Maryland Suspends Child Care Regulations for Emergency Personnel

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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.

Opinions and conclusions in this post are solely those of the author unless otherwise indicated. The information contained in this blog is general in nature and is not offered and cannot be considered as legal advice for any particular situation. The author has provided the links referenced above for information purposes only and by doing so, does not adopt or incorporate the contents. Any federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written by the author to be used, and cannot be used by the recipient, for the purpose of avoiding penalties which may be imposed on the recipient by the IRS. Please contact the author if you would like to receive written advice in a format which complies with IRS rules and may be relied upon to avoid penalties.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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