Ramont Scott is an essential worker with the U.S. Postal Service and a single dad of two school-age children.
While such facts of life could challenge normal everyday living, COVID-19 and government shutdowns created a new “unnormal” by shuttering school buildings and child care services, and mandating virtual schooling.
For the Scott family, whose kids are enrolled in Frederick County (Md.) Public Schools, the unnormal meant he had to decide whether his 16-year-old son was mature enough to learn virtually from home — alone — and the high school junior is. Then he had to figure a plan for his daughter, a second-grader who now attends her classes online at a YMCA. Blessings to be sure.
There’s still a rub, though. State and local leaders remain reluctant to open schools and daycare centers because of fear of the spreading of the coronavirus.
Most of these leaders fail to understand that parents and other adults who have sequestered since March are keenly aware of the health and safety guidelines they’ve been required to adhere to. Some have even quit their jobs for health and safety’s sake. They know they’re depending on unemployment, government handouts and food banks, and others to survive.
They also know their former jobs may no longer be around because so many small businesses , too, are shuttered and might never reopen.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, it seems, gets the picture.
Miss Bowser might have seen what I saw while driving this weekend around the District. Shops, bars, restaurants, sports and entertainment venues around are closed or boarded up.
Office buildings are begging for occupants — an anomaly for the nation’s capital.
D.C. cannot live on work-from-home alone.
So, what did the mayor do? She launched a giveaway program.
The giveaway? Money to child care centers. Licensed child care centers. All of them.
It’s called the D.C. Child Care Provider Relief Fund, and the plan is to give grants totaling $5 million in emergency operational funding.
Miss Bowser’s words: “Expanding access to high-quality child care is one of the most effective ways to put families on the pathway to healthy and successful lives. This grant will ensure more families, particularly our working families who are sacrificing so much during this public health emergency, have access to the child care and support they need and deserve.”
Guess she’s seen with her eyes and, for sure, heard with her own ears from teachers, the formerly employed and small businesses are having a hard time going to work.
Working from home is a Godsend for many Washingtonians. However, Miss Bowser also has her own goals regarding the reopening of child care programs.
She wants schools to reopen in November, and she wants all of the city’s 144 voting precincts opened for the Nov. 3 presidential kahuna.
A Democrat, you can count on her head, shoulders, knees and toes as anxious as can be to vote you-know-who out of the Oval Office.
Anyway, a fairly new single mom’s gotta do what single parents gotta do.
Blessed is she — or he, in Mr. Scott’s case — who makes a way.
• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.