MINOT, N.D. – The City of Minot has established four childcare centers to be used exclusively by first responders, medical workers, and other city employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

In a special meeting of the City Council Thursday afternoon, aldermen voted to use $40,000 in emergency cash reserves to fund the day care centers, which are operating in three Minot Public School buildings and The Learning Tree child care center.

Police and sheriff’s officials, fire department employees, water treatment and wastewater employees, and medical workers are eligible to use the child care facilities if their employers have identified them as “essential personnel.”

In total, the city day care centers are capable of housing up to 126 children, according to city documents.

Mayor Shaun Sipma noted during the City Council’s meeting that the cost of operating the facilities is largely shared by Minot Public Schools, which is providing Edison Elementary, Lewis & Clark Elementary, and Magic City Campus as spaces for the operations. The school district is also providing food for children, according to Sipma.

The Mayor also noted that the facilities are being cleaned continually, and children are having their temperatures taken every day to prevent a possible outbreak of COVID-19 at the childcare centers.

Documents show that The Learning Tree, which is providing the childcare services, will be paid $5,600 per week by the City of Minot, as well as $450 per week for each full-time childcare worker.

Click here to see the city documents that detail the operation of the four childcare centers.

“If you can provide a little bit of calm, especially for the folks on the front line that the children are in good hands while they’re at work. That’s a big piece of mind so that they can focus on their job at hand and that’s helping protect and help care for those that are in most need or that might be affected,” said Sipma.