EARLY LEARNING DIVISION SUPPORTS EMERGENCY CHILD CARE PROGRAMS IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19
March 24, 2020
Media Contact: Melanie Mesaros, 503-856-6040
Early Learning Division Supports Emergency Child Care Programs in Response to COVID-19
(Salem, Ore) – As part of Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order 20-12, child care providers have been ordered to close unless they are providing emergency child care. While the executive order was issued to ensure the safety and health of Oregonians, the governor and the Early Learning Division (ELD) recognize that child care is an essential emergency service for those who must go to work every day. Therefore, child care providers are allowed to remain open if they are operating emergency child care. An updated temporary order will be issued by the ELD later today.
“Many child care providers are answering the call to serve their communities by caring for the children of Oregonians who will help us get through this public health emergency,” said Early Learning System Director Miriam Calderon. “We are committed to supporting providers who are serving families during this challenging time.”
The executive order set Wednesday, March 25, 2020 as the deadline for providers to either close or transition to emergency care. The provider application for transitioning to emergency care is available now and must be submitted by Friday, March 27, 2020 to allow providers time to consult with families and staff regarding this decision. Families and child care programs that will close should immediately begin making plans accordingly. Parents who are in need of emergency child care can contact 211.
Providers offering emergency child care must also follow specific guidance released by the ELD, in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority. Emergency care requires group sizes of no more than 10 children in any home or in each classroom.
The executive order asks providers to prioritize first responders, emergency workers, health care workers and essential personnel. Many providers are already serving these families and may continue to do so.
“Providers with available slots who are willing to provide emergency care will be asked to prioritize families who are working outside of the home responding to this public health emergency,” said Calderon. “These include not only health care professionals, but those who work in places such as grocery stores, warehouses, homeless shelters, agriculture, etc.”
The executive order does not apply to those who care for three or fewer children.
Frequently Asked Questions to address family and provider questions and concerns are available and updated regularly on the ELD’s COVID-19 webpage. For questions regarding COVID-19 and these changes, providers can call 1-800-342-6712 or their local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency. Providers can also submit questions by emailing ProviderContact@state.or.us.