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Richmond Public Schools Proposes Using Five Schools For Childcare

MLK is one of five schools the district is recommending use for childcare. (Photo Credit: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)
CRIXELL MATTHEWS
/
MLK is one of five schools the district is recommending use for childcare. (Photo Credit: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney has asked Richmond Public Schools to consider using school buildings to provide childcare for students this fall during the all-virtual reopening. The school board is expected to discuss Stoney’s request in a special meeting Monday night. 

Mayor Levar Stoney sent a letter to the school board earlier this month saying that the city stands ready to dedicate $3 million of its remaining CARES Act funding to subsidize the cost of emergency childcare for Richmond families this fall, in conjunction with local nonprofits and the city’s department of parks and recreation.

“It is important to me to ensure that no family will find cost to be a barrier, and that many families will be able to access the sites for free. We can provide free or low-cost child care, but it is critical that we have access to suitable space,” Stoney wrote. “... School buildings, particularly new, state-of-the-art school buildings, are ideal locations for this sort of emergency child care.” 

New documents from the district show it’s recommending five Richmond facilities be made available for childcare, that are described as “more modern facilities.” The five schools include MLK Middle School, Holton Elementary, Huguenot High School, Miles Jones Elementary and Blackwell Elementary. 

There are some stipulations, however. According to the documents, the district does not want to use RPS staff, supplies, or transportation. They also don’t want to be on the hook for facility cleanings or liability “for infection or other negative outcomes.”

RPS also wants to be in charge of determining the number of spots available at each school. Spots would be prioritized for low-income students and kids of essential workers.

The district surveyed parents, and the majority said they would prefer a school-based option for childcare this fall. 

Tonight’s meeting starts tonight at 6 p.m. and will be streamed on the district’s Facebook page. 

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Megan Pauly reports on early childhood and higher education news in Virginia
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