March 13, 2020
Media Contact: Melanie Mesaros, 503-856-6040
Child Care Providers in Oregon Not Required to Close During State of Emergency
(Salem, Ore) – Following Governor Brown’s statewide school closure announcement in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Early Learning Division (ELD) is not requiring child care facilities to close at this time. School closures will likely increase the need for child care.
“Child care is a critical support for working families, their children, and businesses,” said Early Learning System Director Miriam Calderon. “We know that child care programs will experience similar operational issues to K-12 schools, and we should anticipate that closures will happen. As long as families are working, we will support child care businesses to stay open.”
ELD’s focus in the coming days will be on aggressively pursuing exceptions and flexibility to existing rules that do not compromise child safety. Every day, licensed providers in Oregon offer care, and while child care businesses are operational, the ELD’s Office of Child Care will continue conducting critical health and safety inspections.
Additionally, the ELD will be working with community partners to identify those who are able to care for additional children. The agency is also seeking federal waivers to expand child care assistance programs for low-income working families and the providers who serve them.
Families in need of child care because their child care provider or school is closed can contact 211 for assistance. If a child care provider needs to close, the provider should contact 211 and/or their state licensing specialist to notify them of closure.
The ELD’s COVID-19 webpage contains a Frequently Asked Questions document for providers and parents to stay informed as the coronavirus outbreak evolves.
Additionally, child care providers should refer to the governor’s guidance on social distancing to help manage the spread of coronavirus and to keep staff and children safe. The guidelines address large gatherings, workplace settings, schools, and child care providers.