Colorado workers on the front lines of fighting the new coronavirus — including doctors, nurses, police, and firefighters — will have access to emergency child care so they can continue to work while most schools and child care centers are closed, Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday.
COVID-19 IN COLORADO
The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:
- LIVE BLOG: The latest on closures, restrictions and other major updates.
- MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
- TESTING: Here’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
- VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.
- STORY: Colorado changes vaccine plan again, moving down most essential workers to bump up older, sicker people
Polis said he wants to make sure “people aren’t forced to stay home simply because their kid doesn’t have a place to go during the day.”
Most school districts in Colorado have closed schools until the end of March or early April. Some child care centers followed suit, though the state has implored them to stay open. Polis said on Wednesday that it’s “increasingly unlikely” that Colorado schools will reopen this year.
Approximately 80,000 of the state’s emergency workers have children under age 8, Polis said. A new website asks workers to fill out a survey detailing their child care needs, including the age of their children, their location, and what time of day they’d need care.
Early childhood and school-aged care providers are asking if their staff would be willing to help provide care, the website says. Those who agree to work at their center or at another location would be “paid an enhanced rate that recognizes their extra effort and commitment to serving our community in a time of need,” the website says.
“Depending on region or need, possibilities might include licensed in-home care, a center-based program, services in a school-based program, and on-demand child care,” the website says. “We will do our best to match those families with an identified care provider that meets their needs and reach out to them to arrange enrollment.”
Participating child care locations would undergo “deep cleaning” before they open, and then daily after that, the website says. The number of children cared for in a single group would also be reduced “to smaller than typical to allow increased social distancing,” it says.