California is helping connect parents with hundreds of pop-up child care facilities with the intent to make daycare more accessible for essential workers.
They are also handing out millions of dollars in vouchers to help parents pay for daycare, but an East Bay child care provider is wondering how they can explain to a toddler what social distancing is and if they too will have to wear face masks.
“The youngest is one and the oldest is four,” said Nancy Harvey, who runs Lil Nancy’s Primary Schoolhouse out of her home in west Oakland.
The house is a lot quieter these days but it’s coming at a deep cost.
“It definitely has been a hit in the stomach financially but again I have to keep telling myself what is more important – my health or my money,” she said.
Harvey, who is in her 50s and has type 2 diabetes, is hesitant about taking in children of essential workers because she’s concerned about exposing herself to the virus.
“As the governor of Michigan said, I’d rather be 6 feet apart than 6 feet under,” Harvey said.
California unveiled a new portal Thursday that will allow essential workers to find the closest child care provider.
“Four hundred thirty-two pop-up child care facilities are very strategically placed all throughout the state of California,” Governor Gavin Newsom said.
He added the state will hand out $50 million worth of vouchers to essential workers to help pay for it. Under the revised health order, Bay Area child care providers can:
- Care for children of essential workers and those with special needs only
- Must have no more than 12 kids per group
- Group of kids cannot mix
“How do you explain to an 18-month-old about social distancing when they look forward to climbing up in our laps and story time to hear our story,” Harvey said.
Under the revised order, schools, camps and recreational facilities can still operate – but only if there’s a daycare facility involved that is taking care of children of essential workers.