Daycares Need Temporary Pandemic License Starting Thursday

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Beginning Thursday, all daycares and child care centers will be required to have a temporary pandemic child-care license to continue operating.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the order during his daily coronavirus update Sunday afternoon. The order will run until April 30 and may be extended, he said.

“Obviously, the concern in regard to daycare is when you’re putting a large number of children together, social distancing does not work too well and children are known to share about everything,” DeWine said.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 strain in Ohio, the number of children in state subsidized daycare has “gone down dramatically” to about 17,000, down from 117,000, he said. “We do not have good numbers in regard to private daycare,” but those numbers have gone down as well, he said.

It was time for the state to move onto the next stage with daycare in an effort to keep children and their families safe, “and to ensure there are enough essential workers to be able to man the hospitals and do the jobs that need to be done,” DeWine said.

According to the Department of Job and Family Services, a temporary pandemic child care center license is a “short-term license to provide child care services to children whose parents are employed providing health and safety services as defined by the Ohio department of job and family services,” states the agency’s website.

Child care centers must fill out and submit an application for the license to continue operating. Some centers have already applied for the license and the approval process is in the works, DeWine said.

In addition, the order requires a maximum of six children per room as well as limited shared space. While DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton strongly advise against communal space for children, if there is a shared space, the center must abide by a “rigorous cleaning schedule,” DeWine said.

Centers are also instructed to keep children of parents of the same employer together whenever possible, and to limit parent interaction at drop off and pick up, he noted.

“I felt that it was necessary to minimize the risk to these children from other children in regard to coronavirus, but also the risk that poses to that child’s family when that child goes home,” DeWine said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.