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. 

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Wednesday 9/16/2020 at 03:53 p.m. 

OCFS has issued guidance pertaining to remote learning in child care settings. 

Dear Provider: 

As we enter the seventh month of the COVID-19 emergency, OCFS acknowledges the efforts of our child care community during this very difficult time. September begins a new school year, a school year that will look very different than any previous year. Changes such as remote learning, virtual learning or a hybrid model lead to situations that have never been contemplated, and child care providers are being called upon to serve children and families in new ways, including caring for children during remote learning time. 

On August 19, 2020, OCFS adopted emergency regulations to clarify that school-age children may attend child care programs during the academic school year when such children are not required to be physically present in school as part of the regular school day. These new regulations are posted on the OCFS website at: 

https: //ocfs. ny. gov/programs/chi Id care/regulations/ 

How might remote learning impact my program? 

Introducing remote learning into a child care program changes the dynamics for both the children and the provider. To ensure a successful transition for everyone, OCFS encourages programs to develop agreements with families regarding remote learning roles and responsibilities. Such forms or agreements are voluntary and will not be collected by OCFS. When developing an agreement with families, remember that child care programs must remain in compliance with all applicable OCFS regulations. 

Child Care Program Role 

The care and supervision of children remains the primary role of the child care provider. 

•Programs may choose to support remote learning opportunities by helping to facilitate a school-age child's participation in remote learning. This may include creating a work space where a child can engage in school work while under supervision, ensuring the child is able to log on to virtual sessions and has internet access, and helping to remind a child, to the extent practicable, to attend to the lesson.

•Children participating in remote learning cannot be isolated from the program and must be supervised per regulation.

•Child care providers are not tutors or classroom teachers and are not expected to serve in that capacity. The parent or guardian is responsible for addressing their concerns about the child's academic progress with the child's school.

•The program will share information about its internet and technological capacity with parent/guardian. It is at the discretion of the child care provider whether to support remote learning.

•Remote learning is considered an educational learning objective, therefore electronic visual media devices may be used for this purpose.

•Remote learning that causes a distraction to the provider such that it impacts the quality of care provider will not be allowed to continue.

 

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities

•Parent/guardian is responsible for providing all materials needed for the child to participate in remote learning. This includes, but is not limited to, a laptop/tablet, books, assignments and log-in credentials.

•Parent/guardian will provide the child care program the schedule for remote learning, including what time children are expected to log on, etc.

•Parent/guardian will discuss the program's technological capacity (e.g., internet access, etc.) before beginning remote learning.

•Parent/guardian is responsible for addressing concerns about a child's academic performance with the K-12 school teacher, not the child care provider. The parent/guardian is the point of contact for the school for all matters concerning the child's education.

•The parent/guardian will discuss expectations of remote learning with child (e.g., this may include not playing computer games, and not using the computer inappropriately).

What about my own school-age children?

The school-age child(ren) of a licensed/registered provider who is providing remote learning will not be counted in the program's capacity. 

There has been no change to the existing protocols for home-based child care providers who homeschool their children. Under New York State Education Law, parents of, or persons in parental relation to, compulsory school-age children have the legal right to instruct their children at home. Parents who wish to home school their children must provide written notice of intent to the school district superintendent and complete an individualized home instruction plan (IHIP) form. More information here: http://www.nysed.gov/nonpublic-schools/home-instruction. 

In this scenario, the provider's school-age child(ren) is counted toward the program's overall capacity. Please refer to DCCS Policy 15-2: Home Schooling and Family Day Care Registration or Group Family Day Care Licensure for further details. This policy is posted on the OCFS website at: https://www.ocfs.ny.gov/main/childcare/policies/15-2.pdf. 

OCFS is aware of the integral role child care programs play in the lives of families, children, and communities. Your resilience and strength continue to shine throughout this unprecedented time. Uncertainty is challenging and information is rapidly evolving. As New York moves forward, please remain in contact with your regulator who will clarify any questions you may have. Together, we will make it through! Thank you for your tireless commitment to the well being of children. 

Sincerely, 

Janice M. Molnar, Ph.D. Deputy Commissioner 

 

Division of Child Care Services 

Download the full letter

Saturday 4/18/2020 at 11:330 a.m. 

OCFS has issued guidance pertaining to the use of face masks in child care settings. 

Background: In December 2019, a new respiratory disease called the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was detected. COVID-19 is caused by a virus (SARS-CoV-2) that is part of a large family of viruses called coronaviruses. Recently, community-wide transmission of COVID-19 has occurred in the United States, including New York where the number of both confirmed and suspected cases is increasing. To reduce the community-wide transmission of COVID-19, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has taken aggressive action through Executive Order 202, as amended, to combat the spread of this infectious disease, reducing the density of people in areas of common congregation by closing the in-person operations of non-essential businesses and prohibiting all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason.

Executive Orders:

Executive Order 202.17, issued on April 15, 2020, provides the following directive:

Effective at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020 any individual who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face-covering shall be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place and unable to maintain, or when not maintaining, social distance.

Executive Order 202.18, issued on April 16, 2020, provides the following directive:

Any person utilizing public or private transportation carriers or other for-hire vehicles, who is over age two and able to medically tolerate a face covering, shall wear a mask or face covering over the nose and mouth during any such trip; any person who is operating such public or private transport, shall likewise wear a face covering or mask which covers the nose and mouth while there are any passengers in such vehicle. This directive shall take effect in the same manner as Executive Order 202.17, at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 17, 2020.

Guidance:

Individuals must procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain face coverings and wear such coverings when they are in a public place and are:

  •  within six feet of distance from other individuals; or
  •  in a situation or setting where they are unable to maintain six feet of distance from other individuals; or
  • in a public or private transportation carrier or for-hire vehicle.

Children do not need to wear face coverings when they are in a child care program. In addition, the outdoor space that belongs exclusively to the child care program is not considered a public place. Face coverings include, but are not limited to, cloth (e.g. homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), surgical masks, N-95 respirators, and face shields. Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” website for information on cloth face covers and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as instructions on use, cleaning, and disposal. Instructions forwearing and making cloth face coverings can be found on the OCFS website at:

https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/news/2020/DOH-COVID-2020Apr08-Cloth-Masks.pdf.

Please note that the most protective PPE (e.g. N-95 respirators) remains a critical need for health care workers and first responders and, therefore, should be prioritized for those settings. Individuals are required to wear a face covering in the above mentioned situations and settings, provided that they are older than two (2) years of age and able to medically tolerate a covering. If a face covering would inhibit or otherwise impair an individual’s health or if an individual is not older than two (2) years of age, an individual is not required to wear or use such a covering. Further, essential business operators and enforcement authorities are prohibited from requesting or requiring medical or other documentation from an individual who declines to wear a face covering due to a medical or other health condition that prevents such usage.

Nothing in Executive Order 202.17 or 202.18 shall remove the obligation of essential businesses, as well as state and local government agencies and authorities, to procure, fashion, or otherwise obtain face coverings and provide such coverings to employees who directly interact with the public during the course of their work at no-cost to the employee, pursuant to Executive Order 202.16. Public and private transport operators required to wear a face covering while transporting passengers should consult the New York State Department of Health’s “Interim Guidance on Executive Order 202.16 Requiring Face Coverings for Public and Private Employees Interacting with the Public During the COVID-19 Outbreak,” issued on April 14, 2020, for further information.

Download the full memo

Wednesday 4/15/2020 at 12:00 p.m. 

This past weekend Governor Cuomo issued an executive order regarding essential workers. This is what the order says:

“For all essential businesses or entities, any employees who are present in the workplace shall be provided and shall wear face coverings when in direct contact with customers or members of the public. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings for their employees. This provision may be enforced by local governments or local law enforcement as if it were an order pursuant to section 12 or 12-b of the Public Health Law. This requirement shall be effective Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.”

Monday 4/13/2020 at 12:15 p.m. 

Dear Child Care Provider

Amid this global pandemic and time of unprecedented uncertainly all of us at Child Care Resource Network are concerned about the safety and well-being of our child care community. First and foremost, we hope you are healthy and safe. Our thoughts are with those that may be sick, those that made a difficult decision to close their doors, and those that continue to tirelessly work on the front lines to provide a safe and nurturing environment for our children. Thank you for your selfless dedication to our community - you are appreciated. I want to update you on some of the many ways we have been working behind the scenes for you:

• While our agency doors are closed to the public, our agency remains fully open and operational. Our expert staff is working remotely and available to answer your questions or provide you with needed resources by phone, email, or through a scheduled Zoom meeting.

• We are proud to serve on County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s Erie County Emergency Child Care Task Force. We are at the table serving as the voice for children, families, and the early childhood community at large.

• We are committed to providing you with only the most accurate and up-to-date information. On our website and on our social media sites, we have a host of resources that includes guidance from OCFS, as well as business and program resources to help you weather this storm.

• In recent weeks our staff and members of our Board of Directors have come together to distribute diapers and hand sanitizer to area programs. While this is a great start, we understand that many other valuable resources are still desperately needed to operate safe programs. To continue the progress, CCRN applied for and received funding through The Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund. With this funding, we are working to assess needs and will purchase and mobilize supplies as quickly as possible.

I know that many are struggling right now and fearful for what the future may bring, but I have every confidence that together we can rise up to the challenges this crisis presents and come out stronger on the other side. Our child care community has been built on trust, dedication, and mutual respect. We have been supporters of each other before this crisis, we are supporters of each other during this crisis, and Child Care Resource Network will continue to support you after this crisis.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Suminski

Chief Executive Officer

 

Child Care Resource Network

 

 

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