With schools starting in the remote learning model (online only), we understand this creates challenges. There are 13 highly affected school districts that the JBLM population attends, and all of them have made the decision to open the school year with remote learning (this includes the on-base schools with Clover Park School District). We know this raises a lot of questions for our JBLM families. We've compiled a list of frequently asked questions below; please check back, as we'll be updated information as availability changes.
If it's not safe for my student to return to school, how is it safe for them to go to childcare?
School and childcare safety protocols are not the same. Schools and off-base childcare follow state and local guidance. On-base childcare through CYS follows CDC and Preventative Medicine guidance. Some things will look different, but everyone is taking every precaution to keep your children safe. CYS takes great care to help ensure the safety of your children and our team:
- All CYS staff, children and others in the building are screened for symptoms upon arrival.
- Lower classroom ratios and limited movement between classrooms.
- No family-style meals.
- Cots placed six feet apart for naps.
- Small groups on the playground with more cleanings.
- Parents are asked to wash their own hands and help their children wash theirs upon entering the classroom.
- Additional cleaning protocols, as well deep cleaning, are completed, and hand sanitizer is available at the front counters.
My children go to school on-base. Does that put my child in childcare on base?
School and childcare are not the same. Their missions are unique and both are here to support you and your family. If you are enrolled in an on-base school, it does not guarantee you childcare. If you are using childcare on-base, it does not guarantee you a spot in an on-base school.
What's the anticipated impact to JBLM CYS childcare when schools open back up virtually in the fall?
We currently have 950 childcare spaces (limited to COVID mitigation measures, we're operating at 60% of the previous 1,600 childcare spaces pre-COVID), and we have reached capacity. CYS is working to assess additional capacity for care for school-age children on JBLM. until we are able to identify and staff additional childcare spaces in non-traditional facilities, families will need to seek out alternative childcare options. We understand options are limited because the entire state is facing the same dilemma, but we want to be completely transparent -- there is a gap between what we can provide and what is required. As school district change occur, CYS will remain flexible and adapt to those changes as resources and staffing permit, keeping the community updated availability. Once the schools re-open, we will return to before- and after-school care.
Tell me about School Age Centers and the associated costs.
School Age Centers provide care for students in kindergartners through 5th grade weekdays from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. (closed federal holidays). Our School Age Centers provide learning spaces for students currently enrolled in the School Age Center to conduct their online learning during the school day. Full-day fees (based on Total Family Income) apply; this will be adjusted as the program adjusts.
My children aren't in before/after-school care but I need care. What do I do?
If you need care for your school-aged child as schools begin virtually, we ask that if you have not had your school-aged child in care before on JBLM, that you go to militarychildcare.com to sign up on the wait list. This will help us determine the need for care once school begins. Please note, space is limited due to COVID mitigation measures. While CYS is assessing options for additional school-age childcare spaces, we encourage you to seek out alternative options. Patrons are encouraged to go to the Child Care Aware of America website and find an alternative childcare provider.
My children aren't currently in care with CYS. How likely is it they'll be offered a spot before the school year starts?
While CYS is working to assess additional capacity for care for school-age children on JBLM, we encourage to seek out alternative childcare arrangements. Due to COVID mitigation strategies, spaces are extremely limited. Patrons are encouraged to go to the Child Care Aware of America website and find an alternative childcare provider.
I just moved to JBLM. How do I register with CYS?
If you need childcare, the first step is to sign up on the waitlist at militarychildcare.com and request care at all JBLM sites. Parents must reconfirm their space on the waitlist every 30 days. If you only need hourly care (not currently offered) or youth sports, you may skip this step. Next, contact Parent Central Services for a CYS registration appointment. Go to your appointment prepared with this registration checklist. Due to the current COVID climate, there is a 60-day extension on health assessments. For more information on this and other requirements specific to your situation, please contact Parent Central Services.
What are my childcare options if CYS can't provide spaces for my school-age children?
Patrons are encouraged to go to the Child Care Aware of America website and find an alternative childcare provider. Statements of non-availability are not currently required; however, this may change. Patrons should contact CCAoA regarding subsidy information, as the availability varies by service. Additionally, school districts are partnering with local organization such as Boys and Girls Club, YMCA Care and Right At School. Please contact your assigned school to inquire about options in your neighborhood.
Can I leave my children home alone?
Please refer to the Home Alone Policy for information.
What if they have an older sibling watching them?
Please refer to the Home Alone Policy for information. Additionally, consider signing up your teens for a Red Cross-certified babysitting course at Hillside Youth Center. Call +1(253)967-4441 for signup and requirements.
Can I watch my neighbor's kids while they work?
There are strict regulations over childcare on base to ensure safety. If you're regularly providing childcare in your home (more than 10 hours a week), you must be registered with Family Child Care as an authorized provider. This is required whether or not you're being paid for childcare. Unauthorized childcare providers are at risk of losing government quarters. We encourage you to register with Family Child Care. As an authorized FCC provider, you'll receive paid training, subsidies and earn up to $2,000 per month. For more information on starting your work-from-home career that moves with you, attend the Aug. 18 Family Child Care Provider Orientation from 6-8 p.m. in the MWR HQ (2013-B N. 3rd St., room 233). Learn more by calling +1(253)967-3039 (sign up is not required). New FCC providers may qualify for a $1,000 signing bonus to be paid in installations. If you're an FCC provider who just moved to JBLM, you may eligible for a $1,000 retention bonus after setting up your FCC home here at JBLM.
My children are enrolled at a School Age Center and will need help with their schoolwork during the day. What is CYS doing to support their education?
Educating children is the responsibility of the school district; however, during these unprecedented times, CYS will partner with you and your child to ensure that your child's continued education is facilitated in a safe and healthy environment conducive to learning. The childcare teams at the SACs are preparing to assist students with remote learning. CYS staffers will do their best to facilitate your child's learning log-in (at the right time) and technical support; however, they will not be able to provide each child with individualized learning support. Each staff member is responsible for 10 children and will be trying to get each logged on to the right site at the right time. We also are working to increase our WiFi capacity, but it will take some time. We know from the spring that there were buffering and lag issues. We ask for your patience as we work through these challenging issues.
While school is offering remote learning, what services are available i.e.-counselors (MFLCs), school-provided breakfast/lunch programs etc.
For Clover Park School District: The remote learning that schools are beginning the year with will be class assigned by grade with a teacher. The students will get a schedule of times to sign on and meet with the teacher via the platform chosen. Students will be issued computer if they don't have one at home to conduct their studies. It will work much like it did in the Spring except with built in structure for assignment completion and grading. School teachers will be contacting parents towards the end of August for dates and times for equipment pickup. Remember things can change so keep checking the school website. MFLCs for those schools that have them will be conducting sessions virtually and principals will be sending out information on times and platform. In the past, they used the Zoom platform. Schools will provide breakfast and lunch pick up for those eligible at the school site or a designated site for students.
Can my child attend on-base schools if we live off base?
In Washington there's a waiver process to request to attend another school outside of your zoned school. Receiving a waiver is dependent on the space available in one of the on-base schools for the grade(s) you need. Call the Clover Park School District at +1(253)583-5000 or visit http://www.cloverpark.k12.wa.us/Dept/StudentServices/Enrollment_Checklist.aspx for further information regarding waivers. If the waiver is approved, the parent is responsible for transportation and the requirements of the waiver. We recommend families also have a backup plan in their zoned school district in case their waiver request is not approved.
I live on Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Where do my children register for school?
Once you register for school, your assigned school will begin sending you communication about the upcoming school year and specific information about your students as that information becomes available.
Where does my child attend school?
Your child(ren) will attend schools in the district in which they are zoned. This is a boundary state, so the address you select has a school and school district associated with it. On-base schools are part of Clover Park School District. There are six elementary schools on JBLM. There are links to all of the school districts (approximately 20) in the communities surrounding Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the "Finding Your School" section here. Only about 20% of JBLM families are able to get on-base housing and attend on-base schools.
- If you live on McChord Field, your elementary school is Carter Lake, you will attend Thomas Middle School and your high school is Clover Park High School.
- If you live on Lewis Main, your school is designated by where you live. You must check the address on your housing contract (Welcome Home), go to the district website http://apps.schoolsitelocator.com/index.html?districtCode=49275 and type in your address. You will receive the school name, address and phone number. Elementary schools are based on housing areas, the middle school is Thomas Middle School. Lakes High School is the designated high school for all of Lewis Main and Lewis North areas.
- If you live on Lewis North, in Beachwood, Eagle View or Meriwether areas, visit http://apps.schoolsitelocator.com/index.html?districtCode=49275 for the elementary school. Your middle school is Thomas Middle School and your high school is Lakes High School.
What day does school start/end?
School districts determine their academic calendars individually. Please see your local school district calendar 2020-2021 for additional information and links. Most schools start just before or immediately after Labor Day. Schools here close by mid- to late-June.
I'm considering private school for my student. Are all private schools mandated to follow the county recommendations?
Yes, the private school fall under state oversight.
If I choose to home school, what financial/instructive/administrative resources are available?
Home school is a family choice and by definition the parent picks up the cost of the curriculum and any instructional necessities. However, the Department of the Army has a grant available through AER to assist with learning needs due to COVID. If you’re considering the homeschool option, you’ll need to file an Intent to Home School form with the student services department of your district and find a curriculum that will provide you measurable objectives so you can keep track of the learning obtained. Learn more from Washington State’s Laws Regulating Home-Based Instruction.
I'm considering the online educational services over remote learning. What should I do next?
If you’re considering opting for online educational services, you must contact the district and see what’s available to you through your school district. If your family chooses to conduct online education through their school district - the school is responsible to facilitate enrollment. This means that the student is taking their coursework online for the semester or throughout the entire year. Many families are choosing this method so if the school has to close for an outbreak the learning is not disrupted but rather continuous throughout the year.
I've heard of parents getting together to hire a teacher to teach their small cohort of similarly-aged kids. Tell me more.
Learn more about Washington definitions of homeschool and more here.
Please tell me about spaces available in Child Development Centers.
CYS offers childcare in Child Development Centers for ages birth through 5 years. We continue to receive a lot of questions about when active duty service members with a working spouse will receive care if they haven't already been called. There are about 186 active duty service members with a working spouse that we still don't have in care. Unfortunately, if you started care within the last year, chances are very high that until COVID mitigation procedures are no longer required, CYS will be unable to provide you childcare at this time. Additional factors that may affect when there is space for care, is the age of children (as infants and preschool ages have long wait lists). If you are dual or single DOD civilian, we highly encourage you to seek out alternative childcare arrangements.
What are my childcare options if CYS can't provide spaces for my children (birth through 5 years)?
Patrons are encouraged to go to the Child Care Aware of America website and find an alternative childcare provider. Once you select a provider and make arrangements for care, go to Parent Central Services to obtain a statement of non-availability. The reason for identifying a provider first is the statement of non-availability is only valid for 10 days. Patrons should contact CCAoA regarding subsidy information, as the availability varies by service.
I heard I can lose my childcare space in September even if my child is currently in care. Is that true?
The new priorities, which go into affect Sept. 1, allow active duty service members to displace lower-priority families, such as dual and single DOD civilians. CYS is still waiting on the business rules for the policy, so there may be some questions you have that we cannot answer at this time. We encourage families to stay tuned for additional informaiton and watch our Facebook Town Hall on Schools & Childcare Aug. 19 at fb.com/JBLMmwr.
How can I join the CYS team?
Attend the Virtual Childcare Hiring Fair Aug. 18 to apply for a position as a Child & Youth Program Assistant. Find details at fb.com/JBLMmwr.
What can the School Support Services team do for my family?
Your School Liaison Officers at JBLM give you assistance with school registration and transition. We help with questions about compliance and solutions regarding the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to ensure your family receives the same opportunities for educational success as other children, without any penalty or delay due to your PCS. We provide two-way communication between the school and parent. We help you connect with homeschool co-ops or support groups. We provide answers to your questions about special education (IEP or 504 Plans in place), schools, homeschooling, special education, scholarships, transitions and more.
I have other questions. Where do I go for more information?
- For CYS registration information, email USArmy.JBLM.IMCOM.List.DFMWR-CYS-Registration@mail.mil
- While not currently required, a certificate of non-availability is normally available from Parent Central Services after selecting and registering at an authorized Child Care Aware of America location, by calling +1(253)966-2977. (Patrons are encouraged to go to the Child Care Aware of America website and find an alternative childcare provider. Statements of non-availability are not currently required; however, this may change. Patrons should contact CCAoA regarding subsidy information, as the availability varies by service.)
- The three school liaison officers in the School Support Services office are monitoring all the school district decisions and are planning with the CYS teams to determine how we can best support virtual learning for children in our care. To reach the team, call +1(253)967-7195.
- For information about your child's school, schedule or other specific information, please reach out to the district or school principal directly.
- Tune in to our Aug. 19 Facebook Townhall on Schools & Childcare at fb.com/JBLMmwr.
- School Re-Opening Tracker
Updated o/a 31 July 2020
As of July 30, 2020, the Department of Health for Pierce County and Thurston County have recommended that schools not open with face-to-face instruction. Due to this declaration, Pierce County and Thurston County schools have decided to begin the school year with the remote learning model, which will cover the normal school curriculum in an online format. Most school districts will provide computers or tablets loaded with the learning platforms for students to sign in and participate in daily learning with their teachers. Please continue checking for updates from your assigned school district. CYS will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.
- Special education- IEP or 504 Plans in place.
- You live in another area than those named in the article.
- General questions - please call and get your answers.
- Your School Liaison Officers at JBLM give you assistance with school registration and transition.
- We help with questions about compliance and solutions regarding the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children to ensure your family receives the same opportunities for educational success as other children, without any penalty or delay due to your PCS.
- We provide two-way communication between the school and parent.
- We help you connect with homeschool co-ops or support groups.
- We provide answers to your questions about schools, homeschooling, special education, scholarships, transitions and more.
- Tel: +1(253)967-7195
- Military DSN Tel: (312)357-7195
Opening the new school year
How to plan for the new school year in light of the pandemic
By Norma Melo, JBLM School Liaison Officer
Public and private schools are busy preparing their plans to reopen their schools for the '20-21 school year. Schools must follow the Department of Health guidelines, and they're busy finding solutions to ensure that all children and staff are going to be safe as well as able to gather within social distancing parameters.
There are many areas that must be reviewed - transportation, gathering protocols, transitions during the day, meal times, clubs and activities just to name a few.
We encourage you to regularly check your school district website or school Facebook page to keep up to date on what's occurring.
If you're new to JBLM, you must register online at your school's website and upload the information they request directly onto the registration page. Some information you'll need are proof of residence (housing contract), immunization records, birth certificate for kindergarten students and report cards or school records from your child's former school.
Once you've registered, the school will begin sending you information about the new school year and what the next steps are, if they're going to hold an in-person meeting with new families and teachers and other details.
Please keep in mind that not all schools will follow the same procedures due to spacing and enrollment numbers. Many schools are not accepting waivers into schools, so please have an alternate plan ready to implement.
For more information
Can’t find what you need here? Contact JBLM’s School Liaison Office for information at 253-967-7195 or visit the School Support Services webpage.
Some topics you might need answers on include:
Do you know about School Liaison Officers?