Boys at School

What should I do with my kids this fall?

As cases rise and fall, and schools + child cares close and can you make sense of what to do?

First - slow down. There are more choices than you think. This free guide helps you think through 9 different options, including some pros + cons.


This is a moment of chaos and in that, one thing that is really important to us is that we all consider these options in light of our own family needs AND those of our larger community. We want to help you do that! 

We made this because we're in the same boat

We are parents based in Portland, Oregon grappling with how to navigate this wild time. As we began to face decisions about child care and education for the upcoming 2020 - 2021 school year, we found ourselves in dozens of conversations about what to do.

Quickly, it became clear that many of us feel stuck, overwhelmed, or confused. We decided to combine our superpowers to help support So, over the course of a week, we rapidly designed, prototyped, tested, and launched this guide + a needs assessment to help families make sense of the options available and take the time to reflect on your needs + your impact on those around you. All in service of supporting you to decide what’s best for you, your family, and your community.

School Bus

What's Inside


Information on 9 different child care options, relevant regulations, pros + cons. The regulations are specific to Oregon but the options exist anywhere


A worksheet to gather your thoughts about your family's specific needs, particularly useful if you are hoping to coordinate with others


A chance to reflect on your choices through an anti-racist, equity lens. We are beginners in this work ourselves so there are no answers and likely many things left out, but we wanted to give you a starting point for thinking beyond your own family


A chance to weigh in on what's missing, what's helpful, and what is needed so that it can truly be a community-driven resource

What's the Plan for ALL Children in Our Community?

In the absence of any clear plan from our school leadership for what will happen for children when not in the building, every family has to fend for themselves. We KNOW that will lead to inequitable outcomes because, thanks to systemic racism, families have wildly different resources to tackle that challenge. 

We are not community organizers, so we don't have an immediate answer beyond the fact that the current options offer no clear way to provide all families support, particularly Black and Indigenous families and families of color, the very families hit hardest by the pandemic. We are reaching out to other organizations doing advocacy work to post opportunities for action here (and let us know in the feedback survey if you know of any!), but in the meantime:

  • Oregonians can fill out THIS FEEDBACK SURVEY from the Oregon Department of Education letting them know that you have serious concerns about how the current plans can possibly be equitable. 

  • Wherever you live, write to your school board to ask them "what's the plan?" If you happen to be in Portland like us, there is a PPS-SPECIFIC SURVEY

Get support and stay up-to-date as it evolves

The school and child care situation changes by the week as we learn more about COVID-19, regulations shift, and infection rates rise and fall.


Plus, this being a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, we're pretty sure we probably forgot some big ideas, so we're eager to update this based on your input and feedback

Need more help? Email Ren to learn more about how she helps families think their child care needs and what makes the most sense in their situation. 

Ren Johns

PDX Waitlist

I'm a former high school teacher and child care nerd. For the past few years I've helped hundreds of families find child care through my website, PDX Waitlist, classes, and consulting. Now that I've got a rising kindergartner I'm in the midst of figuring out what to do for my own family and wanted to share what I've learned with everyone else so you don't have to reinvent the wheel. 

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The Goodness Collaborative

At The Goodness Collaborative, we help people in times of change to sort through messy, complicated problems and get to the other side. As parents of young children we were wrestling with what to do for our own families. So we dove in to make things at least a little bit better. All in service of supporting you to decide what's best for you, your family, and your community. 

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