Child and youth serving programs may begin reopening in Phase 2 of the state’s economic reopening. Some Exempt Emergency Child Care Providers (EECCPs) may continue to operate through June to support essential workers with no other option for child care. If you are an essential worker in search of an EECCP, please click here.
Our mission in reopening child care is to increase access to child and youth serving programs while continuing to protect children and staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) 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.
On June 6, 2020, Governor Baker announced that Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s Reopening Plan would begin on Monday, June 8, 2020. Child care may begin the process of opening in Phase 2. The goal of EEC is to ensure programs have the information they need to prepare for reopening, and can take the necessary steps to begin this process. All programs may choose when to reopen. It will remain up to individual programs to assess their readiness to implement the reopening requirements.
ABOUT THE HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS
EEC has worked in partnership with the Department for Public Health (DPH), the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), the Department for Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) with consultation provided by third-party experts in pediatrics and epidemiology to develop health and safety requirements for child and youth serving programs.
The health and safety requirements apply to all child and youth serving programs, including recreational summer programs and camps, home-based child care, and center-based child care. EEC intends to work with providers and take a supportive and collaborative approach, helping programs balance health with operational and child development priorities.
EEC anticipates that the Minimum Requirements for Health and Safety will be in effect through the summer, but elements may change as new research emerges and indicates a need. Additional modifications will be made in conjunction with the evolving public health and public school landscape for September.
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Click here to view the feedback received through the EEC field survey and engagement in April 2020.
PREPARING FOR REOPENING
The Commonwealth’s Reopening Plan allows for child care to begin the process of opening in Phase 2. Understanding the Commonwealth’s obligation to ensure that child care environments and workforce are safe, EEC has designed a process to balance the urgency of reopening with the need to have protection protocols. Therefore on June 8th we will launch the following expedited process:
- INTENT TO REOPEN: Beginning Monday, June 8, EEC will distribute an “Intent to Reopen” form to ask each provider about their preparedness to reopen under the Minimum Health and Safety Requirements.
- APPLYING TO REOPEN:
- Week of June 8: EEC will provide plan templates, guidance, and self-attestation forms for providers to review and prepare.
- Week of June 15: EEC will invite providers to submit their reopening plans for review and approval by EEC.
- APPROVAL TO REOPEN:
- Conditional Approval: EEC will immediately review plans and attestations to ensure they are complete; providers will be allowed to conditionally reopen for services to children based on their chosen timeline.
- Final Approval: EEC will perform thorough review of plans and address any support needs for on-going operations within 60 days.
Providers can begin preparing for the transition by carefully reviewing the Minimum Requirements and examining your space to consider configurations that would allow for minimal contact between groups; developing processes for drop-off and pick-up that meet the requirements; beginning to communicate with families to explain the new program rules that minimize the spread of COVID-19, and beginning to work with staff to understand the new strategies needed to keep children and staff members safe throughout the day.
A Reopening Process Overview is available by clicking here.
To mitigate the impact of the business interruption caused by fluctuations in family demand and changes in group sizes outlined in the Minimum Health and Safety Requirements, EEC will be providing grants to support the initial months of reopening to programs that have current subsidy agreements and enrolled children. Providers who served as Exempt Emergency Child Care Providers throughout the state of emergency will also be eligible for these grants. Grants will be offered on a per-provider basis for Family Child Care (FCC) providers and a per-classroom basis for Group and School Age programs.
Providers receiving subsidized payments will be required to reopen in July in order to continue receiving subsidies for enrolled children. Additional information will be made available as the application process is confirmed.
Please check back on this page for more information as it becomes available.