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Maryland needs a new model for child care during pandemic | READER COMMENTARY

In this May 27, 2020 photo, teachers Jana Blair, right, and Aaron Rainboth, upper left, wear masks as they work with kids examining a spider they found on the playground at the Frederickson KinderCare daycare center, in Tacoma, Wash. In a world weary of the coronavirus, many working parents with young children are now struggling with the decision on when or how they'll be comfortable returning to their child care providers. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
In this May 27, 2020 photo, teachers Jana Blair, right, and Aaron Rainboth, upper left, wear masks as they work with kids examining a spider they found on the playground at the Frederickson KinderCare daycare center, in Tacoma, Wash. In a world weary of the coronavirus, many working parents with young children are now struggling with the decision on when or how they'll be comfortable returning to their child care providers. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) (Ted S. Warren/AP)

Working families cannot afford to stay home from work, yet online education requires adult supervision. At the same time, many adults are unemployed and would be capable of providing care. In order to provide the supervision needed so that parents can attend work, Maryland should move quickly to sanction the framework for education supervision pods for school-aged children (”‘Like putting together a puzzle every day’: Families face child care dilemma, threatening Maryland’s economic recovery,” July 31).

Small groups of school-aged children could be supervised in a neighbor’s home while they do their online educational activities. Children and caretakers could have daily temperature checks and wear masks. In order for this to be done safely and legally, the state of Maryland should implement a website that will enable prospective adult caregivers to register with the state and facilitate an expedited process to ensure that the adults who would have access to children have never committed an act of moral turpitude.

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Given the urgent needs facing families who need care, the state should quickly consult with educators, social services and public health authorities to identify and encourage a new model for enabling child supervision for all families who need it. Such a model is key to helping more families begin to generate income again while keeping children healthy and learning.

Priscilla Novak, Kensington

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