Child and family care during COVID-19

COVID-19 Caregiver Task Force

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for employee and student caregivers everywhere. Locally, COVID-19 has worsened an existing caregiving crisis by causing many child care centers to close or reduce capacity and reducing programs and services that provide support for children, adults and caregivers.

On July 30, 2020, President Cauce charged a task force with recommending enhancements that UW can make to better support employee and student caregivers during the 2020-21 academic year.

The UW COVID-19 Caregiver Task Force included representation from all UW campuses and UW Medicine. Its members met throughout the month of August to review findings from a survey of caregivers and managers, discuss feedback from groups its members represented and review information from other campuses. The task force’s recommendations are elaborated in its final report and include the following:

  1. The task force recommends that shortly after receiving its report, President Cauce issues a strong statement of support for caregivers that is framed by the University’s values and provides guidance for the University community to put those values into practice.
  2. Develop or promote programs and services that address themes in the specific, urgent needs that caregivers and managers included in their survey responses.
  3. Increase training and resources for managers, including deans and other academic leaders, related to caregiving and work-life.
  4. Direct and support leaders and managers to review and enhance policies and processes related to annual planning, performance evaluations, merit and promotion.
  5. Strengthen pathways for students, staff, faculty and managers to identify and respond to situations when the University’s commitment to supporting caregivers is challenged.
  6. Establish an advisory committee to the President and Provost to elevate and address work-life issues of students, faculty and staff.
  7. Review existing caregiving programs and identify strategies that mitigate barriers to their utilization and impact.