AVON, Ind — The sudden two-week closure of Avon Community Schools due to coronavirus has left many parents scrambling to find child care for their kids.
Avon Schools officials announced the district-wide closure after a student tested positive for the virus and a second student showed symptoms. Shortly after the announcement, the Avon YMCA announced the temporary closure of their child care programs based in Avon schools.
Washington Township Park buildings are also closed until further notice. All park events and programs have been cancelled for the month, including spring camp.
“It definitely was an abrupt cancellation of school, so definitely scrambling at the last minute trying to figure out childcare options,” said Avon Schools parent, Elizabeth Everette.
Everette was one of several parents lined up at Cedar Elementary School Tuesday, picking up bagged lunches. The lunches were made available by the district for parents to take home to their children.
Some parents, like Derik Hughes, are able to work from home. Hughes plans to spend the next two weeks working remotely while his son, Apollo, works on e-learning homework.
“It allows us super flexibility, but that’s not the norm for everyone,” Hughes said. “At this point, I need to adapt to what’s happening. Moving forward with that and working from home with my kid and making that the new norm for the next couple weeks.”
Joscelyn Farmer, director at Imagination Station child care facility, said her phones have been ringing off the hook ever since Avon schools made the closure announcement.
“It’s been an absolute frenzy, really,” Farmer said.
Farmer said some parents are calling to see if there is any room for their child while schools are closed.
“Our heart wants to be able to help everyone, but unfortunately we just have to do what’s safe and best for the rest of our students here,” Farmer said. “The state does have a lot of requirements as far as enrollment goes with needing information about the families and the children. And that’s just not something we can do on that short of notice.”
And, Farmer said, other daycare facilities in the area are in the same situation.
“From the people that I’ve talked to, and my colleagues in the field, there’s really not a lot of options right now,” Farmer said.
As of now, Avon schools officials are not able to direct parents to any specific resources for child care.
“While childcare is not our area of expertise, we are hearing stories of neighbors coming together to support one another,” district spokesperson Stacy Moore said in a statement. “Families are also reaching out to those who are new in our community to provide extra support.”
Some parents are now using social media to organize child care plans, which include teachers and high school students offering babysitting services.
“On the several Avon Facebook groups that we have, there have been a lot of teachers and other people that work within the district that are offering their homes for childcare,” Everette said.