Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Friday she would issue an emergency order that would enable her to fund 75 child care classrooms while schools are closed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
The order will repurpose funds from the city’s education levy to create the spaces, most of which will be located in public schools near hospitals. The sites will be staffed by the school district and Seattle Preschool Program employees, according to Seattle Public Schools and the mayor’s office.
Those sites will serve about 700 preschool and school-aged children of health care workers, Durkan’s office estimates.
“We can’t afford for a single health care worker to be prevented from coming to work due to childcare concerns,” the release said.
Fifty of those classrooms will open in partnership with SPS, which had a public tussle last week with the city over child care services. That’s in addition to the space the district opened up this week for other child care providers such as the Boys & Girls Club and Launch.
The city’s education department will work with police and fire agencies to identify which children to serve starting next week. It’s unclear exactly where these sites are, but the release says some classrooms will open next week.