Early Childhood Grants, Programming and Initiatives in Maryland During COVID-19 State of Emergency

Information about Child Care for Essential Employees, Early Childhood Grants, Programming, and Initiatives on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

               


We understand staff, parents, and children may have questions and concerns about COVID-19. The MSDE will remain vigilant in providing all information regarding the virus as it pertains to the health and safety of students and staff in child care programs.


Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Child Care Outlines Path Forward for Child Care During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) developed Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Child Care, a plan to continue and expand child care during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  As the State entered the first recovery stage, MSDE announced the immediate start of a transition phase for child care, expanding access to child care to include families returning to work under Governor Hogan’s latest Executive Order. MSDE established a comprehensive stakeholder task force, including family and center-based providers, child care advocates, as well as Maryland Department of Health representatives, to provide recommendations that helped to inform the recovery plan. 

View the full Recovery Plan and the Plan  FAQs for Parents and Providers.


Memo: Child Care Providers in School Facilities (7/17/2020)

FROM: Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D.
State Superintendent of Schools

TO: Local School System Superintendents

Thank you for adhering to our June 10, 2020, guidance on reopening of schools as a result of the State’s progression through stage two of Governor Hogan’s Roadmap to Recovery. This included keeping buildings closed to any groups of students, staff, or outside groups. My advice to you over the
past months has been for you to determine what your needs are for your students/program before opening your building to other programs, including child care providers.

Now, as most of you have worked through your various scenarios regarding how you will manage your own program, I am suggesting that you consider if you have space to allow child care providers who are licensed to operate in your facilities to be permitted to once again access your facilities, especially
during these summer months.

With limited capacity at child care centers and our Essential Personnel School Age (EPSA) sites ending, there is a greater need for additional child care services. These licensed programs would provide full-day care, as well as help meet any before and after summer school care needs. Many of
these providers also serve as camps.

Providers must follow the health department protocols listed on the MSDE website and also adhere to class size restrictions of a maximum of 15 total persons in one room. Please contact Dr. Carol Williamson with any questions.


Maryland Child Care Moves Forward as Part of State’s Overall Stage 2 Recovery (7/10/2020)

In tandem with the State of Maryland’s advancement into Stage 2 of Governor Hogan’s Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery, the Maryland State Department of Education is moving forward as outlined in “Maryland Together: Maryland’s Recovery Plan for Child Care.”  As additional family and center-based child care programs reopen, the state will transition away from unlicensed return to only authorizing licensed child care and making payments in the Child Care Scholarship program based on attendance rather than enrollment. To date, more than 5,300 licensed child providers across the state have reopened.

“We are incredibly grateful to our educators, parents and community partners for all of their outstanding efforts to provide essential persons and other parents and guardians with access to child care in these unprecedented extraordinary times,” said Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D.  “As we move forward, we will be upholding our rigorous licensing standards to ensure the health and safety of children. State and local education leaders are preparing their instructional plans for the fall, and this must include provisions for students when they are not in school facilities. The Division of Early Childhood’s Office of Child Care stands ready to assist, but planning must begin now.”

Updates for this phase of Stage 2 of recovery addresses the Essential Persons School Age (EPSA) sites, Family and Friend Care, Child Care Scholarships, room size limits and ratios, and reopening of child care programs.

Essential Persons School Age (EPSA): Effective July 20, 2020, any remaining EPSA approved sites will no longer be permitted to operate.  The state will return to allowing only licensed child care programs to serve families. Sites that want to continue to provide child care services should contact the regional licensing office. Information on licensing can be found here: https://earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org/child-care-providers/li....

Family and Friend Care: Effective July 20, 2020, unlicensed Family and Friend Care will no longer be allowed. A family child care home is not required to be registered if the provider: (a) is a relative of each child; (b) is a friend of each child's parent or legal guardian and the care is provided on a non-regular basis of less than 20 hours a month (COMAR 13A.15.02). Family and friend providers wishing to continue to provide child care services should contact their regional licensing office to become a licensed family child care provider. Information on licensing can be found here: https://earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org/child-care-providers/li...

Child Care Scholarships: Effective July 20, 2020, the MSDE will make payments for Child Care Scholarship invoices to all child care providers serving families in the Child Care Scholarship program based on attendance, rather than enrollment.  Parents will be required to pay their mandatory co-pays, unless the parent has requested the suspension of their child care services or the provider has chosen not to reopen. The Child Care Scholarship program provides financial assistance with child care costs to eligible working families in Maryland. Parents who earn up to 65% of State Median Income are eligible (e.g., a family of four can have an income of up to $71,525 per year and qualify for a scholarship). To find out more about eligibility and how to apply for the Child Care Scholarship program, go to www.money4childcare.com.

Family Child Care Start-up Grants Increased to $1,000: The One-time Family Child Care Provider Direct grants for new providers starting their small business have been doubled from $500 to $1000 as part of Maryland’s Preschool Development Grant Birth through Age Five award and are to help registered family child care providers offset some of the costs of opening their child care programs. Eligibility is based upon certain income levels and family size. More information can be found here: https://earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org/fccpdgfp.

Room size limits and ratios: Group size in child care centers is expanded to a maximum of 15 individuals at a time per classroom with a ratio of no more than 1 teacher for 14 children ages three and above and the teacher must be qualified. Family child care and large family child care programs are limited to the number of children for which they are licensed at one time and no more than 15 persons total including residents.  All child care programs must continue to adhere to the allowable group size by age in licensing regulations.

Reopening of child care programs: Licensed child care programs interested in reopening may contact their licensing specialist and complete a Child Care Verification of Reopening form. 

Accessing Child Care: Parents and guardians in need of child care may contact LOCATE: Child Care at https://www.marylandfamilynetwork.org/for-parents/locate-child-care or talk to a specialist by calling (877) 261-0060 Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.


FDA Updates on Hand Sanitizers with Methanol (7/22/2020)

FDA is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

The agency is aware of adults and children ingesting hand sanitizer products contaminated with methanol that has led to recent adverse events including blindness, hospitalizations and death.

Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning. Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk for methanol poisoning, young children who accidently ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk.

FDA reminds consumers to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose. If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent ethanol (also referred to as ethyl alcohol).

FDA remains vigilant and will continue to take action when quality issues arise with hand sanitizers. The agency is especially concerned with:

  • The dangers of drinking any hand sanitizer under any conditions. While hand sanitizers with possible methanol contamination are more life-threatening than those that are not contaminated, FDA urges consumers not to drink any of these products. 
  • Certain hand sanitizers that may not contain a sufficient amount of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.
  • Hand sanitizers that are sold or offered for sale with false and misleading, unproven claims that they can prevent the spread of viruses such as COVID-19, including claims that they can provide prolonged protection (e.g., for up to 24-hours).
  • Products that are fraudulently marketed as “FDA-approved” since there are no hand sanitizers approved by FDA.
  • Products packaged to appear as drinks, candy or liquor bottles, as well as products marketed as drinks or cocktails because their appearance could result in accidental ingestion or encourage ingestion. Children are particularly at risk with these products since ingesting only a small amount of hand sanitizer may be lethal in a young child.

Methanol Contaminated Product List


Opening Child Care Services and Class Size Updates (6/10/2020)

MSDE is providing this clarification on child care operating procedures in Maryland.  All parents are now eligible to access child care services. All child care providers may reopen, as long as they follow all health department protocols listed on the MSDE website and adhere to class size restrictions.  In order to reopen, providers must contact their licensing specialist and complete a Child Care Verification of Reopening form.

Class sizes in child care centers are now expanded to a maximum of 15 individuals per classroom with a ratio of no more than 1:14 for three and four year-olds. This is a temporary relaxing of the regulations. Family child care programs are limited to no more than 8 children at one time and no more than 15 persons total including residents.  Family child care programs may serve different children on different days. They may also serve up to 8 children at one time in the evening and on weekends. All child care programs must continue to adhere to group size allowed for by age in licensing regulations.

Please continue to review our FAQs and resources on our website here.

Thank you for your continued service as essential persons providing child care for Maryland’s families.


UPDATE FOR OUR ESSENTIAL CHILD CARE PROVIDERS: (5/20/2020)

Dear EPCC and EPSA Providers,

I want to thank Maryland’s child care providers, teachers and staff who agreed to deliver services for those essential persons and first responders on the front lines combating the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are now progressing to Phase I of Governor Hogan’s Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery. Please see the attached Notice to Programs and Families. 

Effective June 8, 2020, because less funding is available than initially expected, the EPCC and EPSA programs will be modified to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) no longer provide payment for child care services for essential persons.  Parents will be responsible for payment for all child care services, and providers may collect tuition. EPCC and EPSA sites must continue to invoice the state for children of essential persons until June 7, 2020.

Please see the attached documents:

If you have any questions, please contact your licensing specialist. 

Thank you again for stepping up during this state of emergency.

Steven Hicks & Jennifer Nizer


Updated 3/18/2020 (12:00pm)

The Office of Child Care (OCC) is providing this guidance and companion document so child care providers can begin to evaluate their program and make decisions on how you can support children of emergency personnel school-aged children only.  More guidance will come as we work to gain more information over the next several days.  

Thank you,

Jennifer Nizer, M.Ed.

Director, Office of Child Care 

  1. Guidance for the Executive Order of the Governor of the State Of Maryland: Expanding Child Care Access​
  2. Official Guidance Companion
  3. Press Release

 

RESOURCES

Talking With Children: TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS, PARENTS, AND TEACHERS DURING INFECTIOUS DISEASE OUTBREAKS 

Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children

Questions and Answers on Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the COVID-19 Outbreak 

Classroom Resources for Teachers, Parents, and Kids at Home

 Learning Language Every Day: Activities for Families/Aprendiendo lenguaje todos los días: Actividades para familias


Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Businesses

Visit the Maryland Business Express for information on managing your business during the Coronavirus outbreak and aid opportunities. Topics include:

  • Employer & Worker Assistance
  • Financial Assistance & Taxes
  • Licensing & Permitting
  • Enforcement

Branch News & Updates