Giving Compass' Take:

• To provide podding infrastructure equitably, parents are banding together to think of innovative solutions to house the diverse needs of children and their families during this time.  

• Some ideas include collaborating with local businesses and governments to provide spaces that would work for families who require childcare. How can donors help these partnerships materialize? 

• Read more about addressing equitability in pod-style learning. 

If New York City public schools open this fall, my second grader and fifth grader will be going to school in-person for just one third of the usual time. It is a confusing schedule that means they will spend only one or two days a week in school. The rest of the time, we have to figure out on our own what to do with them.

Along with a lot of other parents, many of us have been approached about creating small groups of children led by a babysitter or tutor, also known as “podding.” We’ve been engaged in quiet discussions, and been flirted with by other families trying to gauge if our safety practices and interest match their own. These conversations are hidden, because podding is by its very nature exclusive. The idea behind podding is to have your child interact with as few kids as possible, while still getting academic and social-emotional outlets that we all know children need, along with outside care that permits parents to work.

And there is an inherent problem with podding: It is isolating. It demands people shrink their social circles, while any larger sense of community slips further and further away. Articles about the inequities inherent in podding often reach the same conclusion: There isn’t much choice for parents. It’s the nature of the times in which we live.

But must that really be true? As podding became a buzzword this summer, I began wondering if getting the entire community involved to figure out “off-day” care for children when schools reopen could help circumvent little pods that serve just the affluent families who can afford it, and instead create a safe, educational option for kids that every family, regardless of income, could access.

Read the full article about podding by Ellen Bolotin at Chalkbeat.