GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WKBW) — We're expecting to get a decision from New York State Friday on what school will look like this fall.
Many Western New York school districts are considering a hybrid model, but that's left working parents wondering how they will find child care on the days their kids are supposed to be learning at home.
Mom Meg Jaeger-Blinzler has a second grader in the Grand Island School District. She and her husband are working from home, which isn't easy to do with a seven-year-old who needs help with school.
"For three days a week, our child is going to be here in the home with us, and we're both working," Jaeger-Blinzler said.
If the district's hybrid plan is approved, Jaeger-Blinzler's daughter Jacqueline would go to school on Mondays and Thursdays, and learn remotely the rest of the week.
"We may have to hire help to come in and actually help her with her school work," Jaeger-Blinzler said. "It's something we're considering."
Finding help is something a lot of parents say they're considering right now, and there are some options out there, whether you want to bring someone into your home or find a place for your kids to go a few days a week.
Modern Minders Creative Childcare helps place nannies in areas across the country. The CEO says the company has gotten a number of calls from parents who are looking for help ahead of the school year. Many of them are looking for part-time help, and she says there are a lot of places you can start your search.
"Look at your local community board, [or] church board," said Kate Granchelli. "Schools in our area we have tons of teaching colleges. Reach out to your alumni association."
Once you find someone you're interested in, she says you need to make sure you do a full background check, even if you know the person. Modern Minders offers the service starting at at $300, during the pandemic.
"We'll do the background check for you, [if] you don't have time to call all their references," Granchelli said. "You don't have time to search their social media."
Modern Minders also offers a program for families who are interested in full-time nannies. For $1,000, the company is offering phone consultations for a "DIY Nanny Search" which includes:
- a background check
- consultation to put together a work agreement
- connection to payroll to a partnered payroll company
- screening questions for the nanny
- screening questions to ask a reference.
If you're hoping to find a group setting for your kids, experts say those will pop up once districts get official approval from the state.
"There are programs out there in the community that are based off the districts schedules for reopening, to open and have school-aged programs in community based centers and childcare centers or even home based childcare," said Sara Rickan, who works for The Child Care Resource Network.
She says expect to hear more about resources for school-aged children once schools have official plans in place. The Child Care Resource Network also has specific child care navigators who parents can call for help finding spots for their kids, and they're equipped to help parents of all income levels.
"They can help you navigate to find the best fit for your family, and also help open some doors and help you find the best options," Rickan said.
Whether you bring someone into your home or put your child in a group setting, experts say you need to make sure you're asking potential caregivers about the COVID-19 precautions they're taking. You want to make sure their views line up with your family's views.
"We actually ask all of our families and caregivers - what's your level?" explained Granchelli. "We have one through five."
Jaeger-Blinzler agrees that it's something she'll think about on her child care search.
"You have to vet anyone who interacts with your child," she said. "But now there's an extra layer of just making sure they've been following similar precautions that we as a family have."