Two public libraries in Loudoun County, Virginia, that had been closed to the public so they could be used as day care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic are reopening Friday.
The Ashburn and Rust libraries — two of the county’s 10 branches — had been previously limited to curbside pickup service since Aug. 31, as the county’s Board of Supervisors sought to find buildings to accommodate 1,000 child care seats.
The board selected 11 elementary schools, five community centers, two recreation centers, and the two libraries, as well as leasing two facilities, as part of a plan that prioritized offering day care solutions to county staff and children who qualify for free and reduced lunches. The day care options were also open to all residents.
However, only 197 students have registered, as of Sept. 10, according to Board of Supervisors staff.
With plenty of room in other facilities, the libraries are not presently needed, clearing the way for them to reopen Friday.
“We are delighted to reopen the Ashburn and Rust libraries,” said Loudoun County Public Library Director Chang Liu, in a statement.
She said staff has been “finishing work needed to reconfigure the branches so our customers can enjoy the libraries while adhering to social distancing standards.”
Next Tuesday, the Board will consider revising its K-6 Distance Learning Child Care Program, given the less-than-anticipated demand.
The revisions include capping the number of children in the program at 600. That would take the libraries, as well as the community and recreation centers off the table, even if more students sign up for day care. The county would continue to use the 11 elementary schools and two leased facilities for day care.
In addition, the board will consider reducing the current program fees. Anecdotally, the monthly full day rate of $1,005 for members of the public, $900 for county and public school employees, and $503 for free and reduced lunch students was prohibitively expensive.
Also, the Board will weigh offering the program two or three days a week, in addition to the current five-day program.
Shortly after the board decided to restrict library usage, the head of the Loudoun County Library Board of Trustees, Denis Cotter, resigned.
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