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All DoDEA Furloughs will be in September

Officials with the Defense Department’s school system, DoDEA, announced yesterday that all five of the teacher furloughs day will occur in September after schools starts. They said you can find out specifically which days the week of May 26 via your school’s website.

That means that for five days in September school will be canceled. However, any activities that occur after the normal school day, such as sports practice or clubs, will go on as scheduled, officials said.

Officials are leaving the business of choosing days up to the individual schools. They do plan, however, to try to coordinate days off across all the schools on any given installation; that way if you have three kids in three different schools you won’t be looking at 15 different school-free days in your family.

If you’re a working mom (or Dad) you know what this means: you’re going to have to either take five days off in September or drum up some childcare.

At SpouseBuzz we know that finding childcare can be a beast – particularly if you only need for a day here and there like we often do. You know it, too. And so even though September is still several months down the road, you’re probably already thinking “what in the world am I going to do about work?”

DoDEA director Marilee Fitzgerald told reporters May 22 that she was going to ask principals to come up with alternate childcare suggestions. She pointed out that the child care centers on base are exempt from the furloughs and are still going to be in operation. She said those may be an option for parents.

But we know that unless the centers open up more slots for those days or run school-aged hourly care over special hours, the base child development centers won’t do parents of school children much good at all. Even if they do accept older children, most of them operate on a waiting list-only basis on a regular day, much less a furlough day.

So what is a working parent to do? Here are a few ideas. Feel free to add your own.

Furlough Day Childcare Ideas

Ask your spouse to take leave. Yes, he’ll have to use a vacation day. Yes, she’ll have to get permission from her command.  No, it won’t be a nice way to spend a vacation day. But if civilian DoD employees are being furloughed, wouldn’t it be appropriate for your spouse to burn vacation time, too?

Swap furlough care with a friend. Gather five of your closest working spouse friends together and claim one furlough day each to take the day off so you can watch all the children. It means you’ll have to take a vacation day, but at least you won’t have to take five.

Start looking for a sitter right now. SitterCity and Care.com are great resources. But it can take some serious work to come up with a babysitter you’re comfortable with and is available during the middle of the day. So why not start hunting now? Check out our guide for finding the perfect sitter before you get started.

Don’t worry, stay-at-home parents, we haven’t forgotten about you. As the furlough days get closer, we’ll come up with a great list of fun ideas for how to spend your furlough days with your kids.

About Amy Bushatz

Amy is the managing editor of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is an Associate Editor. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on NPR and in the New York Times. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.