Oregon daycares can expand group sizes and will require kids in grades kindergarten and up to wear face-coverings beginning September 1st under new state guidelines handed down on Friday.
The Early Learning Division of the Oregon Department of Education released the update for child care and early learning operations.
“Child care and early education is essential to healthy development and is also an important support to working families and our state’s economic recovery,” said Oregon Early Learning System Director Miriam Calderon. “The updated guidelines reflect the need to ensure safe and quality child care is available for families, especially in communities hardest hit by the virus. There is also an equally important need to ensure that children, families and child care providers are safe as child care remains open throughout the pandemic.”
Since March, child care facilities must be approved by the ELD to operate Emergency Child Care (ECC) and have been required to follow increased safety and health protocols.
Gov. Kate Brown’s order for ECC operations remains in effect until lifted.
Engagement with more than 3,000 parents and 400 child care providers via a survey, along with small group input sessions with providers, school districts and key partners, helped inform updates to the guidelines.
A Healthy Early Learners Council, convened by Brown and made up of providers, parents, public health experts and other community leaders, also provided feedback for guideline development.
The new face-coverings rule comes as research indicates wearing face coverings helps control the spread of the virus, particularly indoors.
Additionally, the new guidelines allow for an increase in group sizes with child care programs based on county phase for preschool and school-aged children.
For counties in Phase 1 and 2, group sizes can return to original limits permitted with licensing, except for school-age groups that are limited to 20 children in a group.
Two new sections include requirements to ensure parents are informed and provided information in a manner they can understand.
Some examples include communicating about changes to operations during COVID-19, drop-off and pick-up procedures, and the latest public health guidance.
Facilities must also have a written Health and Safety Plan, which includes a focus on training and communication with staff and families associated with the facility.
The updated guidelines take effect beginning September 1.
You can see the full guidelines below:Health-and-Safety-Guidelines_August-14-2020_English_Web