Child care programs in Delaware will now be allowed to be open to serve essential employees during coronavirus pandemic.
Wilmington (DE): Governor John Carney on Monday signed the eighth modification to his State of Emergency declaration, which allows child care programs in Delaware to be designated as emergency child care sites in an effort to assist essential personnel during the coronavirus crisis according to a news release from the Governor’s office.
According to Jonathon Starkey, spokesman for the Governor’s office, Starting April 6 and continuing until the State of Emergency is lifted, child care may only be provided by child care centers and child care homes that have been designated as “Emergency Child Care Sites” by the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families (DSCYF). In order to be an emergency child care site, child care centers and homes must certify that they are only providing child care to children of personnel working for essential businesses, as defined by Governor Carney’s State of Emergency, and cannot work from home.
“We are doing everything we can to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases that could overwhelm our hospital system, and health care workers are on the front lines of Delaware’s response,” said Governor Carney. “This new order will make sure Delaware’s health care workers and other first responders can stay at work, and keep our communities healthy, by providing them access to emergency child care services. We need all Delawareans to do their part. Stay at home. Don’t go out in public unnecessarily. Wash your hands. Stay informed. We’ll get through this – but we all need to do our part.”
The order also allows DSCYF to create a process by which families can enroll their children in designated emergency child care if their current child care facility temporarily closes. DSCYF worked with the Delaware Division of Public Health to create strict health and safety guidelines to help child care providers prepare their facilities. Before being designated as an emergency child care site by DSCYF, a provider must demonstrate that they are able to and will adhere to the following requirements developed by the Office of Child Care Licensing and the Division of Public Health.
Interested providers must submit an emergency child care site application online by April 3. As of April 6, all other child care facilities must close until the end of the Governor’s State of Emergency.
“We are extremely grateful for the child care providers that are able to keep their doors open and make it possible for those providing essential services to serve Delawareans during this public health emergency. During this time, child care workers, like other essential personnel, are on the front lines adapting, adjusting and working to help Delaware get through this crisis. Our child care workers keep our children safe every single day, and now, they must do so under very difficult circumstances. We cannot thank them enough and we will continue to work with them during this time,” said Delaware Children’s Department Secretary Josette Manning.
Child care providers and caregivers should check coronavirus.delaware.gov/child-care/ in the coming days for information on how to apply to be an emergency child care site, what the requirements are in order to comply with the designation and how to certify essential personnel status and temporarily enroll children.
Also under Monday’s order, state buildings and essential businesses that Delaware’s Public Health Authority deems high-risk shall screen every employee, visitor and member of the public upon entering. Delaware’s Public Health Authority shall develop and publicly post the screening tool to be used by high-risk essential businesses. All state buildings and essential businesses shall display signage that cautions individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 not to enter the premises.
Also, all hospitals, nursing and residential facilities, and ambulatory health care services in Delaware, as categorized by the Division of Small Business, shall comply with the Public Health Authority’s guidance for the use of Personal Protective Equipment.
Delawareans with questions about COVID-19 or their exposure risk can call the Division of Public Health’s Coronavirus Call Center at 1-866-408-1899, or 711 for people who are hearing impaired, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Delawareans can also email DPHCall@delaware.gov.