Reston, VA

Fairfax County officials want to address looming childcare challenges ahead of the upcoming school year.

John Foust and Walter Alcorn, the supervisors for the Dranesville and Hunter Mill districts, presented a joint board matter yesterday to tackle the “unprecedented need” for childcare.

When classes start again this fall, Fairfax County Public Schools is planning to offer two systems: fully online and hybrid learning — a mix of in-person and online instruction. Working parents, especially ones who don’t work from home, now have to figure out childcare options, which have been complicated due to the pandemic.

Alcorn and Foust said that the county may have to expand its role in child care options depending on great the need is.

“For the sake of the children and their families it is essential that good quality child care services be made available,” the board matter said. “It is also critical to advance the county’s efforts to restart our economy that those parents who work but do not normally need childcare when schools are fully open can work and contribute to economic activity.”

County Executive Bryan Hill said that the county has 2,000 childcare providers: “The first thing we want to do is fill them up.”

Chairman Jeff McKay said that childcare providers he’s talked to have said that they are concerned about surviving the pandemic.

“Oddly, their businesses hurt more than most because what they are worried about is a ton of people now teleworking and not needing daycare,” McKay said.

The Board of Supervisors approved the board matter, which directs county staff to work with FCPS and to update the supervisors on how the county can provide additional resources and support.

“Even in the best of times, the infrastructure for childcare in Fairfax County is not adequate,” Foust said yesterday. “And these are far from the best of times.”

Photo by Shirota Yuri on Unsplash

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