FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Many parents are having to navigate some tough decisions with their kids starting the new school year virtually.

A growing concern for working parents has become whether to hire outside help to look after their kids who are taking classes virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rosalind Prather, the co-founder of Trusting Connections Nanny Agency, says their phones have been ringing nonstop with parents who are looking to hire nannies or private educators to take on the tasks at home.

“Parents are stretched way to thin and they have been since March and we know this, 38 percent of parents describe themselves as being severely distressed which is up from three-percent from 2018,” said Prather.

As for hiring, she said, “It is absolutely critical to do a thorough screening. A background investigation, potentially even a drug test, checking references. There is a whole slew of things that really need to take place before you allow someone in your home.”

Prather said it’s important to decide whether the needs of your child can be met by a nanny or if a licensed private educator is necessary.

“A private educator can be either full time or part time but they can also use our nannies. If the school is offering curriculum you can have a nanny just implement that curriculum and keep your kids on task,” said Prather.

She also suggest parents consider participating in a “pandemic pod,” where a small group of student gathered to be looked after or tutored by one person who is paid collectively by a group of parents.

Prather said the cost is anywhere between $20 to $50 an hour per child.

“So for the family that says look I can’t afford a full time educator families are getting together and either sharing the work among the adults or they are hiring outside help to come in and assist with that.”

Lastly, she is advising parents who don’t use a full service agency to make these hires consult with their accountant, because it is illegal to pay nannies or private educators under the table.

She says they are considered to by employees and not contractors.

“What that means is that families have to secure an EIN, and has to become an employer and give that person a W-2 at the end of the year. Paying someone under the table is illegal.”