Parenting & Caregiving

two girls wearing colorful face masks

Support your child’s learning during extended school closures with these  resources: 

At Home Learning Resources

 

Guidance to Support Working Families

For Managers

Parents and caregivers of adults are facing many unique challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Below you will find Cornell and community-based resources to assist you.   

Cornell Work/Life has created a Facebook page specifically for Cornell parents:  Cornellians Parenting During COVID-19: Family Support & Networking.  The page is designed for  Cornellians with caregiving concerns/needs and Cornellians interested in being hired to babysit, nanny, tutor, teach, etc.  It provides a forum for connecting and sharing info and resources related to family life during COVID-19 (particularly child care and schooling).

 

Parenting Resources

Child Care & Tutoring

Cornell Resources

Cornell COVID-19 Employee Hardship Fund for School-age Child Expenses

Families, especially those with school-aged children, have faced many challenges and unexpected costs due to COVID. To help with increased expenses, Cornell established a COVID-19 Hardship Fund for School-age Child Expenses.

The fund, open to eligible Cornell employees, may be used to obtain reimbursement for higher than normal costs for their school-age child. Families can apply to receive up to $300 (non-taxable) per household for allowable expenses ($500 for homes with children with special needs).

For more information, eligibility, and application, please visit the Cornell COVID-19 Employee Hardship Fund for School-age Child Expenses web site.

Math & Science Help for Cornell Families

For many Cornell parents and caregivers it is difficult to help children learn at home – especially when the subject is math – due to changed teaching approaches and/or the length of time since they, themselves, were students.

Employees in Facilities and Campus Services, Student Campus Life, and the College of Veterinary Medicine* with children in grades K-12 are invited to participate in a pilot program connecting them with Cornell students majoring in math and science-related subjects. The student volunteers engage with families using the web-based platform, Piazza, to respond to questions posted by the Cornell employee/family. There are no fees or costs. 

Questions? Contact Kathryn Conway Dimiduk, College of Engineering Teaching Excellence, or Diane Bradac in Work/Life.  Sign up now!

*If the pilot is successful, we hope to expand this program to other subjects and make it available to employees across campus.

Tutors and Teachers Available for Hire

These lists are made available by Cornell Work/Life in Human Resources.

Cornell NetID required to access. 

The individuals listed are available for hire as tutors. Some families are seeking to team up with other families and hire one individual to tutor.  Candidates have indicated whether they are interested in the option of working with more than one family.

Please contact individuals directly to obtain more information and/or conduct interviews. The rate of pay should be negotiated between the hiring family and the tutor/teacher. 

Disclaimer: Cornell does not screen, manage, or endorse individual babysitters, nannies, tutors, teachers, or hiring families. Cornell is not responsible for and will be held harmless against, any liabilities, damages, expenses, causes of action, claims, or demands of any nature whatsoever, including any claims of negligence arising from or related in any manner to the use of this directory or any situation as a result of individuals for hire and hiring families working together.

If you or someone you know is interested in being hired to tutor (remotely or in-person), have them complete this information form to be added. 

Adults 18+ interested in providing in-home child care, can create a profile and apply to jobs at Care.com and/or fill out this information form (anyone aged 14+ can fill out the form).

Please visit our Guide to Hiring Informal Child Care Providers for information on interviewing, hiring, and orienting your sitter.

Find Babysitters, Nannies, & Other Caregivers with Care.com 

Cornell provides free, unlimited Care.com membership to help benefits-eligible employees locate and arrange care.  Find resources like sample contracts and nanny tax guides.

Learn more and start your membership today! 

Cornell Child Care Grant

Cornell University’s Child Care Grant helps you pay for your child care expenses by granting awards of up to $5,000 a year, tax-free.  It has an annual application period each September for the following calendar year.

Faculty Dependent Care Travel Fund

Cornell’s Faculty Dependent Care Travel Fund program normally offers eligible faculty reimbursement for indirect,  qualified, short-term, dependent-care expenses due to eligible professional travel.

Given current restrictions on travel, the program has been temporarily modified to support faculty on the promotion track who incur back-up childcare expenses as a result of care disruption due to COVID-19.  Please see the website for more details.

Work/Life Consultation and Support:

Cornell’s Work/Life Consultant Diane Bradac is available to talk with you about dependent care, locating providers, nannies and babysitters, parenting children with special needs, and more. Call 607-255-1917 or email: sdb39@cornell.edu.

Cornell Child Care Center (CCCC):

The Cornell University Child Care Center, managed by Bright Horizons Family Solutions, provides care for Cornell faculty, staff, and students with children ages 6 weeks to 5 years.  Visit their website for additional information or arrange to take a tour.   150 Pleasant Grove Rd, Ithaca, 607-255-1010,  Email: cornell@brighthorizons.com

Alternative Child Care

If your child is healthy and you are seeking a care provider, you may use these resources to locate care, though options are limited. If there are no health limitations, consider sharing caregiving responsibilities with other families by rotating who provides care for the children.  Also, visit the Resources page for additional family life support and consider joining a Cornell Parenting e-List or Newsletter for updates and connecting with other families who have care concerns. 

  • Care@Work by Care.com – Cornell provides benefits-eligible employees and retirees with a free membership to Care@Work to help you locate babysitters, pet sitters/walkers, elder/adult care providers, and individuals to run errands.  You may post a job or search the directory for a care provider. Providers are not endorsed by Cornell.
  • Child Development Council of Tompkins & Cortland County (other Counties) – advises area families on child care options.  Ithaca – 607-273-0259, Cortland – 607-753-0106
  • Cornell Work/Life Consultant – may advise you on work/life issues, especially related to caregiving. Phone, virtual, and email consultations available worklife@cornell.edu or 607-255-1917
Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account Changes:

If you are enrolled in a DCFSA for 2020, and your child care needs have changed due to COVID-19 – either due to a change in provider or a change in projected expense – you may make a change in your DCFSA election, on a go-forward basis, within 60 days of that change in need. There is a special enrollment form required.  If you cannot locate the form emailed to you on April 28th, please contact the HR Services and Transition Center, hrservices@cornell.edu, 607-255-3936. 

You may make subsequent changes to future contributions once you return to your original child care needs/expenses. PLEASE BE AWARE: 2020 contributions to DCFSA may be used for expenses dated 1/1/2020-3/15/2021.

 

Community Resources

Mentoring Program for Children of Cornell Employees

COVID-19 has impacted children’s experiences with education, relationships, and their community. Having a college-age mentor may help your child(ren) survive and even thrive during this challenging academic year.

College Mentors for Kids is a year-long mentorship program that matches elementary school children with Cornell student mentors that are background checked and trained. The organization connects kids to college students through weekly virtual activities that inspire growth, confidence, and brighter futures.

College Mentors for Kids prioritizes families with children who may be first-generation when they go to college, those with limited financial resources, or those with children who are having social/emotional difficulties, but all are welcome to apply.

Weekly after school virtual activities occur during the entire school year (late Oct. to early May) through Zoom or phone calls based on child/parent availability (30-60 minute activities). There is no cost to participate in any activities.

Visit the Cornell program web page for more details. This video gives an overview of the national program. 

Get started today!

  1. Enroll online or email Cornell College Mentors (collegementors@cornell.edu) to request an application packet.  
  2. When you complete the application, select "Cornell Work/Life HR" as your child's school.
  3. You will be contacted by a member of Cornell College Mentors for Kids regarding next steps. 
Tutoring for K-12 Children by Cornell Students (Discounted for Cornell Employees)

Student Agencies Tutoring (SAT) is a student-run tutoring company composed of and managed by Cornell students. They offer educational support in K-12 learning and standardized test and college application preparation.

Through a partnership with Cornell Human Resources, SAT is extending a 20% discount on any of their packages to Cornell-affiliated families. To learn about available packages, how tutors are hired and vetted, and/or request services, visit the website.  Note: Cornell does not vet, screen, hire, or endorse tutors associated with SAT.

 New York Public Library

New York Public Library card holders (all residents of NY State are eligible) can receive free virtual one-on-one tutoring in subjects of math, science, reading/writing, social studies, and foreign language.

NYC Department of Education

NYC Department of Education offers an extensive list of resources for students in all grades and circumstances (from K-12, English-learning, and special education). Find reading materials, activities, lesson plans, mental health training, physical activity curricula, career preparation, and much more.

Child Development Council of Central New York, Inc.  

 Information about regulated child care --  including centers, school-age child care, family & group child care programs 

The Child Development Council provides child care resource and referral services to help you explore regulated child care options. Tompkins and Cortland County are home to a number of child care centers and home-based programs. Your search criteria (location, size, age of child/ren, cost, etc.) will be used to identify programs that may meet your needs. The Council can also assist families access child care subsidies, and maintains an emergency scholarship fund for child care payment. Request a consultation by calling 607-273-0259. 

Not in Tompkins County? A network of organizations called Child Care Resource and Referral can provide more specifics about your location/county. Contact the Child Development Council to locate a program where you live. 

Child Care Idea: “Family Pods” & “Quaranteams” 

Some families are considering entering into a “family pod” or “quaranteam” partnership with one or two other families, rotating who provides the care. Work/Life is collecting a list of families interested in this type of care. Please email Diane Bradac at sdb39@cornell.edu to express interest.   Check out the Ithaca Area Podschooling Exploration page for local resources.

Hand in Hand Domestic Employers Network

Hand in Hand offers resources for best practices when hiring a nanny, caregiver, or house attendant.  View sample contracts, checklists, and more.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

My children's school or child care is closed.  Can I bring my children on-site to be with me while I work?

The presence and care of children at a university worksite create significant safety and liability considerations for the university. While the care of infants and children at the worksite is not permitted (Visitors at the Worksite policy), supervisors are encouraged to be flexible in arranging work schedules, granting time off, and/or permitting remote work.

Can child care centers refuse to serve children of quarantined or isolated employees?  

Yes. Child care providers are required to follow New York State Licensing Guidelines, Health Department Guidelines, and may choose to impose additional regulations to support the health and safety of families and staff. 

 

Managing Work Hours / Work Load

Strategies for Managing Time/Schedules 

  • Staff (including exempt employees) may use paid time off in small increments each day or half/full days as needed. 
  • Nonacademic employees may use New York State Paid Family Leave (NYSPFL) for the care of children with disabilities, or to provide care to children with a serious health condition. NYSPFL can also be used to provide care to parents and spouses/domestic partners.
  • Adjust your start/stop time (when and which days you work) – use chunks of time that better align to your availability if possible. Consider leveraging the entire week, not just Monday through Friday.  
  • Formally reduce your hours temporarily (subsequent reduction in pay) – hours must be at least 20 per week to sustain health benefits.
  • If you are hourly, you may informally and occasionally report fewer hours worked than normal without using HAP/Vacation time to offset. You will not be paid for these hours. Discuss this with your supervisor and/or HR representative in advance.
  • Discuss your work goals and priorities with your supervisor – some work projects/tasks may be better aligned with your current situation than others. 
  • Take an unpaid leave of absence for up to three months.

 

The Cornell Flexibility in the Workplace Policy states that remote work cannot be a substitute for ongoing child care needs. In light of COVID-19, remote work may occur while dependents are present if their school or child care is closed and alternative care is unavailable, under the following guidelines:

  • Cornell is not responsible or liable for the health and safety of your dependents while you are working remotely, or for your health and safety while you are delivering care to your dependents. It is up to the employee to determine whether work can be conducted safely. 
  • If a dependent is ill and requires ongoing attention, and you are not able to perform work, employees may need to use Health and Personal (HAP) time away from work. HAP guidelines are being relaxed during this period to also accommodate well children who are home due to school and childcare closures. Nonacademic employees may also be covered by New York State Paid Family leave, which provides paid leave to care for a covered family member’s serious health condition for the care of children with disabilities. Please visit the website for more information.
  • Employees are expected to determine what they can reasonably accomplish while dependents are under their care (whether healthy or ill), and the amount of time they expect to be able to work.

 

Communications & Networking

Cornell Work/Life has created a Facebook page specifically for Cornell parents:  Cornellians Parenting During COVID-19: Family Support & Networking.  The page is designed for  Cornellians with caregiving concerns/needs and Cornellians interested in being hired to babysit, nanny, tutor, teach, etc.   It provides a forum for connecting and sharing info and resources (particularly child care and schooling) related to family life during COVID-19.

 

Cornell Resources

Big Red Writes:

Big Red Writes (BRW) is a Cornell pen pal program for employees, retirees, students, alumni, and K-12th grade children of employees.  Cornellians can request a pen pal from a specific constituency or will be assigned a pen pal at random, and can choose email or USPS mail. Participants are expected to write to their pen pal a minimum of once per month.

Cornell Parent Newsletter:  

The Parent Newsletter provides helpful tips, events, activities, and services of interest to Cornell faculty, staff, students, and retirees who are parents and/or grandparents. Click here to add your email to the newsletter distribution list. 

Cornell Parent E-Lists: 

Consider joining a Cornell Parent e-list to connect with other parents. There are specific lists for parents with children under age six and parents with school-age children, as well as a list dedicated to selling/buying child-related items. 

  • parents-k12-L – information related to parenting school-aged children (no classifieds permitted). To join, email: parents-k12-L-request@cornell.edu with “Join” in the subject 
  • parents-undersix-L – information related to parenting children under the age of six (no classifieds permitted). To join, email: parents-undersix-L-request@cornell.edu with “Join” in the subject 
  • parents-classifieds-L – buy, sell, or exchange child-related items (restrictions apply, see guidelines). To join, email: parents-classifieds-L-request@cornell.edu with “Join” in the subject 
Additional Resources:

 

Community Resources

 

Safety

Upcoming Events

Check back for more upcoming events!

How to Help the Pandemic Generation Thrive

Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 01:00 pm

Register

How can we best support our children during this time? Dr. Borba explains why empathy and resilience are key and offers practical, evidence-based, and proven ways to reach kids and help them overcome adversity, be more resilient, and learn skills they will need both now – and in the future – to thrive.

Dr. Michele Borba is an educational psychologist, best-selling author, and TODAY show contributor who has spoken to over one million participants around the world and to countless media about child development issues. She blends 40 years of teaching and consulting experience with the latest science to offer sound, realistic advice to parents, teachers, and child advocates about helping children thrive. Dr. Borba has just released her new book, THRIVERS: The Surprise Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine.

Find additional local and campus events and activities in the Cornell Parenting Newsletter and the Cornellians Parenting During COVID-19: Family Support & Networking Facebook page.

Caregiving for Adults

Cornell Resources

Community Resources


Questions or Suggestions

wellbeing@cornell.edu