By MEGHAN GLOVA
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
On Wednesday Bend Parks and Recreation announced an all-day childcare program for the that will take place inside of 14 Bend elementary schools this fall.
Parents are now questioning why the program can take place inside of the schools, but classes cannot.
“If we closed our school to that opportunity and they had to look elsewhere,” Lora Nordquist, Bend-La Pine Schools superintendent explained. “They would not be able to find many sites that they would be able to locate at.”
Nordquist says childcare can be held inside schools, but student instruction cannot because of metrics.
The district does not currently meet state metrics to return to in-person instruction, but those same guidelines don’t apply to Bend Parks and Rec.
“It does feel a little contradictory,” Nordquist said. “On the other hand, I’m completely sympathetic with families and their need for childcare for children in grades kindergarten through five.”
The program will be limited to forty students per school, each split into two cohorts.
Nordquist says that is a significantly lower number of kids in one place than if all grades came back to school.
“500 spots might be a drop in the bucket, but it is a way that we can help address some of that need in our community.”
Norquist hopes kids will be back for in-person learningsooner than later, and childcare won’t be as much of an issue.
The last day to apply for Bend Parks and Rec’s fall program is August 31st.