Several members of our Indiana Network have been faced with the challenges of school re-openings in the time of COVID. As our communities continue to innovate around problems that the Corona Virus is causing for families Learning Pods have emerged as one method to support families with working parents and children who are not yet back in school face-t0-face.
Are you interested in running a learning pod for your friends and neighbors? This is a time where so many families are being creative about childcare and options for school-age children who are in virtual learning situations. While we love the creative initiative of families we are also very cognizant that there are rules.
So for those of you in Indiana here is what we want to be sure that know…
- If you are taking in school aged children (into your home or organization) to complete e-learning activities you may want to consider having families sign an internet use policy (here is an example that we like)
- Consider testing your internet bandwidth before kids show up (take a peak at the education superhighway for one possible test here)
- There are expectations for licensing that deal specifically with children under age five. Because a child can enroll in Kindergarten (before turning five) please do your due diligence with licensing. If you have more than five unrelated children in a home, without individual parents of children present, and receiving payment for care you may (and probably do) fall under licensing rules. Please do your due diligence and contact a licensing specialist here.
- Be cognizant that if anyone in Indiana that has more than five unrelated children (example “my two children and five others”) you will need to be licensed in most cases.
- If a pod or program is running with more than five unrelated children in a home and paying someone (or a business) to provide care that home owner may be responsible for securing a child care license, and meeting licensing expectations. Please do your due diligence and contact a licensing specialist here.
- Once you receive funds/payment to provide care for others (in your home or elsewhere) you may be responsible for different components of licensing.
- If you are planning a pod/school age care/in person e-learning support program you may want to consider first aid training and back ground checks (licensing can assist with securing the best possible back ground check for your efforts). This will be required among other elements for licensing, however even if you do not have more than five kids, five days a week in one home with someone being paid to take care of children in the absence of families please be diligent in your search for support staff.
- It is important that those working with school aged children understand the process and needs for abuse and neglect reporting. Find out more here.
- The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration has several documents that can help guide you to provide safe opportunities for children. Make sure to follow mask guidance and requirements and please do your part to prepare for limiting contact, mitigation, etc. during this difficult time.