Readers Forum: 7/14/20

108

On-campus childcare during COVID-19

As an employee at BYU and mother of two young children, I have been so grateful for how BYU and the leadership in Continuing Education (where I work) have handled remote work. Though our daycare stayed open the whole time, we decided to keep our children home for 11 weeks to avoid passing any germs to my husband’s patients in the nursing home. It was very hard to get all of my work done with my kids around, but the grace I was extended by my boss, director and dean made a huge difference.

Childcare during COVID-19 is a huge problem. The industry faces a very real threat of collapse as many families understandably keep their children home. According to the Department of Labour, because of low enrollment, over 330,000 childcare workers have lost their jobs and providers are permanently shutting down, causing those who still utilize childcare to lose their providers.

With the limited availability of childcare options, many parents are quitting jobs because they can’t work with their children there. As I personally look to the start of the school year, I worry about whether or not my oldest will actually attend kindergarten. I don’t know if our daycare will have the space to keep her for a full day when they only plan on kindergarteners being there half days.

While BYU has made some movement in considering on-campus childcare, the current situation demonstrates the necessity for on-campus childcare as soon as safely possible. Utah already had a childcare crisis before COVID-19 hit, and it has only been exacerbated.

While the reasons for having childcare on campus haven’t changed, the urgency of it has increased. I hope BYU will keep in mind the childcare needs of employees and students and join with the other eight colleges in Utah that provide childcare services for their campus community.

— Katie Zobell
BYU Academic and Admissions Advisor

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