MD Coronavirus: Child Care Programs To Close Except One Type

Elizabeth Janney

This article originally appeared on the Baltimore Patch

MARYLAND — Only child care programs serving the children of essential personnel will be allowed to remain open in Maryland after Friday, March 27, according to the Maryland State Department of Education. All other day care centers must close as the state works to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

"Parents/guardians are strongly urged to keep children at home as the first and best option to protect them from the virus," State Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

Child care programs that are willing to offer child care to children of essential personnel may remain reopen starting Monday, March 30, if they comply with these requirements:

  • Serve only children of essential personnel.
  • Apply with regional licensing specialists for approval.
  • Conduct a thorough cleaning before reopening.
  • Keep children an appropriate distance from each other.
  • Hold classes with a ratio of one teacher for every nine children or fewer.

"We have worked diligently in the past week to identify locations across Maryland that will provide child care," Salmon said Wednesday at a news conference. "At this juncture, we have identified space for more than 1,200 school-age children of essential personnel at various locations throughout Maryland in spaces such as the YMCAs, the Maryland School for the Blind, public libraries, parks and recreation facilities and Boys & Girls Clubs."

The goal was to increase the capacity to more than 2,500 space in the coming days, Salmon said.

For Essential Personnel

Programs will be provided free of charge during the state of emergency to essential personnel, who can register immediately by calling 877-261-0060 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.

Parents and caregivers who are essential personnel looking for child care may call these numbers for more information, provided by the Maryland State Department of Education:

  • 410-767-0335
  • 410-767-7823
  • 410-767-0583
  • 410-767-7798
  • 410-767-7805

They can also visit earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org.

For Child Care Providers

Providers of child care who have questions should call their regional licensing specialist.

Salmon referred people to the governor's executive order issued March 13 that relaxed child care licensing so that friends, family and neighbors could care for five or fewer students.