Zoom Room offers childcare to staff


Hailey Cho, staff writer

As South continues to shift into hybrid, students and staff have slowly transitioned back into the building. Although this act signifies progress, in-person classes also raise the question of childcare for many teachers who are parents.

In response to this issue, South’s administration created a room where staff’s children can attend their classes over Zoom while supervised, according to Elizabeth Nestos, Learning and Reflection Center instructional assistant.

Nestos is one of the supervisors of this Zoom Room, along with Angela Nelson, girls’ sports equipment manager. Considering that some teachers were unable to teach in-person due to a lack of childcare, Nestos explained that the administration formed the Zoom Room to accommodate teachers who needed extra support.

“It’s up to the teachers themselves and what their needs are,” Nestos said. “It’s $5.00 per block for a child so they do have to pay a nominal fee for the room itself.”

Principal Dr. Lauren Fagel contacted Nestos and Nelson before hybrid started in the second semester to see if they would be willing to leave their previous positions to supervise the Zoom Room, Nestos said. They accepted Fagel’s offer to supervise the Zoom Room, which is open for one to four blocks daily.

“Both Angie [Nelson] and I were thrilled at the opportunity to help out and especially be with young kids,” Nestos said.

Nestos explained that the room currently has participants as young as kindergarteners; depending on the teacher’s situation, Nestos explained the cut-off age can vary.

“Honestly, I think if a teacher is in the position where they need the Zoom Room and they don’t have any alternatives, we can take as young as kindergarten and up to any age,” Nestos said.

One of the older children who participates in the Zoom Room is seventh-grader Josie Wolfe, the daughter of Stacey Wolfe, Special Education instructional supervisor. She said that her mother asked if she wanted to use the Zoom Room, and she agreed, explaining that being in the Zoom Room has made it easier to focus.

“I always enjoy it [in the Zoom Room],” Josie said. “They’re doing a really good job.”

Megan Williams, special education teacher, uses the Zoom Room for her daughter. Williams’ babysitter moved recently, leaving her without childcare.

“Being able to bring her to school [and] have her do all of her learning here while I’m in the building teaching is great,” Williams said. “It’s a lot easier for me to plan and figure out where she has to be.”

Although balancing the different schedules of the students who come to the Zoom Room can be overwhelming, Nestos said that she and Nelson have created a system to manage the room. The Zoom Room provides Legos, snacks and various crafts each day to entertain kids who have finished their studies for the day.

“We have made the room so fun, inviting and warm and such a great change of scenery for kids that, together, we absolutely are able to manage,” Nestos said.