Covid and Childcare

We live in Brussels and have two daughters, one who is 6 and in her last year of ‘maternelle’ or nursery school, and one is now 2 who is normally at creche (daycare) 4 days a week.

In Belgium they re-opened creches as of May 2020 and nursery school age children were allowed back to school at the beginning of June 2020. Apart from an extra week of holiday during the November half term and week of virtual school before the Easter holidays in April 2021 they have otherwise nationally kept them open (with ‘bubbles’ operating so that each class of children mixes with a limited number of other classes during break time and mealtimes), but locally at the creche/school level if two cases or more of covid are detected within the same bubble, that bubble would need to be closed for a 10-14 day quarantine.

Up until March 2020 when the Alpha strain of Covid started to really take off in Belgium we were incredibly lucky that neither the creche nor Sarah’s school had to shut down either of the girls ‘bubbles’ (and obviously also very lucky that none of us actually got Covid), so I just had to deal with the usual time off creche during the winter with the younger one when she got ill, but during March the sh*t really hit the fan..

Covid 19 childcare timeline

Things got a bit better after this period, and we made it to the summer holidays without any other school/creche closures (our younger daughter had another bout of illness and had to be off for a week and half), but it has put me off applying for any other jobs. I still feel like I need to be on standby for when (not if) something else goes wrong, and even now over 2 months later I don’t feel like I’ve quite recharged my batteries from all the non-stop childcare.

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