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LAUSD Explores Expanding Child Care 

Chava Sanchez/LAist
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With child care unavailable for many families during the pandemic, the Los Angeles Unified School District is exploring what it can do to ease the burden that many caregivers shoulder while juggling their own jobs and students’ distance learning.

The district’s board voted 7-0 on Tuesday to investigate what it would take to extend on-campus child care to student families, a service that will soon be available for staff.

Board member Nick Melvoin’s resolution calls on Superintendent Austin Beuter to gather information about:

  • The capacity to provide child care with current staffing;
  • How to prioritize serving foster and homeless youth, the children of essential worker parents, English language learners, and students with disabilities;
  • Safely expanding space for child care, including for students in early education programs;
  • Providing extra academic support for students in on-campus child care.

The resolution requires Beutner to report back to the board at its Sept. 15 meeting.
The district will get a sense of what it’s like to have kids back on campus next Monday, when about 3,000 children of LAUSD staff will return to 235 school sites for on-site supervision. Beutner said that alone is the largest child care effort in L.A. County since the start of the pandemic — although it will still fall short of demand.

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“The intent is to provide support for families to the maximum extent that we can," Beutner said, "but I hope this isn't misconstrued or misinterpreted by the public to expect a program of scale that we would need to be able to offer in the next few days or weeks."

LAUSD students started the school year off-campus. The district could adopt a hybrid school schedule later this fall where students rotate on- and off-campus that would also include child care at the estimated cost of $10 to $20 million.

Some smaller districts have already started to offer child care services for families in the community — the Glendale Unified School District is offering free on-campus child care and South Pasadena Unified has daycare for a fee.

Several people voiced support for the resolution during public comment.

“Thank you for listening to the concerns parents have expressed to you, our board members, at previous meetings,” said Sharnell Blevins with the parent advocacy group Speak Up. “Overseeing our kids' distance learning while working full-time without any child care help remains one of the most difficult issues we parents face.”

Any child care in L.A. County has to follow guidelines from the Public Health Department, which include limiting groups of kids to 12 and daily screenings for fever and respiratory illness.

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