VICTORIA -- The Saanich and Victoria school districts will provide space in classrooms for the children of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Saanich school district, teachers and educational assistants will provide child care. The district also says it’s working with before-and-after-school care providers to extend the care where possible.

The schools accepting students in the Saanich district are Lochside Elementary, Brentwood Elementary and Sidney Elementary. Children have been assigned to the schools based on staff and space availability.

Currently the service prioritizes parents who are deemed essential by the provincial government in Tier 1 (health workers, social workers and emergency responders) but the Saanich district says it hopes to expand in the near future.

The Greater Victoria School District (SD 61) has 15 elementary schools that are providing in-school care for 76 students but it says the situation is fluid as it tries to meet the needs of families.

The district says it is following the guidelines established by the Ministry of Health to ensure safe and healthy environments for everyone.

The Victoria school district asks that essential service workers who require child care to contact their school principal.

Earlier this week, the Cowichan Valley School District (SD79) annnounced it is accepting the children of essential service workers into schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.