Enhanced COVID-19 Childcare Support

Thursday, August 27, 2020

To: Yale faculty, staff, post-doctoral associates, post-doctoral fellows, and students at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Dear Colleagues,

This week the university started many academic programs on campus and welcomed thousands of students back to New Haven. While it was gratifying to kickstart the new year and see students moving into their colleges in the past few days, we are acutely aware that this is a year like no other. It is not business as usual. We have all faced incredible challenges in the past six months, from worrying about the health and safety of our loved ones to juggling remote-working responsibilities under conditions none of us could have predicted at the beginning of this year. While every single one of us has been challenged by this pandemic, it has especially challenged those caring for children and high-risk family members while balancing work demands.

Even though some daycare centers and schools have announced in-person teaching, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the reopening plans in most school districts. It is impossible to find the perfect childcare solution for all families. But our colleagues in the WorkLife office have worked hard in the past several months to enhance existing childcare resources and introduce several new benefits to members of our community. Even as we are pleased to announce these new enhancements, we want to reassure you that our work here is not done. We will continue to explore creative solutions to this crisis.

Emergency Back-Up Care

As you may recall, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in early June we announced enhancements to our childcare resources and offerings. As a result, all benefits-eligible faculty, managerial and professional staff, post-doctoral associates, clerical and technical, and service and maintenance employees can use up to a total of 20 emergency back-up care days through December 31, 2020. A unique feature of the current Crisis Care Assist emergency backup-care program is that it offers the additional option to secure care from within your own personal network and receive a reimbursement of $100 per day. Since the program’s expansion, many members of our community have used this benefit to offset costs associated with the closure of daycare centers and schools. We are pleased to announce further expansions below.

New Childcare Resources

  • Increased Access to In-Home Family Daycare Providers: Yale is finalizing a new relationship with All Our Kin, a non-profit organization that trains, supports, and sustains family childcare educators. This partnership will provide Yale families increased access to licensed family daycare homes in the greater New Haven area.
  • Emergency Back-Up Care for Students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences: Starting October 1, all GSAS students will qualify for a total of 20 emergency back-up care days through the Bright Horizons Family Solutions Company through September 30, 2021, including Crisis Care days through December 31, 2020.
  • Emergency Back-Up Care for Post-Doctoral Fellows: Starting September 1, all post-doctoral fellows will qualify for a total of 20 emergency back-up care days through the Bright Horizons Family Solutions Company through December 31, 2020. They will also have access to enhanced family support systems through Bright Horizons.
  • Care for School-Aged Children: The Phyllis Bodel Center, one of Yale’s affiliated childcare centers, will be providing onsite care for school-aged children who are engaged in distance learning this year. For more information contact the Executive Director of the Bodel Center, Kyle Miller at 203-785-3829 or kyle.miller@yale.edu.  A similar program is being considered by Bright Horizons at West Campus, another Yale-affiliated childcare center. If you are interested in care opportunities for school-aged children at Bright Horizons, please contact yalewestcampus@brighthorizons.com.
  • In-Person and Virtual Tutoring and Babysitting: The university is now connecting Yale students who wish to work as in-person or virtual tutors or babysitters with Yale families that would find such support useful. To explore these options further, please log into the Yale Babysitting and Tutoring website.
  • Virtual Educational Tools: The WorkLife office has created a web page titled Educating Children at Home that contains links to educational content created by Yale University galleries and the Peabody museum. This platform also connects Yale families with external educational tools targeting children of all ages.
  • OfficeAccord Virtual Parent Community: The university is launching a new digital platform that permits all Yale parents to connect, communicate, and share resources with each other. The WorkLife office will also use this platform to announce childcare-related news, workshops, and new resources. To create your own profile and explore this new digital community, visit the Yale OfficeAccord website.
  • Sick Time: Starting immediately, managerial and professional staff can use their sick time for any child or eldercare needs through June 30, 2021. For employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the university will be discussing this benefit with their union leadership.

We ask for the continued support of deans, chairs, managers, and supervisors. Please provide flexible work arrangements that are operationally feasible for those members of the Yale community who are facing additional burdens as a result of childcare obligations. In this unprecedented time of crisis, we must continue to be thoughtful, creative, and accommodating.

Finally, thank you. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to your work. We have been awed and humbled by the ways in which this community has come together in the past few months. While there are many challenges still ahead of us, supporting you and your loved ones during this crisis remains a top priority.

Please visit the COVID-19 Childcare Resources website for additional information about all of the enhancements mentioned in this email as well as the benefits announced in June.

With gratitude,

Scott Strobel

Jack Callahan, Jr.
Senior Vice President for Operations