THE BAY AREA—Childcare facilities are facing a difficult choice between the two: closing their institutions as to avoid the spread of coronavirus versus the idea of opening their facilities to escape financial collapse. Childcare programs are in crisis since a current rise in COVID-19 cases makes them reluctant to reopen their services. However, the facilities’ long-term closure will potentially ruin their business and cause financial difficulties.
UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment published a new report on surveys taken among 953 programs through California from June 22 to July 1, 2020. According to the latest report, the restart of the economy “has only escalated the crisis in California child care, exposing providers to the dual threats of health risk and the potential collapse of their programs.” In fact, around a quarter of the childcare programs remain closed, and 77% of opened facilities have lost income from tuition fees. 80% of them are facing the troubles of expensive cleaning costs. Sean Doocy, co-author of the report, says, “Providers are taking on credit card debt, missing rent or mortgage payments, and paying employees but not paying themselves.”
Due to current social distancing rules, parents are worried about their infants who won’t be able to follow health care orders. After careful consideration of their children’s health problems, many of them who used to rely on public school systems are now asking their grandparents or babysitters to take care of the children. In addition the parents’ concerns, most childcare programs are struggling with being at a fraction of their regular classroom capacities, which also leads to childcare shortages.
The coronavirus pandemic also highlights the substantial financial gap between wealthy and poor parents. While well-to-do parents can hire nannies or tutors to take care of their children, low-income parents are facing troubles in finding childcare to leave their kids with while they are working. Additionally, underpaid women of color claim a large percentile of those who work in the childcare industry and face tough odds right now.