Reapertura del cuidado infantil: un enfoque escalonado (En Espanol)

Our mission in reopening child care is to increase access to child and youth programs while continuing to protect children and staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Early Education and Care and the Department of Public Health are working closely with the CDC, stakeholders, and experts in the field of epidemiology and pediatrics to develop solutions that balance the needs of children and families with public health and safety.

Child care and summer recreation camps will reopen according to the following phased approach:

PHASE 1 (Beginning May 18, 2020)

PHASE 2

  • Phased reopening of child care when public health indicators suggest it is safe to do so, and guided by new health and safety protocols
  • Continue to implement responsive options in partnership with industries and employers
  • Phased reopening of recreational day camps

PHASE 3

  • Modifications to the health and safety protocols for child care and summer camps, as public health indicators suggest it is safe to do so
  • Phased reopening of residential camps

In order to safely reopen child care, the Department is working to address the following important areas:

  • Provide adequate health and safety protocols, verification systems, training and technical assistance to ensure public health and safety of children, families, and the early education and care workforce
  • Build in sufficient lead time for programs to prepare their staff and physical space for safe care
  • Identify solutions to procure masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and other protective health gear
  • Build supports for the workforce to return to the industry and sustain services under the new guidance
  • Provide guidance to providers on how to communicate with parents to manage exposure risk

Click here to view the feedback received through the EEC Field Survey and engagement


Phase 2 Health & Safety Protocols

Non-emergency child care programs and child and youth summer programs will not operate in Phase 1.

EEC has worked in partnership with the Department for Public Health (DPH), Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), Department for Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to develop initial health and safety protocols for child and youth serving group programs for phased reopening in Phase 2. We are also working with third-party experts in pediatrics and epidemiology to review protocols. Finally, our team is in close communication with our government colleagues across the country to understand best practices being used in other states.

Phase 2 health and safety requirements will apply to all child and youth serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps, home-based child care, and center-based child care.

EEC is working to assemble training, financial, and program supports to ensure smooth reopening for programs and expedited processes to eliminate barriers to resuming services.

Draft Health & Safety Protocol (Coming Soon)

It is expected that as the public health picture changes over time, the protocols will also change, as the requirements to keep children safe evolve, and our understanding of COVID-19 builds. Greater detail will be announced in the coming weeks, including health and safety protocols for use in future phases.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do we know about the impacts of COVID-19 on children?

The science of the impact of the virus on children is evolving and there is much we do not yet know. While there are only two studies to date, their findings suggest the potential for children to carry and/or transmit the virus at rates comparable to adults. There is emerging evidence that COVID-19 is tied to the newly diagnosed pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. We know that early education and care is a key enabler for working families and essential to the state’s economic recovery. However, to reopen early education and care programs, we must know we can do it in a way that protects the health and safety of Massachusetts children, families, and educators.

When will child care reopen?

We know that early education and care is a key enabler for working families and essential to the state’s economic recovery. However, to reopen early education and care programs, we must know we can do it in a way that protects the health and safety of Massachusetts children, families, and educators. As the public health landscape changes, we will be collaborating closely with the Reopening Task Force and partners in the private sector to build the infrastructure that’s needed to bring people back to work and reopen child care safely for Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Will camps open this summer?

The health and safety protocols were developed in partnership with the Department of Public Health (DPH) and designed to apply to group settings of all types, including camps. DPH and local public health officials will coordinate phased opening of recreational day camps beginning in Phase 2 and of residential camps in Phase 3 of the state’s plan, when public health indicators suggest it is safe to do so.

How are you working to make sure emergency child care programs are safe?

Emergency child care programs are guided by a clear set of health and safety protocols and child-care-specific social distancing guidelines laid forth by EEC and DPH. They are updated regularly based on CDC developments. Children should be kept out of group child care settings to the greatest extent possible to minimize potential exposure and spread of the virus.

How will emergency child care programs expand to accommodate people going back to work?

The emergency child care system currently in place will continue to meet the needs of essential workers with no safe alternative to group care. There is additional capacity in the current system, and we will build further capacity as needed. As specific industries return to work, EEC will work with its business and industry partners to ensure responsive, innovative options targeted to specific workplaces, similar to what we have done with the emergency child care system to meet the needs of specific health care employers during the crisis to date. If you are looking to identify child care for your workplace or staff returning to work, please fill out the EEC Emergency Child Care Application by clicking here.

How are the Phase 2 child care health protocols being developed?

EEC has worked in partnership with the Department for Public Health (DPH), Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), Department for Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to develop initial health and safety protocols for child and youth serving group programs. These protocols will be grounded in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and enhanced by our local public health experts to ensure they reflect our current situation in the Commonwealth. We are also reaching out to third-party experts in pediatrics and epidemiology to provide feedback and ensure we are checking every box. Furthermore, we are in close communication with our colleagues across the country to understand best practices. Massachusetts guidance is in alignment with neighboring states, and we will work to adjust as the public health landscape indicates.

How will EEC support me in implementing these Phase 2 health and safety protocols?

EEC is working to develop more detailed guidance in the coming weeks. We understand that these protocols are a significant change from normal operations, and are working to develop tools, templates, training material, and other technical assistance to support programs as they prepare to reopen. We also understand that implementing these protocols will look different across programs type (e.g., home-based, center-based) and will develop program-specific materials to support providers with their own unique challenges.

How will we ensure families and teachers feel safe going back to child care?

This is precisely what we are working directly with the field to establish. Over 13,000 educators, providers, and advocates have shared feedback directly with EEC—what families and providers are experiencing, what health protocols we need to plan around, how we implement those, what tools educators need to succeed, and how to prepare families. Based on this feedback and the latest public health indicators, the Commonwealth is developing protocols and monitoring to ensure families and providers can safely reengage in the child care system.