Update: Child Care Closures and Alternative Care

Published on May 19, 2020

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has resulted in widespread school and child care closures. Family Services is promoting various resources that may be helpful for UCSF faculty, staff, trainees and students. Note that as UCSF employees return to work on-site, they will be eligible for the resources for essential employees.

UCSF Resources

UCSF Child Care Centers
Until further notice and given reduced enrollment, UCSF’s four child care centers have been consolidated into two “hub” centers (Laurel Heights Child Development Center and University Child Care at Mission Bay).  UCSF centers are operated by Bright Horizons and are open for essential on-site workers. UCSF and Bright Horizons will continue to partner as the situation evolves and will keep enrolled families informed if there are any further changes or clarifications.

UCSF Child Care Referral Service
All members of the UCSF community can continue to access UCSF’s Child Care Referral Service for assistance finding licensed child care centers, licensed family child care homes, and summer programs.

Back-Up Care
To provide all essential on-site staff who do not have alternative child care options, UC San Francisco’s Family Services has extended UCSF’s Back-Up Care program. Details are as follows:

This program provides center-based and in-home child care, and essential on-site staff each receive 20 days/academic year.  Essential on-site employees can access back up center-based child care at UCSF’s Laurel Heights Child Development Center and University Child Care Center at Mission Bay) for children aged 2 months – 5 years. Essential employees who would like to utilize their benefit at the UCSF child care centers should register for the back-up care program, then contact the preferred child care center directly to schedule the back-up care. Back-up care at the UCSF centers is subject to availability.

Please note that center-based care requires various forms to be on file, including a physician’s form. We encourage you to complete the paperwork in advance of needing care (to do so, register for the program and log in to Bright Horizons’ back-up care portal in order to view and upload paperwork).

It is likely that demand for the Back-Up Care program will exceed capacity, so we ask staff with alternative options to preserve resources for UCSF staff required in critical on-site roles.

To learn more and register for the program, please visit this website. Faculty, residents and clinical fellows can continue to access this program. This extension is for essential on-site staff.

The UCSF community has access to Sittercity, a web resource that can be utilized to search for child and elder care. UCSF students who are interested in being part of the child care workforce can sign up for free at: Sittercity

Community Resources

Emergency Care for Ages 0-4
The YMCA of San Francisco is offering PopUp Y Kids for families without alternate child care. Three sites are available for children ages 0-5 years. Visit this link for more information. Note that in June, this program will transition to a fee model ($285/week for community members). Learn more here.

Families may apply to have the Children’s Council of San Francisco help them find emergency childcare via The San Francisco Emergency Child Care Program for Young Children, which aims to provide high-quality care for children (up to age 5) of Essential Services Workers (ESWs), as defined by the City’s recent Public Health Order to Shelter in Place. Skilled early educators experienced in working with young children will provide care in licensed, city-funded early care and education programs located throughout San Francisco. Essential workers in need of child care should submit a request here.

Emergency Child and Youth Care for Grades K-8
The City and County of San Francisco opened school-aged emergency childcare services for health care and low-income workers through SF Rec & Park and have availability through June 5.  If you are interested in emergency care while you work, visit the information and registration link page. This program will transition to summer camps in June; families currently participating in the program have priority registration beginning May 26. Learn more here.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, and the YMCA of San Francisco are also offering emergency child and youth care through the end of May and will transition to summer programming in June. Visit this page for more information. 

MyChildCare.ca.gov provides an interactive map of qualified licensed child care providers. The tool is available in English and Spanish.

Children’s Council San Francisco
Children’s Council has curated a list of state-licensed programs that are open for essential workers.

Resources for Employees at Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland
Essential workers can fill out this form to request emergency child care in Alameda County.

Summer Camps

Summer camps can operate in San Francisco with modifications and must be held in three week sessions. For a non-comprehensive list of summer camps operating, please visit the Child Care Referral Service’s page on summer camps. Note that the information is subject to change; please contact the camps directly for the most updated information, availability and cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have a babysitter or nanny come to my home?

The California Stay at Home order permits babysitters and nannies to provide in-home child care. Child care workers should adhere to basic prevention guidelines (e.g. handwashing for at least 20 seconds, physical distancing, staying home if feeling ill). (Information current as of 5/14/20).

You should also check local public health mandates to see if babysitters and nannies are allowed. If local and state mandates have conflicting information, the more stringent guidelines should be followed.

San Francisco’s mandate permits employees who are allowed to work to utilize child care programs, summer camps or other education or recreation programs. Nannies and babysitters are also allowed, for employees working on-site or from home.

How can I find a babysitter or nanny?
Sittercity is a web-based resource that helps families find pre-screened, in-home caregivers for occasional or long-term care.  The Sittercity membership fee is covered by the UC system (subject to bargaining unit participation) or UCSF. Individuals pay for the services of the caregivers they hire through Sittercity (this service includes free basic background checks).

Other websites, such as Urbansitter.com and Care.com, are available for families to find occasional or long-term babysitters or nannies. Resources to find other families interested in share care include Care.com and Wunderhood. Since these programs are not administered by either the UC system or UCSF, membership fees may apply.

Another alternative is for families to get nanny leads through their neighborhood parent groups.  You might want to check local neighborhood parent groups on Facebook, Nextdoor and Google Groups.

What are my child care options?
California’s public health order currently allows child care facilities to be open with necessary modifications. MyChildCare.ca.gov provides an interactive map of qualified licensed child care providers. Note that San Francisco’s May 4 Order permits child care establishments to provide care for children of persons who are working in essential businesses or outdoor businesses or performing minimum basic operations.

The San Francisco Emergency Child Care Program offers emergency child care for essential workers, including those who work in San Francisco but live elsewhere. These programs are for children ages 0-5 and in grades K-8.

Through UCSF’s Child Care Referral Service, an experienced counselor can provide referrals to licensed centers and licensed family child care homes in addition to information on summer programs and other related services.

Some members of the UCSF community (faculty, residents, clinical fellows, essential on-site staff) have access to Bright Horizons’ Back-Up Care program. This program provides 20 days of in-home or center-based care per year (July 1 - June 30). Co-pays apply. To learn more about the program and to check eligibility, please visit the Family Service’s Back-Up Care page.

You can also utilize the resources mentioned above to search for a babysitter or nanny.

Will summer camps be open this year?
On May 22,  Mayor Breed announced San Francisco’s summer camps and programs can reopen for children and youth ages 5 to 17 on June 15th with limited capacity and with modifications intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Modifications include 3 week camp sessions, limited group sizes of 12 children, no co-mingling between groups, health screenings and face coverings. Learn more here.

San Francisco Recreation and Park will open enrollment for camps for priority registration (limited to those participating in the emergency child care program and scholarship eligible families) on May 26. Registration opens to all on June 6.

The San Francisco YMCA will continue offering Pop-Up Y Kids programs at several locations for the children of essential workers but will transition to a fee structure in June ($285/week for community). More information their summer programs is available on their website.

For a list of other camps that plan to operate this summer, please visit the Child Care Referral Program’s list of summer camps (information subject to change; please contact the camps directly for the most updated information).
What are camps and child care centers doing to reduce risk of virus transmission?
Licensed child care centers are required to abide by the physical distancing guidance issued by the California Department of Social Services, as well as local public health mandates. These requirements include limited group sizes, keeping the same children together, having providers stay with the same group of children, and more.

Child care programs and camps must also follow the interim guidance provided by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Am I able to use the paid administrative time due to school or dependent care closures?
Refer to HR’s COVID-19 FAQs for Employees for resources and information on the use of paid administrative leave, including process information, forms, and contacts for questions. The FAQs are updated regularly.

Am I considered an essential worker?
UCSF, as a healthcare organization, qualifies as essential. Those UCSF employees authorized to be on-site are considered essential for the purposes of qualifying to use child care services.

To find out more about qualifications for Essential Worker positions by the City & County of San Francisco, please visit this page. The state provides further guidance on the essential workforce here.

What resources are available for COVID-19 testing for child care providers?

California is increasing testing capacity daily, and has a comprehensive listing of testing locations on the state’s Testing and Treatment website. This site includes the requirements for each testing location.

In San Francisco, essential and frontline employees (including those who are not experiencing symptoms) can be tested at a CityTestSF location. Essential and frontline workers include those working in child care settings as well as those providing home-based care for children.

Who can I contact for more information?

Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with questions.

The non-UCSF resources above are provided for informational purposes only.  With respect to information available from this website, neither the University of California (the “University”), on behalf of UCSF Family Services, nor any of its officers, board members, agents, employees, students, or volunteers makes any warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose; nor assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the usefulness of the non-UCSF resources.  The non-UCSF resources have not been screened, nor are they endorsed, recommended or favored, by the University.  Families are fully responsible for evaluating resources and assessing quality.

Updated: May 27, 2020