New York City’s teachers started teaching Monday as remote learning and blended-learning commenced for the city’s 1.1 million public school students - but many educators with families of their own said they still haven’t heard updates on a promised city-run childcare program.

Mayor Bill de Blasio had announced that up to 100,000 students will eventually be able to enroll in the Learning Bridges program, which offers working families childcare for kids on their remote learning days, at places like cultural institutions, recreation centers, and libraries.

The hope was to roll out the program for 30,000 kids on day one. But the new schedule for schools, which switched to a staggered reopening last week, has also changed when the Learning Bridges program will launch, and now the city will start with 3K and Pre-K students.

As of Monday, there were 3,600 seats open for young children at 57 Learning Bridges sites, said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza at de Blasio’s press briefing, with those slots earmarked for 3K and Pre-K students who are enrolled in blended learning. District 75 students also returned to school Monday for blended learning.

“We are setting up the seats first for the families that need it most. Priorities do include families in shelters, families that are working in our New York City school system, and other families of essential workers. And so we're working to set those up as quickly as we can,” said Josh Wallack, the Department of Education’s Deputy Chancellor for Early Childhood Education and Student Enrollment, at de Blasio’s press briefing.

A survey emailed to families in late August asked for information on whether students are the children of DOE staffers, first responders, or other essential workers such as hospital employees, or lived in public housing or temporary housing -- possible signs of who will get the first seats in the program’s initial rollout.

On Monday De Blasio defended the program’s slow roll-out, saying, “it’s a brand new initiative that was built in response to the pandemic conditions. And, you know, we've dealt with the challenges we've dealt with everywhere else having to create the social distancing, and find the appropriate space, make sure it's healthy and safe.”

City officials said securing appropriate locations that can work with nearby schools has presented challenges.

"We are trying to match them with particular schools so that we can keep cohorts of children together," Wallack said. "When we launched Pre-K for All, we put seats everywhere and any child could go to any seat. In this case on an even tighter timeline, we're trying to stand up sites that are matched to particular schools, so we can keep cohorts of kids together."

While no locations have been disclosed, the Parks Department said that its recreation centers -- which have remained closed to the public -- will be used for the Learning Bridges programs.

“A large swath of NYC Parks recreation centers will be used for the City’s childcare program as part of the blended learning plan,” according to an email from a Parks Department spokesperson last week. The Parks Department also said its Recreation, Aquatics and Media Education staff will be working at the DOE Learning Bridges sites.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Community Center [JCC] of Brooklyn said they’ve applied to use their facilities as Learning Bridges sites and are still awaiting a response. “The city asked us to submit the budget which we did,” said Leonard Petlakh, executive director of the Kings Bay Y which oversees the JCC of Brooklyn, in a text message Monday. “No details after that.” Petlakh has said his organization hopes to operate sites in Sheepshead Bay and north Williamsburg.

More seats will open for older children when the K-5 and K-8 blended-learning program reopens September 29th, and the DOE is telling parents to email to check on the status of applications. Learning Bridges is open to students in 3K-8th grade.

One teacher awaiting Learning Bridges placement, Alana DiGiacomo of Brooklyn, said she’s had to pay a babysitter $25 an hour to watch her two elementary school-aged kids while she returned to work as a master teacher and director of instruction at a Manhattan transfer school.

“I've been back in the building full-time, leaving for work at 7 a.m. and coming back at 4 p.m. since September 8th, so you know this is going on three weeks that we've been paying for babysitters,” DiGiacomo said.

Her children will attend blended learning at PS 20 in Clinton Hill starting September 29th. Someone will need to watch them on their remote learning days, she said.

At one point, “my kids spent a week at my parents house in New Jersey, so I didn't get to see them for four days,” she said. “Neither of those are sustainable solutions. Every day is costing us a lot of money and I know there's many people in this situation with me, and many, many who are worse off than I am.”