Pandemic increases difficulty of finding affordable child care, early childhood education in NRV, including VT community

Access to high-quality, affordable childcare and early childhood education are among the most pressing issues affecting families across the country, the commonwealth and the New River Valley.

Rising costs, mounting waitlists at childcare and early childhood education facilities, and difficulties recruiting and retaining talent are among the many impacts of the national childcare crunch.

Now, COVID-19 compounds the issue by blurring the boundaries between home and work for families as they face varied childcare and school system schedules and financial demands.

When it comes to childcare challenges, the Virginia Tech community isn’t immune either. That’s why the university remains committed to engaging in strategies that help support its employees and students with their childcare and early childhood education needs.

“Our greatest opportunities to meet the childcare needs of the Virginia Tech community lie at the intersection of policy, partnership and two-way communication,” said Dwayne Pinkney, senior vice president and chief business officer. “Strong input from faculty, staff, and graduate student governing bodies remains integral to these efforts. We will continue to evaluate our human resources and childcare policies to ensure they help promote the work-life needs of all employees and foster a supportive working and learning environment for all. We will also continue to engage in local and regional partnerships that are working to address childcare needs in Blacksburg and across the New River Valley.”

As the university begins shifting to an increased on-campus presence this fall, Virginia Tech Human Resources provides leaders with guidance and employees with leave options and other resources to help ease childcare concerns during the current COVID-19 crisis.

“We face challenges every day that put work and home at odds with each other,” said Bryan Garey, vice president for human resources. “Childcare continues to be an issue and we will continue to work to expand options for faculty and staff. In the meantime, with creativity, empathy and two-way conversations between leaders and employees, we can help employees find the flexibility and balance they need during this challenging time.”

Virginia Tech has long been an advocate for bolstering affordable access to childcare and early childhood education for its employees and students and for the New River Valley at large. Driven by a university-wide commitment and led by a network of dedicated university stakeholders, Virginia Tech continues to make progress in accomplishing this goal.

“Virginia Tech has been instrumental in developing a community approach to address childcare needs, including availability, affordability, quality and workforce development in the New River Valley,” said Jack Finney, vice provost for faculty affairs.  “Our partnerships with New River Community College, the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg, Montgomery County Public Schools, the Community Foundation for the New River Valley, Carilion Clinic, the National Bank of Blacksburg and others resulted in the Alliance for Better Childcare Strategies and made progress in all targeted areas. We now need to focus on similar issues in Roanoke and the Greater Washington area to serve Virginia Tech’s employees beyond the NRV.”

“The exceptional need for high-quality, affordable childcare can be felt across corners of the Virginia Tech community and the region at large,” said Lisa Wilkes, vice president for business affairs. “As one of the largest employers in the area, Virginia Tech is dedicated to being a leader and problem solver on the issue. The Virginia Tech Childcare Working Group leading this charge will continue to partner with university and regional stakeholders to implement a range of programmatic and policy solutions. We know there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to childcare, so we will strive to be flexible, accommodating, and communicative in all of our efforts.”




more recommended stories