Sunday, March 22, 2020

COVID-19 Updates 3/22/2020

These are uncertain times for everyone, and with the rapidly changing situation it is difficult to determine if or when to limit or close programs temporarily. I commend you for your dedication to the families you serve and understand your concern for one another. Given the 24/7 information flow, the recommendation to end classroom instruction and maintain physical distancing (I concur with Dr. Nirav Shah that we need to maintain social and emotional connection), and the knowledge that many frontline workers still need reliable child care, I empathize with your feelings of confusion and conflict. I encourage you to take this situation one day at a time, basing your decisions on the most current available evidence in collaboration with Child Care Licensing (287-5020) and the Maine CDC (1-800-821-5821). For specific questions about individual exposure, personal health care providers should be contacted. That means if one of your staff or families has a possible exposure, they should contact their provider and communicate recommendations to you. As this situation unfolds, please remember to be gentle with yourselves and know that you are doing the best you can.

Stay well!


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

COVID-19 Updates 3/17/2020

Hi Everyone,

I listened to a great webinar today, hosted by Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA):
They offered some great tips and resources to help weather this COVID-19 pandemic:

According to the CDC:
Close contact is defined as—
a)      being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case
– or –
b)      having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on)

Remember the great hygiene guidelines provided in Caring for Our Children (4th ed.), specifically 3.2.2 Hand Hygiene and 3.3.0 Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting. This is the link to the free downloadable pdf:

CCAoA suggested limiting food sharing and suspending family-style meals, instead having staff handle all food. They also suggested staggering drop-off and pick-up times to limit congregating of parents and children, and to cancel all unnecessary visitors (volunteers, entertainment) and non-essential personnel. If you have children who receive support services, make sure you are adhering to their IEPs.

Other resources include the World Health Organization (, the United States CDC (, and the Maine CDC ( Make sure you are consulting evidence-based resources and not giving in to rumors.

Remember, information for decision-making is changing rapidly as this pandemic evolves. Please check with child care licensing for any questions regarding need for closure and advise staff and families to consult their own primary health care providers if they are concerned about exposure; it is outside my scope of practice to advise on these issues.

Stay well!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Maine DHHS OCFS COVID-19 Updates 3/16/2020

The following memo was posted on the Maine DHHS OCFS website this afternoon:

Child Care COVID-19 Protocol for Licensed Child Care Programs

As a private business owner, the choice to remain open and operating continues to be yours. While child care programs are not required to continue operation, please consider the critical service you provide to Maine families.

        Wash your hands with soap and running water often
        Clean all surfaces with disinfecting agents
        Require staff and children to stay home if they are sick and contact their health care professional should they have COVID-19 symptoms
        Follow your sick policies
        Closed door policy is ok at this time – programs are approved to edit drop off / pick up policy to meet program need

If you are looking to increase the capacity of your current license, we have the following guidance:
        Capacity may be temporarily increased due to the emergency need for child care services, related to school closings and optional closing of programs.
        While we are waiving capacity, you MUST maintain maximum ratio according to TEMPORARY EMERGENCY ratios below.

Ratio must be maintained for infants, toddlers and preschoolers in all programs.
Ratios for school age children (Pre-K / 4-year old’s and up) will be waived for all programs.
Please consult with your Child Care Licensing Specialist

        Background check and orientation training requirements will be temporarily waived for all additional staff hired to meet ratio.
        Additional staff hired MAY NOT BE LEFT ALONE WITH CHILDREN.
        Accurate attendance records are very important during these times.

If you have questions, please call Child Care Licensing at 287-5020