May 12, 2020
Dear Superintendents,

As you know, an executive order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom calls for schools to arrange for, to the extent practicable, supervision for students during ordinary school hours. Under the state’s current shelter-in-place order, children should currently be attending child care programs only if they are the children of essential workers or are homeless, in foster care, are at risk of being neglected or abused, or have disabilities or special health care needs.

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) created a survey in order to assist school districts in understanding the community’s needs around type of care, age groups, hours, and location needed by workers in three priority areas:

  • Essential Worker Priority 1: Healthcare/Public Health and Emergency Service sectors
  • Essential Worker Priority 2: Food and Agriculture; Teachers, education staff, and providers of early learning and care services including custodial, kitchen staff, and other support staff; Workers supporting critical infrastructure; State and local government workers; Communications and Information Technology; Energy, Transportation and Logistics; Critical Manufacturing; Hazardous Materials; Financial Services; and Chemical sectors
  • Essential Worker Priority 3: All other fields listed as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers 

I’m pleased to now share high-level aggregate data you can use to make determinations about opening child care for essential workers in your district. Click here to view reports by district. To access an interactive platform where you may sort by age, ZIP code, schedule of child care need and essential worker priority, click here.

I am sure you understand that the reopening of workplaces means the gradual return to work for parents, and pressure on schools to provide child care or to reopen campuses for on-site instruction. While this data only addresses a subset of essential workers’ needs, it gives you the opportunity to prepare to meet these needs, in the same way operating emergency child care can help districts prepare for reopening of campuses.

Please note that there is no obligation to address all essential worker priority areas at the same time; this can be done as a growth approach, adding slots over time. And you do not have to do this alone. 

The SDCOE team has created guiding documents for districts’ use in preparing to open emergency child care. The Emergency Child Care Planning Tool will assist districts in exploring the various required components related to opening an emergency child care site. The Emergency Child Care Quick Guide will be used in tandem with the planning tool, as it provides additional (and easy to find) information needed for the various components. The SDCOE Child Care Process Map is a visual that demonstrates SDCOE's action plan to support schools with emergency child care. The guide includes resources for supporting birth-to-age-5 early learning and care programs. View the SDCOE Emergency Child Care Toolkit.

If you have questions about the data, or about the Emergency Child Care Toolkit, please contact SDCOE Executive Director of Early Education Lucia Garay.


Dr. Paul Gothold
San Diego County Superintendent of Schools
phone: 858-292-3514