As of March 18, 2020, Maryland regulators have temporarily suspended certain child care licensure requirements in order to expand access to child care for school-age children of “emergency personnel.” The state has identified “emergency personnel” as employees who work in hospitals and first responders such as fire, police, doctors and nurses. The State Superintendent of Schools for the Department of Education (the state agency responsible for licensing child care centers) took this action in response to the Executive Order issued by Governor Hogan on March 14, 2020, which was intended to address the need for child care following the closure of Maryland schools due to COVID-19.
The regulations that were temporarily suspended apply only to the addition of school-age children of emergency personnel by licensed child care centers and include the following:
- Waiver of child/staff ratios. Centers are instructed to use their discretion as to the number of children who can be added safely.
- Waiver of a doctor’s note. A child absent for more than three days may return to the center without a note.
- Staff qualifications other than background checks.
The guidance document indicates that the state will reimburse emergency personnel for the day care costs and that instructions on reimbursement is forthcoming. Centers are instructed to charge their standard rates for school-age children. In addition, centers must maintain attendance sheets signed by the parent and a copy of the parent’s photo ID badge (or badge and driver’s license if the badge has no photo) in order to prove that the parent is emergency personnel.
The suspension of regulations is only in effect until March 30, 2020, at which time the state will reevaluate the situation.
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