Step one in hiring a babysitter: Use common sense. Ask potential candidates if they’ve recently experienced symptoms of the coronavirus.
This conversation should happen virtually. Even though we’re in the yellow phase, it’s still important to minimize contact with people outside your household, so Zoom, FaceTime, and phone calls are better options than face-to-face.
Once a babysitter confirms they’re healthy, you want to gauge how much exposure they’ve had to people who may have the virus. COVID-19 can spread through presymptomatic and asymptomatic carriers, meaning it’s possible not to know if you’re infected.
“Start general: ‘How often do you come into contact with people outside of your household? Have you traveled outside of the city to a known hot spot? Does anyone in your household have any symptoms?’” says Dean.
Gain a sense of what their life looks like without prying so much you can’t build trust. Ask if they’re seeing others, but don’t ask for their partner’s name and number. If one of their answers sounds an alarm, then ask if they’ll share more specifics.
“Two weeks is a good rule of thumb — find out where they’ve been across the past two weeks,” says Kate Cronan, a pediatrician and emergency medicine doctor at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. Coronavirus symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
If you can’t find a babysitter whose exposure seems low, Cronan suggests asking your top candidate if they’ll quarantine for two weeks.
“It might not seem ideal, but safety is number one,” says Cronan. “They can always decline.”
If you’re regularly leaving the house, ask if the sitter is living with anyone who’s considered high risk. And be up-front about your own lifestyle, too.
Of course, don’t forget to ask non-coronavirus related questions, too. Care.com offers a list of interview questions to help vet experience and personality in a new babysitter.