Early Educators – Want to Care for Children during COVID-19?

Whether in hospitals, grocery stores or collecting our trash, essential workers are on the front lines responding to COVID-19.

But they can’t do their work without experienced early educators to care for their children. 

To help you decide whether caring for children of essential workers, children who are at-risk or who have special needs is the right choice for you, please review parameters and guidelines for child care during the COVID-19:

COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Order: Only programs caring for children of essential workers, as well as those in vulnerable populations, including children at risk of violence or neglect, and those with disabilities, may operate.  Section 10 of the Order lists categories of essential workers and parameters for social distancing in a child care setting.

Department of Public Health  Guidance: Only those who can follow  public health best practices to keep staff and families safe should be caring for children.   

If you want to support our city’s essential workers, here are three ways you can put your skills as an early educator to use:

1. Join the Substitute Pool for the SF Emergency Child Care Program 

The SF Emergency Child Care Program for Young Children is providing high-quality care for children age 0 – 5, free of charge to essential workers. Care takes place at participating child care centers and home-based child care programs that have modified their environments and activities to reduce group sizes, increase social distancing and mitigate the health risks to children, families and staff. Programs often need temporary educators to keep their classrooms open.  

All temporary educators must participate in a virtual training on safely caring for children in the midst of COVID-19. 

To indicate your interest in joining the substitute pool, click here to answer a few questions about your experience. (Use el menú desplegable en la esquina superior derecha para español — 使用右上角的下拉菜单选择中文 )

2. Open Your Program to Children of Essential Workers or Children in Vulnerable Populations

Programs may operate as long as they are caring for children of essential workers, those who are at-risk, or who have special needs, and following the Shelter-in-Place Order. Let us know if you would like to be included on Children’s Council’s referral list and website.

To start the process, answer a few questions about your program:

Click here for English questionnaire

Haga clic aquí para ver el cuestionario en español


We are offering COVID-19 health and safety trainings for all child care programs operating during this time. Participating programs will receive a small stipend to offset the costs of cleaning supplies.  You can sign up for a COVID-19 health and safety training here. 

3. Offer Virtual Services 

Many nonessential workers are juggling work and caring for their children. You can help working parents and continue to bring in some income by offering virtual services. (Families may be more willing to continue making full or partial payments if you  can provide a valuable service while your program is physically  closed.) 

Check out our  video  overview and  helpful  resources  to help you get started providing virtual  services  to the families you serve.

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