend a similar program if we did not have the option to stay home.
posted by Lady Sugar Maple at 7:22 AM on May 1, 2020 [2 favorites]

We are quite likely to send our kid back as soon as daycare reopens. How long can you work every other day? Can you maintain that until a vaccine is available, at best next year? Or until your city reaches herd immunity simply via transmission? Until a robust treatment is developed? I know our family can't do that. It's all well and good to say don't send your kid to daycare, but the harsh reality is that we will be living with COVID 19 and its risks for a long time. I know I can't wait those risks out, and most of society can't either, so I think daycare is just a risk we (and by extension, my community) will live with. From a purely practical perspective, my employer has been flexible, but that is because daycare is closed, and I don't have a choice. How long will that flexibility last once my city and state are reopened?
posted by MeadowlarkMaude at 8:20 AM on May 1, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Our two kids (20 months and just turned 5 years) are both back in daycare as of last week. Our state (MN) closed schools but requested daycares stay open, but our center closed for about six weeks out of an abundance of caution. It boils down to your personal situation and what level of risk you are comfortable with, but some factors we weighed in making our decision:

-the young age of our children and the intensity of care and socializing that they need (little kids are exhausting and require much more care and direct supervision than older kids), and the stress that was causing us as caregivers who were also both holding down full time jobs.

-the unknown, but likely very long, period of time before this pandemic is considered 'over,' either via vaccine, herd immunity, or a solid life-saving medication. We just can't work from home indefinitely with both kids. We barely managed just over a month.

-overall health of our family; my husband and I are mid-30s, healthy, lower risk

-the safety measures our daycare center has been taking, including daily temperature checks of children and staff, not allowing parents or outside visitors into the building, increased disinfection and hand washing, masks and gloves for staff, small class sizes, etc. They are well run and we have always been impressed with their cleanliness and communications with parents.

-the solid and science-based decision making of our state government; Minnesota's response to COVID-19 has been excellent and our governor is taking expert advice seriously.

-lastly, our ability to protect others...using daycare does open us up to exposure. But we are able to keep daycare as our *only* point of exposure; our jobs allow us to work from home, we can get everything delivered to us, we don't use public transit, we're avoiding family and friends, etc. So daycare poses a risk to us but we do everything in our power to avoid passing that risk on beyond our household, if that makes sense.
posted by castlebravo at 1:29 PM on May 1, 2020 [3 favorites]

Your question reminds me of this recent article: Nearly seven weeks into the shutdown, here’s why so many are still getting sick (WaPo, Apr. 30, 2020 / MSN reprint), e.g. "State and local health departments do not publish the occupations and living conditions of everyone who tests positive, so there is no comprehensive analysis of who is getting sick. But interviews with doctors and public health officials, and data that has been made public, paint a portrait of a pandemic that increasingly is infecting those who have limited ability to socially distance", and this one: States moving fastest to reopen lack enough health workers to track new outbreaks (Politico, May 1, 2020), e.g. "States like Georgia, Texas and Colorado have begun lifting stay-at-home orders without a robust army of public health workers to quickly identify people who’ve come into contact with coronavirus patients, worrying health experts that the states could be at heightened risk for a new wave of infections." It seems difficult to assess risk when there is limited data available and the basic resources needed to collect it continue to be inadequate.

I also realize that increased disinfection and handwashing, etc, can seem very reassuring, but this Guardian article today about the problems in meat-packing plants includes a reminder about coronavirus transmission: "The infectious disease epidemiologist Michael Osterholm warned deep cleans and surgical masks in these plants would not be sufficient to stop the spread of Covid-19. “It’s in the air. And until we really get an airborne control program in place in these settings, I think we’re going to continue to see transmission”, Osterholm said on his podcast."

And as noted in this article today: With quirks and restrictions, many states lift lockdowns (AP), "With the crisis stabilizing in Europe and in many places in the U.S., countries and states are gradually easing their restrictions amid warnings from health experts that a second wave of infections could hit unless testing for the virus is expanded dramatically", it seems like a more cautious approach could be to wait for at least a month and see if the rate of infections increase after restrictions are reduced, similar to what happened in other countries.

That being said, the New England Complex Systems Institute has published a variety of materials in the Stopping the Coronavirus Pandemic section of its website, including: A linked shared space model for COVID-19 transmission and its prevention by forming closed social circles (March 20, 2020), which echoes gideonfrog's comment and extends the idea of individual effort in castlebravo's comment by encouraging a community undertaking to form closed social circles. News reports that might help convince people who may consider themselves 'lower-risk' to join in the effort includes: Young and middle-aged people, barely sick with covid-19, are dying of strokes (WaPo, Apr. 24, 2020 / MSN reprint) and Younger Adults Make Up Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S. (NYT, Mar. 18, 2020 / CBS News, Mar. 19, 2020).

And there may be unemployment insurance or other employment rights and benefits available to help support staying home, and the National Employment Law Project has published an overview with links to a variety of resources (via the MeFi Wiki Get a Lawyer page)
posted by katra at 11:19 AM on May 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

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