In a move that will hopefully make you love our fair city and its response to the coronavirus crisis, San Francisco is providing free child care for local healthcare workers in 12-hour shifts that reflect the shifts that nurses and doctors tend to work.
While all schools in San Francisco are closed and traditional modes of child care are being strained to the max during this crisis, 35 Recreation and Parks Department facilities are opening, starting Monday, as emergency child care sites running from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. As KTVU reports, this child care resources will take a huge burden off the backs of frontline, essential healthcare workers as this crisis widens.
As Mayor London Breed said in a statement on Medium, "Essential workers, including Disaster Service Workers and employees at our city’s clinics, need to be able to respond to this public health emergency without worrying about accessing and paying for child care." The 35 child care sites will also be available to low-income families on the Recreation and Park scholarship list, essential Department of Public Health employees, and employees at public and private hospitals in San Francisco, regardless of whether they are city residents — but the program is currently by invitation only.
Breed added that another emergency program by the San Francisco Public Library to care for kids aged 8 to 12 is in the process of coming together, and the city's Office of Early Care and Education is separately coordinating child care for frontline workers with kids ages 0–5.
Here's Mayor London Breed stopping by one of the already open child care centers on Friday, talking to kids about past challenges the city has faced and the community comes together to get through them.
I stopped by one of our @RecParkSF emergency child care facilities this morning to visit the children of the heroes who are on the front lines serving patients and helping San Francisco respond to coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/RAud7a5ifo— London Breed (@LondonBreed) March 20, 2020
Families that match any of the above criteria can call 311 for more information.
The facilities will be staffed by Rec and Parks employees, and the city order authorizing the program requires, to the greatest extent possible, that children are cared for in stable groups of 12 or fewer; service providers do not circulate between groups; groups can not mix with each other; and common areas that are shared by multiple groups must be staggered in use as much as possible.
The Rec & Parks program includes homework assistance, sports programs, art and STEM projects, and outdoor activities — as well as three meals a day provided by the Department of Children, Youth, and their Families.
Photo: London Breed via Medium