With New Mexico students starting the school year online, many more working parents than usual are in need of full-day childcare. Albuquerque Public Schools kicked off the semester yesterday. The district doesn’t provide childcare, but the City of Albuquerque is offering a limited number of free childcare slots, and district leaders say they're working with providers to make more private options available.
In a video released by the district Tuesday, Daphne Harvey-Strader, the Director of Coordinated School Health, says only a handful of community childcare providers they’ve identified can do full-day services, and only a fraction of those have enough space. Depending on how the pandemic progresses, students could go back to classrooms part time as soon as Sept. 8, so Harvey-Strader says APS facilities aren’t an option. “We were really faced with the reality,” said Harvey-Strader, “that the district doesn’t have the space to teach our students - even half of them - while social distancing and also have room for full-day childcare programs.”
The city’s 22 community centers are offering full-day childcare programs for free after a $5 registration fee. Those spots are being doled out by lottery. The deadline to enter the lottery is Friday, Aug.14. The programs begin either August 24 or 31, depending a child’s last name.
APS says they’ve also asked Bernalillo County community centers to consider offering full-day programming.
In an effort to expand the available options, the district says they’re helping connect private childcare providers with faith-based organizations that have offered to rent space, and assisting in getting those facilities licensed. “New full-day childcare options are starting to slowly become available,” Harvey-Strader told APS families in Tuesday’s video.