We started a homeschooling pod with another family. They refused to participate or pay 50% for the nanny for 2 weeks after we got back from vacation. Who’s right?

Dear Quentin,

I have presented this question to several people among different walks of life and received very different answers, but nothing is ever settling enough for me, so I would like your input.

At the beginning of the last school year I created a school/classroom pod with another family, who we did not know before. We agreed to have one kid from each family, a total of two kids, be part of a virtual classroom, hosted in my house and using my already established nanny and splitting the nanny cost 50/50.

Everybody would provide their own kid with school supplies, but beyond that no other investment was required from the second family. We did not have any official agreement or contract, but agreed that if a kid cannot attend during regular school hours due to illness or another appointment, the nanny cost would still be split.

My family went on a two-week vacation out of state/country, and I agreed to continue paying our share of the nanny’s cost during that time as it was during regular school time. The only difference was that I asked the other family to please host the classroom at their house during our absence, which was not a problem for anybody involved.

‘I did not agree with their assessment that they do not have to pay while they isolated from us.’

— Mother from Broken Pod

The other family was not comfortable with us leaving the state/country during COVID-19 as this was exceeding their risk tolerance. Ideally, they would have wanted us to quarantine upon return for two weeks and not attend the classroom pod or use the nanny, which was clearly not an option, as I created the pod in the first place and it was my nanny.

So the other family isolated from us for two weeks after our return. They also declined to pay their share of the nanny cost during this two-week time frame, as we put them in this situation because of our travel and created a hardship for them in the first place, and they now had to make alternative arrangements for their kid during that time.

We still went on our vacation, and I still paid my share of the nanny during our absence and intended to pay the nanny in full after our return, although I did not agree with their assessment that they do not have to pay while they isolated from us.

My nanny quit after we returned from vacation due to another job offer, so the 100% payment on my part never actually happened, but I still would like your input on this situation. It never sat quite right with me, but I can’t seem to get an answer from anybody as to what a fair solution would have been.

Mother from Broken Pod

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Dear MBP,

You broke it, you bought it.

If you made an agreement to create a pod with this family so your children could attend homeschooling or remote learning together, and then you breached the pod by going on vacation out of the state or country, you are responsible for paying for the nanny for the two weeks the other family stayed away.

There is not one rule for you and another rule for everyone else, especially when it comes to the coronavirus.

— The Moneyist

You can’t have it every which way and make up the rules as you go along because you were the one who started the pod, and because the nanny for whom you share the costs was your nanny to begin with. There is not one rule for you and another rule for everyone else, especially when it comes to the coronavirus.

If you travel out of the state or country, you’re not only breaking the rules of the pod by not quarantining, you’re breaking the rules of your state. Restricting your movements after travel is to ensure that you did not contract COVID-19. Your friends’ child may not show symptoms, but the same may not be true for his or her parents or grandparents.

If you are quarantining at home, you can’t expect another family to send their child over to your home and put their own family at risk. I agree with how the other family handled this situation. They did so fairly and responsibly.

If you want closure, here is what I suggest: Send the family a card, and make amends for the way you handled this.

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