Minnesota public schools provide child care for Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees.

In mid-March, Governor Walz issued an executive order closing schools. The order also required public schools to provide child care for Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees, along with the free breakfast/lunch program for children ages 1 to 18.

The list of Tier 1 and Tier 2 jobs is long, but in summary it includes essential and critical workers, such as those employed in healthcare, law enforcement, public safety and first responders, food and agriculture, and more such as educators and school staff providing care.

Megan Koenigs, the Discovery Time and ECFE teacher at Sleepy Eye Public School is director of the child care program there. Koenigs said the program is coming along nicely.

“We currently have 27 Tier 1 and Tier 2 children signed up and others who have reached out with questions about the service and are utilizing us as a backup in case something changes for them,” Koenigs said. “We are only allowed to take children from essential working households.”

Koenig said the staff providing care for the children in the program are school paraprofessionals.

“I have roughly 10 paras, this number fluctuates hourly depending on the needs of other departments, who help with child care throughout the day, along with two teachers,” said Koenigs. “Our paras are split between child care, packing and delivering lunches, distance learning support, and prepping materials for future weeks of distance learning.”

Anyone needing information about eligibility for the school-based child care program may call the school at 794-7903.