Question: We were able to provide child care for essential workers, no problem, and there were no COVID outbreaks. I don't understand why we are not advocating for brick-and-mortar full-time school for students knowing that they are not the high-risk population, knowing the impact that it has to their mental, emotional, learning wellbeing, and the detriments that this has to the economy. As a working mother, I have fought for years to get to the position that I've been in, and now I'm being forced to decide between my career and the care of my children.
Mayor: I understand people work their whole lifetime to reach a certain level of achievement and they don't want it to slip away. I feel that. I also understand how tough it's been for parents trying to educate their kids while trying to hold down a job, especially the parents who lost their job, how tough that's been to not have a livelihood anymore. This is a really difficult time. We just got to look at it in the face, this is the farthest thing from business as usual.
Our goal here has got to be health and safety first. I don't think I've heard anyone debate that point, which means we've got to do social distancing, which totally changes the math of how we do kids in schools. You go back to February, we knew a lot of our schools were overcrowded. Now you take an overcrowded school, or even a school that's just at its maximum, and now everyone has to stay six feet apart - immediately you are going to have to have fewer kids in that school. And if you're going to have a lot fewer kids, you are going to have to go onto some kind of split schedule. That's the reality.
We just don't have enough alternative places to go that we can make work. Two months to get ready gives us time to get a lot done, but it doesn't allow us to create things out of thin air. We have to work with the school infrastructure we have. We are going to try and create as many child care options as possible going forward. Our child care centers are reopening on Monday. I also am hearing a lot about parents creating their own kind of collectives and situations where they'll take turns, supporting kids, but we're going to have to do everything we can to help people through it. We just have to focus on safety first. That's what is dictating how many kids can be at a building at a certain time.
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