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Updates For Providers

What’s New: Child Care Updates

A resource for child care providers to track important updates.

Photo of a group of fire extinguishers lined up.

Fire Safety for Certified Family and Registered Family

Providers are invited to share feedback on the Fire Safety Family Care rule until May 25, 2022 at 10 a.m. The Early Learning Division (ELD) has worked with providers, early learning advocates, and other government organizations to strengthen fire safety rules in family care settings during the past year. Specifically, the goal was to create permanent rules about cost-effective alternatives to automatic sprinklers statewide, a rule introduced in April 2021 by Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. 

Review the rules on our website. 

Image of crib bumpers

Crib Bumpers Prohibited in Child Care    

The Oregon State Legislature recently amended a statute to prohibit the use of crib bumper pads for children up to age 3. This change also prohibits a facility from having crib bumper pads on the premises, unless a medical professional has determined that using a crib bumper pad is medically necessary for a particular child who uses a crib in the licensed facility. 

The Office of Child Care will be revising the rules for Certified Centers, Certified Family and Registered Family child care facilities to align with this change in statute.  

Aide II Rule Change Proposed for Certified Child Care Centers 

After receiving feedback from providers, the Early Learning Division (ELD) will be moving to allow Aide II positions to have increased supervision in Certified Child Care Centers as a permanent rule change. ELD will recommend the Early Learning Council adopt the rule at its June 29, 2022 meeting.   

 ELD anticipates this change will assist providers with retaining staff and allow for greater flexibility within programs. 

OAR 300-0110(3) states, “An Aide II may support teachers in caring for children but may not be left alone with a group of children, except when:  (a) Supervising a group of children for no more than 60 minutes at a time, not to exceed more than 120 minutes of Aide II supervision per day, provided staff-to-child ratios are maintained, and there is another staff who is teacher, head teacher, or director qualified present at the facility. An Aide II may supervise an Aide I for no more than 60 minutes at a time.” 

If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email  

ProviderContact@ode.oregon.gov. 

baby formula on a blue background

New Resource for Families to Find Formula During the Infant Formula Shortage 

If you are struggling to find infant formula, this new fact sheet created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes resources for locating safe formula.  

You should not water down formula, try to make formula at home, or use toddler formula to feed infants. Do not discard formula unless it is expired or is part of the recall. Check your formula’s lot code to see if it was affected by the recall. 

image: children's hands holding a flat wood cutout art of a human head with a heart where the brain would normally be

May is Mental Health Awareness Month  

Oregon’s early learning and care professionals play a critical role in supporting the mental health and well-being of children, families, and staff in their child care setting. In addition to sharing resources and creating a safe, welcoming child care setting and community, you can also support others by sharing your own experiences.  

In a recent Education Week article, David Shapiro, program manager at the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work, & Environment shared how it’s important to have “people be willing to share their stories, and I think this starts with leaders. [They can tell staff], ‘This pandemic has been challenging for my own mental health—here’s how it impacted me, and I’ve used my mental health benefits [to get help]’. The more we can build the story of mental health, the more we can spread awareness, the more we can reduce stigma.” 

Click here to read the article and click here to learn about “StigmaFree,” a campaign by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  

Your mental health matters. Visit https://mhanational.org/teachers-protecting-your-mental-health for ways to help yourself and others in the field. 

Click below for additional resources and professional development opportunities.  

Photo of two girls reading a book together

Coming Soon: DELC Mission, Vision, and Values Feedback Survey 

The Early Learning Division (ELD) needs your help with establishing the new agency, Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC). Watch for announcements about this opportunity to inform DELC and help create a mission, vision, and values that reflects, represents, and supports Oregon communities. 

Photo of blocks spelling out reminder

REMINDERS:  

Health, Safety, and Nutrition Requirement  

Certified Family and Certified Center staff are required to complete at least one hour of Health, Safety, and Nutrition (HSN) training before their facility’s license renewal. 

Registered Family providers and substitutes need to complete the annual HSN training before the end of each year of their license. 

Providers can look for training on the online calendar. 

DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR STATEWIDE SURVEY  
Center- and familybased owners, directors, teachers, assistants, and aides (whether currently employed or not) —share your experiences by completing this survey by May 31, 2022. If you are eligible, you will receive an email with a link to the survey. Look for an email from “The Preschool Development Grant” that you would have received around April 18. Questions? Didn’t get an email and think you should have? Contact Denise Ford. Email: denisef@oslc.org Call or text: 916-205-6851. 

Photo: someone does chest compressions on a CPR dumby.

In-person CPR Training Required After June 30, 2022 

The temporary Oregon Administrative Rule allowing online CPR training will expire on June 30, 2022. Providers who took an online CPR class between March 24, 2020 and June 30, 2022, will receive training credit in the Oregon Registry Online. When it is time for renewal of CPR/First Aid certification, providers must complete CPR training with in-person instruction. All CPR classes completed on or after July 1, 2022, must have the in-person training component. 

If you’re looking for classes, contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral office, or check the Oregon Registry Online Training Calendar at https://calendar.oregonregistryonline.org. If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email occ.customerservice@ode.oregon.gov. 

A person searches a computer registry

Public Comment Open for Temporary Rules for Recorded and License-Exempt Employment Related Day Care Providers

Public comment is now open on the Early Learning Division’s (ELD) website for a temporary rule to allow recorded programs, which are currently unlicensed facilities, to be enrolled in the Central Background Registry. License-exempt ERDC providers will also be required to enroll in the Central Background Registry.  

This rulemaking gives ELD the authority to include both recorded programs and license exempt subsidy recipients into the pool of “subject individuals.” These rules will be proposed for temporary adoption at the May 25, 2022 Early Learning Council meeting. 

For more details on how to comment or participate, go to https://oregonearlylearning.com/may-2022-admin-rule-updates 

Photo of two girls reading a book together

Have you heard? ELD Will Soon Become DELC 

The Early Learning Division, along with a few Oregon Department of Human Services programs such as Employment Related Day Care, will be changing to the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) in about a year. What is the advantage of joining early childhood education systems into one agency? There are several benefits: 

  • Maximize early learning funding and expansion opportunities 
  • Increase the number of culturally responsive child care and early learning settings 
  • Improve access to high-quality child care and early learning for all Oregonians 
  • Deliver more equitable services for families, children, and providers 

In a nutshell, the creation of DELC allows us to expand and strengthen early learning systems to better serve Oregon’s children and families. 

Learn more by visiting the DELC website.

Share Your Gratitude on Provider Appreciation Day: May 6, 2022

This week, we’re celebrating you, providers, and all your contributions! Provider Appreciation Day® is May 6, 2022 – celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day every year to recognize child care providers, teachers, and educators of young children everywhere. 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a statewide proclamation to recognize National Provider Appreciation Day, encouraging Oregonians to thank child care providers for their dedication and support of the social, emotional, and physical care of our youngest children. 

As stated in the proclamation, “The COVID-19 pandemic has created tremendous hardship for child care providers and the families of Oregon who depend on them,” she said. “Providers have continued to meet the needs of families, while risking their health and financial stability to remain open.”    

Oregonians can share stories and offer gratitude on social media with the tag #ThankYouChildCare or #ThankATeacher. 

 

A graphic that says "Asian Pacific Heritage Month

ELD Celebrates Asian American and
Pacific Islander Heritage Month
 

This month and throughout the year, we honor and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) identity, culture, and history. NPR recently published an article about the background of AAPI Heritage Month, The story behind Asian Pacific American Heritage, and why it’s celebrated in May.”

“Our history is also filled with incredible stories of resilience, of persistence, of determination, to fight for our basic rights. This is a celebration of our history, of our culture … and all the different ways in which our community has really demonstrated that we’re not only here to stay, we are a part of this fabric — a part of this country.”
– Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate

Click here to read more.  

In addition, check out these resources and professional development opportunities: 

A finger with a string tied around it as a reminder.

Reminders:  

  • OREGON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE PROVIDERS INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN STATEWIDE SURVEY 
    Center- and family based owners, directors, teachers, assistants, and aides (whether currently employed or not) share your experiences by completing this survey by May 16, 2022. If you are eligible, you will receive an email with a link to the survey. Look for an email from “The Preschool Development Grant” that you would have received around April 18. Questions? Didn’t get an email and think you should have? Contact Denise Ford. Email: denisef@oslc.org Call or text: 916-205-6851.
  • MAY PROVIDER INFORMATION SESSIONS
    The recording for the session (English language) on Tuesday, May 3 is available here. The next session (Spanish language) will be 6 to 7 p.m. tonight, May 5. Click here for the Zoom invite. In these sessions, ELD shares a recap 2022 Legislative Session, discusses the ELD Programs Team and Preschool Promise, and provides a check-in on COVID-19. 

To all of our providers who are moms, ELD wishes you an early Happy Mother’s Day! 

Photo of a child care worker holding a baby and smiling down at a toddler.

Save the Date: ELD Provider Information Sessions: May 3 and 5 

Mark your calendar for the May Provider Information Sessions  

Tuesday, May 3, 6 – 7 p.m. (All Provider Types)
Thursday, May 5, 6- 7 p.m.  (Spanish Language)

The agenda will cover the following: 

  • Recap 2022 Legislative Session  
  • Learn about the ELD Programs Team and Preschool Promise  
  • Check in on COVID-19 

An invitation with meeting links is coming soon.   

A child care provider colors with two small children.

Oregon Early Childhood Education and Care Providers Invited to Participate in Statewide Survey 

The Oregon Early Learning Division (ELD) would like to hear from early childhood education and care providers and learn about their experiences during the last year (since March 2021). The ELD is asking providers for feedback on how to best to offer support. Center- and family based owners, directors, teachers, assistants, and aides (whether currently employed or not), are encouraged to share their experiences. 

If you are eligible, you will receive an email with a link to the survey. Look for an email from “The Preschool Development Grant” during the week of April 18. Check your spam folders. 

Survey deadline: Monday, May 16, 2022. 

Questions? Didn’t get an email and think you should have?
Contact Denise Ford with OSLC Developments Inc.
Email: denisef@oslc.org Call or text: 916-205-6851 

Children at Jardin Infantil in Hermiston participate in an enrichment activity.

Federal Grants Help Stabilize Child Care Programs in Oregon During the Pandemic 

When COVID-19 struck in 2020, families and child care providers were left to navigate the uncertainty of the virus. Some parents decided to keep their children out of care, while providers struggled to hire and retain staff and keep pace with expenses.  

Thanks to federal funding, the Early Learning Division (ELD) was able to support 3,286 programs with COVID-19 Child Care Stabilization Grants. To receive these funds, a child care program had to be open and providing care and apply before the end of 2021.  

Last week, we introduced three child care providers who used these dollars to remain open, while making program improvements or supporting their staff. Meet the providers we featured on our website, who operate programs in Eugene, Washington County, and Hermiston. 

Karsyn Lovendahl stands in the indoor playroom at her home-based child care in Eugene. Lovendahl was able to use stabilization grant funding to expand the space to care for children.

 

Sabi Valesco at her Aloha location of Amazing Minds Child Development Center and Preschools.

 

 

April is Autism Acceptance Month 

Learn how you can celebrate differences, prevent barriers, and foster acceptance for the Autism community by supporting Autism Acceptance Month.  

Oregon’s Early Intervention (EI) /Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program supports the developmental and educational needs of children ages birth to five and their families. Local EI/ECSE programs can provide families a free screening and/or evaluation for children ages birth to five. Click here for more information.  

Use the below resources to celebrate Autism Acceptance in your community:  

Blue Child Abuse Awareness Ribbons hang from a tree outside the Oregon State Capitol Building in April 2022.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month 

By learning about child abuse prevention strategies and connecting families to services and supports, you can help families be healthy and stable, and keep their children safe.  

Last week, the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) shared the following in a news release to mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month:

“Everyone can play a part in strengthening and supporting families,” said Rebecca Jones Gaston, ODHS Child Welfare Director. “While the Child Welfare Division plays a specific role, I want to honor the work that is being done in the larger system of child and family well-being and encourage all Oregonians to be active in preventing child abuse.” 

Click here to read the full news release, which includes a variety of resources for families. ODHS also recognized the work of Relief Nurseries. The Oregon Relief Nursery program serves families in 19 counties across the state and partners with families to establish self-identified goals and build resilience. Visit the Oregon Relief Nurseries website for more information. 

 Another state program, Healthy Families Oregon, offers support and education to families who are expecting or parenting newborns. Trained staff support and empower parents to build nurturing parent-child relationships, learn about child development, and access community resources. Visit oregonearlylearning.com/healthy-families-oregon for more information.

Additional resources and professional development opportunities:  

REMINDERS 

Save the date: 

Provider Appreciation Day is May 6, 2022
Visit https://providerappreciation.org/ for more information.   

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 1 to 7 and Teacher Appreciation Day is May 3, 2022
Visit https://www.ptotoday.com/pto-today-articles/article/1407-teacher-appreciation-week-2022-resources for more information. 

UPDATE ON COVID-19 GUIDANCE
FOR SCHOOL-BASED CHILD CARE PROGRAMS

Note: If your program does NOT operate in or at a school facility, you can disregard this notice.

In the Early Learning Division’s April update to the COVID-19 Child Care Provider Requirements and Recommendations, changes stated that staff and volunteers of school-based programs would need to be “up to date” on vaccinations, rather than “fully” vaccinated as required via Oregon Health Authority OAR 333-019-1030.

Staff and volunteers of school-based programs are not required to be boosted (“up to date”) as stated in the guidance document.

Staff and volunteers ARE required to be fully vaccinated. “Fully vaccinated” means having received both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since the individual’s final dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The language in the guidance document should read:

“School-based program child care vaccination requirement:

School-based programs, as described above, must ensure that all staff and volunteers age 16 and older who enter the program are fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccinations.

  • Staff and volunteers may not teach, work, learn, assist, observe, or volunteer at a program unless they are fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccinations or have provided documentation of a medical or religious exception.”

We appreciate programs’ understanding, and apologize for any confusion. Please contact your licensing specialist with any questions.

Special Update: COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Providers Now Available The Early Learning Division (ELD) released updated guidance for COVID-19 and child care settings to mirror the statewide requirements that were adjusted this spring. The April 2022 version of “Child Care COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” is now available on ELD’s “For Providers” webpage. Some of the key guidance changes include the following: Updated exclusion requirements and recommendations for child care Mask recommendations that encourage programs to support individual choice to wear a mask Updated recommendations for prevention strategies Who to notify if there’s a case of COVID-19 in a facility Many of these changes have already been in effect. A number of resource documents are also available such a “Respect my mask” sign for families, an updated exclusion chart, and masking handout. You can find these resources, along with Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine, on the ELD’s “For Providers” webpage.

Special Update:
COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Providers Now Available

The Early Learning Division (ELD) released updated guidance for COVID-19 and child care settings to mirror the statewide requirements that were adjusted this spring. The April 2022 version of “Child Care COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” is available below.

Some of the key guidance changes include the following: 

  • Updated exclusion requirements and recommendations for child care 
  • Mask recommendations that encourage programs to support individual choice to wear a mask 
  • Updated recommendations for prevention strategies 
  • Who to notify if there’s a case of COVID-19 in a facility 

Many of these changes have already been in effect. A number of resource documents are also available such a  “Respect my mask” sign for families, an updated exclusion chart, and masking handout.  

You can find these resources, along with Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine, on the ELD’s “For Providers” webpage.

A teacher and a young child smile at the camera, both are masked.

COVID-19 Provider Resources Available  

The Early Learning Division (ELD) partnered with the Oregon Health Authority to develop resources on masking and exclusion for providers. Some of the items available include a  “Respect my mask” sign for families in various languages, an updated exclusion chart, and masking handout.  

You can find these resources, along with Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine, on the ELD’s “For Providers” webpage.

NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child®: April 2 to 8, 2022 

Let’s celebrate Oregon’s young children and their families! The Week of the Young Child® is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Check out NAEYC’s resources and ideas for a fun-filled week.  

Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a statewide proclamation to recognize the 51st Week of the Young Child®, encouraging Oregonians to support children and the adults who love, care for, and educate them.  

As stated in the proclamation by Brown, “The essential, yet chronically undercompensated child care sector has sacrificed and struggled to serve families since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and public policies and public investments that support children in high-quality, culturally responsive early learning and child care are vital to all Oregonians.”  

Watch for something special on Governor Kate Brown’s Twitter account this Thursday, April 7.  

Baby girl gets help from mother at a slide on playground in summer

Spring 2022 Award Increase for COVID-19 Child Care Stabilization Grant Announced 

After reviewing all the COVID-19 Child Care Stabilization Grant applications submitted in 2021, it was determined there were remaining funds to distribute. The funds will be distributed to all child cares with an active Stabilization grant. Child care providers who may be eligible for these funds were notified by email in March 2022. The Early Learning Division (ELD) is not opening a new application. 

ELD is currently in the process of sending out the updated awards to eligible child cares for signatures. You must sign your grant within 30 days from the date you received it or it will expire. On average, awards will increase by about 25% and the grant end date will be extended by three months. If you do not wish to accept additional funding, simply reject it using the Decline to Sign feature under the Other Actions menu in DocuSign.  

If you have questions, contact us at ECCgrants@ode.oregon.gov or 971-707-2029. 

New Report Reveals Community Partnerships are Key in Advancing Equity and Inclusion for Children Under Five Experiencing Disabilities 

Prioritizing partnerships to focus on equity and inclusion for children under five is critical to helping our earliest learners experiencing disabilities. That’s the key finding revealed in the Oregon Early Childhood Inclusion Indicators Initiative Annual Report released today by Oregon Department of Education (ODE), Early Learning Division, and early learning system leaders and advocates around the state.   

The report, released during National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, outlines the vision, mission, and progress towards creating equal opportunity to access high-quality early care and education for children experiencing disabilities. It also highlights the need for continued investments to ensure families, providers, general and special education staff have the support they need to provide stable and continuous care for young children in community and early care and education environments. Read all the details in ODE’s news release. 

Reminders

Call for Participation: IECMHC Rulemaking Advisory Committee
Join the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC). A RAC is a group of community members who will help the Early Learning Division shape and implement rule language for the IECMHC system, including the Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program. Apply today and help build an anti-racist, equity-focused IECMHC system. Applications are due Friday, April 8, 2022.  Click here for more information on how to apply. 

Save the dates:

Photo credit: Oregon State Governor’s Office
Early Learning System Director Alyssa Chatterjee looks on as Governor Kate Brown signs House Bill 4005 into law.

Oregon Legislature Approves
Significant Child Care Investments 
 

The 2022 Legislative Session came to close this month and there were many wins for early learning and child care. Notable legislation includes the following: 

Passed HB 4005: Early Care and Education Governance  

This legislation builds on HB 3073 (2021), which established the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC). HB 4005 delays the establishment of DELC to July 1, 2023. It also transfers the license-exempt child care background check process for subsidized care from the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) to the Office of Child Care in the ELD. Among several other provisions, HB 4005 increased Employment Related Day Care reimbursement rates for child care providers and allocated $26.6 million to fund those new rates for the remainder of this biennium.  

Released Funds for Program Expansion  

The legislature released $38 million, which was unscheduled until the Division could show community capacity for expansion of Preschool Promise, Oregon Prenatal to Kindergarten and Healthy Families Oregon.  

Released Funds for Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention 

The legislature released $5.2 million that was unscheduled until the Division could gather community input to fully develop the program and ensure there are adequate staff to provide program supports across Oregon for providers. 

Passed SB 1547: Recorded Programs Oversight  

Requires the staff and volunteers of recorded programs to enroll in the Central Background Registry, in accordance with recommendations from a 2020 Secretary of State audit on child care background checks. 

Passed HB 5202: Omnibus Budget 

This bill included several pieces: 

  • Approved $6.8 million for  66 positions to continue the development of the Department of Early Learning and Care. 

Added investments for child care supply building and wage enhancements:  

  • $39.3 million for child care supply building grants to community based organizations (NeighborhoodImpact, Euvalcree, United We Heal and Seeding Justice) for startup costs, program expansion, training and professional learning.  
  • $21 million for Portland State University’s Oregon Center for Career Development in Child Care to award two annual $500 recruitment and retention payments to child care staff working in Oregon.  
  • Relief Nurseries received a $2 million investment from the legislature for increased wages.  
  • Health Families Oregon received a $2 million investment from the legislature for increased wages. 

School-Age Rulemaking Advisory Committee:
Deadline Extended
 

The deadline to submit an application to join the School-Age Rulemaking Advisory Committee has been extended to Friday, March 18, 2022. If you are connected to school-age child care programs or interested in providing this type of care, please consider applying to join this committee. This type of care is also known as out-of-school-time (OST) care and before- and afterschool care programs. Click here for more information and to apply.  

Call for Participation:
IECMHC Rulemaking Advisory Committee

The Early Learning Division is seeking diverse voices to represent groups within Oregon’s Early Learning system. Please consider applying to join the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC). A RAC is a group of community members who will help the Early Learning Division shape and implement rule language for the IECMHC system, including the Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program. Members will advise on requirements for ECE programs around suspension and expulsion. Apply today and help build an anti-racist, equity-focused IECMHC system. 
 
Participants will be reimbursed for their time dedicated to this RAC and will positively impact Oregon’s children, families, early learning programs, and communities.  

Applications are due Friday, April 8, 2022.  

OSU Receives $14.4 Million for Statewide Center to Support Early Childhood Educators  

Oregon State University will use a new $14.4 million grant from Oregon’s Early Learning Division to establish a statewide center focused on strengthening the early childhood education workforce in Oregon. 

The Early Learning Systems Initiative center will be housed within OSU’s Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families. Read all the details in OSU’s news release.  

Abstract image of various heads overlapping

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

This March and throughout the year, consider your role in communities and how you can advocate for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (ID/DD).

What is your role as an educator and caregiver? What services and resources are you sharing with families in your community? How are you incorporating “disability” in conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion? How can Oregon’s early learning system support and empower families of children with disabilities?

The Oregon Early Childhood Inclusion Initiative and Pyramid Model Implementation grants are supporting communities to partner in new and innovative ways. For more information about the early learning system efforts to advance inclusion in early care and education, click here.

Other early learning system supports include: 

REMINDERS 

Coming soon – ELD will host another provider information session in May. More details will be shared soon.   


Save the date: Week of the Young Child is April 2 to 8

NAEYC’s 2022 Week of the Young Child® celebration is April 2 to 8. Visit NAEYC.org/woyc for ideas and resources to help you plan.

Mask Requirement Lifting March 11,
Quarantine Guidance Changes
 

Earlier this week, Governor Brown announced Oregon will lift mask requirements for indoor public spaces and schools, including child care, on March 11, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. This decision is based on current COVID-19 case forecasting, which projects hospitalizations falling below 400 or fewer Oregonians per day by March 12. This will return Oregon to a level of hospitalization experienced prior to the Omicron variant. Additionally, because of high vaccination rates and previous infection due to Omicron, Oregon now has significant population immunity.  

Beginning March 12, 2022, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will pause the quarantine requirement for individuals exposed to COVID-19 in child care and K-12 settings. Staff and children who test positive must be excluded from child care and isolate at home for 5 days. They may then return when symptoms are improving and  they have been fever-free for 24 hours. When returning to care, staff and children that had tested positive, if 2 years and older, should wear a well-fitting mask in child care and public settings for an additional 5 days after their isolation is completed.  

The OHA and Early Learning Division (ELD) recommend that early education and child care programs notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms or test, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they are symptomatic or test positive. Early education and child care programs may choose to impose stricter isolation, quarantine or masking requirements. 

The ELD will be updating its COVID-19 guidance document to include changes to mask requirements and isolation and quarantine guidelines. Please continue to stay connected via the Child Care Updates newsletter and social media for when a new version of this document is available.  

Providers with questions can contact their licensing specialist, email ProviderContact@ode.oregon.gov or reference the FAQ below.

COVID-19 FAQs

Q: What are the quarantine and isolation guidelines for child care settings? – Updated March 2, 2022

Due to declining COVID-19 case rates and high levels of immunity, beginning March 12, 2022, Oregon Health Authority has paused the quarantine requirement for individuals exposed to COVID-19 in child care and K-12 settings. Individuals who test positive must be excluded from child care and isolate at home for 5 days. They may then return when symptoms are resolving and fever-free for 24 hours. When returning to care, that individual should wear a well-fitting mask in child care and public settings for 5 days after their isolation started. Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they have two or more COVID symptoms or test positive. Early education and child care programs may choose to impose stricter isolation, quarantine or masking requirements.

Q: Does a child care program need to close if there’s a positive COVID-19 case? If so, for how long?

ELD does not require closure of programs. However, a program may need to close if there are too many staff excluded for isolation maintain operations and staffing ratios.

Q: What are child care providers required to communicate to families if there is a positive COVID-19 case? – Updated March 2, 2022

Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they are symptomatic or positive. Providers must also communicate about a confirmed COVID-19 case to Local Public Health Authority.

Q: Can a parent ask if a child care staff member is vaccinated?

The Early Learning Division does not have authority to determine if parents are allowed to ask vaccination status. A provider or staff member may choose to answer or not.

Q: Are masks still required indoors?

The statewide indoor mask requirement ended on March 11, 2022. A child care program can choose whether to require masks. Head Start federal mask requirements are still currently in place.

The Early Learning Division and the Oregon Health Authority in alignment with the Center for Disease Control, strongly recommend that masks be worn by all individuals age 2 and older indoors when:

  • There are high  levels of COVID-19 transmission in communities
  • There are medium  levels of COVID-19 transmission and individuals are:
    • Unvaccinated
    • Immunocompromised
    • At high risk of COVID-19 hospitalization
    • 65 and older or with underlying health conditions
    • Living with people who have underlying health conditions.

Some programs may choose to continue universal masking at lower COVID-19 community levels because it promotes an inclusive and supportive environment for those children and staff who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19.

Q: Can a parent ask their child care program to support distance learning?

This is a business decision that should be made by individual programs.

Q: Are testing kits available to child care programs?

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has a limited supply of testing kits to distribute across the state. For the first time, there are tests available for a limited number of early learning programs. These kits are being allocated to support Head Start, Preschool Promise and Relief Nurseries across the state. Unfortunately, that means a number of child care programs still do not have access to free tests. We are working with OHA to identify additional resources to serve more early learning and child care programs throughout Oregon.

Free at home COVID-19 tests are available through the federal government’s website with a limit of four at-home tests per residential address.

While there are testing shortages, OHA is prioritizing testing for the following:

  • Individuals with moderate to severe illness who require medical care
  • Individuals with symptoms or exposure at high risk for complications who meet eligibility criteria for COVID-19 therapeutics

Symptomatic individuals with mild symptoms who do not require medical care may be advised to isolate while recovering and not be recommended for testing during supply constraints.

Q: Can a provider accept an at home COVID-19 test?

Yes

Q: Can you explain what is a “well-fitting mask” for children?

It’s any mask that fits snuggly and the child will wear reliably.

Q: Where can I find additional resources?

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources (general): https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-resources

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources: Supporting Families Prenatally to Age 5:
https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HEALTHYPEOPLEFAMILIES/DATAREPORTS/Pages/COVID-19-Resources.aspx

Q: Is daily symptom screening still recommended?

Daily screening is no longer required. However, staff and family should be aware of COVID-19 symptoms, and individuals should be excluded if symptoms develop. If symptomatic, it is recommended they get tested for COVID-19.

Q: Are child care providers still required to notify Local Public Health if there is a positive COVID-19 case in their facility?

Yes, per ORS 333-019-0010, programs are required to report COVID-19 cases to the Local Public Health Authority.

A child care provider stacks over-sized Lego blocks with a young child

Provider Information Session Recordings Available

The Early Learning Division held provider information sessions on March 1 and March 2. In these sessions, ELD discussed the rulemaking process, feedback opportunities, and COVID-19 updates.  

  • Click here to view the March 1 (All Provider Types) English session.  
  • Click here to view the March 2 (All Provider Types) Spanish session.  
Individuals all feeding babies a bottle

Infant Formula Recall:
Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products  
 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating certain brands of powdered infant formula. If you use powdered infant formula, be aware certain Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products have been recalled and should not be used. Here’s how you can tell if you have any of those products: 

The FDA recommends consumers look at the lot code, a multidigit number on the bottom of a container of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formula and do not use if: 

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; and  
  • the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2; and  
  • the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later. 

In addition to products described above, Abbott Nutrition has recalled Similac PM 60/40 with a lot code of 27032K80 (can) / 27032K800 (case). 

Click here for more information on infections reported, symptoms, and locations.  

Celebrate Women’s History Month 

Women’s contributions to America are largely missing from the traditional American history narrative. In honor of Women’s History Month, the Early Learning Division gathered the resources listed below to highlight stories from women who have contributed through their work, creativity, and resolve.

Picture Books 

12 Picture Books to Read for Women’s History Month | Anti-Defamation League

Reminders 

  • Supportive Environmental Quality Underlying Adult Learning (SEQUAL) Survey
    The deadline for the SEQUAL survey is Sunday, March 6, 2022. Look for an email from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) and titled “SEQUAL Survey: Oregon Early Educators Share Your Voice.” This research was made possible by the Early Learning Division. 
  • Fire Safety Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)
    The Early Learning Division recently passed temporary fire safety rules to serve as an alternative to the Department of Consumer Business Services sprinkler requirement. ELD is interested in engaging family child care programs and parents/caregivers with children in family child care programs to join this committee. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022Click here for more information and to apply.  
  • School-Age Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)
    If you are connected to school-age child care programs or interested in providing this type of care, please consider applying to join this committee. This type of care is also known as out-of-school-time (OST) care and before- and afterschool care programs. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022. Click here for more information and to apply.

Statewide Mask Requirement to End March 11*

-UPDATED FEBRUARY 28, 2022-

With falling hospitalization rates, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced it is lifting the statewide indoor mask requirement on March 11, 2022*. This change will apply to child care and the Early Learning Division (ELD) will update its “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” guidance.  

Child care programs can still choose to continue masking. The ELD, in partnership with the OHA, still highly recommends that child care programs continue to have all individuals ages two and older wear masks. If an entire classroom or group does not wear masks, quarantine and isolation currently remains at 10 days. Masking helps to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread and allows for a shorter return after illness or exposure in child care settings with low rates of vaccination overall.  

Some things a program can consider:  

  • Encourage eligible staff and children ages 5 and up to get vaccinated and boosted if they have not done so. Learn more at Get Vaccinated Oregon.  
  • It’s recommended people at risk for severe COVID-19 continue masking and include people who are unvaccinated; immunocompromised; at high risk of COVID-19 hospitalization; 65 and older or with underlying health conditions; and those living with people who have underlying health conditions. 
  • Those who are up to date on their vaccinations do not need to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19. Vaccination ensures continued access to in-person care.  

Effective February 25, 2022, CDC does not require wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs**. However, masks are currently still required in Head Start, Early Head Start, and Oregon Pre-kindergarten programs until lifted by the federal government. 

While there have been many changes to child care guidance over the past two years, this represents a turning point in the pandemic for Oregon. Thanks to masks and booster shots, Oregon has had some of the lowest case rates (3rd lowest) and lowest death rates (7th lowest) in the country. At the state level, ELD and OHA will continue to monitor the path of the pandemic in Oregon and adjust our guidance to prioritize safety in child care settings for both children and providers.   

“We know that the pandemic has been particularly challenging for those providing child care, and for the families who have been impacted by program closures,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, Oregon Early Learning System Director. “I am hopeful this is the first change of many that will start to resemble a return to ‘normal.’ However, we also must remember that COVID-19 is still present in Oregon – masking and vaccines continue to be the strongest tools to fight the virus. I want to thank you for your continued dedication to the children and families you work with every day.”  

* The original version of this article stated the indoor mask requirement ended on March 19, 2022. The text has been updated to reflect Governor Brown’s announcement this morning (February 28) that moved the date up to March 11, 2022.
** On February 24, this article stated that masks were still required for everyone two years and older on public transportation, which included school buses, until lifted by the federal government and could not be waived by state or local authorities. This mandate was lifted on February 25.

COVID-19 FAQ for Providers

Q: What are the quarantine and isolation guidelines for child care settings? – Updated March 2, 2022

Due to declining COVID-19 case rates and high levels of immunity, beginning March 12, 2022, Oregon Health Authority has paused the quarantine requirement for individuals exposed to COVID-19 in child care and K-12 settings. Individuals who test positive must be excluded from child care and isolate at home for 5 days. They may then return when symptoms are resolving and fever-free for 24 hours. When returning to care, that individual should wear a well-fitting mask in child care and public settings for 5 days after their isolation started. Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they have two or more COVID symptoms or test positive. Early education and child care programs may choose to impose stricter isolation, quarantine or masking requirements.

Q: Does a child care program need to close if there’s a positive COVID-19 case? If so, for how long?

ELD does not require closure of programs. However, a program may need to close if there are too many staff excluded for isolation maintain operations and staffing ratios.

Q: What are child care providers required to communicate to families if there is a positive COVID-19 case? – Updated March 2, 2022

Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they are symptomatic or positive. Providers must also communicate about a confirmed COVID-19 case to Local Public Health Authority.

Q: Can a parent ask if a child care staff member is vaccinated?

The Early Learning Division does not have authority to determine if parents are allowed to ask vaccination status. A provider or staff member may choose to answer or not.

Q: Are masks still required indoors?

The statewide indoor mask requirement ended on March 11, 2022. A child care program can choose whether to require masks. Head Start federal mask requirements are still currently in place.

The Early Learning Division and the Oregon Health Authority in alignment with the Center for Disease Control, strongly recommend that masks be worn by all individuals age 2 and older indoors when:

  • There are high  levels of COVID-19 transmission in communities
  • There are medium  levels of COVID-19 transmission and individuals are:
    • Unvaccinated
    • Immunocompromised
    • At high risk of COVID-19 hospitalization
    • 65 and older or with underlying health conditions
    • Living with people who have underlying health conditions.

Some programs may choose to continue universal masking at lower COVID-19 community levels because it promotes an inclusive and supportive environment for those children and staff who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19.

Q: Can a parent ask their child care program to support distance learning?

This is a business decision that should be made by individual programs.

Q: Are testing kits available to child care programs?

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has a limited supply of testing kits to distribute across the state. For the first time, there are tests available for a limited number of early learning programs. These kits are being allocated to support Head Start, Preschool Promise and Relief Nurseries across the state. Unfortunately, that means a number of child care programs still do not have access to free tests. We are working with OHA to identify additional resources to serve more early learning and child care programs throughout Oregon.

Free at home COVID-19 tests are available through the federal government’s website with a limit of four at-home tests per residential address.

While there are testing shortages, OHA is prioritizing testing for the following:

  • Individuals with moderate to severe illness who require medical care
  • Individuals with symptoms or exposure at high risk for complications who meet eligibility criteria for COVID-19 therapeutics

Symptomatic individuals with mild symptoms who do not require medical care may be advised to isolate while recovering and not be recommended for testing during supply constraints.

Q: Can a provider accept an at home COVID-19 test?

Yes

Q: Can you explain what is a “well-fitting mask” for children?

It’s any mask that fits snuggly and the child will wear reliably.

Q: Where can I find additional resources?

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources (general): https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-resources

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources: Supporting Families Prenatally to Age 5:
https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HEALTHYPEOPLEFAMILIES/DATAREPORTS/Pages/COVID-19-Resources.aspx

Q: Is daily symptom screening still recommended?

Daily screening is no longer required. However, staff and family should be aware of COVID-19 symptoms, and individuals should be excluded if symptoms develop. If symptomatic, it is recommended they get tested for COVID-19.

Q: Are child care providers still required to notify Local Public Health if there is a positive COVID-19 case in their facility?

Yes, per ORS 333-019-0010, programs are required to report COVID-19 cases to the Local Public Health Authority.

A child care provider stacks over-sized Lego blocks with a young child

ELD Provider Information Sessions: March 1 and 2 

Join us for the March Provider Information Sessions: 

  • Learn about the Early Learning Division’s rulemaking process  
  • Review and provide feedback on draft rules  
  • Check in on COVID-19

Note: These meetings are planned for an extra half hour to provide adequate time for the topics.   

Tuesday, March 1 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.
All provider types. Interpretation available. Note: Attendees using interpretation services in Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and ASL should join this session via Zoom, not Facebook.
Zoom Registration 

Wednesday, March 2 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.
All provider types. Presented in Spanish.
Zoom Registration

This is a virtual event. Registration is required to attend via Zoom. You may submit questions in advance on the registration form. You may also participate on ELD’s Facebook page live stream at the same time. ELD staff will monitor the Facebook comment section for questions. 

Photo of a group of fire extinguishers lined up.

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

Fire Safety Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)

We are interested in engaging family child care programs and parents/caregivers with children in family child care programs to join this committee. The Early Learning Division recently passed temporary fire safety rules to serve as an alternative to the Department of Consumer Business Services sprinkler requirement.

A RAC is a group of community members who help agency staff shape and implement rule language for child care programs. This committee will provide input for permanent fire safety rules that will apply to all Registered Family (RF) and Certified Family (CF) programs.

Participants will be reimbursed for their time dedicated to this RAC and will positively impact child care across Oregon. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022. 

Five school-age children eat ice cream outside on a sunny day.

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

School-Age Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)

If you are connected to school-age child care programs or interested in providing this type of care, please consider applying to join this committee. This type of care is also known as out-of-school-time (OST) care and before- and afterschool care programs. A RAC is a group of community members who help agency staff shape and implement rule language for school-age child care programs.

Participants will be reimbursed for their time dedicated to this RAC and will positively impact child care across Oregon. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022.  

Baby girl gets help from mother at a slide on playground in summer

Stabilization Grant Data Correction  

During the February 1, 2022 Provider Information Session, we shared data to show the percentages of providers by type receiving Stabilization grants. It came to our attention there was an error in how that data was gathered. We regret any confusion this may have caused and have posted the correct percentages to the Early Learning Division website. Click below for more information.  

  • Correction to data reported on Stabilization grant saturation rate

Free Training Sessions

Supporting Kindergarten Transitions

Two upcoming FREE, virtual training sessions are being offered by the ABI Community to provide information and resources to help support children ages three to seven with an Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) in the transition to kindergarten. This session is hosted by NW Disability Support in partnership with Multnomah Early Childhood Program. Sessions will be offered in English with Spanish interpretation available. If you need interpretation, please register and request interpretation.  

Portfolios: How to Truly Partner with your School Team for Success with Dr. Cindy Ryan
March 10, 2022 | Click here for more information and to register.
Visual Supports and Communication that Supports Success in Inclusive Settings
April 14, 2022 | Click here for more information and to register.  

About ABI Community:
ABI Community empowers and supports families and individuals whose lives have been touched by developmental disability. ABI works to increase education, promote public understanding and acceptance, advocate for full inclusion, and defend the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. ABI & Northwest Down Syndrome Association (NWDSA) are programs of NW Disability Support, a 501c3 non-profit organization. 

REMINDERS: 

  • CPSC Sues Leachco Over Suffocation Hazard from Defective Infant Loungers, Seeks Notice and Refund to Consumers from Company
    Following reports of two infant deaths, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers to immediately stop using the Podster, Podster Plush, Bummzie and Podster Playtime (the “Podsters”) infant loungers manufactured by Leachco, Inc. of Ada, Oklahoma. The Commission has found that the public health and safety requires this notice to warn the public quickly of the hazard. Click here for more information.  
  • February is Black History Month
    Celebrate Black History Month with children, families, and colleagues in your early learning community. Click on the February 1 publication of Child Care Updates for a full list of resources and professional development opportunities. 
  • Supportive Environmental Quality Underlying Adult Learning (SEQUAL) Survey
    The deadline for the SEQUAL survey (conducted by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California, Berkeley) has been extended to March 6, 2022. Look for an email from CSCCE and titled “SEQUAL Survey: Oregon Early Educators Share Your Voice.” This research was made possible by the Early Learning Division. 
May 17
Photo of a group of fire extinguishers lined up.

Fire Safety for Certified Family and Registered Family

Providers are invited to share feedback on the Fire Safety Family Care rule until May 25, 2022 at 10 a.m. The Early Learning Division (ELD) has worked with providers, early learning advocates, and other government organizations to strengthen fire safety rules in family care settings during the past year. Specifically, the goal was to create permanent rules about cost-effective alternatives to automatic sprinklers statewide, a rule introduced in April 2021 by Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services. 

Review the rules on our website. 

Image of crib bumpers

Crib Bumpers Prohibited in Child Care    

The Oregon State Legislature recently amended a statute to prohibit the use of crib bumper pads for children up to age 3. This change also prohibits a facility from having crib bumper pads on the premises, unless a medical professional has determined that using a crib bumper pad is medically necessary for a particular child who uses a crib in the licensed facility. 

The Office of Child Care will be revising the rules for Certified Centers, Certified Family and Registered Family child care facilities to align with this change in statute.  

Aide II Rule Change Proposed for Certified Child Care Centers 

After receiving feedback from providers, the Early Learning Division (ELD) will be moving to allow Aide II positions to have increased supervision in Certified Child Care Centers as a permanent rule change. ELD will recommend the Early Learning Council adopt the rule at its June 29, 2022 meeting.   

 ELD anticipates this change will assist providers with retaining staff and allow for greater flexibility within programs. 

OAR 300-0110(3) states, “An Aide II may support teachers in caring for children but may not be left alone with a group of children, except when:  (a) Supervising a group of children for no more than 60 minutes at a time, not to exceed more than 120 minutes of Aide II supervision per day, provided staff-to-child ratios are maintained, and there is another staff who is teacher, head teacher, or director qualified present at the facility. An Aide II may supervise an Aide I for no more than 60 minutes at a time.” 

If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email  

ProviderContact@ode.oregon.gov. 

baby formula on a blue background

New Resource for Families to Find Formula During the Infant Formula Shortage 

If you are struggling to find infant formula, this new fact sheet created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services includes resources for locating safe formula.  

You should not water down formula, try to make formula at home, or use toddler formula to feed infants. Do not discard formula unless it is expired or is part of the recall. Check your formula’s lot code to see if it was affected by the recall. 

image: children's hands holding a flat wood cutout art of a human head with a heart where the brain would normally be

May is Mental Health Awareness Month  

Oregon’s early learning and care professionals play a critical role in supporting the mental health and well-being of children, families, and staff in their child care setting. In addition to sharing resources and creating a safe, welcoming child care setting and community, you can also support others by sharing your own experiences.  

In a recent Education Week article, David Shapiro, program manager at the Colorado School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Work, & Environment shared how it’s important to have “people be willing to share their stories, and I think this starts with leaders. [They can tell staff], ‘This pandemic has been challenging for my own mental health—here’s how it impacted me, and I’ve used my mental health benefits [to get help]’. The more we can build the story of mental health, the more we can spread awareness, the more we can reduce stigma.” 

Click here to read the article and click here to learn about “StigmaFree,” a campaign by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.  

Your mental health matters. Visit https://mhanational.org/teachers-protecting-your-mental-health for ways to help yourself and others in the field. 

Click below for additional resources and professional development opportunities.  

Photo of two girls reading a book together

Coming Soon: DELC Mission, Vision, and Values Feedback Survey 

The Early Learning Division (ELD) needs your help with establishing the new agency, Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC). Watch for announcements about this opportunity to inform DELC and help create a mission, vision, and values that reflects, represents, and supports Oregon communities. 

Photo of blocks spelling out reminder

REMINDERS:  

Health, Safety, and Nutrition Requirement  

Certified Family and Certified Center staff are required to complete at least one hour of Health, Safety, and Nutrition (HSN) training before their facility’s license renewal. 

Registered Family providers and substitutes need to complete the annual HSN training before the end of each year of their license. 

Providers can look for training on the online calendar. 

DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR STATEWIDE SURVEY  
Center- and familybased owners, directors, teachers, assistants, and aides (whether currently employed or not) —share your experiences by completing this survey by May 31, 2022. If you are eligible, you will receive an email with a link to the survey. Look for an email from “The Preschool Development Grant” that you would have received around April 18. Questions? Didn’t get an email and think you should have? Contact Denise Ford. Email: denisef@oslc.org Call or text: 916-205-6851. 

May 5
Photo: someone does chest compressions on a CPR dumby.

In-person CPR Training Required After June 30, 2022 

The temporary Oregon Administrative Rule allowing online CPR training will expire on June 30, 2022. Providers who took an online CPR class between March 24, 2020 and June 30, 2022, will receive training credit in the Oregon Registry Online. When it is time for renewal of CPR/First Aid certification, providers must complete CPR training with in-person instruction. All CPR classes completed on or after July 1, 2022, must have the in-person training component. 

If you’re looking for classes, contact your local Child Care Resource & Referral office, or check the Oregon Registry Online Training Calendar at https://calendar.oregonregistryonline.org. If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email occ.customerservice@ode.oregon.gov. 

A person searches a computer registry

Public Comment Open for Temporary Rules for Recorded and License-Exempt Employment Related Day Care Providers

Public comment is now open on the Early Learning Division’s (ELD) website for a temporary rule to allow recorded programs, which are currently unlicensed facilities, to be enrolled in the Central Background Registry. License-exempt ERDC providers will also be required to enroll in the Central Background Registry.  

This rulemaking gives ELD the authority to include both recorded programs and license exempt subsidy recipients into the pool of “subject individuals.” These rules will be proposed for temporary adoption at the May 25, 2022 Early Learning Council meeting. 

For more details on how to comment or participate, go to https://oregonearlylearning.com/may-2022-admin-rule-updates 

Photo of two girls reading a book together

Have you heard? ELD Will Soon Become DELC 

The Early Learning Division, along with a few Oregon Department of Human Services programs such as Employment Related Day Care, will be changing to the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC) in about a year. What is the advantage of joining early childhood education systems into one agency? There are several benefits: 

  • Maximize early learning funding and expansion opportunities 
  • Increase the number of culturally responsive child care and early learning settings 
  • Improve access to high-quality child care and early learning for all Oregonians 
  • Deliver more equitable services for families, children, and providers 

In a nutshell, the creation of DELC allows us to expand and strengthen early learning systems to better serve Oregon’s children and families. 

Learn more by visiting the DELC website.

Share Your Gratitude on Provider Appreciation Day: May 6, 2022

This week, we’re celebrating you, providers, and all your contributions! Provider Appreciation Day® is May 6, 2022 – celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day every year to recognize child care providers, teachers, and educators of young children everywhere. 

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issued a statewide proclamation to recognize National Provider Appreciation Day, encouraging Oregonians to thank child care providers for their dedication and support of the social, emotional, and physical care of our youngest children. 

As stated in the proclamation, “The COVID-19 pandemic has created tremendous hardship for child care providers and the families of Oregon who depend on them,” she said. “Providers have continued to meet the needs of families, while risking their health and financial stability to remain open.”    

Oregonians can share stories and offer gratitude on social media with the tag #ThankYouChildCare or #ThankATeacher. 

 

A graphic that says "Asian Pacific Heritage Month

ELD Celebrates Asian American and
Pacific Islander Heritage Month
 

This month and throughout the year, we honor and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) identity, culture, and history. NPR recently published an article about the background of AAPI Heritage Month, The story behind Asian Pacific American Heritage, and why it’s celebrated in May.”

“Our history is also filled with incredible stories of resilience, of persistence, of determination, to fight for our basic rights. This is a celebration of our history, of our culture … and all the different ways in which our community has really demonstrated that we’re not only here to stay, we are a part of this fabric — a part of this country.”
– Cynthia Choi, co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action and co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate

Click here to read more.  

In addition, check out these resources and professional development opportunities: 

A finger with a string tied around it as a reminder.

Reminders:  

  • OREGON EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND CARE PROVIDERS INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN STATEWIDE SURVEY 
    Center- and family based owners, directors, teachers, assistants, and aides (whether currently employed or not) share your experiences by completing this survey by May 16, 2022. If you are eligible, you will receive an email with a link to the survey. Look for an email from “The Preschool Development Grant” that you would have received around April 18. Questions? Didn’t get an email and think you should have? Contact Denise Ford. Email: denisef@oslc.org Call or text: 916-205-6851.
  • MAY PROVIDER INFORMATION SESSIONS
    The recording for the session (English language) on Tuesday, May 3 is available here. The next session (Spanish language) will be 6 to 7 p.m. tonight, May 5. Click here for the Zoom invite. In these sessions, ELD shares a recap 2022 Legislative Session, discusses the ELD Programs Team and Preschool Promise, and provides a check-in on COVID-19. 

To all of our providers who are moms, ELD wishes you an early Happy Mother’s Day! 

April 20
Photo of a child care worker holding a baby and smiling down at a toddler.

Save the Date: ELD Provider Information Sessions: May 3 and 5 

Mark your calendar for the May Provider Information Sessions  

Tuesday, May 3, 6 – 7 p.m. (All Provider Types)
Thursday, May 5, 6- 7 p.m.  (Spanish Language)

The agenda will cover the following: 

  • Recap 2022 Legislative Session  
  • Learn about the ELD Programs Team and Preschool Promise  
  • Check in on COVID-19 

An invitation with meeting links is coming soon.   

A child care provider colors with two small children.

Oregon Early Childhood Education and Care Providers Invited to Participate in Statewide Survey 

The Oregon Early Learning Division (ELD) would like to hear from early childhood education and care providers and learn about their experiences during the last year (since March 2021). The ELD is asking providers for feedback on how to best to offer support. Center- and family based owners, directors, teachers, assistants, and aides (whether currently employed or not), are encouraged to share their experiences. 

If you are eligible, you will receive an email with a link to the survey. Look for an email from “The Preschool Development Grant” during the week of April 18. Check your spam folders. 

Survey deadline: Monday, May 16, 2022. 

Questions? Didn’t get an email and think you should have?
Contact Denise Ford with OSLC Developments Inc.
Email: denisef@oslc.org Call or text: 916-205-6851 

Children at Jardin Infantil in Hermiston participate in an enrichment activity.

Federal Grants Help Stabilize Child Care Programs in Oregon During the Pandemic 

When COVID-19 struck in 2020, families and child care providers were left to navigate the uncertainty of the virus. Some parents decided to keep their children out of care, while providers struggled to hire and retain staff and keep pace with expenses.  

Thanks to federal funding, the Early Learning Division (ELD) was able to support 3,286 programs with COVID-19 Child Care Stabilization Grants. To receive these funds, a child care program had to be open and providing care and apply before the end of 2021.  

Last week, we introduced three child care providers who used these dollars to remain open, while making program improvements or supporting their staff. Meet the providers we featured on our website, who operate programs in Eugene, Washington County, and Hermiston. 

Karsyn Lovendahl stands in the indoor playroom at her home-based child care in Eugene. Lovendahl was able to use stabilization grant funding to expand the space to care for children.

 

Sabi Valesco at her Aloha location of Amazing Minds Child Development Center and Preschools.

 

 

April is Autism Acceptance Month 

Learn how you can celebrate differences, prevent barriers, and foster acceptance for the Autism community by supporting Autism Acceptance Month.  

Oregon’s Early Intervention (EI) /Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program supports the developmental and educational needs of children ages birth to five and their families. Local EI/ECSE programs can provide families a free screening and/or evaluation for children ages birth to five. Click here for more information.  

Use the below resources to celebrate Autism Acceptance in your community:  

Blue Child Abuse Awareness Ribbons hang from a tree outside the Oregon State Capitol Building in April 2022.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month 

By learning about child abuse prevention strategies and connecting families to services and supports, you can help families be healthy and stable, and keep their children safe.  

Last week, the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) shared the following in a news release to mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month:

“Everyone can play a part in strengthening and supporting families,” said Rebecca Jones Gaston, ODHS Child Welfare Director. “While the Child Welfare Division plays a specific role, I want to honor the work that is being done in the larger system of child and family well-being and encourage all Oregonians to be active in preventing child abuse.” 

Click here to read the full news release, which includes a variety of resources for families. ODHS also recognized the work of Relief Nurseries. The Oregon Relief Nursery program serves families in 19 counties across the state and partners with families to establish self-identified goals and build resilience. Visit the Oregon Relief Nurseries website for more information. 

 Another state program, Healthy Families Oregon, offers support and education to families who are expecting or parenting newborns. Trained staff support and empower parents to build nurturing parent-child relationships, learn about child development, and access community resources. Visit oregonearlylearning.com/healthy-families-oregon for more information.

Additional resources and professional development opportunities:  

REMINDERS 

Save the date: 

Provider Appreciation Day is May 6, 2022
Visit https://providerappreciation.org/ for more information.   

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 1 to 7 and Teacher Appreciation Day is May 3, 2022
Visit https://www.ptotoday.com/pto-today-articles/article/1407-teacher-appreciation-week-2022-resources for more information. 

April 13

UPDATE ON COVID-19 GUIDANCE
FOR SCHOOL-BASED CHILD CARE PROGRAMS

Note: If your program does NOT operate in or at a school facility, you can disregard this notice.

In the Early Learning Division’s April update to the COVID-19 Child Care Provider Requirements and Recommendations, changes stated that staff and volunteers of school-based programs would need to be “up to date” on vaccinations, rather than “fully” vaccinated as required via Oregon Health Authority OAR 333-019-1030.

Staff and volunteers of school-based programs are not required to be boosted (“up to date”) as stated in the guidance document.

Staff and volunteers ARE required to be fully vaccinated. “Fully vaccinated” means having received both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since the individual’s final dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The language in the guidance document should read:

“School-based program child care vaccination requirement:

School-based programs, as described above, must ensure that all staff and volunteers age 16 and older who enter the program are fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccinations.

  • Staff and volunteers may not teach, work, learn, assist, observe, or volunteer at a program unless they are fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccinations or have provided documentation of a medical or religious exception.”

We appreciate programs’ understanding, and apologize for any confusion. Please contact your licensing specialist with any questions.

April 11
Special Update: COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Providers Now Available The Early Learning Division (ELD) released updated guidance for COVID-19 and child care settings to mirror the statewide requirements that were adjusted this spring. The April 2022 version of “Child Care COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” is now available on ELD’s “For Providers” webpage. Some of the key guidance changes include the following: Updated exclusion requirements and recommendations for child care Mask recommendations that encourage programs to support individual choice to wear a mask Updated recommendations for prevention strategies Who to notify if there’s a case of COVID-19 in a facility Many of these changes have already been in effect. A number of resource documents are also available such a “Respect my mask” sign for families, an updated exclusion chart, and masking handout. You can find these resources, along with Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine, on the ELD’s “For Providers” webpage.

Special Update:
COVID-19 Guidance for Child Care Providers Now Available

The Early Learning Division (ELD) released updated guidance for COVID-19 and child care settings to mirror the statewide requirements that were adjusted this spring. The April 2022 version of “Child Care COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” is available below.

Some of the key guidance changes include the following: 

  • Updated exclusion requirements and recommendations for child care 
  • Mask recommendations that encourage programs to support individual choice to wear a mask 
  • Updated recommendations for prevention strategies 
  • Who to notify if there’s a case of COVID-19 in a facility 

Many of these changes have already been in effect. A number of resource documents are also available such a  “Respect my mask” sign for families, an updated exclusion chart, and masking handout.  

You can find these resources, along with Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine, on the ELD’s “For Providers” webpage.

April 4
A teacher and a young child smile at the camera, both are masked.

COVID-19 Provider Resources Available  

The Early Learning Division (ELD) partnered with the Oregon Health Authority to develop resources on masking and exclusion for providers. Some of the items available include a  “Respect my mask” sign for families in various languages, an updated exclusion chart, and masking handout.  

You can find these resources, along with Frequently Asked Questions on COVID-19 Isolation and Quarantine, on the ELD’s “For Providers” webpage.

NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child®: April 2 to 8, 2022 

Let’s celebrate Oregon’s young children and their families! The Week of the Young Child® is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Check out NAEYC’s resources and ideas for a fun-filled week.  

Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a statewide proclamation to recognize the 51st Week of the Young Child®, encouraging Oregonians to support children and the adults who love, care for, and educate them.  

As stated in the proclamation by Brown, “The essential, yet chronically undercompensated child care sector has sacrificed and struggled to serve families since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and public policies and public investments that support children in high-quality, culturally responsive early learning and child care are vital to all Oregonians.”  

Watch for something special on Governor Kate Brown’s Twitter account this Thursday, April 7.  

Baby girl gets help from mother at a slide on playground in summer

Spring 2022 Award Increase for COVID-19 Child Care Stabilization Grant Announced 

After reviewing all the COVID-19 Child Care Stabilization Grant applications submitted in 2021, it was determined there were remaining funds to distribute. The funds will be distributed to all child cares with an active Stabilization grant. Child care providers who may be eligible for these funds were notified by email in March 2022. The Early Learning Division (ELD) is not opening a new application. 

ELD is currently in the process of sending out the updated awards to eligible child cares for signatures. You must sign your grant within 30 days from the date you received it or it will expire. On average, awards will increase by about 25% and the grant end date will be extended by three months. If you do not wish to accept additional funding, simply reject it using the Decline to Sign feature under the Other Actions menu in DocuSign.  

If you have questions, contact us at ECCgrants@ode.oregon.gov or 971-707-2029. 

New Report Reveals Community Partnerships are Key in Advancing Equity and Inclusion for Children Under Five Experiencing Disabilities 

Prioritizing partnerships to focus on equity and inclusion for children under five is critical to helping our earliest learners experiencing disabilities. That’s the key finding revealed in the Oregon Early Childhood Inclusion Indicators Initiative Annual Report released today by Oregon Department of Education (ODE), Early Learning Division, and early learning system leaders and advocates around the state.   

The report, released during National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, outlines the vision, mission, and progress towards creating equal opportunity to access high-quality early care and education for children experiencing disabilities. It also highlights the need for continued investments to ensure families, providers, general and special education staff have the support they need to provide stable and continuous care for young children in community and early care and education environments. Read all the details in ODE’s news release. 

Reminders

Call for Participation: IECMHC Rulemaking Advisory Committee
Join the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC). A RAC is a group of community members who will help the Early Learning Division shape and implement rule language for the IECMHC system, including the Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program. Apply today and help build an anti-racist, equity-focused IECMHC system. Applications are due Friday, April 8, 2022.  Click here for more information on how to apply. 

Save the dates:

March 16

Photo credit: Oregon State Governor’s Office
Early Learning System Director Alyssa Chatterjee looks on as Governor Kate Brown signs House Bill 4005 into law.

Oregon Legislature Approves
Significant Child Care Investments 
 

The 2022 Legislative Session came to close this month and there were many wins for early learning and child care. Notable legislation includes the following: 

Passed HB 4005: Early Care and Education Governance  

This legislation builds on HB 3073 (2021), which established the Department of Early Learning and Care (DELC). HB 4005 delays the establishment of DELC to July 1, 2023. It also transfers the license-exempt child care background check process for subsidized care from the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS) to the Office of Child Care in the ELD. Among several other provisions, HB 4005 increased Employment Related Day Care reimbursement rates for child care providers and allocated $26.6 million to fund those new rates for the remainder of this biennium.  

Released Funds for Program Expansion  

The legislature released $38 million, which was unscheduled until the Division could show community capacity for expansion of Preschool Promise, Oregon Prenatal to Kindergarten and Healthy Families Oregon.  

Released Funds for Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention 

The legislature released $5.2 million that was unscheduled until the Division could gather community input to fully develop the program and ensure there are adequate staff to provide program supports across Oregon for providers. 

Passed SB 1547: Recorded Programs Oversight  

Requires the staff and volunteers of recorded programs to enroll in the Central Background Registry, in accordance with recommendations from a 2020 Secretary of State audit on child care background checks. 

Passed HB 5202: Omnibus Budget 

This bill included several pieces: 

  • Approved $6.8 million for  66 positions to continue the development of the Department of Early Learning and Care. 

Added investments for child care supply building and wage enhancements:  

  • $39.3 million for child care supply building grants to community based organizations (NeighborhoodImpact, Euvalcree, United We Heal and Seeding Justice) for startup costs, program expansion, training and professional learning.  
  • $21 million for Portland State University’s Oregon Center for Career Development in Child Care to award two annual $500 recruitment and retention payments to child care staff working in Oregon.  
  • Relief Nurseries received a $2 million investment from the legislature for increased wages.  
  • Health Families Oregon received a $2 million investment from the legislature for increased wages. 

School-Age Rulemaking Advisory Committee:
Deadline Extended
 

The deadline to submit an application to join the School-Age Rulemaking Advisory Committee has been extended to Friday, March 18, 2022. If you are connected to school-age child care programs or interested in providing this type of care, please consider applying to join this committee. This type of care is also known as out-of-school-time (OST) care and before- and afterschool care programs. Click here for more information and to apply.  

Call for Participation:
IECMHC Rulemaking Advisory Committee

The Early Learning Division is seeking diverse voices to represent groups within Oregon’s Early Learning system. Please consider applying to join the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC). A RAC is a group of community members who will help the Early Learning Division shape and implement rule language for the IECMHC system, including the Early Childhood Suspension and Expulsion Prevention Program. Members will advise on requirements for ECE programs around suspension and expulsion. Apply today and help build an anti-racist, equity-focused IECMHC system. 
 
Participants will be reimbursed for their time dedicated to this RAC and will positively impact Oregon’s children, families, early learning programs, and communities.  

Applications are due Friday, April 8, 2022.  

OSU Receives $14.4 Million for Statewide Center to Support Early Childhood Educators  

Oregon State University will use a new $14.4 million grant from Oregon’s Early Learning Division to establish a statewide center focused on strengthening the early childhood education workforce in Oregon. 

The Early Learning Systems Initiative center will be housed within OSU’s Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families. Read all the details in OSU’s news release.  

Abstract image of various heads overlapping

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

This March and throughout the year, consider your role in communities and how you can advocate for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (ID/DD).

What is your role as an educator and caregiver? What services and resources are you sharing with families in your community? How are you incorporating “disability” in conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion? How can Oregon’s early learning system support and empower families of children with disabilities?

The Oregon Early Childhood Inclusion Initiative and Pyramid Model Implementation grants are supporting communities to partner in new and innovative ways. For more information about the early learning system efforts to advance inclusion in early care and education, click here.

Other early learning system supports include: 

REMINDERS 

Coming soon – ELD will host another provider information session in May. More details will be shared soon.   


Save the date: Week of the Young Child is April 2 to 8

NAEYC’s 2022 Week of the Young Child® celebration is April 2 to 8. Visit NAEYC.org/woyc for ideas and resources to help you plan.

March 3

Mask Requirement Lifting March 11,
Quarantine Guidance Changes
 

Earlier this week, Governor Brown announced Oregon will lift mask requirements for indoor public spaces and schools, including child care, on March 11, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. This decision is based on current COVID-19 case forecasting, which projects hospitalizations falling below 400 or fewer Oregonians per day by March 12. This will return Oregon to a level of hospitalization experienced prior to the Omicron variant. Additionally, because of high vaccination rates and previous infection due to Omicron, Oregon now has significant population immunity.  

Beginning March 12, 2022, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will pause the quarantine requirement for individuals exposed to COVID-19 in child care and K-12 settings. Staff and children who test positive must be excluded from child care and isolate at home for 5 days. They may then return when symptoms are improving and  they have been fever-free for 24 hours. When returning to care, staff and children that had tested positive, if 2 years and older, should wear a well-fitting mask in child care and public settings for an additional 5 days after their isolation is completed.  

The OHA and Early Learning Division (ELD) recommend that early education and child care programs notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms or test, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they are symptomatic or test positive. Early education and child care programs may choose to impose stricter isolation, quarantine or masking requirements. 

The ELD will be updating its COVID-19 guidance document to include changes to mask requirements and isolation and quarantine guidelines. Please continue to stay connected via the Child Care Updates newsletter and social media for when a new version of this document is available.  

Providers with questions can contact their licensing specialist, email ProviderContact@ode.oregon.gov or reference the FAQ below.

COVID-19 FAQs

Q: What are the quarantine and isolation guidelines for child care settings? – Updated March 2, 2022

Due to declining COVID-19 case rates and high levels of immunity, beginning March 12, 2022, Oregon Health Authority has paused the quarantine requirement for individuals exposed to COVID-19 in child care and K-12 settings. Individuals who test positive must be excluded from child care and isolate at home for 5 days. They may then return when symptoms are resolving and fever-free for 24 hours. When returning to care, that individual should wear a well-fitting mask in child care and public settings for 5 days after their isolation started. Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they have two or more COVID symptoms or test positive. Early education and child care programs may choose to impose stricter isolation, quarantine or masking requirements.

Q: Does a child care program need to close if there’s a positive COVID-19 case? If so, for how long?

ELD does not require closure of programs. However, a program may need to close if there are too many staff excluded for isolation maintain operations and staffing ratios.

Q: What are child care providers required to communicate to families if there is a positive COVID-19 case? – Updated March 2, 2022

Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they are symptomatic or positive. Providers must also communicate about a confirmed COVID-19 case to Local Public Health Authority.

Q: Can a parent ask if a child care staff member is vaccinated?

The Early Learning Division does not have authority to determine if parents are allowed to ask vaccination status. A provider or staff member may choose to answer or not.

Q: Are masks still required indoors?

The statewide indoor mask requirement ended on March 11, 2022. A child care program can choose whether to require masks. Head Start federal mask requirements are still currently in place.

The Early Learning Division and the Oregon Health Authority in alignment with the Center for Disease Control, strongly recommend that masks be worn by all individuals age 2 and older indoors when:

  • There are high  levels of COVID-19 transmission in communities
  • There are medium  levels of COVID-19 transmission and individuals are:
    • Unvaccinated
    • Immunocompromised
    • At high risk of COVID-19 hospitalization
    • 65 and older or with underlying health conditions
    • Living with people who have underlying health conditions.

Some programs may choose to continue universal masking at lower COVID-19 community levels because it promotes an inclusive and supportive environment for those children and staff who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19.

Q: Can a parent ask their child care program to support distance learning?

This is a business decision that should be made by individual programs.

Q: Are testing kits available to child care programs?

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has a limited supply of testing kits to distribute across the state. For the first time, there are tests available for a limited number of early learning programs. These kits are being allocated to support Head Start, Preschool Promise and Relief Nurseries across the state. Unfortunately, that means a number of child care programs still do not have access to free tests. We are working with OHA to identify additional resources to serve more early learning and child care programs throughout Oregon.

Free at home COVID-19 tests are available through the federal government’s website with a limit of four at-home tests per residential address.

While there are testing shortages, OHA is prioritizing testing for the following:

  • Individuals with moderate to severe illness who require medical care
  • Individuals with symptoms or exposure at high risk for complications who meet eligibility criteria for COVID-19 therapeutics

Symptomatic individuals with mild symptoms who do not require medical care may be advised to isolate while recovering and not be recommended for testing during supply constraints.

Q: Can a provider accept an at home COVID-19 test?

Yes

Q: Can you explain what is a “well-fitting mask” for children?

It’s any mask that fits snuggly and the child will wear reliably.

Q: Where can I find additional resources?

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources (general): https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-resources

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources: Supporting Families Prenatally to Age 5:
https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HEALTHYPEOPLEFAMILIES/DATAREPORTS/Pages/COVID-19-Resources.aspx

Q: Is daily symptom screening still recommended?

Daily screening is no longer required. However, staff and family should be aware of COVID-19 symptoms, and individuals should be excluded if symptoms develop. If symptomatic, it is recommended they get tested for COVID-19.

Q: Are child care providers still required to notify Local Public Health if there is a positive COVID-19 case in their facility?

Yes, per ORS 333-019-0010, programs are required to report COVID-19 cases to the Local Public Health Authority.

A child care provider stacks over-sized Lego blocks with a young child

Provider Information Session Recordings Available

The Early Learning Division held provider information sessions on March 1 and March 2. In these sessions, ELD discussed the rulemaking process, feedback opportunities, and COVID-19 updates.  

  • Click here to view the March 1 (All Provider Types) English session.  
  • Click here to view the March 2 (All Provider Types) Spanish session.  
Individuals all feeding babies a bottle

Infant Formula Recall:
Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products  
 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating certain brands of powdered infant formula. If you use powdered infant formula, be aware certain Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products have been recalled and should not be used. Here’s how you can tell if you have any of those products: 

The FDA recommends consumers look at the lot code, a multidigit number on the bottom of a container of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare powdered infant formula and do not use if: 

  • the first two digits of the code are 22 through 37; and  
  • the code on the container contains K8, SH or Z2; and  
  • the expiration date is 4-1-2022 (APR 2022) or later. 

In addition to products described above, Abbott Nutrition has recalled Similac PM 60/40 with a lot code of 27032K80 (can) / 27032K800 (case). 

Click here for more information on infections reported, symptoms, and locations.  

Celebrate Women’s History Month 

Women’s contributions to America are largely missing from the traditional American history narrative. In honor of Women’s History Month, the Early Learning Division gathered the resources listed below to highlight stories from women who have contributed through their work, creativity, and resolve.

Picture Books 

12 Picture Books to Read for Women’s History Month | Anti-Defamation League

Reminders 

  • Supportive Environmental Quality Underlying Adult Learning (SEQUAL) Survey
    The deadline for the SEQUAL survey is Sunday, March 6, 2022. Look for an email from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) and titled “SEQUAL Survey: Oregon Early Educators Share Your Voice.” This research was made possible by the Early Learning Division. 
  • Fire Safety Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)
    The Early Learning Division recently passed temporary fire safety rules to serve as an alternative to the Department of Consumer Business Services sprinkler requirement. ELD is interested in engaging family child care programs and parents/caregivers with children in family child care programs to join this committee. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022Click here for more information and to apply.  
  • School-Age Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)
    If you are connected to school-age child care programs or interested in providing this type of care, please consider applying to join this committee. This type of care is also known as out-of-school-time (OST) care and before- and afterschool care programs. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022. Click here for more information and to apply.
February 24

Statewide Mask Requirement to End March 11*

-UPDATED FEBRUARY 28, 2022-

With falling hospitalization rates, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) announced it is lifting the statewide indoor mask requirement on March 11, 2022*. This change will apply to child care and the Early Learning Division (ELD) will update its “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” guidance.  

Child care programs can still choose to continue masking. The ELD, in partnership with the OHA, still highly recommends that child care programs continue to have all individuals ages two and older wear masks. If an entire classroom or group does not wear masks, quarantine and isolation currently remains at 10 days. Masking helps to decrease the risk of COVID-19 spread and allows for a shorter return after illness or exposure in child care settings with low rates of vaccination overall.  

Some things a program can consider:  

  • Encourage eligible staff and children ages 5 and up to get vaccinated and boosted if they have not done so. Learn more at Get Vaccinated Oregon.  
  • It’s recommended people at risk for severe COVID-19 continue masking and include people who are unvaccinated; immunocompromised; at high risk of COVID-19 hospitalization; 65 and older or with underlying health conditions; and those living with people who have underlying health conditions. 
  • Those who are up to date on their vaccinations do not need to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19. Vaccination ensures continued access to in-person care.  

Effective February 25, 2022, CDC does not require wearing of masks on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs**. However, masks are currently still required in Head Start, Early Head Start, and Oregon Pre-kindergarten programs until lifted by the federal government. 

While there have been many changes to child care guidance over the past two years, this represents a turning point in the pandemic for Oregon. Thanks to masks and booster shots, Oregon has had some of the lowest case rates (3rd lowest) and lowest death rates (7th lowest) in the country. At the state level, ELD and OHA will continue to monitor the path of the pandemic in Oregon and adjust our guidance to prioritize safety in child care settings for both children and providers.   

“We know that the pandemic has been particularly challenging for those providing child care, and for the families who have been impacted by program closures,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, Oregon Early Learning System Director. “I am hopeful this is the first change of many that will start to resemble a return to ‘normal.’ However, we also must remember that COVID-19 is still present in Oregon – masking and vaccines continue to be the strongest tools to fight the virus. I want to thank you for your continued dedication to the children and families you work with every day.”  

* The original version of this article stated the indoor mask requirement ended on March 19, 2022. The text has been updated to reflect Governor Brown’s announcement this morning (February 28) that moved the date up to March 11, 2022.
** On February 24, this article stated that masks were still required for everyone two years and older on public transportation, which included school buses, until lifted by the federal government and could not be waived by state or local authorities. This mandate was lifted on February 25.

COVID-19 FAQ for Providers

Q: What are the quarantine and isolation guidelines for child care settings? – Updated March 2, 2022

Due to declining COVID-19 case rates and high levels of immunity, beginning March 12, 2022, Oregon Health Authority has paused the quarantine requirement for individuals exposed to COVID-19 in child care and K-12 settings. Individuals who test positive must be excluded from child care and isolate at home for 5 days. They may then return when symptoms are resolving and fever-free for 24 hours. When returning to care, that individual should wear a well-fitting mask in child care and public settings for 5 days after their isolation started. Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they have two or more COVID symptoms or test positive. Early education and child care programs may choose to impose stricter isolation, quarantine or masking requirements.

Q: Does a child care program need to close if there’s a positive COVID-19 case? If so, for how long?

ELD does not require closure of programs. However, a program may need to close if there are too many staff excluded for isolation maintain operations and staffing ratios.

Q: What are child care providers required to communicate to families if there is a positive COVID-19 case? – Updated March 2, 2022

Early education and child care programs must notify families of an exposure so they can watch for symptoms, but children/staff exposed do not need to be excluded unless they are symptomatic or positive. Providers must also communicate about a confirmed COVID-19 case to Local Public Health Authority.

Q: Can a parent ask if a child care staff member is vaccinated?

The Early Learning Division does not have authority to determine if parents are allowed to ask vaccination status. A provider or staff member may choose to answer or not.

Q: Are masks still required indoors?

The statewide indoor mask requirement ended on March 11, 2022. A child care program can choose whether to require masks. Head Start federal mask requirements are still currently in place.

The Early Learning Division and the Oregon Health Authority in alignment with the Center for Disease Control, strongly recommend that masks be worn by all individuals age 2 and older indoors when:

  • There are high  levels of COVID-19 transmission in communities
  • There are medium  levels of COVID-19 transmission and individuals are:
    • Unvaccinated
    • Immunocompromised
    • At high risk of COVID-19 hospitalization
    • 65 and older or with underlying health conditions
    • Living with people who have underlying health conditions.

Some programs may choose to continue universal masking at lower COVID-19 community levels because it promotes an inclusive and supportive environment for those children and staff who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19.

Q: Can a parent ask their child care program to support distance learning?

This is a business decision that should be made by individual programs.

Q: Are testing kits available to child care programs?

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has a limited supply of testing kits to distribute across the state. For the first time, there are tests available for a limited number of early learning programs. These kits are being allocated to support Head Start, Preschool Promise and Relief Nurseries across the state. Unfortunately, that means a number of child care programs still do not have access to free tests. We are working with OHA to identify additional resources to serve more early learning and child care programs throughout Oregon.

Free at home COVID-19 tests are available through the federal government’s website with a limit of four at-home tests per residential address.

While there are testing shortages, OHA is prioritizing testing for the following:

  • Individuals with moderate to severe illness who require medical care
  • Individuals with symptoms or exposure at high risk for complications who meet eligibility criteria for COVID-19 therapeutics

Symptomatic individuals with mild symptoms who do not require medical care may be advised to isolate while recovering and not be recommended for testing during supply constraints.

Q: Can a provider accept an at home COVID-19 test?

Yes

Q: Can you explain what is a “well-fitting mask” for children?

It’s any mask that fits snuggly and the child will wear reliably.

Q: Where can I find additional resources?

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources (general): https://govstatus.egov.com/or-oha-covid-resources

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Resources: Supporting Families Prenatally to Age 5:
https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/HEALTHYPEOPLEFAMILIES/DATAREPORTS/Pages/COVID-19-Resources.aspx

Q: Is daily symptom screening still recommended?

Daily screening is no longer required. However, staff and family should be aware of COVID-19 symptoms, and individuals should be excluded if symptoms develop. If symptomatic, it is recommended they get tested for COVID-19.

Q: Are child care providers still required to notify Local Public Health if there is a positive COVID-19 case in their facility?

Yes, per ORS 333-019-0010, programs are required to report COVID-19 cases to the Local Public Health Authority.

A child care provider stacks over-sized Lego blocks with a young child

ELD Provider Information Sessions: March 1 and 2 

Join us for the March Provider Information Sessions: 

  • Learn about the Early Learning Division’s rulemaking process  
  • Review and provide feedback on draft rules  
  • Check in on COVID-19

Note: These meetings are planned for an extra half hour to provide adequate time for the topics.   

Tuesday, March 1 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.
All provider types. Interpretation available. Note: Attendees using interpretation services in Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, and ASL should join this session via Zoom, not Facebook.
Zoom Registration 

Wednesday, March 2 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.
All provider types. Presented in Spanish.
Zoom Registration

This is a virtual event. Registration is required to attend via Zoom. You may submit questions in advance on the registration form. You may also participate on ELD’s Facebook page live stream at the same time. ELD staff will monitor the Facebook comment section for questions. 

Photo of a group of fire extinguishers lined up.

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

Fire Safety Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)

We are interested in engaging family child care programs and parents/caregivers with children in family child care programs to join this committee. The Early Learning Division recently passed temporary fire safety rules to serve as an alternative to the Department of Consumer Business Services sprinkler requirement.

A RAC is a group of community members who help agency staff shape and implement rule language for child care programs. This committee will provide input for permanent fire safety rules that will apply to all Registered Family (RF) and Certified Family (CF) programs.

Participants will be reimbursed for their time dedicated to this RAC and will positively impact child care across Oregon. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022. 

Five school-age children eat ice cream outside on a sunny day.

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

School-Age Child Care Rulemaking Advisory Committee (RAC)

If you are connected to school-age child care programs or interested in providing this type of care, please consider applying to join this committee. This type of care is also known as out-of-school-time (OST) care and before- and afterschool care programs. A RAC is a group of community members who help agency staff shape and implement rule language for school-age child care programs.

Participants will be reimbursed for their time dedicated to this RAC and will positively impact child care across Oregon. Applications are due Friday, March 11, 2022.  

Baby girl gets help from mother at a slide on playground in summer

Stabilization Grant Data Correction  

During the February 1, 2022 Provider Information Session, we shared data to show the percentages of providers by type receiving Stabilization grants. It came to our attention there was an error in how that data was gathered. We regret any confusion this may have caused and have posted the correct percentages to the Early Learning Division website. Click below for more information.  

  • Correction to data reported on Stabilization grant saturation rate

Free Training Sessions

Supporting Kindergarten Transitions

Two upcoming FREE, virtual training sessions are being offered by the ABI Community to provide information and resources to help support children ages three to seven with an Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) in the transition to kindergarten. This session is hosted by NW Disability Support in partnership with Multnomah Early Childhood Program. Sessions will be offered in English with Spanish interpretation available. If you need interpretation, please register and request interpretation.  

Portfolios: How to Truly Partner with your School Team for Success with Dr. Cindy Ryan
March 10, 2022 | Click here for more information and to register.
Visual Supports and Communication that Supports Success in Inclusive Settings
April 14, 2022 | Click here for more information and to register.  

About ABI Community:
ABI Community empowers and supports families and individuals whose lives have been touched by developmental disability. ABI works to increase education, promote public understanding and acceptance, advocate for full inclusion, and defend the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. ABI & Northwest Down Syndrome Association (NWDSA) are programs of NW Disability Support, a 501c3 non-profit organization. 

REMINDERS: 

  • CPSC Sues Leachco Over Suffocation Hazard from Defective Infant Loungers, Seeks Notice and Refund to Consumers from Company
    Following reports of two infant deaths, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers to immediately stop using the Podster, Podster Plush, Bummzie and Podster Playtime (the “Podsters”) infant loungers manufactured by Leachco, Inc. of Ada, Oklahoma. The Commission has found that the public health and safety requires this notice to warn the public quickly of the hazard. Click here for more information.  
  • February is Black History Month
    Celebrate Black History Month with children, families, and colleagues in your early learning community. Click on the February 1 publication of Child Care Updates for a full list of resources and professional development opportunities. 
  • Supportive Environmental Quality Underlying Adult Learning (SEQUAL) Survey
    The deadline for the SEQUAL survey (conducted by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California, Berkeley) has been extended to March 6, 2022. Look for an email from CSCCE and titled “SEQUAL Survey: Oregon Early Educators Share Your Voice.” This research was made possible by the Early Learning Division.