NATOMAS (CBS13) — Distance learning poses a lot of problems for working families who are left wondering how to make ends meet while making time for their students to learn.

To help with that problem, the Natomas Unified School District is looking to strike a balance for families in need of child care. The school board unanimously voted to implement child care on their campuses Wednesday evening.

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“I’m in a lot of anxiety because I feel like a lot of the communication is being left until really late with the school districts,” said Lisa Harper, a mom of a student in the Natomas Unified School District.

Harper is feeling the pressure as the school year nears, and wondering how to balance work and school. It’s a struggle many parents are facing at the moment.

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“Not enough child care providers to go around for people who work 40 hours a week like me,” said Mindy Brewer, another Natomas mom.

Brewer is thankful to have family to care for her kids but sees far too often the struggles other families that are not in her position face.

“Some people are not going to work because they don’t have child care,” Brewer said.

It’s those families the Natomas Unified School District wants to help. The district will add more child care options to their school campuses by partnering with a nonprofit for a program specifically tailored to families in need of affordable care.

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“It should not be solely based on your income and in Natomas, it won’t be,” said the district’s superintendent, Chris Evans.

Talk of opening campuses to allow students in does have some wondering how this plan is any different than opening school. Superintendent Evans said smaller groups are the answer. He says the child care additions are only able to help up to 900 kids, about eight percent of their district.

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“The math just shows it’s not anywhere near 100 percent of the students being spread out the whole time, or even 50 percent,” Evans said.

Particular groups would be looked at first when it comes to those in need, like students who are in foster care or get free or reduced lunch.

The plan is making Natomas parents like Harper feel more at ease knowing she may have somewhere to safely send her daughter at the end of August.

“If the school district is looking to start something for parents from the start of the school day on – that would be really beneficial,” she said.

Masks and social distancing would be in place for students at every Natomas campus if the proposal passes. Money for these programs would come out of funds they received in response to the coronavirus crisis.

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The district said while child care within school districts isn’t new, they hope other campuses might follow their lead and make room for care for all families, no matter the income.

Heather Janssen