“When there’s a school closure, they don’t even include us, we are always an afterthought,” said Maria Collier, who runs the center, which serves mostly low-income Latino students. “We were deemed essential workers. But if teachers are in Department of Education schools, they were not essential workers.”
Over the last year, some educators, school officials and teachers’ union leaders in New York and across the country have declared that teachers are not babysitters, and that schools are not child care centers. The sentiment has been meant to convince the public that teachers should not be responsible for supervising children just so that parents can return to work.
But while some educators have been able to work from home for much, if not all, of the pandemic, child care centers have emerged as substitute schools for many thousands of American children for whom online learning is not an option.