DES MOINES, Iowa — Thousands of Iowa students are off from school for the next few weeks at least as the state continues to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Right now, there are more than 100 confirmed positive cases across Iowa. Leaders have been gathering information about available child care centers for Iowa families to send their children while they have to work.
An interactive map with the current availability numbers has been created here. Right now, there are more than 4,300 registered child care providers in Iowa. Many of them are in the highly populated areas.
Though Gov. Kim Reynolds recommended schools close for four weeks,the Iowa Department of Human Services is offering assistance to child care providers including payments to providers based on enrollment and not attendance, plus the department is "exploring ways to ramp-up child care capacity". In the past several days, the governor has called for churches and other public meeting spaces to come forward and offer child care space.
Under the governor's new guidelines, temporary emergency child care sites must limit class sizes to 10 individuals per classroom. Recess, activities and hallway passing should be staggered to limit interactions.
If you are seeking child care openings due to a COVID-19 closure, please visit www.iowaccrr.org/families or call 1-855-244-5301.
DHS and Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) said in a statement that they are ready to provide support to families seeking access to registered and licensed child care operations.
"We highly encourage communities to evaluate existing open vacancies in the community as a large number of childcare centers are open and able to enroll new children during this time," stated the Department of Human Services.
Beyond supporting robust mitigation strategies, DHS is also launching temporary emergency childcare to support essential workforce who need child care for school-age children or in the event communities identify a lack of access to child care in their area. To become a temporary emergency child care site, please follow the steps on the instructions document here.