Getting affordable child care can be a roadblock to a lot of things Michigan parents need. KinderCare is making sure that getting vaccinated isn’t one of them.
SOUTH LYON, Mich.—Cheryl Tanasoff knows how badly kids want to have a social and fun summer, and she’s doing her part to make that happen. She coordinates 13 KinderCare Learning Centers from Detroit to Lansing. These locations are gearing up for special summer and fall programs for Michigan’s youth (Michiganders to check out programs here), including those that help families get vaccinated.
Every KinderCare center in Michigan is participating in a program that offers free services to Michiganders needing the time for getting vaccinated.
“We’re offering families a free day of child care while parents and guardians get their COVID vaccine throughout the month of June,” Tanasoff said. “Since the beginning of the pandemic we’ve worked closely with a panel of doctors and medical experts, the CDC and local health departments to ensure we’re doing everything possible to keep our teachers, children and communities safe. The COVID-19 vaccine is another tool to help reduce the spread of the virus.”
Every KinderCare program in the state of Michigan is participating in the free day of care throughout June, depending on space available. Those free days of care are available Monday through Friday, and Tanasoff encouraged parents to look into the opportunity on their website or call for 1-866-337-3105 more information.
Part of KinderCare’s approach, she told The ‘Gander, is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to keep kids healthy and safe, but another key component is inoculating the families of those kids, to bring the pandemic to an end.
“All of us look forward to a return to normalcy,” she said. “One thing we’ve learned these past 14 months is how essential child care is to families and to our economic recovery. All of us at KinderCare are proud of the fact that we’ve supported Michigan families throughout the pandemic and we look forward to welcoming even more children to our 53 centers around the state as more families prepare to transition back to work.”
In the meantime, she said, KinderCare will continue following rigorous health and safety standards.
Making Nationwide Impact
Michigan’s KinderCare centers are part of a national initiative to help parents get the resources they need to become fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. It isn’t just a priority for Tanasoff, it’s a priority for the organization itself.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our children and families,” explained KinderCare spokesperson Emily Snyder. “One of the best things we can do to help keep our communities safe is to help our friends and neighbors get vaccinated. We don’t want a lack of child care to stop families from making an appointment to get vaccinated or from taking a family member in to get their COVID vaccine. That’s why we’re offering families a free day of care.”
KinderCare is providing the service as part of President Joe Biden’s month of action to get Americans vaccinated and reach herd immunity.
Citing how effective the vaccine has been in decreasing the COVID rates nationwide, the Biden administration made a solid effort to turn the early summer into the home stretch of the pandemic in the United States. That included services like KinderCare providing a day of child care to families, but also extended hours at pharmacies and community outreach.
And seeing the pandemic into its last days nationwide is an important initiative to KinderCare.
“2020 was a stressful, disruptive year for everyone, including our families and teachers,” Snyder explained. “In mid-March of 2020, we became the first provider to make the difficult decision to close all of our 1,500 centers across the country. By partnering closely with medical experts to redesign our health and safety practices, we were able to reopen 450 essential care centers, including a few centers in Michigan, to provide child care to first responders, critical health care professionals and families in essential services.”
That isn’t to say that KinderCare today looks like KinderCare two years ago, it doesn’t, Snyder clarified. To get back to the old way of doing things would require ending the pandemic altogether.
“While our enhanced health and safety measures help us keep our centers and classrooms safe sanctuaries for all, they also limit access to our programs to children and key staff only,” she explained. “This means that our teachers have had to find other ways to continue to connect and engage with our families to share about their child’s experience in our program each day.”