Your childcare center faces some unique staffing pressures. Many states now mandate lower staff to child ratios as a condition of operating during the COVID-19 public health emergency, and all childcare organizations should follow more robust health and safety measures. Staff might require unexpected leaves to care for themselves or family. In other words, you probably need to hire workers for your childcare organization. Here are a few tips for hiring childcare workers during the pandemic.
Conduct Virtual First Interviews
Limiting the number of people you interact with minimizes your chances of transmission, and limiting the number of job applicants who have to travel to your location reduces the number of contacts in the community, Limit the number of people you come into contact with by conducting initial interviews remotely. Hold a virtual first interview online via Zoom or similar video calling software. Conduct subsequent interview rounds virtually as well, until you need to meet the applicant in person.
Follow Safety Precautions When Interviewing in Person
When you must have an in-person interview with a candidate, follow social distancing protocols and common safety precautions, including the following:
- Do not shake hands.
- Remain six feet apart whenever possible.
- Wear face masks, and wear them properly over the mouth and nose.
- Use hand sanitizer before the interview.
- Disinfect the table and shared surfaces between interviews.
- If possible, hold the meeting outside.
Observe Candidate’s Pandemic Behaviors
Your childcare organization must take extra precautions for the safety of students and staff, and anyone you hire must be willing and able to follow your health guidelines. Gauge how seriously an applicant takes health precautions either through asking directly or by observing their behaviors during an in-person interview:
- Did they choose to sanitize their hands on their own? Did they decline to do so after being asked to?
- Are they wearing a mask when they come in?
- What COVID-19 protocols do they say they would take in the classroom?
- Note their reactions when you explain your childcare facility’s COVID-19 protocols. For example, do they seem dismissive? Are they agreeable? Are they overwhelmed by the protocols?
Require Negative COVID-19 Test Results
Before a new employee begins work at your childcare organization, consider requiring negative COVID-19 test results first. Keep in mind that negative COVID-19 test results are not a guarantee that someone is free of the virus.
Develop a List of On-Call Staff
Even if you have reached a fully staffed level, you should create a list of on-call staff. Staff should be encouraged to stay home whenever feeling ill or if exposed to the COVID-19 virus through direct contact. When staff needs to stay away as a precaution, then you will need backup staff to call in to cover. You might need a longer backup list than you might have used in the past to allow for the uncertainty, so keep an updated list of on-call workers.
Consider whether parents might be a useful resource as well, especially during emergency staff shortages. Many parents have more available time now, whether they are working from home or are currently laid off or unemployed. Volunteer parents might oversee pick-up or drop-off times, be charged with cleaning surface areas, or help with administrative tasks they are qualified for. Be sure staff is available to monitor any volunteer activities, but take advantage of an engaged and available resource pool you might find among the students’ families.
Consider Using a Staffing Agency
A staffing agency potentially can save time and effort when hiring workers for your childcare organization. Staffing agencies usually do not save money, though. If you are short on time for hiring workers and your budget allows, using a staffing agency’s services can be a helpful option for bringing aboard more workers quickly.
Consider partnering with and using Honest Buck Accounting for your financial services needs. Our experts are available for one-time consulting or ongoing accounting roles to support your childcare organization during COVID-19 and beyond.