New Jersey Loosens Private Child Care Center Procedures Amid COVID-19
TRENTON — Private child care, daycare, and preschools will be able to stay open under the current course of action implemented by Governor Murphy, according to the Department of Children and Families.
The Murphy Administration announced that they would be implementing a statewide curfew, restricting services, and mandatorily close schools and colleges throughout the state early Monday afternoon to mitigate the potential effects of COVID-19 in New Jersey.
The NJDCF has issued an executive action amid the COVID-19 outbreak that temporarily loosens regulations for child care centers throughout the state to deal with the influx of children they will enroll due to the closing of public and private schools.
Executive Order 103 is designed to facilitate and encourage social distancing at child care centers throughout the state to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19, create flexibility to add or realign staff to address virus-related shortages and enable rapid establishment, relocation, or realignment of programs to meet the demands for care.
Accommodations outlined in Executive Order 103 include —
1 — The suspension of enforcing the minimum indoor play space, provided that centers continue to comply with construction and fire codes.
2 — For newly established or relocated centers to meet the demand from the outbreak, the enforcement of outdoor play space requirements has been suspended.
3 — Enforcement of staff education and experience qualifications has been suspended.
4 — The requirement for a center director to spend 50% of opening hours and a headteacher, group teacher, and program supervisor to spend 75% of operating hours on site will not be enforced until further notice.
5 — Group size limitations will not be enforced until further notice.
6 — Evidence of current employee's qualifying Child Abuse Record Inquiry and Criminal History Record Inquiry checks at one center during the current licensing period will be deemed sufficient evidence of background checks at another center if the employee has had no break in employment.
7 — The enforcement of monthly fire and lockdown drills is suspended unless locally required by the municipality.
8 — The limitation of hours of care will not be enforced until further notice.
9 —The "hands-on" component has been suspended due to lessening the potential for the spread of COVID-19.
"These accommodations are intended to facilitate short term solutions to problems resulting from the unusual circumstances created by the public health emergency," Christine Beyer, Commissioner of DCF, said in a statement to child care providers.
Privately owned child care centers throughout the state will still have the option to close if they feel that it is necessary to mitigate the risk of infection from the COVID-19.
Public and private school districts must close their doors because of the pandemic until further notice, Murphy says. Murphy has not yet extended that rule to privately owned daycares in the state, but it is a possibility as the number of cases in the state increase.