SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The city of San Francisco will start converting public libraries and indoor recreation facilities into emergency care centers for children and parents impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, Mayor London Breed’s office said Friday.
The SF Recreation and Park Department is working with the San Francisco Public Library on this operation. Both agencies will suspend regular indoor programming starting Friday at 6 p.m.
The emergency centers will operate through the end of March. SF Parks and Recreation’s facilities will be reserved for grades K-5 on Monday-Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The SF Public Library will provide homework help and educational enrichment for older students in grades 6-12, Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For younger children ages 0-5, the Office of Early Care and Education will provide support and guidance for private childcare providers.
Each childcare center will follow state and city-mandated guidelines such as social distancing and sanitizing. Three meals will be provided a day to all participants.
As public school closures due to the outbreak affect many children and their families, the city made the decision to respond to the spread. The centers aim to assist both low-income families impacted by the virus’s spread and the families who are on the front lines of the outbreak.
Parents who are on the front lines of the outbreak include city-based hospital staff, Dept. of Public Health employees and Disaster Service Workers.
Detailed information on emergency youth care locations, eligibility and registration will be forthcoming at https://www.dcyf.org/care.
“During this time, health care workers and other essential staff need to be able to keep working and responding to this public health emergency,” said Breed. “With this change to our libraries and recreation facilities, young people whose parents need to respond to COVID-19 will have a safe place to go.
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“San Francisco Public Library has long served as a safe haven for youth and an essential provider of educational and recreational resources,” said City Librarian Michael Lambert. “By focusing our organizational capacity on serving as Emergency Youth Care Centers, we are fulfilling our mission and supporting the City’s overall resiliency at a time of critical need.”
“The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department is the largest provider of youth programming outside of the school district,” said Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “We will offer engaging activities akin to a summer camp in order to ease the impact of school closures on San Francisco families.”
“Health care workers are on the front lines every day, keeping our community healthy and safe,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health.