#childsafety | NYC Will Create 100K Child Care Slots For School’s Return

NEW YORK CITY —An armada of libraries, community centers and more will help create 100,000 new child care slots if and when New York schools return, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

De Blasio announced Wednesday what he called a “from scratch” city child care system to help families deal with likely blended in-school and remote learning days.

“The goal will be to start by serving 100,000 kids and giving those families, those parents that balance in their life, that relief, that support,” he said. “But then we aim to go farther.”

It remains unclear if schools will return in September amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently outlined school return requirements that state regions need to be in Phase Four reopening and with a 5 percent or less infection rate.

New York City is poised to enter Phase Four as soon as next week and its infection rate has hovered around 2 percent.

But both Cuomo and de Blasio have expressed concern over how rising coronavirus rates across the country could affect New York City. And Cuomo’s school plan includes an “emergency” stop if infections reach above 9 percent.

Despite the uncertainty, officials are planning for a potential return to school in September. They have made clear that changes — like staggered schedules and smaller, 15-student maximum classrooms — will be put in place to stop the new coronavirus’ spread.

De Blasio said that also requires the city to plan ahead for child care.

“We’re going to use every conceivable space — community centers, libraries, cultural organizations, whatever we can find in communities,” he said. “We’re going to have one approach for early childhood and another approach for K-8.”

Melanie Hartzog, the city’s budget director who is also handling the child care plan, said officials are looking to partner with various organizations for space and staff.

The child care spaces will have no more than 15 children per room, require and provide personal protective equipment and include activities like arts, recreation, tutoring and — when feasible — field trips, Hartzog said.

“Our plan is designed to provide full supervised coverage on a child’s remote days,” she said.

De Blasio said officials hope the program will be in place by September.


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