News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

San Francisco Expands Emergency Child Care Hours for Health Care Workers, Provides Care to Children of Other Essential Workers

The Recreation and Park Department will expand hours at emergency child and youth care centers, and will provide care to children of health care workers, Department of Public Health staff, clinic employees, and employees activated as Disaster Service Workers

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced that San Francisco’s emergency child and youth care centers will expand their operating hours to better align with the schedule of health care workers. The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will also expand their emergency care program to provide child care for additional essential employees. This is part of the City’s efforts to support essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Front line health care and essential employees like doctors and nurses need to have child care that they can rely on as they focus on responding to COVID-19,” said Mayor Breed. “Essential workers, including Disaster Service Workers and employees at our city’s clinics, need to be able to respond to this public health emergency without worrying about accessing and paying for child care. I want to thank the Recreation and Park Department and the Department of Children, Youth, and their Families for coming together to provide this service for our city.”

Free emergency child and youth care is available to frontline employees who are working in San Francisco, and is not limited to San Francisco residents. Starting on Monday, March 23rd, care will be available at all 35 Recreation and Park Department sites from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. to support health care workers in public and private hospitals who typically have 12‑hour shifts.

Additionally, the City will begin providing care to children of Disaster Services Workers, essential Department of Public Health employees, and employees who are part of the San Francisco Community Clinic Consortium. This is in addition to providing child care for health care workers and low-income families on the Recreation and Park scholarship list, as was announced last week.

San Francisco Recreation and Park’s recreation facilities serve grades K through 8, Monday through Friday. The emergency care centers are operated in partnership between the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and the Department of Children, Youth, and their Families (DCYF). Dedicated recreation professionals operate these facilities, providing homework help and a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including sports, art and STEM projects. DCYF provides three meals a day to all participants.

“Our healthcare workers are heroically taking care of others during the coronavirus outbreak. We want to ensure their children are safe and cared for while they perform this vital work, which means expanding hours and serving those working in clinics as well as hospitals,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg.

“Anything that makes it easier for our city’s health care workers and Disaster Service Workers to respond to the coronavirus emergency and take care of their families is great for our city,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. “I am grateful to Mayor Breed and the Recreation and Park Department for expanding childcare hours for these essential workers. When we all come together, we can do great things. This is not over yet, and I would like especially to thank the front line workers who continue to care for our community members during this health emergency.”

“DCYF is deeply committed to providing three nutritious and shelf-stable meals for the children and youth in the emergency child care program along with our community based organizations who are currently open and serving children across the City,” said DCYF Executive Director Maria Su. “Providing universal meal access for children and youth during this time of crisis and uncertainty is a critical necessity to support our frontline workforce and those in need. We are proud to work rapidly with our City partners across public and private sectors to ensure that we support as many children and youth as possible during the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The Public Health Order issued on Monday, March 16th requires San Franciscans to stay home, except for essential needs. Health care workers and other essential employees are exempt from the Order because their work is necessary to respond to COVID-19.

The Order allows childcare facilities to operate if they serve parents who work in essential businesses and comply with the following conditions to the extent possible:

  1. Children must be cared for in stable groups of 12 or fewer.
  2. Groups of children may not mix with each other.
  3. Providers may not circulate between groups.
  4. Common areas may be shared by multiple groups, however their use of these areas should be staggered as much as possible.

Recreation and Park Department’s emergency youth and child care centers follow social distancing and related COVID-19 sanitation and hygiene recommendations. Sites are limited to 12 children per site for smaller facilities and 24 children for larger facilities, split into two groups of 12 that do not interact, in accordance with the Order.

The emergency care program is available by invitation only. The Department of Human Resources is conducting outreach to Department of Public Health staff and Disaster Service Workers about the emergency care program. The Recreation and Park Department and the Department of Emergency Management are working together to conduct outreach to hospital and health care clinic staff. For more information on the City’s Emergency Child Care Program, visit

The Library’s previously announced efforts to provide programming to youth are currently being implemented and they are working to have the program up and running in the next couple of weeks.

People engaged in the essential activities described in the order must practice the following to avoid getting sick and to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when on essential outings such as grocery shopping, riding public transit to an essential job, or walking your dog.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Do not shake hands.
  • Keep common spaces clean to help maintain a healthy environment for you and others. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly with disinfecting sprays, wipes or common household cleaning products.

Make sure you have a supply of essential medications for your family. Plan for how you can care for a sick family member without getting sick yourself. Take care of each other and check in by phone with friends, family and neighbors that are vulnerable to serious illness or death if they get COVID-19.

There is no recommendation to wear masks at this time to prevent yourself from getting sick. If you are sick, first call your health care provider; if you must leave your home to seek medical treatment, you may wear a mask or similar personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent spreading illness to others.

Find the answers to frequently asked questions about the order at

Other Public Health Orders and recommendations from DPH can be found at Mayoral declarations regarding COVID-19 can be found at

For more information, you can also call 311. For official updates, sign up for the City’s alert service: text COVID19SF to 888-777.