The coronavirus pandemic has shown the need for more and better childcare options in Riley County. Because of this, officials said Monday they are looking at re-establishing an organization to improve the quality, availability and affordability of childcare in Riley County.

Officials from USD 383 Manhattan-Ogden, the Riley County Health Department, city of Manhattan and Riley County commission, among others, discussed the topic at Monday’s virtual intergovernmental meeting.

Ed Kalas, health educator with the Riley County Health Department, said officials want to reestablish the Flint Hills Wellness Coalition Child Care Workgroup to bring together organizations and citizens to tackle the childcare problem in Riley County.

The coalition previously dissolved for whatever reason, Kalas said. He didn’t say when or why it dissolved.

Entities at the meeting signaled support for creating a similar group to work toward a better childcare environment in Riley County. Among the goals would be expanding licensing, providing funding and creating more affordable childcare options.

Kalas asked people to reach out to him if they are interested in starting such a group. He said officials are considering surveying childcare providers in the community to get their feedback.

Officials also want to find ways to get funding to help childcare providers in the wake of the pandemic. Officials did not take formal action Monday.

Also during the meeting, the entities decided to stay with the Monday noon meeting time moving forward.