Nearly 700 child care centers will get almost $11 million in federal funds to help offset costs of the coronavirus pandemic, the state Department of Education announced Thursday.

The centers serve more than 46,000 children from birth to age 13.

All the sites take part in a program that provides subsidies for families who are working, attending school or undergoing job training.

It is called the Child Care Assistance Program.

The money can help defray costs of staff salaries, bonuses, supplies, rent and utilities.

It is supposed to be allocated to the centers by the second week of August.

"Our early childhood centers have been serving our essential workers, who in turn are on the frontlines of our health crisis," state Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley said in a statement.

The federal grants mark the third round of assistance and stem from the federal CARES Act.

More than 70% of the centers were closed in April, largely because homebound families opted to keep their children at home.

Today 70% of the sites are operating.


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