COVID-19: San Francisco expands emergency child care for essential employees

Emergency child and youth care centers in San Francisco will expand their operating hours to better fit the schedule of health care workers and The City's Recreation and Park Department will also provide child care for essential employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor's office announced over the weekend.

Starting on Monday, child care will be available at all 35 Recreation and Park Department sites from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. to support health care workers in public and private hospitals who typically have 12-hour shifts. The care is free to frontline employees who are working in San Francisco, and is not limited to San Francisco residents. 

"Front line health care and essential employees like doctors and nurses need to have child care that they can rely on as they focus on responding to COVID-19," Mayor London Breed said in a statement. "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."

Plus, San Francisco will begin providing care to children of Disaster Services Workers, essential Department of Public Health employees, and employees who are part of the San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium.

This is in addition to providing child care for health care workers and low-income families on the Recreation and Park scholarship list, Breed's office said.

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San Francisco Recreation and Park’s recreation facilities serve grades K through 8, Monday through Friday.

The emergency care centers are operated in partnership between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the Department of Children, Youth, and their Families.

Recreation staff operate these facilities, providing homework help and a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including sports, art and STEM projects.

DCYF provides three meals a day to all participants.

The Public Health Order issued on March 16 requires San Franciscans to stay home, except for essential needs.

Health care workers and other essential employees are exempt from the Order because their work is necessary to respond to COVID-19.

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The emergency care program is available by invitation only, the city said.

The Department of Human Resources is conducting outreach to Department of Public Health staff and Disaster Service Workers about the emergency care program. The Recreation and Park Department and the Department of Emergency Management are working together to conduct outreach to hospital and health care clinic staff. 

The order allows childcare facilities to operate if they serve parents who work in essential businesses and comply with the following conditions to the extent possible:

  • Children must be cared for in stable groups of 12 or fewer.
  • Groups of children may not mix with each other.
  • Providers may not circulate between groups.
  • Common areas may be shared by multiple groups, however their use of these areas should be staggered as much as possible.

For more information, you can also call 311. For official updates, sign up for the City’s alert service: text COVID19SF to 888-777.

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