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Parents scrambling to find child care options amid coronavirus

Posted at 10:21 PM, Mar 13, 2020

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Union High School District is just one of the latest to announced classes would be put on hold. Adding to an ever-growing list of school cancelations around the Valley.

But it's also proving to be a new challenge for working parents scrambling to find daycare.

“Many of our families are working-class families, they may not have that paid sick time, they may not have that option to work from home,” said Marissa Calderon, a manager at Whiz Kids Preschool in Mesa.

Whiz Kids Preschool has been preparing for this moment since the Coronavirus hit the U.S.

Fielding calls daily as it seems with every passing hour more school districts are shutting down.

“We’ve been talking about just being more diligent with our disinfecting our protocols, our sick child policies, even when it comes to child drop-offs and pick-ups,” said Calderon.

They hope to limit access to the facility as much as possible by allowing parents to pick up curbside using a customized app.

Now they are preparing campuses across the Valley for more children.

“I know it’s starting to worry her cause she’s bringing it up to me,” said mother of two Ashley Shaw.

Shaw and many others now having those tough conversations with their kids. She just started a new job and with school closures, she’s unsure what to do.

“I really hope I don’t have to quit my job to deal with all this cause I really can’t afford it,” said Shaw.

She’s not the only one feeling that way.

“I’m just a little worried about if she doesn’t have school, how I’m going to still go to work and not have child care, we’re lucky to have family members that she could go stay with,” said another parent.

But not everyone is so lucky.

That’s why the Boy’s and Girls Club Metro Phoenix has announced they’ll be extending their hours to help fill that gap.

“We’re gonna open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and include two meals a day, include breakfast and lunch for our kids who normally rely on breakfast and lunch at their school,” said CEO Marcia Mintz.

She says it will cost about $100,000 a week to make it happen at dozens of locations.

But hope the community can help donate to this much-needed cause.

“As soon as we heard about the school closures, we said what can we do to help our communities, help our working parents, to help the children of our healthcare workers,” said Mintz.

The Boys and Girls Club Metro Phoenix is really counting on the community to help them raise the money they need to continue to offer those extended hours. To donate, click here.