On Tuesday, the Board of Health will vote on reopening 3,000 city-run childcare centers shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic, Patch reports.
The childcare centers cater to around 150,000 children, but health officials said they don’t expect full capacity on reopening. Numbers will be influenced by many parents still working from home and new social distancing rules, which would allow only 15 children per classroom, mask wearing and limited toy sharing.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the proposal included new social distancing and cleaning guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and he expected the board would pass it.
“There’s always a process when you’re talking about a board but a lot of work has been done over the last weeks I think the board feels good about this proposal,” he said. “It’s really important to tell people that childcare centers will be up and running as soon as Monday.”
Only 125 centers have been open during the pandemic to cater specifically to the children of essential workers. But as New York City enters phase 3 of reopening, more parents are being asked to return to work and childcare has become a pressing issue.
Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot said families should not have to choose between going back to work and keeping their children safe.
“Part of what is driving us bringing this vote before the board is that, as more families do return to work, that we provide safe high quality childcare opportunities and not have families have to rely on potentially unsafe options.”