Process Steps and Guidance for Reopening Child Care
Dear Colleagues and Stakeholders,
I want to thank you for your continued input and patience as we plan for a safe reopening of child care programs. We have more information on our process for reopening and on our Minimum Health and Safety Requirements below.
Reopening Process and Timeline
Saturday, Governor Baker announced that, after careful review and consideration of current public health indicators, Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s reopeningwill begin today, Monday, June 8, 2020, allowing for child care centers to beginthe process of opening.
At this time, the only child care that is open to serve families continues to be Emergency Child Care. Understanding the Commonwealth’s obligation to ensure that child care environments and its workforce are safe, EEC has designed the following expedited process to balance the urgency of reopening with the need to have protection protocols in place:
INTENT TO REOPEN: Beginning today, EEC will distribute an “Intent to Reopen” form to ask each provider about their intent 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.
Please note that all programs may choose when to reopen. It will remain up to individual programs to assess their readiness to implement the reopening requirements.
Minimum Health and Safety Requirements
On June 1, 2020, EEC released the Minimum Requirements for Health and Safety, with the goal of safely reengaging the child care system in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of children, families, and staff.
Today, we are releasing an updated version of the Minimum Requirements for Health and Safety, available on ourwebsite. This amended version includes an important update that programs will no longer be required to conduct daily temperature checks. After discussions with the COVID-19 Command Center’s Medical Advisory Committee, including infectious disease experts, it became clear that the number of both false positive and false negative results made this an unreliable requirement to assess daily health status.
While the minimum requirements were shared in advance to provide initial information on how to prepare for reopening, we understand that providers will require additional supports, including further guidance. EEC has released new resources to help provide clarity on this process. These resources, available on our website, include: a reopening process overview, an expanded FAQ guide, and specific guidance for Family Child Care (FCC) providers. We continue to work on additional guidance and will provide that to support your reopening process as it is available.
I know there is uncertainty and anxiety. I assure you EEC’s approach is meant to be supportive. We intend for providers to be having conversations with parents—collaborating together on how to put in place protective measures that meet children’s developmental needs as well as keep staff and families safe. We are relying on the expertise of the professionals in the field to redesign their approaches to early education and care, adjust their daily activities, and configure the layout of their spaces to encourage children to remain six feet apart while still enjoying their day.
As a former preschool teacher and mental health consultant, I know the professionals in this field continue to do their best to chart new ways to nurture and develop children’s growth despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis. Please know that we will continue to partner with you every step of the way.
Stay well, Commissioner Sam
Department of Early Education and Care