COVID-19 Update

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Child Care Resource Network continues to match essential front line workers in need of child care with child care programs that have temporary vacancies. Please continue to call us or fill out the surveys below so we can facilitate the matching process. Additionally, CCRN has a supply of diapers and wipes, we will be packaging and delivering small diaper grants for child care providers in need, grants will be provided on a first come first serve basis until supplies run out. To be considered for a grant please fill out the Diaper Survey below. 

Parent Resources           Provider Survey          Diaper Survey

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Thursday 3/27/2020 at 12:15 p.m. 

We have just been made aware the OCFS has supplies of hand sanitizer that they will be giving away for free to licensed/registered child care providers who remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak. To protect both providers and OCFS personnel this will be a drive-thru only event so that everyone can practice safe social distancing.

Pickup times are listed below.

SACC and Center-based Providers:

OCFS will be distributing sanitizer to SACC programs and center-based providers on Monday, March 30, 2020. Providers can pick up the sanitizer from 9 a.m.-12 p.m and again from 1:00 p.m- 3 p.m. at 1000 Hertel Ave Buffalo NY 14216.

Family and Group Family Providers:

 

OCFS will be distributing sanitizer to Family and Group Family providers on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. Providers can pick up the sanitizer from 9 a.m.-12 p.m and again from 1:00 p.m- 3 p.m. at 1000 Hertel Ave Buffalo NY 14216.

Thursday 3/24/2020 at 11:27 a.m. 

Q. Are child care programs being ordered to close?

A. Child care programs are NOT being ordered to close.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  Governor Cuomo and his administration consider child care to be an essential function critical to enabling parents to go to work.  

Q. Who can order a child care program to close due to COVID-19?

A. In certain circumstances, local authorities, mainly local Departments of Health, have the authority to direct programs to close under quarantine or other emergency orders.  In addition, child care programs are business entities and can voluntarily close the program. 

Q. Have the requirements regarding staff/child ratios been lifted?

A. OCFS has been granted the authority to waive select regulatory requirements in order to meet the need for child care services.  Staff/child ratio is one such requirement. You may contact your regulator and submit a waiver request.  For the duration of this emergency, there may be flexibility regarding certain regulatory requirements.  

Q. Have the regulations regarding comprehensive background clearance checks been lifted?

A. OCFS has been granted the authority to waive select regulatory requirements in order to meet the need for child care services.  Comprehensive background clearance checks are one such requirement. You may contact your regulator and submit a waiver request.  For the duration of this emergency, there may be flexibility regarding certain regulatory requirements.  

Q. How do child care programs maintain a perimeter of 6 feet while caring for them?

A. Adults must be in close proximity to young children in order to provide proper care.  It is important to take universal precautions. Ensure handwashing strategies are being followed including washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.  When soap and water are not available individual wipes may be used in combination with hand sanitizer. Also, be sure to perform routine substantial cleaning of the childcare program.  

Q. Are child care programs required to maintain a group size of 10 or less?

A. The Centers for Disease Control, in its guidance on events and mass gatherings recommends group size to ten or fewer and therefore we ask providers to reconfigure space to limit overall density of rooms to ten or fewer children. See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/index.html. Your licensed/registered capacity, however, remains in effect unless you’ve been approved for a waiver by OCFS as there may be ways for you to serve a greater number of children while continuing to prioritize their health and safety and that of your employees.

Q. Why haven’t child care programs been closed?

A. Child care is considered an essential service.  In a time of crisis, other essential professionals must be able to go to work and have safe and suitable child care available to their children.  If you have openings in your program, please use those openings to serve the children of employees who are unable to work from home and must continue to report to their work location.  Please reach out to your local Child Care Resource and Referral agency and make them aware of any slots you have available.

Q. How do programs limit access to the program and try to reduce exposure to COVID-19?

A. Programs are encouraged to utilize these screening questions: 

1.Within the last 14 days, have you traveled to a country that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should be avoided for nonessential travel or where travelers should practice enhanced precautions?

(China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Japan)

2. Have you had contact with any person with known COVID-19 or person under investigation for COVID-19?

3. Do you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g.,cough, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath)?

4. Are you or anyone in your home in active quarantine status?

If an individual responds “yes” to any of the above, do not allow that individual to enter the program.  Where staffing allows, programs can implement strategies to reduce traffic in the program including meeting children at the door.  

 

Friday 3/20/2020 at 10:14 a.m. 

We are working diligently to match essential front line workers in need of child care with child care programs that have temporary vacancies. Please either call us or fill out the below surveys so that we can begin the matching process! We are here for you if you need anything don't hesitate to reach out 716.877.6666

Parent Survey           Provider Survey

Thursday 3/19/2020 at 3:59 p.m.

I.Purpose

The purpose of this Informational Letter (INF) is to reiterate certain important information for child care providers necessary for them to continue operations during the current public health emergency.

II. Background

On March 7, 2020 Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202 declaring a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York. On March 17, 2020 Governor Cuomo issued a subsequent Executive Order, 202.4 directing every school in the State of New York to close for a period of two weeks. School districts were ordered to submit a plan for providing child care to the children of essential employees. On March 18, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.5, which among other things, provided important regulatory relief for child care providers and school districts wishing to provide child care on their premises.

III. Program Implications 

Please be aware that child care programs are NOT being ordered to close.  Child care is considered to be an essential function critical to enabling parents - especially our first responders, health care workers, and direct care workers to go to work.  

We would like to highlight some additional guidance: 

  • While local authorities do not have broad authority to close child care programs, in certain circumstances, local authorities, primarily local public health entities, have the authority to direct programs to close under quarantine or other emergency orders for specific reasons (e.g., if an employee or student tests positive for the COVID-19 virus).  
  • Child care providers are asked to prioritize openings in programs for first responders, health care workers, and direct care workers so they can continue to provide critical response to the COVID-19 virus.
      • As part of this prioritization, we ask you to work with those families who have been directed to work from home to not utilize child care services in order to limit density and to free up additional slots for those first responders, health care workers, and direct care workers who are considered essential. 
  • The Governor, under Executive Orders 202.1 and 202.5 has granted OCFS the authority to waive selective regulatory requirements in order to meet the need for child care services, especially for first responders, health care workers, and other critical staff. For additional details about these Executive actions, please contact your local regional office. 
      • Executive Order 202.1 waived statutory and regulatory requirements to allow flexibility for providers while continuing to protect the health and safety of children. The requirements eligible for a waiver include changes to maximum capacity, staff/child ratios, physical space requirements, child care worker qualifications, and annual training requirements, the ability for providers to move in between programs, and additional flexibility for local districts in determining eligibility for child care subsidy.
      • Executive Order 202.5 waived certain background check requirements so that teachers, school-related personnel, employees at health care facilities, and others with child care or education experience can begin work immediately during the temporary emergency basis to ensure adequate supervision after a criminal history review.
      • Executive Order 202.5 waived the requirement, for the duration of the emergency, that programs operating in schools that are not providing compulsory education are required to have OCFS licensure, meaning school districts can provide child care free from OCFS regulatory requirements.
  • The Centers for Disease Control, in its guidance on events and mass gatherings recommends limiting group size to ten or fewer and therefore we ask providers to reconfigure space to limit overall density of rooms to ten or fewer children.  (See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/index.html.) 
  • Your licensed capacity, however, remains in effect unless you’ve been approved for a waiver by OCFS.  There may be ways for you to serve a greater number of children while continuing to prioritize their health and safety and that of your employees by submitting a waiver to your regulator. 
      • If you have questions about how you can serve children in groups of ten without reducing capacity, please call your licensing/registration office or enrollment agency.

As a child care program, you are not required to keep your program open. Please remember that you must contact your regulator if you are either closing voluntarily or instructed to close by a local authority. We encourage you to continue to provide these important services to your community as the state responds to the COVID-19 emergency.

In an effort to support you as you continue to operate during these difficult times, OCFS would like to remind you of resources already available to you and make you aware of new resources as well:

  • We have asked the Child Care Resource and Referral agencies in each county to play an enhanced role in helping child care programs to plan during this time. Please be in contact with them.
  • We will be hosting a weekly call with child care stakeholders, including CCR&Rs, across the state. 
      • On these calls, OCFS will provide updated information and guidance as well as answer any questions.
      • Your local CCR&R will then ensure that the information is made available to the provider network.
      • These calls are not meant to substitute other forms of communication and OCFS will continue to issue guidance and answer questions as needed.
  • Please visit our website and the New York State Department of Health’s website frequently to be reminded and updated on the latest guidance. The DOH is also operating a 24-hour per day hotline, which can be reached at 1-888-364-3065. All OCFS-issued coronavirus related guidance can be found here. 
      • If you are struggling to find necessary items like cleaning supplies and gloves, please contact your regional office for assistance. 

IV.Contacts

OCFS Division of Child Care Services Regional Offices: https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/childcare/regionaloffices.asp

Issued by:

Name: Janice M. Molnar  

Title: Deputy Commissioner

Division/Office: Division of Child Care Services

Download the full Memo

Thursday 3/19/2020 at 3:00 p.m.

A MEMO FROM OCFS TO CHILD CARE WORKERS:

OCFS is seeking assistance from licensed and registered child care programs and their employees. Child care workers who are temporarily out of work due to COVID-19 related program closures may be able to help fill vital roles at other child care programs.

If you are interested in helping support your community by helping to keep local child care programs operating-especially to care for children of health care and other critical workers, please complete this Survey for Current Child Care Workers. Your responses will be shared with local child care programs that are in need of staff.

Thursday 3/19/2020 at 2:26 p.m.

We know that there is a lot of information swirling around on social media in regards to the child care ‘plan’ for Erie County. Child Care Resource Network is working closely with school districts, and local government to create a system that works for everyone. As the situation evolves so too will our systems.

Currently, we have partnered with BPS to match essential front-line workers in need of child care with local child care providers who have available slots. At this time if you are a child care provider with available slots for children of essential front-line workers, please contact us as soon as possible. If you are an essential front-line worker in need of child care please contact us for a list of available slots.

Please understand that this is a rapidly developing situation and we are committed to only sharing verified information. We are posting information as fast as we can while taking precautions to make sure that it is factual.

We are all in this together, and we are here for you. If you have questions, need to report program vacancies, or need help finding child care please call us as soon as possible. 716.877.6666

Thank You,

Child Care Resource Network

Thursday 3/19/2020 at 11:28 a.m.

ECLC released advice for how providers can handle COVID-19 in their programs. 

“We Are First Responders in Our Communities”

Advice for Child Cares to Proactively Communicate About and Respond to the Rapidly Changing Circumstances of the COVID‐19 Epidemic and How to Keep Calm and Respond as Best You’re Able.

Compiled by Andria Ryberg, Director of Child Care Supply, Early Care and Learning Council, Albany, New York

Download the Memo

 

Wednesday 3/18/2020 at 8:36 a.m.

Dear Provider Letter Issued by OCFS Regarding COVID-19

Dear Child Care Provider;

In these uncertain times, it can be difficult to manage the influx of information we hear from many sources. Please be aware that child care programs are NOT being ordered to close.  In fact, quite the opposite is true.  Governor Cuomo and his administration consider child care to be an essential function critical to enabling parents to go to work. 

In certain circumstances, however, local authorities, mainly local Departments of Health, have the authority to direct programs to close under quarantine or other emergency orders.  In addition, as a child care program, you are free to close your own programs should you wish to do so.  We know you will make the right decision for yourself and the families you serve. If your program does close, please remember that you must contact your regulator if you are either closing voluntarily or instructed to close by a local authority.

In a time of crisis, please be mindful that our emergency responders must be able to go to work. If you have openings in your program, please use those openings to service the children of employees who must continue to report to work.  Also, remember that the Governor has granted OCFS the authority to waive selective regulatory requirements in order to meet the need for child care services, especially for first responders, health care workers, and other critical staff.  The Centers for Disease Control, in its guidance on events and mass gatherings, recommends group size to ten or fewer.  (See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/index.html.)  Your licensed capacity, however, remains in effect unless you’ve been approved for a waiver by OCFS as there may be ways for you to serve a greater number of children while continuing to prioritize their health and safety and that of your employees.

These are unprecedented times. But New Yorkers are resilient, and we will get through this together. We at OCFS are your partners in addressing issues and concerns as they arise and we will do all that we can to be nimble in our response. Thank you for the important work that you do to keep New York going.  Without our child care providers, parents would not be able to work. We especially thank you for providing our first responders, health care workers, and other essential employees like Direct Care Workers with the peace of mind, they need so they can fully focus on their vital work in addressing this pandemic.

Sincerely,

Janice Molnar, Ph.D.

Deputy Commissioner

Division of Child Care Services

 

Download the Letter

Monday 3/16/2020 at 2:47 p.m.

Information for Child Care Programs from OCFS

In an effort to support child care programs and be responsive to the needs of the community during this time, Governor Cuomo has granted OCFS the authority to temporarily waive selective regulatory requirements. The Division of Child Care Services encourages programs who are either experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 or are in a position to assist those experiencing hardship due to COVID-19 to submit a waiver request to your licensor/registrar. https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/documents/docsChildCare.asp   Each request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and approval will be time-limited. For example, in light of school closings, a current FDC who is at capacity (8) might be willing and able to accept two additional school-aged children for the 14 days their school is closed. The program must submit a waiver request for consideration by OCFS which indicates how the health and safety of the children in the program will be maintained. OCFS is committed to reviewing these as expediently as possible. If approval is granted, the waiver would be limited to the duration of the school closure. This program could submit another waiver request in the event the school closure is extended, or other if the program has a new circumstance requiring a waiver.  This is just one example of a potential waiver request.  Child care programs are encouraged to consider what scenarios (if any) are applicable to them specifically and apply as necessary throughout the duration of this health crisis.  OCFS encourages innovative and entrepreneurial thinking to work together to get through this current crisis. 

Below are several Frequently Asked Questions compiled to provide guidance to the child care community. OCFS will continue to add to this list as applicable. Please reach out to your regulator with questions. 

Frequently Asked Questions for Child Care Programs

Q. Is OCFS going to close my child care program because of COVID-19? 

A. No. NYS Department of Health and local health departments will instruct a child care programs regarding how to respond to COVID-19. 

Q. If my neighborhood school closes, is my child care program required to close? 

A. No, unless the program is told to by a public health official, or if it is located in the school facility. 

Q. What if my program is located in the containment bubble? What if there are new containment areas? 

A. If a program is in the containment area and is directed to close, you will be contacted by local DOH. At this time, group family and family day care homes are not considered places of mass gatherings. Day Care Centers and School Aged Child Care may or may not be considered places of mass gathering as it is based on their capacity.  Your local department of health will direct you.

Q. What if I am directed to close, or choose to close? 

A. In either case, you must inform your regulator.  

Q. Families are contacting me who are needing child care, especially for school-aged children, but my program is full.  

A. If you want to take the additional children, and believe your program can handle the additional children, contact your regulator and submit a waiver request.   https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/documents/docsChildCare.asp During the duration of this emergency, there may be flexibility regarding certain regulatory requirements. 

Q. What if I want to expand my license/registration to serve more children temporarily?

A. Contact your regulator and submit a waiver request.  During the duration of this emergency, there may be flexibility regarding certain regulatory requirements.

Q. What If I want to bring on new assistant/staff during emergency?

A. Contact your regulator and submit a waiver request.  During the duration of this emergency, there may be flexibility regarding certain regulatory requirements.

Q. What if hospitals, schools, etc. contact me about taking on additional children?

A. Contact your regulator and submit a waiver request.  During the duration of this emergency, there may be flexibility regarding certain regulatory requirements.

Q. What if my program has too many staff absent to continue care? 

A. Contact your regulator. There may be possibilities to bring substitutes on board quickly and explore other possibilities in collaboration with other local programs.

Q. What if my program is closed for a period of time? How will I get by?

A. We are receiving ongoing guidance from the federal Office of Child Care and considerations are being made to support programs. 

Q. What if a program staff /volunteer is mandated to be quarantined? 

A. If the person tests positive for the virus, the program will be contacted by the local Department of Health (DOH) and will be directed on what steps are needed. It is likely the program will be directed to close and self-quarantine the remaining staff and children. 

Q. What if a staff person at a child care program is precautionarily quarantined? 

A. If a staff member has been exposed to the virus and has self-quarantined but has not tested positive, the individual must not report to work during the quarantine period. The center may continue to operate unless notified otherwise by local DOH. 

Q. What if a parent of a child is quarantined? 

A. In the event a parent of a child in your program must be quarantined, advise the parent they cannot enter the child care program for any reason, including picking up their child. If the parent is exhibiting signs of illness or has been tested and is positive for the virus, they must utilize an emergency contact authorized by the parent to come pick up the child.  If the parent is being quarantined as a precautionary measure, without symptoms or a positive test, child care staff should walk out or deliver the child to the parent outside the child care building.  The child must not return to the child care program for the duration of the quarantine.  

Q. What if a household member of a home-based provider is quarantined? 

A. The program must not operate and must contact local DOH. 

Q. What if a child is quarantined?  

A. Children who have been quarantined either through exposure to the virus or a positive test must not attend programs for the duration of the quarantine period. If a child has been diagnosed as positive and has attended the program within the past week, the program must contact local DOH. 

Q. What if a family seeks child care for school-aged children whose school has closed? 

A. When bringing on additional children, for school-aged children, please confirm what school the child attends. OCFS will distribute lists of schools that have been mandatorily closed for quarantine to the regional offices. No children with any symptoms of illness, or children from schools under mandatory quarantine should attend programs. 

Q. My program serves families who receive child care subsidy, what will happen when children are absent or my program is forced to close?

A. We are receiving ongoing guidance from the federal Office of Child Care and considerations are being made to support programs. This includes allowing counties to pay for absence and closure days. 

Download the full FAQ

Monday 3/16/2020 at 10:39 a.m.

Memorandum from Early Care & Learning Council 

Subject: Covid-19 Information and Clarification

As many of you may know, the governor has issued Executive Order No 202.1 Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency. While this emergency direction states that there can be regulatory flexibility in the standards for staff/child ratios in all child care modalities; it is important to note that this is on a case by case basis and a waiver must be submitted to OCFS. OCFS NEEDS TO APPROVE YOUR LIMITED TIME WAIVER PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTATION. OFCS is committed to reviewing waivers as soon as they are received so that services are not interrupted.    

Additional Information for Child Care Programs 

OCFS will not be making determinations on program closures due to COVID-19. Such closures will be directed by local Departments of Health.  If a child contracts COVID-19 and is in contact with other children, the child and the exposed children should not be allowed to attend their current, or any other, child care program. Programs should also notify the regional office and their CCR&R if a child in the program has been quarantined. 

If a childcare program is closing for issues related to COVID-19, they are required by OCFS regulation to immediately notify the regional office and their CCR&R.  

At this time, all new staff must still follow the CBC process; they must be fingerprinted and have a current medical statement before starting work in a program and paperwork must be submitted for a Comprehensive Background Check. Currently, OCFS does not have flexibility in this area. 

Subsidy payments to programs that are closed or have increased absences is a local social services district option. OCFS is working on waivers that will allow each district to modify its child care plan to allow them to pay for additional absences and closures.  OCFS is encouraging counties to evaluate what plan changes will help them to meet ongoing child care needs in the local community.   In addition to allowing counties the flexibility to pay for increased absences and closures, OCFS has also encouraged districts to work with parents to meet ongoing child care needs. This may include authorizing parents to use backup child care providers when their regular child care programs are closed.  

OCFS is currently working to develop FAQ’s for programs, local districts and other stakeholder groups.  

Sunday 3/15/2020 at 9:45 a.m.

On Friday 3/13/2020 Governor Andrew Cuomo temporarily suspended the rules regarding child to adult ratios for all modalities. Please remember that if you are able to increase the number of children in your program the likelihood of accidents increases. Please use your best judgment when making the decision to expand your program. Providers are still expected to communicate with their licensor or registrar if they are planning on accepting more children into their program. We are expecting official guidance from OCFS to be released Monday morning (3/16/2020) and we will update you as soon as we recieve that. In the -meantime if you have any questions please do not hessitate to reach out to us at 716-877-6666, and we will answer questions to the best of our ability. 

-FRIDAY 3/13/2020 at 11:30 a.m. 

In light of the growing health concerns around COVID 19, all upcoming events and trainings will be postponed or moved to an online/virtual platform. We want to be clear that this is not as a result of any specific incident but because we have and always will keep the safety and well-being of our community and employees as the top priority. 

Effective 9 a.m Monday, March 16, 2020, Child Care Resource Network will no longer be accepting walk-ins or in-person meetings. We will still be available by phone, email, and virtual platform to help you with any questions you may have. 

If you are registered for an upcoming training, or event please be patient, online and virtual training is new to us and may be challenging to implement. We will be reaching out to any registered participants of upcoming trainings and events to advise them on next steps individually. 

We encourage you to stay tuned to our website and social media channels for the latest updates as they occur. Thank you for your patience during this time and remember that we are always available to you by phone, email, and online.

Phone: 716.877.6666

Toll Free: 866.281.4739

Fax: 716.877.6205

Email: info@wnychildren.org

Facebook: www.facebook.com/WNYchildren 

Twitter: @wnychildren

Instagram: @wnychildren