Child care policy changes that were set to go into effect next week will be delayed until Sept. 1, DOD announced, according to Military Times. The delay is in response to the coronavirus, which has impacted many DOD child care facilities that are closed or are operating with lower capacity to ensure social distancing.

The changes, announced earlier this year, will give working military families higher priority getting into child care facilities.

With the announcement of the delay, Secretary Mark Esper revised the upcoming policy changes to put Coast Guard families at the same priority level as families from other branches.

“I am directing that Coast Guard families be afforded the same priority as their DOD counterparts,” Esper wrote in a recent memo.

The initial policy changes considered the Coast Guard – which is housed in the Department of Homeland Security instead of DOD – at a lower priority level, along with DOD civilian families.

“It was really amazing to see how quickly the policy change came together,” said Nicole Russell, government relations deputy director for the National Military Family Association, according to Military Times. “We’re so happy to see Coast Guard families being treated as part of the military, because they are.”

Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman