Local program providing child care while maintaining social distancing

Local

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — With schools out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been asking school districts to help out with child care for families of essential workers.

Executive Principal for Washington-Saratoga-Warren-Hamilton and Essex BOCES, Denise Capece, said their staff is stepping up to assist in this mission.

“We have a lot of amazing staff and everything is working out really well,” said Capece.

WSWHE BOCES serves 31 area school districts. Capece is now in charge of organizing their new child care program, which offers care for regional children of essential workers.

They’re using three different locations: the Southern Adirondack Education Center in Hudson Falls, the F. Donald Myers Education Center in Saratoga Springs, and the Sanford Street Teaching and Learning Center in Glens Falls.

Each location has two classrooms: one for 3 to 5-year-olds and another for the 6 to 12-year-olds. Each classroom has up to eight students and two staff members.

“When the children come in the morning, we check their temperature, we ask them to wash their hands, and then we ask them to wash their hands several times throughout the day. Our staff are using the same precautions as well,” said Capece.

She said the staff if also using PPE whenever necessary.

The staff is now faced with finding creative ways to allow the kids to play together while also maintaining enough physical distance. It’s something Capece said can certainly be a challenge with the little ones. 

“One of my principals just sent me some pictures of a child in one of our play areas playing basketball and kicking a ball around with one of the staff. Some of our children are actually bringing in their schoolwork and our staff is helping them with that as well. We have games, arts and crafts, we have video games like Wii, so it’s nice. They can get up and be physical and they can be next to somebody 6 feet apart to play Wii,” said Capece.

Capece said it feels great to know that they can help out the parents in their communities who need this safe and reliable service for their children.

“I had a mom [nurse] yesterday who called and was in tears and was just so excited and couldn’t thank us enough for helping them out. So that was really sweet to hear,” said Capece.

The child care service is free. Breakfast, lunch and a snack is provided with help from the local districts. 

If you are a parent and have been deemed an essential employee and you need to find child care, you’re advised to reach out to your district superintendent who can then help facilitate a spot for you.

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