Giving Compass' Take:

• Ellen Bolotin shares her efforts to make learning pods equitable and inclusive, the success of which depends on collaboration and public support.

• How do philanthropy and policy play a role in creating equitable learning pods? How are you working to establish equitable education strategies as school approaches rapidly?

• Read about Chicago's controversial, fluctuating plan for returning to school in the fall.

Along with a lot of other parents, many of us have been approached about creating small groups of kids led by a babysitter or tutor, also known as “podding.” 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 become even more exclusive, with shrinking social circles, while any sense of community slips further and further away.

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 kids when schools reopen could help circumvent little pods that serve just the wealthy families who can afford it, and instead create a safe, educational option for kids that every family, regardless of income, could access.

We believe it can work, if government and businesses help parent communities like ours to act creatively: Companies and organizations could be incentivized, with tax breaks or subsidies, to help provide spaces for care in this unprecedented crisis. Philanthropy could provide grants or stipends to parent groups to subsidize the cost of care and make it accessible for all.

We need city government, elected officials and businesses to start thinking about how to empower parent communities to provide off-day care for every family. Until then, school communities like ours have to look to ourselves to generate solutions that ensure every child has a safe place to be.

Read the full article about making learning pods inclusive by Ellen Bolotin at The Hechinger Report.