SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Discovery Center of Springfield will once again offer free childcare to students who need it as schools in the Springfield area close due to COVID-19 absences and staffing shortages. The service begins Wednesday, January 19th, and will end Friday, January 21st unless further service is needed. Kids ages six to eleven are welcome.

In a news release, the Discovery center asks that only families that need the assistance sign up for the Emergency Discovery School program, which will offer care from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

“While the announcements came as a surprise today to us, too, our team is committed to continuing to serve kids in-person for the families that need educational care the most,” said Rob Blevins, Executive Director in the news release. “I’m beyond proud each and every day that I get to lead Team Incredibles, but tonight as I get messages from people on our team volunteering to help, volunteering to come in on days off, and volunteering to go to bat for these kids for the umpteenth time this pandemic, it gives me a special kind of pride.”

Families can register or join the waitlist on the Discovery Center’s website.

The Discovery Center was active throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, offering options for families. In December of 2021, the Discovery Center won the Grand Prize for the Center for Education Reform and media partner Forbes Stop Award.

The Springfield-Greene County Park Board and Boys and Girls Clubs of Springfield will also offer childcare over the next few days.