BOSTON (CBS) — Day care centers in Massachusetts could open as soon as Monday under Phase 2 of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan. But it won’t be easy for providers to adhere to the new guidelines designed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Daily activities will need to be redesigned to avoid close contact between children, encouraging social distancing whenever possible,” Early Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy said at a Wednesday news conference. “We understand that social distancing is not easy with infants and toddlers. There will be many challenges.”
Providers will need to scan and screen all staff and children before they are allowed into the day care. Only one point of entry will be allowed for families, and parents will have to drop children off on a staggered schedule to limit the amount of non-essential adults in facilities.
“It will take time for child care providers to adjust their spaces and their programming to meet the new requirements put on us by the virus,” Aigner-Treworgy said. “Child care will look different.”
Licensed providers will be required to submit a plan to the Department of Early Education and Care in order to open in Phase 2. It’s expected that the requirements will last through the summer, but that could change depending on the status of the pandemic.
Day camps for kids will also be able to open in Phase 2. They’ll need to increase staff to have at least two health specialists on site, and field trips won’t be allowed.
Just as with day cares, camps will also need an element of social distancing.
“Protocols require that campers and counselors stay together in their groups,” Health and Human Services Sec. Marylou Sudders said. “Staff will not be able to move between groups either during the day, or from day to day.”
Read more about the reopening requirements for child care and youth programs here.