On March 10, 2020, Governor Baker issued a State of Emergency pursuant to Chapter 639 of the Acts of 1950. On March 18, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order authorizing the temporary creation and operation of emergency child care centers. Consistent with that Executive Order, the Department of Early Education and Care has created a new category of child care centers called “Exempt Emergency Child Care.”

These entities shall operate with written approval to provide critical child care services to vulnerable families and those who work to maintain the health, safety, and welfare of all Commonwealth citizens. All other child care centers must close before Monday, March 23. For as long as the State of Emergency is in effect, the only child care programs authorized to operate in the Commonwealth are those emergency child care programs approved by the Department of Early Education and Care. These programs operate under the authority of Chapter 639 of the Acts of 1950, Governor Baker’s Executive Order, and the guidance, policies, and procedures issued by EEC. These authorities supersede any order of any local or regional board of health regarding the operation of those emergency child care programs, and those local and regional boards cannot impose additional requirements on those programs.

EEC understands the concerns associated with child care centers and COVID-19, and is coordinating closely with the Department of Public Health to ensure that all emergency child care programs are operating in accordance with all appropriate health and safety guidelines. Guidelines still in development will be communicated once finalized.

If you have questions about this policy, please contact Commissioner of Early Education and Care Samantha Aigner-Treworgy at samantha.aigner-treworgy@mass.gov . We appreciate all of the essential work you are doing to address this ongoing pandemic and thank you for your service to the Commonwealth.