Maryland EXCELS during COVID-19

Maryland EXCELS Branch (Updated 5/10/2021)

For a list of currently open child care programs, visit this page:

Until further notice, due to the factors related to COVID-19, the Maryland State Department of Education will:

  • Protect the Quality Ratings of all Maryland EXCELS published programs. 
  • Protect the participant status of Maryland EXCELS programs that are in their first year, and not yet published.
  • Protect Child Care Scholarship payments for Maryland EXCELS participants.
  • Protect EXCELS Scholarship payments for published programs with Quality Ratings 3, 4, and 5.
  • Ensure that Maryland EXCELS programs may continue to work in their program profiles, upload evidence, and request to publish a draft rating at any time. 
  • Allow new programs to submit applications and participate in Maryland EXCELS.

Maryland EXCELS Virtual Training and Technical Assistance are available!

MSDE-approved, virtual training opportunities, provided by Quality Assurance Specialists, are sent monthly to Maryland EXCELS programs via email. 

Quality Assurance Specialists are providing technical assistance to Maryland EXCELS programs by phone and email. View the Quality Assurance Specialist contact list here.

Maryland EXCELS Program Assessments Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) assessments are conducted remotely for programs who submit a Request for Program Assessment form to your Program Coordinator. 

Environment Rating Scales (SACERS) assessments cannot be conducted remotely. The SACERS will continue to be used for Program Assessment once site visits resume. 

For more information about Maryland EXCELS use of CLASS, visit

Questions about Maryland EXCELS? Email

Self-Assessments using Environment Rating Scales during COVID-19 

The Environment Rating Scales (ERS) documentation will be accepted for conducting program self-assessments through June 30, 2021.

To support participants with achieving Quality Rating 3 requirements, Maryland EXCELS has developed two free self-assessments.

Programs with school-age children will continue to use the School-Age Classroom Environment Rating Scales (SACERS) for program self-assessment.

If you have questions about conducting self-assessments, please contact your Quality Assurance Specialist

You are encouraged to watch the 3 video presentations about how to use the Environment Rating Scales. Find the videos here:

Maryland Accreditation 

Until further notice, due to the factors related to COVID-19, the Maryland State Department of Education will:

  • Protect programs’ Maryland Accreditation status. 

  • Extend Maryland Accreditation cycle expirations for participating programs.

  • Allow programs to request or decline Optional Technical Assistance  provided by Quality Assurance Specialists.  

  • Enable programs to meet the requirements of Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating 4 (ACR 1) by requesting a validation visit. 

  • Ensure that participating programs may continue to upload evidence and work in their accreditation binders. 

  • Allow new programs to participate in Maryland Accreditation online orientations, and begin the Maryland Accreditation process

Maryland Accreditation Validator Visits are suspended until further notice. 

Questions about Maryland Accreditation? Email

Accreditation Support Fund

Accreditation Support Fund Applications can  be submitted online. The online applications can be found at  the link below.