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Grandparents’ Childcare: Should grandparents help with childcare in light of COVID-19?

Grandparents’ Childcare: Should grandparents help with childcare in light of COVID-19?

This is a difficult situation, emblematic of one that so many families are facing as schools reopen and carefully curated bubbles slowly burst. 

When a child is in contact with a dozen other students, and those students are in contact with their families, and their families are in contact with co-workers, the risk of transmission can grow precipitously.

At the same time, socialization is vital to children’s development. School teaches kids interpersonal skills and helps them build emotional resilience, which will serve them throughout their lives—including during future pandemics. Without schools reopened, many people, such as your daughter and son-in-law, are essentially asked to choose between work and child care. Every option involves sacrifices.  

The instinctive advice for any doctor or public-health official to give right now is to play it safe. Grandparents and other “high-risk” groups should avoid child care, because reopenings involve too many variables and unknowns. Schools have opened safely in other countries, but none had the degree of community spread that we currently have in much of the United States.

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