This page contains interim guidance based on what is known about COVID-19.
COVID-19 Resources: For Providers
For questions regarding COVID-19, providers can call 1-800-342-6712 or their local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R).
Providers can also submit questions by emailing ProviderContact@state.or.us.
Q: How is ELD communicating with licensed providers?
With the coronavirus situation developing quickly, ELD has been sending regular communication by email to licensed providers and posting the letters to the COVID-19 page. Providers should check their spam folder to make sure they are receiving these updates. If you have questions regarding regulations and licensing, please call 1-800-556-6166. Providers can also submit questions by emailing ProviderContact@state.or.us. ELD wants to support you getting up-to-date information as quickly as possible. If you have not previously provided us your email, please email your licensing specialist with the best email address for you.
Frequently Asked Questions: On Closing
Q: Even though schools are closed, are child care facilities (home based or center based) required to close?
Yes, on March 23, 2020, Governor Brown issued Executive Order 20-12. This order requires that all licensed child care facilities close from March 25, 2020 through April 28, 2020 (This period may be extended or terminated earlier by the Governor.).
Facilities may remain open if they submit an application to become an Emergency Child Care Facility and are approved by OCC. Providers offering emergency child care must also follow specific guidance released by the ELD, in partnership with Oregon Health Authority. Click here to read the most recent update to providers.
Q: Are publicly funded programs such as Preschool Promise, Oregon Pre-Kindergarten and Relief Nurseries required to close?
These programs should be closed unless they are converting to emergency child care. Click here to learn more and apply.
Q: Do I have to provide parents a refund if I close my child care? Should I refund the lost tuition?
Consult the agreement or contract you have with parents. The Office of Child Care does not regulate this area. We ask that child care providers use discretion with their billing policies and practices so as not to penalize families who may be under financial stress due to the current situation.
Q: What if my emergency child care facility has to close?
Please reach out to your licensing specialist to notify them of closure. Contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) by calling 1-800-342-6712.
Frequently Asked Questions: On General Operations
Q: What financial assistance is available to support my small business?
Q: Does business interruption insurance ensure coverage for me because of COVID-19?
According to this memo issued by the Department of Consumer and Business, most business interruption policies only cover loss of income that results from physical damage to your property. These policies typically exclude coverage for a pandemic or epidemic. A State of Emergency declaration does not change the terms of your business interruption policy and is unlikely to lead to business interruption coverage. Some policies may cover loss of income due to a pandemic or epidemic, but only for a limited amount of time. Contact you insurance company or agent to see if you policy covers a pandemic or epidemic.
Q: Will there be an extension on completing the required training and CPR renewals for licensing renewal?
If the renewal application is not timely, for Certified Family/Certified Center, a temporary license will be issued and you will be provided additional time to complete the training. For Registered Family, the license will be issued with additional time to complete the training. If CPR certifications are expired, online CPR certification is allowed. OCC suggests that you reach out to your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. They may have hybrid courses available. This can help you avoid paying fees twice. Completing the online portion is sufficient for your renewal. If the CCR&R does not have a hybrid option, you and your staff can select another online option. You will have 60 days from when the state of emergency is lifted to complete the in person skills testing.
Q: How are renewal appointments and other licensing visits processed during this time?
If the renewal application was submitted timely, your program will not expire and you may request the appointment be rescheduled. If the application was not submitted timely, the licensing specialist will work to conduct the visit virtually and renew the license.
Q: How will the COVID-19 outbreak affect the Request For Application process underway for Preschool Promise and Oregon Pre-Kindergarten?
At this point in time, the economic impact of COVID-19 is unknown. Until the ELD is instructed otherwise, the agency is following through with the legislative requirements associated with the Student Success Act and the Early Learning Account.
Frequently Asked Questions: On Emergency Child Care Facility Applications
Q: I am interested in converting my facility to emergency child care. What is the process?
Miriam Calderon, ELD’s Early Learning System Director, recently shared a message to providers that provides some questions to consider before opening an Emergency Child Care Facility. To provide emergency child care, visit oregonearlylearning.com/COVID-19-Resources/Emergency-Child-Care, download the registration form to notify the Office of Child Care, and utilize the resources and toolkit included on the webpage.
Q: Can I still submit an application to operate Emergency Child Care even though I missed the deadline?
If you missed the March 31, 2020 deadline, you must close. After closing, you may submit an application to re-open as an Emergency Child Care, which requires you to:
- Prioritize child care for first responders, emergency workers, health care professionals and other Essential Workers
- Provide care to “stable” groups of 10 or fewer children. “Stable” means the same 10 or fewer children are in the same home or classroom.
- Follow the Safety Procedures and Guidance for Child Care Facilities Operating During COVID-19 developed by the Early Learning Division and Oregon Health Authority.
You will need to remain closed unless/until approved and timely applications will be processed first.
Q: I need assistance with the emergency child care site application, who can I contact?
If you have any questions or need assistance with the application, you can contact your licensing specialist, call 1-800-556-6166, or email ProviderContact@state.or.us.
Q: What if I don't have access to a computer, printer, or scanner for filling out and submitting the Emergency Child Care facility application?
Please contact your licensing specialist for assistance. They can help you troubleshoot. Your licensing specialist may opt to mail you a form with return postage or assist you by filling out the form over the phone. In the situation where a provider is struggling to submit an application, the licensing specialist will work with them on the application process and deadline.
Q: Can I begin or continue providing emergency child care for families if I have submitted an application but haven't received feedback or approval?
According to this March 24 temporary order, if you completed and submitted an Emergency Child Care facility application, your may continue providing Emergency Child Care. Emergency Child Care providers must follow all applicable requirements, pending OCC’s decision on whether to approve the application. If OCC later informs you that your application is not approved, you must cease care immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions: On Emergency Child Care Operations
Q: Will operating emergency child care impact my insurance liability?
No, insurance companies will be prohibited from withdrawing, failing to renew or cancelling any commercial liability line of insurance for providers operating an approved emergency child care program by the Office of Child Care. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Division of Financial Regulation issued a memo outlining this policy.
Q: Who can apply for Emergency Child Care?
Groups who can apply for approval as Emergency Child Care Facilities include licensed child care providers, schools, and experienced child care providers opening additional sites for emergency care. Click here for more information.
Q: I don’t have enough staff to remain open for child care. What should I do?
If you would like to convert to emergency child care but don’t have enough staff to do so, please indicate this on your site application form. This form is included on the Emergency Child Care webpage: https://oregonearlylearning.com/COVID-19-Resources/Emergency-Child-Care.
Q: How can providers find a substitute to support Emergency Child Care operations?
If you need additional staff in order to continue services to children of Essential Workers please contact Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-342-6712. Each Emergency Child Care provider will be responsible for working with substitutes to determine their compensation during this time. NOTE: This is not a recommendation. It is a referral to available people. It is your responsibility to decide if they are an appropriate match for your facility and Emergency Child Care services.
Q: I’m currently out of work and willing to be a substitute caregiver in Emergency Child Care. How can I get involved?
If you are currently not working in child care, but are willing to serve your community during this time, you can apply to be a substitute. The ELD will work closely to match you with a provider, setting, and schedule that most aligns with your preferences. The program or individual you are matched with will be responsible for paying you.
Q: Is there any way to enroll in the Central Background Registry more quickly?
OCC established an emergency background check process for those not already enrolled in the CBR. Applicants will be subject to LEDS (Law Enforcement Data System) check for Oregon criminal and sex offender registry, Child and Protective Services check for child abuse, National Sex Offender Registry Public web site check, and run against the CBR. To start this process, fill out and submit this form: https://oregonearlylearning.com/form_sets/emergency-background-check-application/
Q: I run a family child care in my home and I may be at higher risk due to my age or medical condition. What should I do?
Per this guidance, the ELD recommends exclusion of staff who are considered part of a higher risk population. Please consult with your licensing specialist if you have any questions.
Q: What are the emergency child care requirements for group size?
Executive Order 20-12’s directives to limit group size and maintain consistent groupings. Child care must be carried out in maximum “stable” groups of 10 or fewer children per classroom or home.
Q: What is a "stable" group? Does that mean I'm never allowed to add new children to the group?
“Stable” means the same 10 or fewer children are in the same group each day. Emergency child care providers may serve new children in care.
Q: What are the ratio requirements for emergency child care?
Home-based care may have 10 children total. No more than 6 age kindergarten and younger. Of the 6, no more than two are under 24 months. Certified Family care may operate under normal caregiver/child ratios, not to exceed 10 children in the home.
Q: Can I have my own children home together with the child care children while schools are closed?
If your children are under the age of 13 they count as child care children. They must be factored into your overall group size of 10 if you are offering emergency child care.
Q: As an Emergency Child Care Facility, can I continue to serve the children in my care?
If you currently serve families that meet the definitions of those that must be prioritized under emergency child care, you can continue to serve your current families without accepting new ones. However, you must complete the Emergency Child Care facility application to notify and be approved by the Office of Child Care.
Q: How do I determine if someone is an essential worker?
The ELD has provided an overview and the full list from the federal Department of Homeland Security, which helps to define “essential.” This list provides an expansive view of who is essential during Oregon’s COVID-19 emergency.
The ELD is not requiring programs to keep documentation of the professions of families. Rather, child care providers should prioritize slots for these families, meaning they should serve current families who are essential workers or they must accept referrals for healthcare, emergency, and other essential personnel received from 211, their local Child Care Resource and Referral, other sources, or directly from families. More information can be found in the March 24 Temporary Order.
Q: Do I need to serve parents working from home?
Facilities do not have to provide child care services to parents/caregivers who are working from home. There may be exceptions to this. For example, a parent/caregiver may be providing telehealth services from home. Providers may choose to prioritize families with these extenuating circumstances.
Q: What if my facility is at capacity and an Essential Worker contacts me with a request for child care?
If you are at capacity and are asked to care for the child of Essential Workforce, you should ask the other families in care who have other options for care to give that slot to someone who needs it during this state of emergency. You can utilize language from Miriam Calderon’s (ELD’s Early Learning System Director) message to providers.
Q: What supports are available to me to provide emergency child care?
If you apply to offer Emergency Child Care, the ELD will provide emergency supplies and deliver them to your home or center. In addition, providers who are not an ERDC listed provider can contact DHS. ERDC assistance is available to all families at or below 85% of State Median Income during this time. For more information on this change, contact the Direct Payment Unit at the Department of Human Services – 1-(800)-699-9074. The ELD is continuing to work with the Governor’s office to identify additional supports for providers.
Frequently Asked Questions: On Employment and Benefits
Q: If my child care center/workplace has closed or I have been laid off, what benefits are available to me?
- You may be eligible to use paid or unpaid sick leave provided by your employer. Please see the sick leave FAQ below for more information.
- You may be eligible for unemployment insurance. Governor Brown has ordered an expansion of unemployment benefits to include Oregonians whose employment status has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. This order is retroactively effective to March 8.Visit Employment Department Temporary Rules for Unemployment Insurance Benefits Flexibility on the Employment Department website to learn more about eligibility.
Q: Is my center or home required to offer me sick leave?
Since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, many employees have been required to remain at home because they may have contracted the virus, are caring for a family member who may have the virus or have to remain home because schools are closed and they have no access to child care. The Oregon legislature passed SB 454 in 2015, requiring all employers to allow employees to earn and use up to 40 hours of protected sick time each year. Nearly every employer in Oregon must comply with the law.
There are a couple of important factors that determine whether an employee is eligible for paid or unpaid sick leave.
- All employers must provide up to 40 hours of unpaid protected sick time per year.
- Employers that employ at least 10 employees in Oregon (and 6 if the employer has operations in Portland) must provide that protected sick time with pay. An employee may not be disciplined or terminated for taking protected sick time.For more information on sick leave as it applies to recent events, please visit Bureau of Labor and Industries Facts about Sick Time.
Frequently Asked Questions: On Exposure and Cleaning
Q: What should I do if I think a child, their family, my staff, or I have been exposed to this virus?
Tell that person to watch for fever, cough or trouble breathing. If these symptoms develop, that person should stay away from others, and not go to work or school until 72 hours after both resolution of fever (off medicine) and the resolution of cough. COVID-19, like the flu, often causes mild illness. Not everyone who gets sick needs to visit a healthcare provider. People who become ill can call their healthcare provider to decide together if symptoms are severe enough that a medical visit is needed. It’s very important that you call ahead before going to a clinic. That way the ill person and the clinic can put together a plan for the ill person to be seen in a way that avoids exposing others.
Q: In the event that a child(ren) gets the virus, am I held responsible/liable for that?
First, follow all suggested Oregon Health Authority guidelines including not allowing sick children or staff to be in attendance. Existing OCC rules address when to keep children out of care. These rules are in the COVID-19 section of the ELD’s website, organized by facility type for reference. You can download the information to post or share with families. Seek legal advice or consult your insurance company if you have liability concerns. This is not an area the ELD regulates.
Q: Are special cleaning supplies needed to kill the virus?
OCC rules require regular cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting of toys and materials. Click here to read the latest safety procedures and guidance. The American Chemical Council has compiled a list of products – solutions, concentrates, and wipes – that have been pre-approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the COVID-19 outbreak. Use all cleaning products according to directions on the label. You can also find more information at the CDC disinfecting page.
Q: If a home-based provider has a family member who is staying home sick, must they notify their families of the fact? What if the family member was confirmed to have COVID-19?
If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the home, the provider must follow the direction of the local health authority. Family members who are ill but do not have a confirmed case should stay separate from the child care area until their fever is gone and symptoms are better for at least 72 hours.
Home-based child care providers who are ill but do not have a confirmed case should either
(a) close the facility, or
(b) Separate themselves from the child care and have a qualified substitute caring for the children.
In both instances providers should increase cleaning procedures.
Please report any confirmed cases to your licensing specialist.
Q: Can I tell parents or caregivers they are not allowed in the center and they must drop off and pick up at the door?
To minimize contact during drop-off/pick-up, allow parents or caregivers to remain outside of the building for sign-in and -out of their children.
This procedure is outlined as part of the social distancing guidance for child care released by the Early Learning Division in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority.
- Safety Procedures and Guidance for Child Care Facilities Operating During COVID-19
Updates for Providers
- April 3, 2020
- March 27, 2020
State of Emergency: Temporary Rules by Facility Type
- Summary of Temporary Standards: Certified Center