Childcare provider: ‘I’m scared for my business’
As she looks toward reopening, Tammy Inman, the owner and director of Little Kids childcare center in North Falmouth is scared. “I’m really scared for my business, I’m scared for my families and my teachers,” Inman said.
Her fear does not stem from the coronavirus itself, but from how she will stay in business under strict new guidelines governing how many children she can serve, and from trying to understand how her teachers will care for children if kids cannot share toys or touch one another.
“A huge fear that lies within our families after reading these guidelines is placing their children into settings which are not conducive to caring for young children,” Inman said.
Inman and Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s advocacy campaign Early Education for All, spoke on the Codcast this week about the challenges facing childcare providers – and working parents who rely on them – as daycares consider whether to reopen under new state guidelines.
“Parents, like every other person now living in this new world, are making decisions every day with balancing health and safety concerns from not knowing what can happen with the virus to also thinking about wanting to get back to normal and thinking about their own jobs,” O’Leary said.
The biggest worry Inman has about the guidelines is how she will cut her preschool classes from 19 or 20 students to 10. She may also have to cut kids from younger classes due to new space requirements. “I don’t know how I could in good conscience choose from 76 families who’s allowed to come and who can’t,” she said.
And Inman said she doesn’t know if she can pay her expenses with less tuition money coming in. She has gotten a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program but, she said, “if they allowed me to open with my full enrollment, I wouldn’t have to rely on any subsidies and grants.”
Inman also worries about how to run a program where kids can no longer high five or play with sensory tables, caregivers have to wear gloves and masks to feed a baby a bottle, and parents need to stagger drop-off schedules. “The problem lies with me being told I can’t open my doors unless I follow A, B, and C, and all those things aren’t realistic,” she said.
O’Leary said the childcare system already needed more money before COVID-19 hit. “The way the system is financed left too few children with access to high quality early childhood settings, too many educators living on poverty-level wages, and too many programs one rent payment away from closing down,” she said.
Now, O’Leary said, daycare providers will need more money in the short term to deal with the public health crisis and more money in the long term to make the system stronger. Asked where that money could come from, O’Leary said ideally it would come from state or federal funds. “We know the answer is not doubling parent fees,” she said.
O’Leary said she would like to see a “seismic shift” in the childcare system, as society rethinks the relationship between childcare and work – and how to pay for it. “The challenge is building the plane while trying to fly it,” she said.
Mayor Marty Walsh submits a revised $3.61 billion city budget for Boston’s 2021 fiscal year that’s lower than his original plan unveiled in April but still represents a 3.4 percent increase over the current year. (Boston Globe) Walsh over the weekend declared racism a public health crisis. (WBUR)
A local Italian American organization said Walsh has agreed that the statue of Christopher Columbus, which was beheaded last week, will be restored and returned to its perch in a North End park. (Boston Herald)
Horseshoe crab blood is seen as the gold standard for testing of coronavirus vaccine. (Cape Cod Times)
At Hermitage Health Care, a nursing home in Worcester, a worker who quit faulted the facility for mishandling the COVID-19 crisis. (WBUR)
Medical offices are having trouble convincing patients it’s safe to come back. (Gloucester Daily Times)
Bodycam videos show how Rayshard Brooks was shot by police in Atlanta. (NPR) Robert Fuller’s body was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, California, and his family and friends are questioning an initial report from the sheriff’s office that it was a likely suicide. (NPR)
Calls to defund the police are making some Democrats uncomfortable, and activists say that’s the point. (Boston Globe)
Dozens of new cases of coronavirus have emerged in Beijing, prompting fears of a second wave in China, where the virus originated. (Washington Post)
Sen. Ed Markey makes the case for the proposal he’s cosponsoring to provide $2,000 of monthly cash assistance per person throughout the pandemic to all households with income of $120,000 per year or less. (Boston Globe)
Lynnfield’s town election on Saturday attracted 187 voters, or 2 percent of those registered to vote in town. (Daily Item)
Layoffs at the ritzy Four Season Hotel in Boston may just be the “tip of the iceberg” in job losses in the industry, says a local union leader. (Boston Herald)
One factor that may be boosting the stock market during the global pandemic that has devastated the economy: With no games to wager on, inveterate sports bettors are suddenly playing the market. (New York Times)
An audit of the Fall River Line Pier by State Auditor Suzanne Bump shows conflicts of interest by some of the 10-member board. (Herald News)
A Temple University psychology professor who has studied adolescent and young adult behavior says he will ask to teach only remotely for now, because he’s convinced that strict social distancing guidelines on campuses will not long be followed by students. (New York Times) ICYMI: Boston University faculty are up in arms over fall plans, saying they want the option of teaching remotely. (CommonWealth)
More than 7,000 people signed an online petition to remove the Emancipation memorial in Boston, because it features President Abraham Lincoln standing over a freed slave. (MassLive) Meanwhile, a statue of Christopher Columbus in Springfield is vandalized. (MassLive)
WBZ places “Phantom Gourmet” on hiatus after the show’s CEO wrote social media posts mocking the George Floyd protests. (MassLive)
The commuter rail is returning to running 85 percent of its pre-pandemic schedule as of next week. (The Salem News)
People are frustrated with how difficult it has been to book an appointment online to go to the RMV. (Telegram & Gazette)
A shuttle bus will replace Red Line trains between the Braintree and Quincy Center MBTA stations for two weeks starting on Thursday. (Patriot Ledger)
The gas- and coal-fired Mystic Generating Station in Everett was supposed to be closed two years ago but its operator now wants to extend its operation for years, a move being met with outrage from area residents. (Boston Globe)
Worcester city officials are pushing back against calls to “defund” the police. (Telegram & Gazette)
WGBH says that black people made up 70 percent of Boston Police stops during a nine month period of 2019.
A Globe editorial questions how far Walsh will go in pushing reforms of the police department.
At the Los Angeles Times, there is intense internal debate about minority hiring and protest coverage. (NPR)PASSINGS
Aubri Esters, an activist who pushed for safe injection sites for drug users, was found dead in her Boston apartment at age 35. (Boston Globe)