BOSTON (CBS) – Tuesday was training day for sisters Melody Lack and Melodia Ferrucci. The pair run separate early childhood education programs and met with a health care consultant to go over new rules — like screening checklists, hand-washing techniques and best practices for physical distancing.

“We understand they’re doing it with the best interest of the public and our children. We’re hoping that this is short term and with some time it will change,” said Melodia Ferrucci, co-director of Toddler Loving Care in Newton.

Last week, the Department of Early Education and Care updated some of its initial guidelines. One big change will be health screenings, which will now be verbal. Symptoms like an unexplained rash and abdominal pain have been removed from the criteria, thermometer checks won’t be required.

“While it’s not required, and it’ll probably save other programs from the expenses of ordering [thermometers], we are going to keep that protocol and screen our children coming in,” Ferrucci said of temperature checks.

Also changing are the group size ratios, for every ten preschoolers only one adult will be required instead of two. Critics of the change say the move will force them to hire more staff. Others say they’ve found a way to stagger teachers and keep them assigned to the same groups.

“It may not be ideal, it’s not going to take us back to where we were when we closed back in March, but the reality of the situation is real,” said Melody Lack, co-director of Toddler Loving Care in Wayland. “As a small private school we’re going to collaborate and figure out how we can move forward.”

State officials tell WBZ-TV daycare programs began submitting plans to re-open this week and will receive conditional approval from licensors quickly.

Both Lack and Ferrucci are hoping to welcome families back as early as the second week of July.

Anaridis Rodriguez

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