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Childcare Support while Distance Learning
All public school districts in Whatcom County have begun the year with distance learning, and some have started to open up for in-person learning for their youngest students. For families with parents who are at work during the day, schools are working with local childcare programs and centers to secure safe places where children can go during the day while attending their online classes.
The Child Care Aware COVID-19 Communications Response and Referral Center tracks program closures and child care site availability on a daily basis. If you are looking for childcare in Whatcom County and need assistance please call the Child Care Aware hotline at 1-888-446-1114 or visit their website to talk to a Child Care Referral Specialist for direct referrals to local programs with vacancies.
Additional childcare options during the school day for school age children:
- The Whatcom Family YMCA is providing a full day enrichment program for kids in Kindergarten through fifth grade at several elementary schools within the Bellingham School District. Please visit the Y’s website for more information or to register.
- The Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County is working to have all clubhouses open to assist with connecting students to their schools, teachers and other students. Please visit their website for more information or to register.
Additional Child Care Resources and Information
- Get information from the Whatcom County Health Department about safe childcare practices in their Guidelines for Childcare Providers.
- The Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families offers a FAQ page for early learning and childcare settings and a Washington State resource guide for parents and caregivers.
- The Washington State Department of Health childcare resources & recommendations page offers COVID-19 safety guidance for childcare.
- The Washington State COVID-19 website offers additional information to help you find childcare and support your children at home.
- Some families are teaming up with other families to create Learning Pods. Learning Pods allow families to share resources and childcare responsibilities with each other. The Whatcom County Health Department has information on how to safely participate in a Learning Pod.
- Check these websites for information from our local colleges and universities.
- The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges Coronavirus Resources page offers helpful information for students, faculty, and staff.
- The Washington Student Achievement Council also offers a variety of COVID-19 resources for current and prospective students.
Each school district made their own decision about how to start the school year. They used several resources to make their decision including the State Department of Health’s decision tree, guidance from the State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor, as well as recommendations from our Health Officer, Dr. Greg Stern. School districts considered the safety of their staff and teachers and some invited their families to provide input on their decisions. Check the OSPI site and your local school district below for the most current information.
School District Information
These local organizations provide help and resources for children with special needs in Whatcom County.
- Whatcom Taking Action supports the Single Entry Access to Services (SEAS) program, which provides fast, easy access to services for kids ages birth to 21 who need specialized care and support. This program connects families to local developmental evaluations, early intervention, and resources to support their child’s health and well-being. Anyone can call; there is no need for a doctor referral. For more information, visit Whatcomtakingaction.org, or call the SEAS line at 360-715-7485.
- The ARC of Whatcom County has a number of educational programs and workshops. For the most current information, call 360-715-8522.
- Brigid Collins Family Support Center helps connect families with services. Visit their website or call 360-734-4616.
- The Washington State Department of Health provides COVID-19 specific resources and recommendations for schools and childcare.
- The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction also maintains a page with extensive COVID-19 guidance and resources for K-12 schools including:
- Resources to help districts provide meals for families during the pandemic.
- Information about providing special education services.
- Resources to assist learning during school closures.