County Leaders Urge Use of Schools For Essential Staff Childcare Services

In a letter to Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools, leaders from Maryland’s largest jurisdictions are urging her to allow the use of closed schools for child care services for essential staff and health care workers during this coronavirus crisis.

As detailed in the letter:

As you know, every county in Maryland is working to put in place child care services for our essential staff and health workers during the school closure period. We appreciate that the Governor has asked your office to assist in that effort.

Many of our counties have rooms in our schools that are used for childcare when school is in session, and arrangements with various agencies and nonprofits to staff those facilities. We were surprised and disappointed when our school superintendents were told on Monday that they should not permit county governments to use those facilities for our childcare needs during this crisis, with the reason being that the rooms need to be cleaned.

If this decision is not reversed, the opening of childcare for our essential workers’ children will be delayed. Adapting libraries, community centers and other public or private spaces for this need will take additional time, not only to clean those spaces, but also to acclimate new staff to work in them and negotiate agreements. We can each identify the schools where we are ready to provide childcare services, notify
your office of where we intend to operate, and work with our local superintendents to follow whatever guidelines are appropriate.

Every one of our counties includes the use of school buildings as part of our disaster response plan. Please don’t prevent us from using them in this instance. Time is of the essence. We respectfully request that you allow county school systems and county governments to utilize appropriate school sites for child care services for our most critical employees during this crisis.

The letter was signed by Steuart Pittman, Anne Arundel County Executive; Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Mayor of Baltimore City; Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore County Executive; Jan Gardner, Frederick County Executive; Calvin Ball, Howard County Executive; Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Executive; and Angela Alsobrooks, Prince George’s County Executive.

Letter from County Executives to Dr. Karen Salmon re: Use of Schools for Essential Employee and Healthcare Worker Childcare