To say the impact of COVID-19 on child care has been profound is…well, an understatement. So, to support all working and studying parents, the University of Utah has partnered with Komae, a cooperative child care app to bridge child care gaps where needed.
Komae—Greek for “village”—is a free app that provides parents with flexible care management options. Parents can identify and vet families with similar parenting styles and COVID-19 hygiene practices to build their pod for shared child care and education. So, whether you are a student, a faculty or staff member and work from home, on-site or a combination of both, you can find your village.
“Working families have had additional challenges during COVID with child care being especially hard this year,” said Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Amy Locke. “We are excited to introduce the Komae app, which we hope will make finding safe affordable child care easier.”
Komae is like a large babysitting co-op. Families can form small “quaranteams” to take turns caring for each other’s children and learning pods. The ideal is to keep the child care equal and even between families so they trade “Komae Points,” 1 hour = 1 Komae Point. Read through the how-to guide for families for more information.
All families receive an initial balance of 20 points to trade for care from others and they earn points back by caring for another family. In this way, the service is essentially “forever free” to families that give and receive child care in-kind.
However, this service is meant to be used for families to connect and coordinate regardless of their capacity to reciprocate. Families that need to receive more help than they can offer in return may purchase additional points when needed. And families that can provide more support than they need to receive can cash in their points for family-forward gifts once a quarter.
To get started, create your account on Komae and join the University of Utah Group. And if you haven’t had a chance already, be sure to explore other dependent care resources available to all U employees.