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Phoenix Mother Of 5 Worries School Closure Will Hurt Her Financially

The  Alhambra Elementary School District announced Thursday afternoon that it’s closing all of its schools starting Monday until further notice in response to the global coronavirus outbreak. This came after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman and Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said they are not recommending statewide closures despite other states doing just this. 

→  List Of Confirmed School Closures

Erika Olivares is a mother of two students at James W. Rick Elementary School in Phoenix, which is part of the Alhambra district. She's got three other kids at Paradise Valley Unified School District, which as of Friday morning, had not announced any closures. 

This week, the Alhambra district was on spring break, and Olivares said her mom helped with child care. But next week, Olivares’ mom, who cleans houses for a living, has to go back to work. 

"She's her own boss but if she cancels one house, that's where she loses her money and I can't have her lose her money," she said. "Now I have to find a sitter here but now nobody wants to babysit kids because of the virus. So there’s no school, no sitter.” 

Olivares said that the sitters who are willing to take the risk of possible infection are now charging more. 

So while Olivares is glad the district is taking precautions, she fears that the closure may hurt her financially if she’s forced to hire an expensive sitter to take time off work. 

“I can’t afford it," she said. "When you are a single mom, it’s hard for a single mom to be able to lose one day of work, because that’s what pretty much pays your bills.”

If Olivares did call off work, she also fears that she could risk getting fired. 

→  Read The Latest News On The Coronavirus Disease  

Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.