Licensed Ohio child care centers now eligible to take in school-age children during school day

Pandemic emergency child care
Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 1:15 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Parents who are returning to work and struggling to figure out what to do with school age children who are learning remotely during the day now have another option.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday a new program beginning August 25 that would allow child care providers to care for school-age children who are learning remotely during the school day. The centers must be licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Service and Ohio Department of Education.

“With more than 30 percent of school districts opting for remote and hybrid models of learning for the start of the school year -– including many of Ohio’s largest school districts –- working families need safe options for their child’s care during the school day,” Governor DeWine said.

The providers will receive funding to cover the cost of care for economically eligible children.

Local centers, like Toddler Tech on Monroe Street, have been fielding phone calls since local school districts made their decisions to start the school year virtually.

“As soon as the big districts made their announcements, my phone email was just going off the hook,” Toddler Tech owner Anna Axe said. “[People were asking] what am I going to do, can you help us?”

So Axe’s childcare center will now be providing care for kids like 7-year old Benjamin Cherry, who attends Washington Local Schools. His mother, Jennifer Cherry is an essential worker in the mental health field.

“They’re starting remote and their hope is to go to a hybrid at some point this year,” Cherry said. “With him being remote, he has to log in every day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and be available for his teachers during that time, and there’s just no way I can do that guarantee that for him every day.”

So Cherry will be bringing him to Toddler Tech so he can be supervised during the school day.

Axe’s center is within a mile of five different school districts. She said they’re going to do their best to work with the different school districts to keep kids connected.

“We have a degreed teacher that will be here to support the students with their learning, and additional staff as well,” Axe said.

Additionally, ODJFS will launch a new license, called the Temporary Pandemic School-Age Child Care license, to ensure children have safe places to go when they are not learning in school. Organizations such as churches, recreation centers, and businesses can apply for this temporary license to provide care to children during the school day.

“The safety of children is our number one priority,” said ODJFS Director Kimberly Hall. “The new Temporary Pandemic School-Age Child Care license will ensure that our children are cared for in safe, clean facilities by qualified staff, while also reducing the regulations that organizations have to abide by to become licensed.”

In addition to eliminating many child care licensing requirements, ODJFS is also waiving the registration fee for Temporary Pandemic School-Age Child Care providers.

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