Vermont to expand child care as schools prepare to restart

Regional News

(Nexstar DC photo)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (NEWS10) — As schools prepare to restart in September, Vermont plans to expand child care capacity, including opening regional hubs to serve school-aged children on remote learning days at their schools, Republican Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday.

Scott said he would also modify state regulations to allow registered home-based child care centers to serve longer hours on school days, which he believes will add about 3,000 spots.

“We know we need more childcare capacity and we need it quickly,” Scott said, noting that child care will be a challenge for many parents as schools move back and forth from in-person and remote learning.

The regional child care hubs will be set up in workplaces, as well as school, recreational, municipal and summer camp buildings, Agency of Human Services Secretary Mike Smith said. The state anticipates needing 73 such hubs that could serve as many as 7,000 school-aged children, he said.

The state also will expedite administrative processing and increase flexibility for applicants seeking to become registered child care providers, Smith said.

The Scott administration is recommending that $12 million in federal coronavirus relief funding be used on the child care initiative, he said.

A majority of school districts will be instituting some aspect of hybrid learning, which involves in-person and remote learning, said Education Secretary Dan French. The agency has the restart plans of 49 of the state’s 60 school districts. Of those, 46 will have some version of hybrid learning and three will be remote, he said.

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