These past two weeks have been overwhelming. First knowing the Coronavirus had begun impacting communities near us, then the daily reports of the growing number of people affected, followed by the calls to stay home and #StoptheSpread or #FlattentheCurve.
We didn’t know what to make of it – should I stay home from work, should I keep my children home, should I close my program? Have I been exposed? What if I have been exposed? What if (insert family member) has been exposed?
Once the Governor mandated 100% of the nonessential workforce to work from home, some may have felt a little better; the decision had been made. But the child care field was turned upside down. Confusion and debate over whether providers are considered essential became the topic of the day - until the Governor reminded us child care is essential to everything and everyone in our community, directly and indirectly.
Without child care, many of our emergency care workers, first responders, government employees, restaurants, retail, entertainment, and just about every other employment sector would not function, because child care is essential. During this COVID-19 pandemic, the need for child care is stark, and, finally, being discussed in ways child care advocates have been shouting about for more than a decade.
There is a film short, A Day Without Child Care, which we have screened for various stakeholders over the years. The film is often met with disbelief and usually a few chuckles at the end: “This will never happen.” Well, it has now.
These past two weeks have been fraught with fear, anger, uncertainty, despair – they have been, in a word, hellacious. But the child care community is resilient. Child care providers are doing everything they can to stay in business, whether that means closing for a while or aggressively re-working their business model to accommodate the current reality to accommodate the needs of our emergency care workers, first-responders, and essential workers. Child Care Resources of Rockland has been and will be by their side supporting, advocating, listening, and comforting because we love what we do.