COLORADO SPRINGS — Several school districts are choosing to delay the start of the school year, leaving single and working parents scrambling to come up with childcare and work plans.
Like many parents, Robin Baugh is raising concerns as more districts make this decision. Her nine-year-old son Owen attends Columbia Elementary School in District 11.
"We're starting in like ten days and I don't know how I'm going to support him, because I don't know what it's going to look like," said Robin.
At the end of July, the district decided to move it's start date back one week. Robin says she was disappointed by the move because she was looking forward to Owen returning in-person. He's been in the Individual Education Program for the last three years.
"He would be losing out on a lot of he didn't continue getting that extra personalized support for reading," said Robin.
While she wants Owen to return for in-person learning, he has a different idea.
"I'm not really that stoked about in-person because I don't want to catch COVID and give it to my mom, uncle or sister," said Owen.
He prefers online-learning, but Robin says it'll be hard for her to monitor him while she's juggling work and her toddler.
"Let's say I'm on a call and you get stuck on a math question," said Robin.
"I won't bother you because I know how much you want to get paid and get a new house," said Owen.
Robin says she has looked into daycares or getting a tutor that could make sure he's doing his course work, but it was just too expensive.
Angelica Marquez is another single parent with similar concerns when it comes to children returning to school. She is a District 49 employee and has a five-year-old daughter.
"She's confused because she's wondering why mom is at work and she can't go to school," said Marquez.
Just this week, District 49 decided to start it's school year remotely. With the switch coming so close to the start to class, Marquez says parents are mainly frustrated with schools not giving them enough time to make arrangements.
"I think they should have made a decision and stuck with it and then made a decision later in September," said Marquez.
She's been struggling to maintain a routine for her family during this time, but thanks to the district, she hasn't had to worry about childcare.
"They're allowing us the flexibility to bring them into the building. Taking time working from home and whatnot. I am super grateful for that because if I didn't have that, I don't know what I would do," said Marquez.
As a community liaison, she is seeing many low-income families struggle with childcare and earning an income.
"Parents losing their job because there is not enough work due to the virus or losing their job because they have to balance home life and figure out what to do with their kid," said Marquez.
Her advice to other parents is to be flexible and develop a routine. There are several community resources to help parents who are struggling with childcare, housing, and meals.
Housing/ Shelter Resources
- Bijou House
- Shore House
- Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
- Dream Centers, Mary's Home Family Life Services/ Single Mothers
- Family Promise/Transitional Housing
- Gospel Homes for Women
- Greccio Housing
- Care and Share
2605 Preamble Pt- 80915719-528-1247
- Fresh Start Center
7375 Adventure Way- 80923719-495-3123
- Mercy's gate
4360 Montebello Dr- 80918719-277-7470
- El Paso County Assistance Programs Information
- Colorado Child Care Assistance Programs
- Low Income Energy Assistance
- Energy Resource Center Energy Assistance