The Lubbock Independent School District, in collaboration with the two largest health systems in our region, will begin providing childcare next week for healthcare workers due to the COVID-19 medical emergency.
Lubbock ISD and University Medical Center have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to provide this service. Beginning March 30, Lubbock ISD paraprofessionals and employees of UMC will staff a childcare center at Miller Elementary School for the employees of UMC. The center will be staffed between 6:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, until the schools are reopened by the Texas Education Agency and Governor Greg Abbott. UMC estimates that 170 children, between the ages of 4-14, will be served.
The Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees will meet for a special teleconference meeting on March 30 to consider a similar MOU with Covenant Medical Center. Plans are in process to offer childcare services to the employees of Covenant Medical Center at Ramirez Elementary School beginning April 1. Services will be provided by Lubbock ISD paraprofessionals and Covenant employees between 6:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, under the same protocol. Covenant Medical Center estimates that 145 children, between the ages of 4-14, will be served.
The childcare programs will provide breakfast and lunch through Lubbock ISD and Aramark Corporation’s COVID-19 meals program. Strict protocols are in place to promote social distancing. Children will have temperatures taken before they are allowed access to the school buildings and only approved Lubbock ISD, UMC, and Covenant Medical Center workers will be allowed inside the facilities. No more than eight children and two adults will be in a room to ensure compliance with Mayor Dan Pope’s declaration of keeping groups to a total of ten people or less.
The services will be overseen by Kevin Booe, principal at Miller Elementary School, and Melissa Hernandez, principal at Ramirez Elementary School.
Lubbock ISD has notified Governor Greg Abbott of the plan to open these two schools for the childcare program.
“We understand the importance of our school closure as part of the statewide strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19, but we also feel strongly about supporting the families of our local healthcare workforce as they work tirelessly to care for those in our community who need it the most, “ said Superintendent Dr. Kathy Rollo.
University Medical Center CEO Mark Funderburk added, “UMC is grateful for the support of our community and our friends at Lubbock ISD. We know these times are difficult for our staff, especially those who have children that aren’t in school right now. Because of this partnership, we are able to offer much needed childcare.”
Walt Cathey, Covenant Health CEO for the Lubbock region, also provided a statement.
“We appreciate Lubbock ISD stepping up to fill a need in our community. We need our frontline caregivers focused at work and they can do that now with peace of mind that their children are well taken care of,” he said.