GREENDALE — The Greendale School District is making sure their local health care workers and first responders have free child care during coronavirus pandemic.
The Greendale School District is responding to a request made to provide child care services for health care workers and first responders amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The request was made by Governor Tony Evers on March 19, after the Wisconsin Hospital Association made it clear that the need for child care was not being met, according to leaders within the Greendale School District.
On March 24, Greendale Middle School was opened to 16 kids. Each of them are children of "essential workers."
The free child care services are currently available to district families where parents are health care workers, police officers, paramedics or firefighters, among other essential services.
"It makes me just feel wonderful that they’re opening up the doors, so I can continue to go out and do what I have to do make the community safe," said Erin Megia, a mom who works for the Milwaukee Police Department.
Two of Erin's kids will be cared for at Greendale Middle School.
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"We know that our nurses, and our firefighters, and our police, and our court officials all need child care in order to continue to protect us and keep us safe," said Kim Amidzich, Superintendent of Greendale Schools.
More than 50 families have expressed interest in this new program, but Amidzich said she is launching the service slowly.
"We are starting with our health care providers and our law enforcement and our first responders. We will see how the week goes and how we can do with this new process and if at all possible we will looking to expand to include other essential workers depending on the length and the need,' said Amidzich.
The kids are separated into smaller groups throughout the day. There is a 5:1 child to staff ratio. It's one of many measures aimed at keeping the risk of spreading coronavirus low. Kids are also practicing social distancing and are fed meals and snacks.
There is also extra hand sanitizer, extra disinfecting wipes, and the staff is making sure children are washing their hands frequently throughout the day, according to Amidzich.
Parents say the new program is about peace of mind.
"The ability to have somewhere safe for them where they can continue to further their education right now. I can’t even believe how nice of them it is for them to do this," said Megia.
It's a safe place to protect the kids of those who are protecting all of us during this seemingly uncertain time.