With Seattle Public Schools going virtual this fall due to rising COVID-19 cases, and all except the smallest counties following suit, this back-to-school season will be like no other.

Here are some resources to support families, from meals, child care and counseling to technology and tutoring.

Back to School 2020

One-stop shopping

Coronavirus information: For the latest government updates on the pandemic, go to coronavirus.wa.gov.

Community resources statewide: Dialing 2-1-1 on your phone or searching online at wa211.org brings you a list of statewide resources for food, diapers, homework help and jobs assistance.

Tools to support children and teens during the pandemic, from the state Department of Health: doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/BHG-COVID19-FamilyToolbox.pdf


Resources for immigrants: One America has a list of city, state and federal resources at weareoneamerica.org/2020/03/23/covid-19-coronavirus-resources-for-immigrants-recursos-para-inmigrantes

Child care

Find licensed child care providers statewide at Child Care Aware of Washington online (childcareawarewa.org) or by calling 800-446-1114.

Seattle Public Schools expects to expand its number of child care sites from 36 to 68, prioritized for essential staff, including educators, according to district spokesperson Tim Robinson. See seattleschools.org/resources/childcare. Sites include programs from the YMCA (seattleymca.org), Boys & Girls Club (positiveplace.org) and Launch (launchlearning.org).

The YMCA is offering Y LEAP Academy, a full-day program designed with school districts to support kids and families with online learning and school-day care along with recess, enrichment activities and social-emotional learning. The program, offered in Auburn, Bellevue, Edmonds, Highline, Issaquah, Kent, Lake Washington, Northshore, Seattle and Snoqualmie school districts, adheres to CDC safety guidelines. The fee is $275 for members, $325 for nonmembers per week, plus a $10 weekly deposit. Financial assistance and a sliding fee scale are available; Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidy accepted at many locations. More info: seattleymca.org/LEAP.

Child care centers statewide accepting drop-ins: Alyssa Kidd, a child care center leader in Tacoma, has compiled this list: documentcloud.org/documents/6811014-Daycare-and-Preschool-Providers.html

Babysitting: Neighborhood-based app bambinositters.com lets you preview recommendations from local parents.



Seattle Public Schools is planning to expand meal service to a total of 40 sites. Meals are open to all students (on and off the lunch program) at least through September, Robinson said in an email. Some existing bus delivery service routes may stop in August. SPS partners with organizations including FareStart, Backpack Brigade and Food for Schools to provide meals. See seattleschools.org/resources/student_meals for more info.

For districts outside Seattle, consult the school district’s website, or dial 2-1-1 or wa211.org to search the statewide database.

Electronic resources

Consult your school district’s website to find out what it is doing to provide technology and training for students and families.

Free or reduced-cost internet service for low-income residents in the Seattle area: seattle.gov/tech/services/internet-access/low-cost-home-internet-access-for-residents

Comcast has made free Wi-Fi hotspots available in businesses and outdoor locations temporarily. More info at xfinity.com/support/articles/open-xfinity-wifi-hotspots

Low-cost laptops and hotspot services are available for qualifying buyers through Interconnection (connectall.org) and PCs for People (pcsforpeople.org/get-technology).


Educational support, tutoring and enrichment

Special Education through Seattle Public Schools: Students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) may receive in-person services when deemed necessary and safe, based on the student’s IEP. More info: seattleschools.org/resources/faq/sped_faq.

Online learning:

Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) offers numerous free standards-aligned learning programs online, from grades K-12, including Advanced Placement (AP), and in multiple languages. Online dashboards help track progress. The “Get Ready for Grade Level” courses offered in both English and Spanish can help boost skills at the start of the year, and kids ages 2-7 can try the app Khan Academy Kids.

Foreign languages: DuoLingo (duolingo.com) is a free app to help hone your skills.

Science: Creosityspace.com is providing some of its most popular K-5 lessons for free to support parents and teachers in keeping the Bunsen burners going (metaphorically).

General interest: Outschool (outschool.com) has over 50,000 classes (starting from $10) from around the world including many niche interests, customizable to your child’s passions. Diy.org offers creative classes in art, cooking and more; there’s a free trial, then subscriptions cost the equivalent of $15-$25 a month.

Free tutoring by students:

Together Program (togetherprogram.squarespace.com/tutors): College and high school age tutors offer free instruction throughout Washington, founded by Seattle sisters Etienne and Noemi Reche-Ley. Etienne said in an email the goal is to “reach students and families who need our service the most.”


Students Helping Students Seattle (studentshelpingstudentsseattle.com): Founder Logan Spoonemore, a high school student from Queen Anne, created the service during the pandemic but expects it to continue beyond this year. They are seeking volunteer student tutors to meet the demand, and are working with other communities to create similar programs.

Mental and emotional health resources

Tools to support children and teens during the pandemic, from the state Department of Health: doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/1600/coronavirus/BHG-COVID19-FamilyToolbox.pdf

24/7 crisis support, substance-use counseling and violence-prevention service are offered virtually by the YMCA of Greater Seattle. Call 206-382-5340 for information. For immediate help, call the 24-Hour Crisis Line at 206-461-3222.

Crisis Connections (crisisconnections.org) offers 24-Hour Crisis Line 866-427-4747 and text support via teenlink.org (866-TEENLINK).