When last week’s snowstorms canceled school for his two children, Matthew Brown relied on a network of family members and friends to care for his 6-year-old daughter Esther.
The Emmett resident is a full-time student at Boise State University and also works part time. Having someone to take care of his daughter was essential.
His son, Robert, a freshman at Emmett High School, was able to take care of himself, but Brown wanted someone older to look after Esther.
“I can’t afford daycare on the snow days, so having great people around is extremely helpful,” Brown said.
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Classes were not held in Emmett last Wednesday through Friday, same as for most communities around the Treasure Valley after heavy snowfall and temperatures that dipped below zero degrees. School was in session there on Tuesday, but many other districts canceled school again.
Especially for younger parents, where both the mother and father tend to work, dealing with a string of snow days isn’t quite like it was 20 or 30 years ago, when a stay-at-home parent was more common.
On Facebook, Nampa resident Krystal Pratt said she stayed home with her child last week.
“I am pregnant with twins and really cant afford to miss work. (I’m) pretty sure I can’t keep staying home if I want to keep my job,” Pratt said. “This has been very hard on our growing family.”
Mary Kay Torres wrote that she was “incredibly blessed to have grandparents in town that took the lead.” Otherwise, she would have needed to stay home from work.
Caldwell resident Fanny Reyes praised the Treasure Valley YMCA for offering programs for children when schools are closed.
“The YMCA is the best at not closing and allowing kids activities all day,” Reyes wrote.
Boise resident Jane Clapp said she was able to work from home but also paid for a babysitter for a couple of days. She uses a daycare center, but said it had closed because of the bad weather. If other parents have paid for daycare services and then have to find someone else to watch their children, she said that could cause a hardship.
“I can easily see how parents who don’t have the luxuries that I have would struggle to pay twice for childcare for an entire week,” Clapp wrote.
Tia Wall said she was primarily concerned with safety.
“I have several people who would sit for me, but I don’t want them driving in this weather to pick up my kid, nor do I want to drive further than I have to to drop my kid off. The roads simply aren’t safe in many places,” Wall wrote.