Pasco schools resume child care service but may raise cost

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PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — As Florida begins to process of reopening, many parents are struggling to find child care as they return to work.

After hearing from parents needing help, Pasco County Schools will once again offer the PLACE child care service starting mid June, but it could cost parents more.

The district asked parents to answer a survey and found their overall main concern was about their children being in a safe environmemt.

The district is estimating around 2,300 children will attend, down from the 3,400 the program normally serves.

“The numbers that we are seeing are lower than we had last year but I think that’s reasonable because there are some people who made it very clear they weren’t comfortable with it,” said Pasco Schools Public Information Officer Steve Hegarty.

As of now the program will be spread out in 20 schools.

“We’re going to have the kids in classrooms. In the past it’s been more wide open, but that does not look like the smartest way to do it in this environment,” said Hegarty.

Hegarty said the district is making a number of changes to help control the spread of COVID-19.

There will be a smaller teacher-student ratio. Children will be in classrooms with the same children everyday.

Staff will be required to wear masks, however the district is still deciding whether the children will be required.

Parents will no longer be allowed in the buildings, they can only drop off their children with a staff member.

“We’re going to screen the kids, if anybody has any sort of symptoms then it’s not a good day for them to be in the program. We’re going to stay in touch with parents, and the teachers know what to look for. So there’s a number of precautions that we’re going to take that will make it possible for parents to feel that we have their children’s best interest in mind,” said Hegarty.

To help offset the costs, the district is asking the school board on Tuesday to approve raising the weekly cost for kids to attend from $66 a week to $75.

The meeting takes place Tuesday.

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