You are Not Alone: Childcare, Virtual Learning, and Creating Your Support Team

lady on the couch working on a computer with kids running aroundSome parents are finding themselves in challenging situations as COVID-19 cases rise in some areas of Michigan. Schools that previously had in-person classes are switching to virtual, leaving parents scrambling to figure out how to oversee educational instruction and keep their children engaged during the day while they are working.

Are you looking for a care provider to come to your home to watch your child? Are you interested in tutoring help, private lessons, housekeeping, pet care or other services? For free access to search all of these services, (a free Premium membership) MSU faculty and staff can find care providers by visiting and signing up with their MSU NET ID email address. can provide phone-based assistance for people with disabilities - please call 855-781-1303 for further assistance. 

Backup Care

We understand that backup care is important for your loved ones, children or elders, and want you to choose the right services for your family. Whether you are faculty, staff, student or administrator, you can choose a service that works best for you and your specific needs. The WorkLife Office will subsidize care for up to five days or 40 hours per child or dependent adult per fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) while funding lasts. In some cases, you can use childcare for a few hours or a few days at a time. This is backup dependent care, meaning that this service is intended to be used when your typical childcare or eldercare provider is not available during normal work hours.
Learn more about your options.

Learning Pods

Have you heard of learning pods? Have you considered setting one up for your children? Learning pods can serve as a potential strategy for virtual education and care for school-aged children. Join the WorkLife Office and a few of our colleagues from the College of Communication Arts and Sciences to discover what learning pods are and for a glimpse inside the learning pod they have established together.  Learn how they got it started, how to set one up for yourself and gather some tips for success! 

Some of you may find it useful as you look at different education/care options for your children.  Check it out and take a Glimpse into a Learning Pod


The COVID-19 pandemic affects us all in different ways and may be a time for trying some unconventional solutions to daily stressors that individuals and families are facing. One possible solution that people are turning to that includes forming a “bubble” or “pod” with select friends or loved ones to allow for socializing and to share responsibilities such as childcare, eldercare, educating children, housework, cooking meals, etc. This is sometimes referred to as a “quaranteam,” “covid bubble,” “quarantine pod,” or “pandemic social bubble.” These bubbles may be a good way to balance mental health and family functional needs with physical safety and there are some common themes and tips (consolidated below) that appear when researching “quaranteams” and how to get started with one.

Quaranteam Guide: A roadmap to understanding best practices for creating a learning pod or quaranteam.
Quaranteam Webinar (replay): Describing the best practices laid out in the quaranteam guide.

Family Affinity Group

Parents and caregivers across our MSU community are facing many challenges this year. Listen or participate in the conversation to discover a place for Spartans to connect on family related topics with the goal of connecting, building community and sharing best practices regarding raising or caregiving for children and elders. See the WorkLife Office Calendar for events happening once or twice a month. 

Thursday at noon join the zoom meeting 

  • weblink
  • one tap mobile call: 
    +13126266799,,92889857999# US (Chicago)
    +16468769923,,92889857999# US (New York)
  • passcode: family

Consider signing up for the Family Listserv to connect with other MSU parents, join this email list where you can ask questions, receive recommendations and stay in-the-know about issues that are relevant to you.  

Additional Assistance

Finally, if you need assistance navigating these resources or need other resources not listed above, consultations are available. Please request a consultation or email Jaimie Hutchison at to schedule an appointment. You are not in this alone. We are here to help.