When a major snow storm immobilizes a metropolitan area, citizens are generally advised to stay at home unless one “absolutely must go out”. Community events are rescheduled, schools cancel classes, many roads become impassable, people remain at home and the area generally shuts down except for “essential services”. What are essential services? Most people would agree that law enforcement, fire protection, emergency hospital and ambulance services, snow plow drivers, search and rescue personnel, postal and other delivery drivers, emergency pastoral support, local radio and TV announcers and transit drivers would fall in that category.
Many years ago there was a commercial for a particular make & model of car. It showed an early morning image of a parked snowplow. A voice-over asked the question, “How does the person who drives the snowplow get to the snowplow?” A single car entered the scene, parked beside the snowplow, the driver exited his vehicle and the scene faded. The ad was clearly aimed at selling a particular make and model of vehicle, but an underlying message was that people who fulfill functions such as clearing roads must have a supportive infrastructure in order to be able to do so on a consistent and predictable schedule.
Many of the dedicated individuals who serve in the professions considered essential, regardless of the weather, are parents. Without childcare those individuals lack an essential element of that supportive infrastructure needed to serve their community in times of need. At James’ Place we are aware of the critical role childcare plays in supporting our parents in performing their vital roles in the community. For that reason our policy is to remain open unless we are unable to sufficiently staff the center in a manner that provides safe and quality care to our students needing care on those days. Our teachers are cautioned not to come to work unless they can do so safely. But if they can travel safely to work, we ask them to do so. As a result we have only had to close one day since we opened our doors in 2011.
We are proud of our role in supporting essential, emergency services in our community and will continue to do.