Dallas ISD To Offer Childcare for Essential Workers at Two Sites

After looking at four schools, Dallas ISD is moving forward with its plans to launch two emergency childcare sites at two sites, the district announced Friday.

In partnership with YMCA and Big Thought, the district will launch two sites – one at Cesar Chavez Learning Center, with the YMCA acting as the operating partner, and the other at Montessori Academy at Onesimo Hernandez, which will be operated by Big Thought.

Both sites will operate on a first-come, first-served basis, with a maximum of 50 students per site. For the initial launch, the sites will be free of charge to qualifying families. Both schools open this week.

“We are asking a lot of people working our healthcare system in this pandemic,” said Byron Sanders, executive director of Big Thought. “And members of our Big Thought team have raised their hand to stand in the gap for their families and their children.

“This center is a last-choice for workers who have no other option and Big Thought has secured funding to make tuition free-of-charge over the course of an expected surge in need.”

Earlier this month, the district told school board trustees that it was contemplating the move, which will be offered only for school-age children of essential workers – including first responders and medical personnel. Cesar Chavez will primarily serve the Baylor Hospital area, and Hernandez will serve the Medical District.

“These emergency childcare centers will have strict health and safety protocols in place that include: temperature screening for staff and children; curbside drop-off and pick-up; limited class sizes of no more than ten, including the adults; personal protective equipment provisions; and daily cleaning, among others,” the district said.

Cleaning crews will deep clean each site daily after every child has been picked up, and students will get meals and snacks, as well as learning activities throughout the day.

Students will receive three meals and two snacks, and they will be provided with learning activities throughout the day.

Cleaning crews will deep clean each childcare center site daily after all students have been picked up.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

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