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.


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


UPDATE FOR OUR ESSENTIAL CHILD CARE PROVIDERS: (4/27/2020)

MSDE is truly grateful for the service that child care providers are delivering to the State, and apologize for the current payments delays, which we are working furiously to remedy. While more than 2,520 payments had been issued, MSDE extended work hours last week and over the weekend, and expect all past due payments, along with the additional $2000 grant, to be issued by the end of this week, if not sooner.

In an effort to improve communications with our child care providers, we have established a google form, email address and a bank of customer service lines for payment inquiries:

There are two ways to contact us: 
1. Google Invoice Assistance Form
2. Call us at one of these numbers. Lines will be staffed Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  

  • (410) 767-1664
  • (410) 767-7805
  • (410) 767-0583
  • (410) 767-7128
  • (410) 767-7798

If you find that there is an error in your payment, please complete and submit the Payment Error Correction Form



Essential Personnel Child Care (EPCC) and Essential Personnel School Age (EPSA) Applications (4/7/2020)

The Office of Child Care (OCC) wants to thank all the child care providers who applied and have been accepted as an approved EPCC or EPSA site for children of essential employees.  Each of you have dedicated your life to working with Maryland's children and families and during this most difficult time you have stepped up for the families that need you most.  Thank you for your dedication, passion and commitment! 

Based on the number of child care providers providing care to children of essential personnel, the OCC will suspend all application submissions as of 4:00p.m. Tuesday, April 7, 2020, until further notice.  The submission of an application does not mean that you will be approved to open as an EPCC or EPSA site. If the demand for child care for essential personnel increases, we will consider reopening the application process.  As of April 7, 2020 at 4:00p.m. unless you are an approved EPCC/EPSA site, your program is to remain closed until further notice.  

Please remember that all licensed/registered child care programs were closed on March 27, 2020 and only able to reopen as an approved EPCC site.  You may not operate in any capacity if you are not approved, including opening to essential personnel with parents paying tuition for their child.  You MUST be approved to operate at this time.


EPCC/ EPSA Applicants (3/30/2020)

All applications for EPCC sites must be submitted via email to your licensing specialist, regional office, or regional manager. Applications that are mailed via the Postal Service or faxed to the regional office are not available to staff, as state office buildings are closed. The applications mailed or faxed to the regional offices cannot be processed. Thank you for your assistance.


All Child Care Providers to be Closed by the end of the day Friday, March 27th Except Those Serving Essential Personnel

Beginning at the end of the day on Friday, March 27, 2020, all child care programs are to be closed.

During this State of Emergency, child care programs have been established by the State to serve only designated essential personnel.

These programs are at no cost to designated essential personnel. Eligible programs may be found here or by using the LOCATE: Child Care resource, a telephone service that is available by phone Monday - Friday at 877-261-0060 between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM.

Please see the list of designated essential personnel identified in the Governor’s March 25, 2020 Executive Order.

The children of essential personnel attending the State-funded child care programs will be kept at an appropriate distance from each other with ratios of one teacher to nine children and smaller class sizes for younger children. 

Parents/guardians are strongly urged to keep children at home as the first and best option to protect them from the virus; it should be noted in the Governor's March 13, 2020 Executive Order, licensing regulations were relaxed to allow for Family, Friend and Neighbor care for five or fewer students.

If closed licensed child care programs are willing to provide child care to children of essential personnel, they may reopen beginning March 30, 2020, with the following requirements:

  • Programs must apply with their Regional Licensing Specialists to be approved before they begin serving eligible families.
  • These programs may only reopen after a thorough cleaning has been conducted.
  • They must only serve the children of essential personnel.

Parents and caregivers of essential personnel may call one of the following numbers for additional information:

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

Child care providers with questions can contact their Regional Licensing Specialist.


State-funded Child Care for Essential Personnel ONLY

Designated essential personnel may find child care programs using LOCATE: Child Care, a free service available by phone Monday - Friday at 877-261-0060 between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM. Specialized services for parents of children with special needs, as well as Spanish language, are also available on these platforms.

The child care programs established by the State are at no cost to designated essential personnel only. Children attending the State-funded child care programs will be kept an appropriate distance from each other with ratios of a minimum of 1 teacher and 9 children for school-age with smaller class sizes for younger children.

Parents are strongly urged to keep children at home as the first and best option to protect them from the virus.

Three Easy Steps to Finding Child Care (FOR ESSENTIAL PERSONNEL ONLY)

  1. Check this list to see if there is child care near your home or work and contact the provider directly.
  2. If you don’t see a child care provider that meets your needs, call the trained LOCATE: Child Care Referral Specialists to help you select the best child care option for your family at (Toll-Free) 877-261-0060.
  3. Download these four (4) forms, complete and take to the provider of your choice

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.  The modified documents outlined in this guidance are available on the website under the yellow banner labeled COVID-19 Updates.

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. Emergency Personnel Forms
  4. Press Release

Governor Hogan Enacts Emergency Order to Expand Access to Child Care During COVID-19 State of Emergency

State Department of Education Issues Enhanced Guidelines for Day Care Facilities to Prevent The Spread of COVID-19

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today enacted an emergency order to expand child care access for critical personnel during the state of emergency. This will help ensure that child care services are available for providers of health care, emergency medical services, and law enforcement personnel while schools are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Our state has taken major and unprecedented actions to protect the health, the safety, and the welfare of the people of Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “As we continue to operate under a state of emergency, we are committed to doing everything in our power to maintain our essential services, including child care, especially for those who are on the front lines helping us combat this public health threat.”

As part of the directive she issued on Thursday, State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that plans would be developed to ensure that the children of emergency services personnel have access to childcare throughout during a prolonged period of school closure. This order gives the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) the flexibility to work with regional and local officials to quickly and effectively make child care services available that adhere to public health guidelines.

Read the governor’s emergency order.

Enhanced Guidelines for Child Care Programs

Additionally, Superintendent Salmon has issued enhanced guidelines for child care programs and day care facilities to follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Every child care and day care provider in our state is essential to our mission of maintaining essential services in this time of crisis,” said Dr. Salmon. “We are providing these guidelines to make sure that child care programs can continue to operate while helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Child care programs must take extraordinary precautions beyond what is normally recommended to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including:

  • Mandating social distancing and keeping children in small groups (no more than 10 children clustered in an activity): absolutely no large group activities.
  • Instructing staff to monitor for symptoms, and stay home if they are sick.
  • Instructing parents/guardians to keep children home if they or any member of the household exhibits symptoms.
  • Mandating frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing one’s nose. Teachers should help young children do the same. If hands are visibly dirty, use soap and water to clean hands.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, closely supervise use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to avoid ingestion. Providing children with soap and water to wash hands; adults may use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, but this is very toxic to children.
  • Advising persons to avoid touching their face (especially eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands).
  • Increasing the early childhood program’s cleaning and disinfection routine to multiple times per day, while being careful with children in the near vicinity. Emphasizing cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash and cleaning hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available).
  • Providing adequate supplies for good hygiene, including clean and functional handwashing stations, soap, paper towels, and alcohol‐based hand sanitizer.
  • Restricting field trips.
  • Restricting outside visitors and volunteers.

Special processes beyond routine cleaning are not necessary nor recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. Programs should follow standard procedures for cleaning as recommended below by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as bathrooms, water coolers, desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands‐on learning items, faucet handles, phones and toys.

The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

For health resources regarding COVID-19, Marylanders should visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus. 


IMPACT NEWSLETTER (PDF)


Governor Hogan Enacts Emergency Order to Expand Access to Child Care During COVID-19 State of Emergency

March 14, 2020

State Department of Education Issues Enhanced Guidelines for Day Care Facilities to Prevent The Spread of COVID-19

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today enacted an emergency order to expand child care access to child care for critical personnel during the state of emergency. This will help ensure that child care services are available for providers of health care, emergency medical services, and law enforcement personnel while schools are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Our state has taken major and unprecedented actions to protect the health, the safety, and the welfare of the people of Maryland,” said Governor Hogan. “As we continue to operate under a state of emergency, we are committed to doing everything in our power to maintain our essential services, including child care, especially for those who are on the front lines helping us combat this public health threat.”

As part of the directive she issued on Thursday, State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced that plans would be developed to ensure that the children of emergency services personnel have access to childcare throughout during a prolonged period of school closure. With this order, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) will work with regional and local officials to quickly and effectively meet this directive, and stand up day care centers that adhere to public health guidelines.

Read the governor’s executive order.

Enhanced Guidelines for Child Care Programs

Additionally, Superintendent Salmon has issued enhanced guidelines for child care programs and day care facilities to follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Every child care and day care provider in our state is essential to our mission of maintaining essential services in this time of crisis,” said Dr. Salmon. “We are providing these guidelines to make sure that child care programs can continue to operate while helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Child care programs must take extraordinary precautions beyond what is normally recommended to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including:

  • Mandating social distancing and keeping children in small groups (no more than 10 children clustered in an activity): absolutely no large group activities.
  • Instructing staff to monitor for symptoms, and stay home if they are sick.
  • Instructing parents/guardians to keep children home if they or any member of the household exhibits symptoms.
  • Mandating frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing one’s nose. Teachers should help young children do the same. If hands are visibly dirty, use soap and water to clean hands.
  • Providing children with  soap and water to wash hands; adults may use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, but this is very toxic to children.
  • Advising persons to avoid touching their face (especially eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands).
  • Increasing the early childhood program’s cleaning and disinfection routine to multiple times per day, while being careful with children in the near vicinity. Emphasizing cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Covering coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash and cleaning hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available).
  • Providing adequate supplies for good hygiene, including clean and functional handwashing stations, soap, paper towels, and alcohol‐based hand sanitizer.
  • Restricting field trips.
  • Restricting outside visitors and volunteers

Special processes beyond routine cleaning are not necessary nor recommended to slow the spread of respiratory illness. Programs should follow standard procedures for cleaning as recommended below by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as bathrooms, water coolers, desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands‐on learning items, faucet handles, phones and toys.

The State of Maryland is continuing to operate under a state of emergency, and all levels of government are taking a comprehensive, collaborative approach to keep Marylanders safe. The list of ongoing state actions is available at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus.

For health resources regarding COVID-19, including case counts and clinician guidance, Marylanders should visit health.maryland.gov/coronavirus.


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


In response to the spread of the virus, the Maryland Health Connection, the state’s health insurance marketplace, is opening a special open-enrollment period beginning on Monday. It will remain open through April 15. 


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