Researchers work together to arrange child care for their kids

Researchers work together to arrange child care for their kids School of Medicine researchers are coming together to solve a common problem for parents during the COVID-19 pandemic: finding care for children learning remotely. Christine Pham, MD, chief of the Division of Rheumatology, was supportive when staff scientist Huimin Yan, MD, PhD, needed to adjust her schedule in the wet lab — which can’t be manned remotely — to accommodate her 7-year-old’s virtual schoolwork. Yan “sent out an SOS to her friends,” Pham said, and “within a day had found another mother down the hall with whom she could share child care.” The mothers split their schedules so there is always an adult in one of the homes to supervise remote learning.

“We take shifts to care for our kids. I work in the morning, the other mom in the afternoon,” Yan said. “It is hard but we work together.”

The network of colleagues relying on each other to get through this difficult time continues to expand. Pham believes this kind of personal arrangement can work across the Medical Campus. “This can be done with any group of researchers, as long as they feel comfortable with the persons taking care of their kids — and the PIs are understanding and give them the flexibility to control their own schedule.”

Employees faced with child-care issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic should
review the university’s flexible work arrangement policy, which can be leveraged with supervisor approval.