Chesapeake employer’s solution for parents during virtual learning: Bring the kids to work

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Nine-year-old twins Austen and Aiyden have adjusted to third grade COVID-19 style.

So far, the Ghent Elementary students have had perfect scores. But the twins are not learning in the typical remote class environment, the kitchen table or a family home office. They are in virtual school at the Battlefield Business Park where their mother is employed at Family Medical Supply.

Mom April Rouse with twins Aiyden (left) and Austen (right) and Michelle Davies (Photo courtesy: Rouse family)

“It’s really easier in the morning when we are up and getting ready because we all have one spot to go. We’re up and getting ready and it’s like ‘Guys OK, let’s go to work,’” said their mother April Rouse.

The school-at-work model was developed by company owner Michelle Davies who lost two other employees when they quit due to child care issues. Rather than lose another trusted employee, Davies shut down the company break room and got work creating an academic setting for the boys — complete with desks, a Plexiglas divider, lockers and masks.

“I just got them two other desks and the supplies and stuff so they have their own free space because they also have to do the virtual P.E., so this way they have room for the exercises and stuff like that,” said Davies.

Rouse can continue helping clients secure at-home medical equipment while the boys use the company’s second Wi-Fi system for online learning.

“I am so grateful. [Davies] is like the best boss I’ve ever had. She’s always been helpful phenomenal. I love her to death,” Rouse said.

April Rouse at work for Family Medical Supply in Chesapeake (WAVY photo/Regina Mobley)

Davies hopes other business owners will follow suit in helping young families with educational needs during the pandemic.

“My main thing is just doing what’s right for the kids and hopefully more business out there. If they have the capability of a little space for the children, [employees] could come in and not have to worry about the kids being home by themselves,” said Davies.

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