Today, County Executive Calvin Ball announced the allocation of CARES Act funding to subsidize the new RecZone program operated by the Department of Recreation & Parks. The funding allows for approximately a 30% reduction of weekly costs. Beginning Thursday, August 27, RecZone will be now be offered at $219 per week for extended day (7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)  and $185 (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) for school day options through December 31, 2020. Parents who have already registered for RecZone from September 8 to December 31, 2020 will receive a credit to their Recreation & Parks account for the difference in pricing.

“This global pandemic is testing all facets of our systems and childcare is not exception – without a reliable, safe place for parents and guardians to send children each day, it is going to be a serious emotional and physical toll on families,” said Ball. “On top of these challenges, there are still many residents who are facing tough financial situations – job loss, overdue bills, rent or mortgage payments, and are just trying to get by. As I’ve said before, we’re seeing a domino effect of challenges, and we’re working to provide support wherever possible.  “

RecZone is designed to help families address childcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program is open to students in grades K-5 who will receive support for virtual learning and will enjoy crafts, life-long learning activities, cultural theme days, physical activities, outdoor play, and games. The program will begin on September 8 at select schools throughout Howard County. It will be offered five days a week, excluding school holidays. The program is licensed through the Maryland State Department of Education’s Office of Childcare.

“We are grateful to receive funding from the CARES Act. This reduces childcare costs for families as they return to the workplace,” said Recreation & Parks Director Raul Delerme. “Our Department’s goal is to provide safe, beneficial, and accessible programs in schools and are happy to do so during this unprecedented time.”

Registration is open to both in-county and out-of-county families interested in childcare. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and requirements, space is limited. Each group will hold a maximum of 15 people, including two staff and thirteen children. RecZone plans to have two groups at each location, and more groups may become available later.

Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) is currently working with HCRP to solidify the following program locations:

  • Bellows Spring Elementary School, 8125 Old Stockbridge Road, Ellicott City
  • Bollman Bridge Elementary School, 8200 Savage-Guilford Road, Savage
  • Bushy Park Elementary School, 14601 Carrs Mill Road, Glenwood
  • Clarksville Middle School, 6535 South Trotter Road, Clarksville
  • Dayton Oaks Elementary School, 4691 Ten Oaks Road, Dayton
  • Deep Run Elementary School, 6925 Old Waterloo Road, Elkridge
  • Elkridge Elementary School, 7075 Montgomery Road, Elkridge
  • Forest Ridge Elementary School, 9550 Gorman Road, Laurel
  • Fulton Elementary School, 11600 Scaggsville Road, Fulton
  • Hanover Hills Elementary School, 7030 Banbury Drive, Hanover
  • Hollifield Station Elementary School, 8701 Stonehouse Drive, Ellicott City
  • Ilchester Elementary School, 4981 Ilchester Road, Ellicott City
  • Laurel Woods Elementary School, 9250 North Laurel Road, Laurel
  • Manor Woods Elementary School, 11575 Frederick Road, Ellicott City
  • Veterans Elementary School, 4355 Montgomery Road, Ellicott City
  • Waverly Elementary School, 10220 Wetherburn Road, Ellicott City

Although space is limited, registration remains open and Recreation & Parks has space available at all locations. For information on how to register or for details on HCRP’s COVID-19 guidelines, please visit https://www.howardcountymd.gov/childcare or call 410-313-7275.

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This is a wonderful announcement and I am happy to see this childcare program offered by Howard County Government (through Recreation and Parks) become more affordable for families in Howard County.

If I had a wish today it would be that this announcement also applied for the program offered by Columbia Association at 10 Howard County Public Schools. The County Executive did mention in a press gaggle today that the Columbia Association could potentially apply for funding through the HoCo Rise grants or other programs that maybe could reduce the prices of those programs for those families wishing for more affordable childcare options in Columbia. Let us all hope we see that in the future.

Other articles on this topic:

Scott E

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