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Burke County Public Schools will open five sites for temporary, emergency, out-of-school child care purposes on Thursday, March 19, to meet day care needs of families with parents who must continue to work through the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis while schools are closed for instructional purposes. Childcare services will be provided between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays for children ages 5 to 12. The cost will be $15 a day and is due by cash or check each morning.

The sites are:

» Drexel Elementary School — 100 Alta Vista St., Morganton, NC 28655.

» Hildebran Elementary School — 703 US Highway 70 W, Hildebran, NC 28637.

» Mountain View Elementary School — 805 Bouchelle St., Morganton, NC 28655.

» Salem Elementary School — 1329 Salem Road, Morganton, NC 28655.

» W.A. Young Elementary School — 325 Conley Road, Morganton, NC 28655.

“We chose to open these select sites to help our frontline parents and others in the community who work in essential jobs at some of our area agency partners, including Carolinas HealthCare Blue Ridge, Broughton Hospital, J. Iverson Riddle Developmental Institute, North Carolina Department of Public Safety and many other local businesses,” Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said. “During these unprecedented times, we are proud to offer our community this service.”

Parents have the flexibility to choose the site their child will attend, and the children do not have to be enrolled as a student in one of these schools to be placed in childcare. Parents can register and drop their child(ren) off for child care on the same day.

Current day care staff from Burke County Public Schools elementary schools will be reassigned to one of the five sites. If more workers are required, Burke County Public Schools can re-assign staff members from other departments to help staff the child care facilities. The staff-to-child ratio will be kept at 1:9 in order to comply with CDC recommendations of no more than 10 people congregating in one area.

Day care staff will conduct mandatory health checks of children each day. Children will have their temperatures checked each morning and parents will sign an attestation stating that the child has not had a fever or taken medicine for a fever, and no one in the home has had a fever or symptoms in the past 24 hours. If a child has a fever of 100 or higher, they will be sent home.

The children will have access to breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. In addition, students at Mountain View will have access to supper on Thursday and Friday with hopes to extend the supper program to the other sites next week.

“Right now, we will not screen for child care needs, but at some point it may become necessary to prioritize enrollment due to need,” Putnam said. “If that occurs, the priority order will start with health care employees, frontline employees and those who need childcare or risk losing their jobs. This situation is fluid and there may come a time when we will need to reduce services to a specific group of community workers.”

To expedite the registration process, parents can complete this application form before dropping off their child(ren) on the first day of care. Parents can call 433-1493 with questions about this service. There will be someone manning that line each day and voice messages will be returned as soon as possible.

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