Loudoun County has launched a child care program that is open to the public beginning Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Following Loudoun County Public Schools’ (LCPS) decision to begin the 2020-2021 school year with all distance learning, the county developed the program for families who may unexpectedly need child care for children in kindergarten through 6th grade.
Registration for the K-6 Distance Learning Child Care Program
The Loudoun County Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) is offering all-day child care for children in grades K-6 whose parents or guardians work while their children are enrolled in distance learning. The county is taking careful infection control measures to create a safe environment for children and PRCS staff, who will be operating the program.
The child care will be available at more than 20 sites throughout the county; however, capacity for the program is limited to 1,000 – 1,200 participants. Registration is now open and will remain open on a rolling basis as space in the program allows.
Parents have two options. A full day program that is open 7:40 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. is available for a monthly fee of $1,005. Parents who are interested in the full day program should register for both the school day and the after school sessions. The second option is a school day only program that is open 7:40 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. for a monthly fee of $660. LCPS Free & Reduced Lunch Program Participants are eligible for a 50 percent discount.
To register children in the county’s child care program, visit loudoun.gov/DLchildcare. The county’s website includes program and location details and online registration through the PRCS Webtrac system. Parents with questions about any PRCS program should email PRCS.
Background on Establishment of the Child Care Program
Loudoun County Government, in collaboration with LCPS, developed this K-6 Distance Learning Child Care Program to support employees and families in the community during a time when children otherwise would be in schools. The county identified a need for a child care program of this type and worked carefully to develop the scope of the program.
The county first considered use of school facilities for the program; however, LCPS buildings as a whole are not completely available for operating the child care program. LCPS intends to use many of its facilities during distance learning and the school system is working toward implementing a hybrid learning model as soon as possible, which will require use of the majority of the school space. Despite the planned uses for school facilities in the coming weeks and months, LCPS was able to identify space for approximately 440 students in 11 elementary schools that the county could use to operate the child care program.
The child care program will be funded by federal dollars provided to the county through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and by fees paid by participants. Because the county chose not to rely on use of local tax dollars to fund the program, the county focused primarily on county-owned properties as sites for the program to save on any costs associated with renting buildings and equipping them for a child care program. In addition, the county limited the program to approximately 1,000 – 1,200 participants to ensure adequate funding is available to operate the child care program through the 2020-2021 school year.
The county carefully evaluated all of its facilities to identify sites that meet program and operational requirements. To accommodate a number of safety precautions, such as physical distancing, locations to separate children who may become ill during the school day, facility designs that enable staff to take participants’ temperatures as they arrive at the child care sites and other COVID-19 prevention measures, the county required a significant amount of space—much more space than would be required to operate the same size program during pre-pandemic conditions. These requirements posed a challenge for the county during the development of the program.
In addition to the 11 elementary schools offered by LCPS, the county also identified 5 community centers, 2 recreation centers and 2 library branches that meet the requirements of the program. The PRCS community centers and 2 library branches will discontinue normal operations to accommodate the program; however, PRCS and library services are available at a number of other sites throughout the county. The 2 library branches were selected because they are located in areas of the county where a need for these services exists and because the buildings are owned by the county and are large enough to accommodate the program. To help the county reach its capacity goal, 2 additional sites will be leased by Loudoun County.
The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services developed several options for this program and discussed these options individually with Board Members during the week of August 17-21, 2020. At the end of these discussions, individual Board members indicated their preferences for providing the program, including general support for using two library buildings. The Board opened a dialogue with the Library Board of Trustees, who voted at their August 28, 2020, meeting to affirm the use of the two library branches and to work to minimize the impact of re-purposing the two library branches on the operations of the library system. The Board of Supervisors discussed the program during their regular Board Meeting on September 1, 2020 and voted to approve the program, the use of the library buildings, and the associated fee schedule.
PRCS and Library Services Continue
The Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services continues to operate a wide range of programs and services and all of its other facilities that are located throughout the county. In addition to the K-6 Distance Learning Child Care Program, the department’s other child care programs, including CASA and YAS, also will operate as normally scheduled. Visit loudoun.gov/PRCS for more information.
The Loudoun County Public Library’s seven other branches remain open to the public. While the Ashburn and Rust branches will temporarily discontinue indoor services, the two branches will be offering curbside pickup service. Customers are able to access Curbside service at each location Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Customers are encouraged to place holds through the online catalog or call the Ashburn (703-737-8100) or Rust (703-777-0323) libraries for assistance. For more information about library services at all locations, visit library.loudoun.gov.
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