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Nannies and babysitters considered essential workers during coronavirus pandemic

updated washing hands.jpg
Posted at 4:46 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 19:53:34-04

Milwaukee mom Princess High has been a babysitter for decades. During this health crisis, she went to Houston to help her cousin with her two kids.

“The need for babysitters is very, very real because a lot of people who have to work or risk losing their jobs are out of childcare, out of school,” said High.

Nannies and babysitters are considered essential workers under the Governor's "Safer at Home" order. They're classified under home-based care and that includes caregivers traveling to a child's home to watch them.

While normally High would work for several different families, during this health crisis, she's not. She says she's doing her part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

A member of the Wisconsin Family Child Care Association recommends providers not only care for one family, but only work the amount of time a family really needs you. A member of the organization says providers should watch for signs and symptoms of the virus, and if any come up, the caregiving service should stop immediately.

Some parents who can work at home are juggling their jobs and childcare at the same time like Waukesha county dad Ted Eull and his family.

"It's guaranteed they're going to need your help the minute you start your meeting," Eull said.

With a Kindergartner and 5th grader, he and his wife divvy up the duties to make it work.

If it's your kids your watching or someone else's the same hygiene practices apply during the pandemic.

Corrine Hendrickson, Corrine's Little Explorers Family Child Care Center, member of Wisconsin Family Child Care Association (WFCCA) provided four best practices for families and providers during the pandemic.

1. Setting up a contract between provider and family

According to Hendrickson, this would protect everyone and open the lines of communication. If you are a provider or family looking for care, see that the contract lays out expectations for sanitization and hand washing, transparency of illness symptoms, if a household member will be at the home, rate of pay, if a caregiver is working for other families. Also, include COVID-19 resources of best practices to slow the spread.

2. Health and hygiene practices at home

Have the caregiver take their shoes off and wash hands immediately upon arrival in the home. Also, sanitize surfaces and teach children how to wash or help them to ensure it is done correctly. Maintain proper cleanliness while plating food for children including extra servings and teach children to sneeze/cough into elbow crook. Anything that a child puts in their mouth needs to be sanitized.

3. Health and hygiene after leaving a home

Provider leaving a home should follow the practices of health care workers and sanitize your hands after leaving and also change clothing and shower upon reentering your home.

4. Recommendations to slow the spread

To help slow the spread working with one family or one essential employer workplace only would be a best practice as children appear to have fewer symptoms, but are still contagious just like anyone else who unknowingly has COVID-19.

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