Suffolk County announced the launch of the Suffolk Childcare Consortium, a free childcare program for first responders, medical professionals, transit workers and where possible, other essential workers, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Friday.
Several schools within the Town of Huntington will host the program:
- Commack School District — Sawmill Intermediate School
- Harborfields School Districts – Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School
- Huntington School District — Jefferson Primary School
- Northport School District — Pulaski Road Elementary School
The program, which provides assistance to employees fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, will be open Monday – Friday from 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
Huntington school superintendent James W. Polansky said, “Huntington already has two sites approved for SCOPE childcare, therefore the transition to an emergency program was relatively seamless. The program is running at one of those two sites. In the current situation, we felt strongly that it was important to for us to do our part in helping health care workers and first responders get to work.” He said staff are required to open, close and sanitize the buildings daily. “It is running smoothly and may grow within established limits should the circumstances be prolonged,” he said.
Enrollment is on a first-come first-serve basis and will be limited based on space and staffing. Residents with questions about the consortium should call Suffolk 311.
“While closing the schools was the right thing to do to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, one of our main concerns was the availability of childcare for our first responders and medical professionals who are on the front lines of this crisis,” Bellone said. “With this emergency childcare program, students will be able to learn in a safe environment, while their parents continue to go to work and help save lives.”
To qualify for the program, children must be between the grades of pre-K to Grade 6. Throughout the day, children will be able to participate in a variety of activities, including completing their school’s distance learning requirements.
The program, which is run by SCOPE Education Services, will be staffed by professionals that have received clearance from the NYS Office of Children and Family Services. To ensure the health and safety of all students in attendance, children will receive a daily health check and the child’s temperature will be checked daily before entering the site. Any child with a fever and/or demonstrates any sign of illness will not be permitted to attend the program. Additionally, all guidelines regarding social distancing and limiting contact will be followed. Students will be kept in small groups of 10 or less, with one staff member. Visitors to the program will be prohibited, to help limit contact and exposure.
To register, residents should visit www.scopeonline.us and click on the red button for Emergency Child Care. Children must be registered online prior to attending. Once registration is complete, you will receive a notification by email. Children may not attend the program until all information is completed and registration is confirmed. Residents with any questions can reach out to Suffolk 311.