State softens emergency child care demand on schools
Thursday, April 9, 2020
The Oregon Department of Education pulled back Wednesday on emergency child care requirements for schools.
School districts with existing programs serving emergency personnel must continue, according to the new guidance, but all others just need a plan to start up within three days if called on.
Districts must be able to care for kindergarten to 12-year-old children, with their own staff or working with a child care partner. ODE will notify districts and supply support.
Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order 20-08 required schools to provide “child care for first responders, emergency workers, health care professionals and other individuals.”
Demand for emergency child care has been small, though, with existing child care providers having more than enough spots.
Even with a half-dozen hospitals in its boundaries, Portland Public Schools reports serving fewer than 12 children a day.
Portland opened one school near OHSU Hospital. The district provides the space and custodial work and it contracts with its partner child care providers for staffing, according to Claire Hertz, Portland’s deputy superintendent of business and operations.
She said the district functions as a backup for child care services, ready to provide extra slots and space for social distancing as needed.
“We let the professionals who know how to do the work, who have the skill set and have already been trained for child care roles, continue to provide the service,” Hertz said.