SLO County cities chip in to provide access to child care
The cities of San Luis Obispo and Grover Beach are launching programs to help working parents with child care and schooling during the pandemic.
“I believe that with the impacts from COVID and the struggles with our community with jobs and now the remote learning, it's been even more of a challenge," said Greg Avakian, director of San Luis Obispo's Parks and Recreation Department.
Avakian said to address the needs, the city has set up a new program providing all-day child care at three elementary schools within the San Luis Coastal Unified School District.
The city has $43,000 to help parents afford the $200 weekly rate.
“So we are really able to accommodate hopefully that working force of our community,” Avakian said.
The focus is on K to 6th-grade children, who will also do their online schooling with support from staff.
“We are not teachers, we are not in the academic profession," Avakian said. "But we are definitely there to support their learning activities.”
The city of Grover Beach is also addressing the child care crisis. It has allocated $50,000 to pay for access to two child care providers—the San Luis Obispo County YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club of South San Luis Obispo County. The money will go to providing financial assistance to families who need it.
“We are relying on the providers to have that expertise and experience to utilize these funds most appropriately to support Grover Beach families,” City Manager Matt Bronson said.
Bronson said to help families with distance learning, Grover Beach is setting up free WiFi at Grover Heights Park, which will also have security cameras installed.
“This WiFi service will be available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on school days and its password-protected," Bronson said. "So it’ll be focused on the school children who are using that service for distanced learning and their parents and guardians.”
Bronson said the city aims to have the WiFi and cameras up and running in September.