Members are helping to reduce the childcare burdens on frontline caregivers and other onsite workers.
The Challenge: With schools and childcare centers closed, frontline staff and others who must work onsite struggle to find childcare options. Providers are finding ways to offer childcare to reduce this burden on their employees.
Member Story #5: Provider Offers Free Childcare Onsite for Staff
Member Story #4: A Relief Fund, Meals, and Support for Staff With Children
Member Story #3: No-Cost Childcare Program Set Up for Staff
Member Story #2: A “Child Care Exchange” Allows Employees to Help Each Other
Member Story #1: On-Campus Childcare Offered to Staff
Maple Knoll Communities, Cincinnati, OH, is providing free, onsite childcare for employees during the crisis.
Prior to the pandemic, Maple Knoll operated an onsite Montessori Child Center for children aged 3-5, run by teachers and assistants.
“We closed that down in conjunction with state of Ohio day care and school closures,” says Megan Gresham-Ulrich, vice president of marketing and business development. “We applied for, and were approved by the State of Ohio, to operate a temporary pandemic childcare center in that space.”
The organization’s temporary pandemic license allows it to take children up to the age of 12, and there is a requirement of at least one teacher per 6 students at all times.
Loretto, Syracuse, NY, is supporting staff in several ways.
The organization created a relief fund for employees, through its foundation. It is also feeding staff daily, has given out more than 250 emergency food bags, and offers free urgent care onsite.
Staff with babies at home are provided formula and diapers. Joelle Margrey, vice president of skilled nursing at Loretto, also notes that many staff are grandparents who are primary caretakers for their grandchildren.
CEO Kim Townsend says that Loretto applied to the state for a childcare license, but that a good countywide childcare program is available, and employees have taken advantage of it.
When St. Paul’s Senior Services, San Diego, CA, closed its childcare/intergenerational programs in early March, the teachers were initially assigned to other tasks in the organization. Soon after, all the schools were closed, leaving many St. Paul’s employees in a tough spot.
“Many employees are in military families, so there is not a lot of family around,” CEO Cheryl Wilson says. “We decided to set up 2 sites, one in the southern region and one in midtown, so employees for all our communities would have drop-off access for their children.”
The teachers, using the toys and books from the closed childcare centers, were able to set up the new, no-cost employee service.
“It’s been an easy transition for us,” Wilson says. The midtown location already has a playground, and kids are allowed to access it in small groups. The other site has a big park in the middle of the center, she says, so children are able to run around.
“We’ve had about 10 children [so far] in the program, so that means 10 employees coming to work,” Wilson adds. “There’s a separate entrance, so there’s no [resident] contact with kids. But the seniors sit out on balconies and watch.”
Employees at Homewood at Martinsburg, Martinsburg, PA, are helping each other with childcare needs during the coronavirus crisis. A “Child Care Exchange” bulletin board has been set up to help match staff with children needing babysitting with staff who have high-school or college-aged kids who can help.
“It continues to evolve,” says Brad Norris, Homewood’s therapeutic recreation director. “We can connect staff to those who have older kids sitting at home.”
No children are being congregated; individual children are assigned to babysitters 1-on-1, and there is no rotation. Norris estimates about 12 employees are participating.
On another topic—daily screening of workers when they come in—Homewood at Martinsburg gives each employee a color-coded wristband with a color of the day. It signifies not only that the employees have been screened, but that they have received the daily updates on health rules and recommendations for that day.
United Church Homes and Services, based in Newton, NC, is offering childcare on campus for staff who can’t find alternative options. Vacant apartments with outside access—not near residents or care areas—are being repurposed.
Visit our COVID-19 resources section for more resources.
LeadingAge wants to hear from you! Tell us stories of how your organization is adapting and innovating to manage with the coronavirus crisis. We are looking for stories about: staff management, worker welfare, and recruitment; childcare; care and services for residents and clients; personal protective equipment (PPE); communication; food services; advocacy; resident engagement; and more.
Contact Gene Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-508-9424.