Dear families and early learning partners,
The viral outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus) has created deep concerns for our families and community both locally and beyond. We understand the uncertainty of the situation and that a lack of clear information regarding city agencies’ responses can increase anxiety and frustration.
The Mayor has instructed OECE, and all other city departments, to provide public information in direct coordination with City officials. We hope this communication provides helpful information about mitigating the spread of the virus and OECE’s current approach related to emergency child care, program closures, and funding.
We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.
Information and Resources for Programs
Workforce Resource Library
There are numerous resources and support programs available to San Francisco’s early educators including financial, health, housing, legal supports, and more. OECE, in collaboration with First 5 San Francisco, has compiled a virtual resource library listing and categorizing these resources.
Shelter-in-Place Policy Guidance
Updated May 26, 2020 – The most recent update to the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health’s Shelter in Place Order signals a shift for early care and education programs. Up to this point, early care and education programs were allowed to remain open only to serve the children of essential workers and others permitted to work under the Shelter in Place order. However, starting on June 1, 2020 child care programs can open to serve all children regardless of parental work category or status.
OECE recognizes this shift in public health guidance will take time to implement. Those programs currently funded by OECE and operating as part of the Emergency Child Care system for Essential Workers can continue through June 30, 2020.
For ECE sites closed over the past few months, we understand the reopening process will take time to implement safely and in accordance with all public health and licensing guidance. OECE will maintain current funding levels for all city-funded enrollments (including PFA) through June 30, 2020.
In accordance with the San Francisco Controller’s Office policy, as a condition of payment, the City reserves the right to re-designate as “essential” services that were previously deemed “non-essential,” and the City may additionally require non-essential workers in City-funded programs to perform essential work. The City also reserves the right to renegotiate funding, including reductions if certain budgeted expenses will no longer be incurred as a result of the public health emergency.
For questions about the reopening process, please contact Denise Corvino at email@example.com.
Below are several additional resources to further clarify the current policy guidance and assist programs in reopening:
Funding and Reimbursement Guidance:
- OECE COVID-19 Shelter in Place FAQ for Funded Programs (May 4, 2020): English | Chinese | Spanish
- Continuity of Payment for Nonprofit Suppliers in the Event of COVID-19 Related Disruptions (April 4, 2020)
- COVID-19 State Subsidy Payments Summary (April 22, 2020)
Health and Safety Guidance:
- Shelter in Place: What does this mean for Childcare programs in the Bay Area? (May 4, 2020)
- CA State Licensing Guidance for Child Facilities in Response to COVID-19
- Interim Guidance for Child Care Programs and Summer Day Camps (May 22, 2020)
- Health Order Generally Requiring Members of the Public and Workers to Wear Face Coverings (June 1, 2020)
Required Signs, Forms, and Procedures:
The SF Department of Public Health requires that every operating early care and education program post the signs linked below at all public entrances to your facility. Early care and education programs can get some of these flyers and posters printed for free by completing a Request Form. You can also print your own materials using the links provided below:
- Avoid entering the facility if you have a cough, fever, or other COVID-19 symptoms
- Wash your hands, cover a cough or sneeze
- Everyone must wear a face covering and stay 6 feet apart (scroll down to “Face Covering Health Order Posters for multiple languages and sizes)
- Face Coverings for Children in Public and in Programs for Youth: English | Spanish | Chinese
Every early care and education program operating in San Francisco is also required to fill out the Social Distancing Protocol form linked below and post the completed form at all public entrances.
Every early care and education program operating in San Francisco is required to screen personnel for COVID-19 symptoms before they start work each day. Please refer to the handout and guidance linked below for screening protocols and guidance.
- Health Officer Directive – Handout for Personnel
- Interim Guidance: Asking COVID-19 Screening Questions
Information and Resources for Parents & Families
In accordance with the City’s recent Public Health Order to Shelter in Place, the best place for all children is at home with a parent or caregiver. However, the City recognizes that not all Essential Services Workers (ESWs) can do this. The San Francisco Emergency Child Care Program for Young Children supports ESW families unable to keep their children at home, so that they can continue to provide essential services.
The Emergency Child Care Program for Young Children aims to provide high-quality care for children (up to age 5) of Essential Services Workers (ESWs), as defined by the City’s Public Health Order to Shelter in Place. Skilled early educators experienced in working with young children will provide care in licensed, City-funded early care and education programs located throughout San Francisco. The Emergency Child Care Program for Young Children takes place in modified environments with activities that reduce group sizes, increase social distancing, and help mitigate the health risks to children, families, and staff. The program is free of charge to participating ESW families.
How will Emergency Child Care Spaces be prioritized?
The City is continuing to work with early care and education programs to increase the number of available child care spaces, but due to initial constraints and limited capacity, the City may need to prioritize certain categories of ESW families. If current demand exceeds capacity, the City will prioritize access as it has already done for school-age children. The following ESW categories will be prioritized for enrollment:
Healthcare Workers, meaning specifically:
- San Francisco Department of Public Health employees or employees at its Community Clinics OR
- Staff at the following San Francisco-based hospitals:
- VA Medical Center
- Kaiser SF
- Chinese Hospital
- CPMC – Van Ness
- CPMC – Mission Bernal
- CPMC – Davies
- St. Mary’s Medical Center
- Saint Francis
- SF General
- UCSF – Parnassus
- UCSF – Mission Bay
Disaster Service Workers, meaning specifically:
- Employees of the City and County of San Francisco who are activated as Disaster Service Workers (DSWs) to help with the City’s coronavirus response.
If current capacity allows, or as additional sites open, children of other categories of essential workers may be enrolled. The City encourages all essential workers needing care for their young children to apply. Any children of essential workers already enrolled at participating Emergency Child Care sites may remain in their programs without interruption.
How to Apply
If you are an Essential Service Worker (ESW) as defined by the City’s Public Health Order to Shelter in Place and are unable to keep your child(ren) at home, you can apply for the Emergency Child Care Program for Young Children by submitting a Request for Emergency Care to Children’s Council of San Francisco.
After you submit your request a member of the Children’s Council staff will be in contact with you as soon as possible with more information.
NOTE: The Emergency Child Care Program for Young Children is for children who have not yet entered kindergarten. If you require care for a school-age child (grades K-12), please visit DCYF’s website instead.
How to Stay Informed
The status of COVID-19 in San Francisco and the Bay Area is changing rapidly, and the City is on top of all developments. To stay informed, check the online resources below for up-to-the-minute updates, call 3-1-1 for guidance regarding COVID-19 public health safety information, and sign up to receive official updates from the City & County about COVID-19 via text message by texting COVID19SF to 888-777.