August 14, 2020

Why some classrooms will reopen for child care, though barred from in-person instruction

Some CA students may find themselves in child care this fall in the very same classrooms they are barred from entering for in-person instruction.

In an effort to meet the needs of working families, school districts in coronavirus hot spots across California are reopening classrooms as child care sites. But the contradictory rules for child care and in-person instruction has some parents questioning how one is safer than the other.

Schools in counties with high numbers of new coronavirus cases or hospitalizations cannot open for in-person classes until the counties have been off the state monitoring list for two weeks. Child care programs, on the other hand, can open across the state, even in coronavirus hot spots, as long as they meet health and safety guidelines.

“Child care licensing standards distinguish those programs from schools,” wrote the California Department of Public Health’s public affairs staff in an email to EdSource. “Additionally, child care is in smaller groups and cohorts, and typically brings together fewer families and children per site on average compared to schools.”

Asked whether on-site child care is safer than in-school instruction, state health officials said they are “learning more every day” about Covid-19.

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