Arizona Governor Doug Ducey says the state will begin a program to provide free childcare to the children of first responders as well as essential healthcare and public sector workers amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman made the announcement Tuesday, and say the childcare facilities, dubbed Arizona Enrichment Centers, will be available next week.
“This initiative will offer critical support for the women and men working on the front lines to respond to COVID-19,” said Governor Ducey in a press release. “We will continue to work with our outstanding school leaders all across Arizona to provide more capacity to serve these families.”
School closures throughout the state have been extended in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19. Several districts are collaborating with state officials on the childcare initiatives and many have already begun programs of their own.
According to the Ducey’s office, the sites will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for schools and childcare programs along with Arizona Department of Health Services and local health department standards.
Officials say in order to limit COVID-19 spread in the care centers children, staff and volunteers will have their temperatures taken upon entering the facilities and no one with a fever will be allowed in. Volunteers and staff will also wipe down surfaces frequently with disinfectant. Districts will also select schools to serve as childcare centers that are close to hospitals and healthcare facilities for parent convenience. The centers will be open Monday through Friday with varying hours.
For more information on the Enrichment Centers, see the governor's office website.