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Archive: Child Care Updates

Child Care Updates Archive

These are the archived resource updates for child care providers.

A mask adult female is staking wooden blocks with two preschool aged children. All are wearing masks.

Updated “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” 

On September 7, Early Learning Division (ELD) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) published an updated version of “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” with the latest health and safety practices for early care and education (ECE) programs.  

The changes are effective immediately. The update includes statewide protocols that were put in place to address increasing COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant. Changes include both the statewide indoor and outdoor mask mandates, along with the school-based vaccine requirement for all teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021. This requirement applies to early learning and child care programs located in K-12 school settings.    

Click below to download the updated version (Russian, Vietnamese, and Chinese translations coming soon). 

close up image of a person wearing a mask

Free Supply Bundle for Oregon Child Care Providers 

Due to the recent change in requirements, ELD is again offering Oregon child care providers an opportunity to order a free supply bundle, which includes adult and child face coverings.

To order supplies, complete the form on the ELD website and have your license/provider number ready. If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email the Office of Child Care at ProviderContact@ode.oregon.gov

Save the Date: September Provider Information Sessions 

Oregon child care providers – you’re invited! Join the Early Learning Division for the first of three provider information sessions. This is a virtual event. Registration and agenda coming soon.

September 29, 2021 | 6 to 7 p.m. 
All provider types. (Russian and Spanish interpretation available) 

September 30, 2021 | 6 to 7 p.m. 
Spanish language. (All types)

Kids laugh and blow bubbles

Introducing ELMO: The Early Learning Map for Oregon 

ELMO (Early Learning Map for Oregon) is an interactive planning tool now available on the ELD website. Use this tool to explore indicators related to: Child and family characteristics; Early care and education program types, quality, capacity, and availability; Early learning workforce characteristics; School readiness and school success indicators; Family participation and availability of other resources; and Community risk and resiliency factors. Consider using data available in ELMO in your local planning and needs assessment processes. 

Visit oregonearlylearning.com/PDGAssessment#ELMO to navigate ELMO and learn more about Oregon communities. Questions? Contact: EarlyLearningMap@ode.oregon.gov. ELMO was created in partnership with Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services (PSU) and Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC). 

A woman and baby smile at the camera

COVID-19 Child Care Reopening Grant: Applications Open  

On August 30, the Early Learning Division announced a grant funding opportunity through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.  

Child care providers who stopped providing services between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, and reopened after June 30, 2021, or are interested in reopening, are invited to apply for the COVID-19 Child Care Reopening Grant. The application period for this grant is open until November 30, 2021. 

Care and Connection Log and Oregon Department of Education Logo

Handle with Care: A New Tool for Early Educators 

Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently added a new tool on their “Care and Connections” webpage. Created by two innovative educators in Missouri, Handle with Care is a template for educators to add their contact information and send to parents and guardians.  

The note reads: “If your family is experiencing difficulties at home, I would like to provide additional support at school…If your child is coming to school after a difficult night, morning or weekend please text me ‘Handle with Care.’ Nothing else will be said or asked. This will let me know that your child may need extra time, patience or help during the day.” 

Click here to download the template in English.  

The template is currently being translated and will be available in several other languages. For updates and additional resources, visit ODE’s “Care and Connections” webpage 

Suspending Most In-Person Licensing Visits

Effective immediately, the Early Learning Division will suspend many in-person, routine child care licensing visits. With increased COVID-19 cases across Oregon due to the Delta variant, it’s important to minimize contact with program facilities. Some visits will still be completed in-person if the Office of Child Care (OCC) determines an in-person visit is needed to protect the health and safety of children. Your licensing specialist will still be able to assist you virtually to ensure the health and safety of children in your care.

As a reminder, licensing rules still require the state to have access to your program if needed. During business hours, OCC staff are legally permitted to enter the facility. If you are due for a license renewal, your licensing specialist will schedule a time to conduct the visit virtually.

If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

Mask Requirements

Statewide Indoor Mask Requirement – Effective August 13, 2021

Governor Brown issued a mandate for indoor face coverings that applies to all Oregonians ages 5 and up regardless of vaccination status. For children in 0 to 5 preschool programs, particularly classrooms with 3- to 5-year-olds, children who are not in kindergarten will not have to wear a face covering.

In accordance with CDC recommendations, ELD strongly recommends that younger children do so if the child is able to be successful with a face covering. If a child is attending grades kindergarten and up, they are required to wear a mask. Note: The federal law requiring face coverings on public transportation, including school buses, applies to children ages two and up.

Statewide Outdoor Mask Requirement – Effective August 27, 2021

In regards to the Governor Brown’s outdoor mask requirement, child care programs will continue to follow existing Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidance and will not be required to wear masks outdoors. When possible, programs should make every effort to maintain physical distancing between children when outside.

School and School-Based Vaccine Requirement

On August 19, 2021 Governor Brown issued a requirement for all teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021.

This requirement applies to early learning and child care programs located in K-12 school settings. It does not apply to programs outside of schools. Child care, preschool, and recorded programs operating in schools – meaning public, private, parochial, charter or alternative educational programs offering grades kindergarten through 12 or any part thereof – are covered by the rule.

The OHA published initial Frequently Asked Questions about the rule and medical and religious exception forms for OAR 333-019-1030.

Building Codes Division: Requirement for Residential Fire Sprinklers in Child Care

As of April 2021, new child care or adult foster care facilities in a residential home must have an automatic residential fire sprinkler system – or take other safety measures approved by a local building official.

The requirement applies only to new construction or the new use of an existing home. If a home has not been approved for use as a child care or adult foster care facility, the home must comply with this new requirement. If the home is approved – or had been previously approved – for use as a child care or adult foster care facility, the home does not have to comply with this new requirement.

Commercial child care centers, not operating in a residence, are covered by the commercial code and include more stringent fire safety requirements.

The state’s Building Codes Division created a one page handout for more details about this requirement. The Early Learning Division does not have oversight of this rule and questions should be directed to the Building Codes Division at BCD.Info@oregon.gov.

Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate Effective August 13

With a recent increase in COVID-19 cases due the Delta variant and hospitalizations in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown announced on August 11 a statewide indoor mask mandate will be effective Friday, August 13. This mandate requires all Oregonians ages 5 and up to wear face coverings in all indoor public places regardless of vaccination status.

Following this mandate, face coverings are required for all children ages 5 and up, staff members, and other adults (including parents and family members) while indoors at child care facilities starting August 13. The Early Learning Division and Oregon Health Authority will release updated guidance to reflect this new mandate. Together, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19.

If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

Child Care Nurse Hotline  

With the rise of COVID-19 cases in Oregon, a reminder that child care providers can access the COVID-19 nurse hotline at no cost. The number, 1-833-647-8222, is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

For more information, download and share the below flyer. 

How to get a COVID-19 Vaccine

“Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself against COVID19 and to keep the virus from spreading among our loved ones, our friends and neighbors and our communities,” said Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen. If you haven’t already, get the vaccine today. Click here to use the Vaccine Locator Map and find a vaccine provider near you 

Delays in Fingerprinting Process

The Oregon State Police is experiencing a backlog with processing fingerprinting results for the Central Background Registry (CBR).  

The process usually takes about 14 days. With the current delay, results may take 30 or more days. These results are necessary to enroll applicants in the CBR.

For more information and ongoing updates, visit oregonearlylearning.com/providers-educators/providers-educatorscbr/.  

Governor Kate Brown Announcement: Face Covering Requirement for K-12 Schools

On Thursday, July 29, Governor Kate Brown directed the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to create a rule to require masks indoors for K-12 schools statewide for the 2021-22 school year. Click here to download the press release.

This direction by the Governor responds to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s July 27 guidance for fully vaccinated people. Based on the latest science of the spread of the Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

At this time, the rule is in draft form. We anticipate that the rule will not apply to all Oregon child care providers. We expect any program operating in a school building would be subject to this draft rule. This includes public, private, parochial, charter or alternative schools. The rule would require all individuals age two years or older, including students, staff, contractors, volunteers, and visitors, to wear masks while indoors. The rule would take effect immediately upon adoption, and affect summer programs taking place in school buildings. ELD will send an update when the rule is adopted with any necessary clarifying details.

As a reminder, in the “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations,” the Early Learning Division recommends face coverings be worn by adults who are not vaccinated, and children in grades kindergarten and up while indoors. The governor is also asking all Oregonians to wear masks indoors as stated in her announcement: “In the meantime, as we ask Oregonians statewide to mask up in public indoor spaces, we will continue working hard to vaccinate more people so we can finally beat this virus once and for all. Vaccines remain the most effective and best way to protect ourselves and our families.”

If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

Stabilization Grants: Frequently Asked Questions 

Congress set aside funds through the American Rescue Plan Act to support child care providers following the pandemic. Oregon received approximately $250 million in child care stabilization funds. The funds were given to states with specific requirements around applications and distributing the funds. 

Oregon child care providers can expect to apply for additional funding in mid-September from the Child Care Stabilization Fund. Grant applications will be posted on the Early Learning Division website. All applicants who meet the requirements will receive funding. 

To learn more, download the FAQs below. 

New Report: The Effects of COVID-19 on Oregon’s Early Care & Education Workforce and Programs 

New research shows the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Oregon’s child care and early care and education programs’ ability to remain open and serve families. ELD contracted Portland State University and OSLC Developments, Inc. to conduct the study, which involved a statewide survey of 3,035 early educators during March of 2021. This survey was open to all early educators across the state of Oregon, including directors, owners, lead teachers, assistant teachers, and aides. The findings highlight inequities, including low wages and layoffs, particularly for early educators of color. 
 
Thank you to all who participated in the survey!  
 
Click here to read a press release and download a report of the survey findings. 

Certified Family and Certified Center Rules: Infant Definition Update

In May, the Early Learning Council voted and approved new language for the infant definition in Certified Family (CF) and Certified Center (CC) rules. The infant definition is now the same across all provider types–the same for CF, CC, and RF providers. The below rule updates were effective immediately upon approval by the Council in May.   

Certified Family child care home OAR 414‐350‐0010 (15) provides the definition: “Infant” means a child who is at least six weeks of age up to 12 months of age. Certified Child Care Center OAR 414-300-0005 (22) provides the definition: “Infant” means a child who is at least six weeks of age up to 12 months of age. These definitions match the current Registered Family definition: “Infant” means a child who is at least six weeks of age up to 12 months of age (OAR rule 414-250-0010 (10).  

Following this change, providers must follow safe sleep rules for all children 12 months and younger. If you have any questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

Deadline for Supplies: July 16

Oregon child care providers may request supplies from the Early Learning Division (ELD) until July 16, 2021. Free supply packages contain items such as masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, etc. from ELD’s remaining inventory. Providers who have requested supplies previously are welcome to make another request. To order supplies, visit https://supplyconnector.org/states/oregon/free-ppe/ and complete the order form. Please have your license/provider number and the shipping address for supplies ready.

Child Tax Credit Monthly Benefits Start July 15

Help spread the word of monthly benefits for families! Payments for the new Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan Act start July 15. All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent (also called Head of Household). For every child six to 17 years old, families will get $250 each month, and for every child under six years old, families will get $300 each month.   

Families who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or who signed up to receive a stimulus check from the Internal Revenue Service will get this tax relief automatically. Families who didn’t make enough to be required to file taxes in 2019 or 2020 can still get benefits. Visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/child-tax-credit/sign-up/ to sign up.

Oregon House Bill 3073 Fact Sheets 

On June 26, 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3073. HB 3073 creates a new early learning agency – called the Department of Early Learning and Care, or DELC, beginning January 1, 2023. 

ELD recently created a fact sheet that provides a summary of the legislation and an anticipated timeline. Click below to download.  

COVID-19 Recovery: Recommendations and Requirements  

Early Learning Division (ELD) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are reducing requirements for child care providers, as detailed in the letter and “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” document published on June 25, 2021 and effective on June 30, 2021. Existing COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines will no longer be in effect. 

The requirements below follow rules adopted by OHA. For requirement details, view pages 1 through 3 (or 4 for Spanish and Russian) of the “Requirements and Recommendations” document.

  • A communicable disease management plan
  • Exclusion and notification criteria
  • Recordkeeping for contact tracing

NOTE: In the section labeled “COVID-19 Exclusion and Notification,” if “should” is mentioned, it is not required.

ELD and OHA list several recommendations for best practices on the remaining pages. These recommendations are not enforced. This includes recommendations for:

  • Excluding or monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Verifying vaccination status.
  • Face coverings. For example, all adults are recommended to wear a face covering unless they are vaccinated.
  • Stable groups. For example, ELD and OHA recommend keeping adults and children in the same groups as much as possible.
  • Handwashing and general hygiene. For example, ELD and OHA recommend always storing hand sanitizer out of reach of children.
  • Food and nutrition. For example, recommendations to avoid family-style meals and discontinue use of drinking fountains.
  • Ventilation and air flow. For example, recommendations to improve air quality by opening windows and doors, exhausting air from indoors to outdoors, using filtration methods, and (if applicable) ensuring ventilation systems operate properly.
  • Cleaning and building maintenance. For example, ELD and OHA recommend the 3-step method: 1. WASH 2. RINSE 3. SANITIZE or DISINFECT.
  • Transportation. For example, recommendations for cleaning and sanitizing the transportation vehicle.
  • Health education, training and communication. For example, recommendations for including COVID-19 safety precautions in staff orientations, staff trainings, and family support.

If you have any questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

New Temporary Rules for Licensed Programs

On June 24, 2021, the Early Learning Council approved temporary rules for licensed programs to allow continued use of hand sanitizer in certain circumstances, expanded use of Aide 2 staff, as well as transition time for online CPR training to meet licensing requirements. Click below to view temporary rules by provider type. Click here to view a recording and meeting materials.

The Early Learning Council also adopted temporary rules to implement SB 757. SB 757 modified “conditional enrollment”, which is temporary limited enrollment in the Central Background Registry (CBR) for child care staff while they await full enrollment. This will help child care programs hire new staff and transition individuals with Emergency Background Checks in a timely manner.

These temporary rules expire 180 days after adoption. ELD will engage the public and present permanent rules for adoption by the Early Learning Council in a future meeting.

Last Call for Supplies

Oregon child care providers are invited to request supplies from the Early Learning Division (ELD) until July 16, 2021. As we move into COVID-19 recovery, this is the final opportunity to access free supply packages containing items such as masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, etc. from ELD’s remaining inventory. Masks are optional as of June 30, 2021 and are still included in these pre-packed supply kits. Funds to purchase the supplies during the pandemic were approved by the Oregon Legislature in 2020.

Providers who have requested supplies previously are welcome to make another request.

How do I order supplies?

Go to the website (https://supplyconnector.org/states/oregon/free-ppe/) and complete the order form. Please have your license/provider number and the shipping address for supplies ready.

Some care packages are suited for school-age child care and others accommodate the care of young children and infants. Providers can choose one option.

Oregon House Bill 3073 passed by Oregon Legislature

On June 26, 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3073. HB 3073 creates a new early learning agency – called the Department of Early Learning and Care, or DELC, beginning January 1, 2023.

The Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program, currently administered by the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), would be transferred to DELC on July 1, 2023, aligning all child care administration under one agency. The goals of the new agency are to create a child care and early learning system that is more responsive to the needs of children, families, and providers, particularly our most vulnerable families. A single agency may help Oregon support funding and expansion opportunities, grow the supply of child care, and ensure equitable access.

For more information and updates on this legislation, visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/HB3073.

Happy Pride Month!

Celebrate Pride Month by checking out this LGBTQ+ book list for kids! By reading and sharing stories that support inclusivity, you can help children and families in your community feel represented, empowered, and safe.

Additional resources are included in the June 9 Child Care Updates.

Important Update on Face Coverings and Physical Distancing  

Following the latest guidance from Oregon Health Authority, the Early Learning Division (ELD) updated the requirements and recommendations for face coverings and physical distancing when indoors and outdoors. This includes:   

  • When outdoors, face coverings and physical distancing are NOT required for anyone (staff, children, caregivers, visitors, volunteers, etc.).  
  • Adults (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) are required to wear face coverings during indoor drop-off and pick-up. When outdoors, ELD recommends that adults maintain six feet of physical distance during drop-off and pick-up if not wearing a face covering.   
  • ELD recommends that unvaccinated staff and staff at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness wear face coverings when outdoors if routinely in close contact with children or other adults.  

Click here for full details on the latest updates and to download the full “Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating During COVID-19.”

Frequently Asked Questions

ELD regularly updates the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the “For Providers” webpage. Below is a summary of new or updated FAQs.

*NEW* For Version 2.0 of the Health and Safety Guidelines, do parents and family members entering the building for drop-off and pick-up need to be screened for temperature , asked the three questions as well, and then recorded?

No. If parents and family members are only there for drop-off and pick-up, a health check is not required. This interaction should be as brief as possible. If the parent and family member is in the facility for any other reason, then a health check must be performed and recorded. 

*NEW* How do Version 2.0 amendments affect Registered Family (RF) and Certified Family (CF) homes? Are parents and family members allowed to come into the home for drop-off and pick-up?

If drop-off and pick-up can occur in an area of the home where child care is not occurring, then yes, parents can enter the home. 

*NEW*Can programs combine stable groups of infants and toddlers for a full day if the attendance for both classrooms is low? If not, what is the definition of “the beginning and the end of the day”?

Yes. The combined groups must be the same daily. 

*NEW* Can a program consider a group of preschool and older toddlers as one stable group? For this example, the preschool class only has 10 children.

Since the current ELD guidelines only allow for groups of infants and toddlers to be combined, an exception request needs to be submitted for consideration. Please contact your Licensing Specialist for exception process.

*NEW* Are kindergarten and pre-kindergarten graduations allowed?

Yes, these types of activities are allowed, but must follow the precautions in requirement 4.8. 

Reminders

  • On June 8, ELD started a 21-day pause in accepting Emergency Background Checks (EBC) for individuals not enrolled in the Central Background Registry (CBR). ELD expects to return to the standard background check process, as required by Oregon law, on June 29, 2021. Visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/providers-educators/providers-educatorscbr/ for more information and the requirements for enrolling in the CBR. In the event the current COVID-19 state of emergency declaration is extended beyond June 28, 2021, ELD will revisit this policy and notify providers and the public. 
  • On June 8, ELD started a 21-day pause in accepting applications for programs who are not licensed or recorded to operate Emergency Child Care (ECC). ELD expects to return to the agency’s standard licensing process, as required by Oregon law, on June 29, 2021. Visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/COVID-19-Resources/Emergency-Child-Care for more information. In the event the current COVID-19 state of emergency declaration is extended beyond June 28, 2021, ELD will revisit this policy and notify providers and the public.
  • Thank you to all who attended the Health and Safety Guidelines Version 2.0 Webinars on May 26, May 27, and June 5. Click here to download webinar recordings.  
  • Click here for an important recall notice, “Fisher Price Recalls 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soothers” from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Happy Pride Month!

In June and throughout the year, celebrate the LGBTQ+ movement and people in your community! Take moments to listen, learn, and advocate for inclusivity and equality for ALL Oregonians. Click below for resources on how to support children, families, and staff.  

Bridge Funding (ECC5) Applications Open 

On May 21, Early Learning Division (ELD) announced another grant opportunity for Emergency Child Care (ECC) providers through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. To be considered for an award, eligible ECC providers must complete a brief application by the June 8, 2021, 5:00 p.m. (PST) deadline: https://ode.smapply.org/prog/ecc5/.

To date, ELD has awarded $82.1 in grant funding to providers since the start of the pandemic. This includes the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CARES) Act and Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF). Additionally, we anticipate $224 million in future grants later this year from the American Rescue Plan Act, pending approval from the Oregon Legislature.

Included below are a few featured Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Click here to learn more about eligibility requirements and to read all FAQs.

Q: How did ELD determine how much grant funds to award per child care license type?

The total funding available for this grant is $12 million. ELD funding formula for this grant opportunity is based on all of the following factors:

Q: Do I need to be listed in both 211info and Find Child Care Oregon?

No. Programs need to be listed for child care referrals in the Find Child Care Oregon database: https://stage.worklifesystems.com/parent/34. This is the database 211info uses to assist parents in finding child care and your Child Care Resource & Referral has enrolled you in and updates on a regular basis.

Health and Safety Guidelines Version 2.0

On May 18, the Oregon Early Learning Division published updates to the “Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating During COVID-19.”  

Since publishing, ELD has shared important updates on face coverings: 

Providers and staff only, exception to requirement to wear a face covering if: 

  • They are fully vaccinated and it has been verified by the program director/provider and; 
  • They have a medical condition or disability, as documented by their doctor’s or other medical or mental health professional’s order, that prevents them from wearing a face covering. 

Unvaccinated staff must continue to wear a face covering when children or staff are present regardless of a documented medical condition or vaccination status. 

When Outdoors: If 6 feet of distance can be maintained, all staff may remove their face covering, regardless of vaccination status. School-aged children continue to be required to wear a face covering or may remove their face covering if 6 feet of distance can be maintained.

When Indoors: Fully vaccinated staff are not required to wear face coverings or physically distance inside their facility outside of child care hours. Vaccination status must be verified by the director/provider. Staff and children must continue to wear face coverings when indoors and during child care hours.  

All staff, regardless of vaccination status, can follow 6.2, and remove their face covering during child care hours when they are completely alone in a space. 

ELD Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month  

Join ELD in celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month! This month and throughout the year, we encourage our staff, Oregon child care providers, and early learning partners to engage, reflect, and grow in their understanding and appreciation of the AAPI identity, culture, and history. How can you support and celebrate with fellow staff members, children, and families?  

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center created a video series for educators, by educators called “We are not a stereotype.” This series explores and challenges the complexity surrounding the term Asian Pacific American, breaking it down into topics that span multiple timelines, geographies, and identities. Click here to access educational videos and resources. 

Other resources:  

New Report: Oregon’s Child Care Deserts 2020 

A new report from Oregon State University shows that as of March 2020, all 36 counties in Oregon qualify as child care “deserts” for infants and toddlers. “This report highlights why Oregon needs to continue to invest in child care and focus on strategies that build our supply of affordable, high-quality child care and ensure our existing programs are supported,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, Oregon’s acting learning system director in the Early Learning Division. “Many families are struggling to access high-quality child care, and we can’t wait to address the issue.” Click here to read the press release and here to download the report.  

Reminders 

  • Visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/COVID-19-Resources/For-Providers for updated tools, FAQs, and the NEW Two-Minute Tips (TMT) resource. ELD worked with Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington to develop TMT handouts that include a brief summary of recommendations for implementing the “Health and Safety Guidelines.”
  • Important recall notice for Kidde TruSense Smoke Alarms and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms that were sold at Walmart, Home Depot, Menards, Amazon and other stores between May 2019 and September 2020. Visit https://bit.ly/3usdOXd for the full recall notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Thank you to all who attended the webinar on House Bill 3073 and the New Department of Early Learning and Care. Visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/HB3073 to download a recording of the webinar and for more information.   

Health and Safety Guidelines Version 2.0 

In mid-May, ELD will publish updates to the “Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating During COVID-19.” Register to join a webinar to review Version 2.0 updates on the dates listed below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

For more information, download the flyer: https://oregonearlylearning.com/form_sets/flyer-version-2-0-health-and-safety-guidelines/ 

Registered Family (RF) and Certified Family (CF) Providers
May 26, 
2021 | 6 to 7 p.m.
Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9128486796876515851  

Certified Center (CC) Providers
May 27, 2021 | 6 to 7 p.m. 
Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7960682302876105995  

Spanish-speaking Providers
June 5, 2021 | 9 to 10 a.m. 
Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9073589280791625231 

Upcoming Webinar on Early Childhood Legislation 

You’re invited to attend a webinar on Tuesday, May 11 from 6 to 7 p.m. to learn about legislation related to early learning and child careEarly Learning Division joins the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Governor’s Office to host webinar on House Bill (HB) 3073Click here for more information on HB 3073, including frequently asked questions.  

Click on your preferred language below to submit questions about HB 3073
English | Spanish | Russian | Vietnamese | Chinese

Join the webinar on Tuesday, May 11 | 6 to 7 p.m.
Join by Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/97960874011
Or phone: +1 669 900 6833
Webinar ID: 979 6087 4011 

Thank you, Oregon Early Childhood Educators!

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and Friday, May 7 is National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day. We admire Oregon early childhood educators for their passion, talent, perseverance, and BIG hearts. Thank you for supporting children and families, especially during this challenging year. Take care and be kind to yourself! Consider this advice from Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, award-winning physician, researcher, and advocate, and California’s first Surgeon General:

“Educators can deliver the daily doses of healing interactions that truly are the antidote to toxic stress. And just as the science shows that it’s the cumulative dose of early adversity that’s most harmful, it also shows that the cumulative dose of healing nurturing interactions is most healing . . . We know that educators are the backbone of our society. As we do this work, I want to encourage you to put your own oxygen mask on first. Because we need you in this fight. We need you in this struggle. In order for any of us to provide that safe, stable, and nurturing environment for the children that we serve, we have to practice self-care so that we can be available. Please make sure to put your own oxygen mask on and practice real care for yourself so that you can be there for the next generation.”

Click here to read the full Edutopia interview.

There are so many ways to show appreciation for educators this week and throughout the year. Click here to read a recent article by Education Week. 

A Message from ELD’s Miriam Calderon

This week marks my final week serving as the Early Learning System Director for the state of Oregon. Before I go, I wanted to take one final opportunity to acknowledge you for the incredible work you do for Oregon’s children and families. And, to say thank you for all that we have accomplished together in my nearly four years in this role.

Since starting in 2017, I could not have imagined how far we could go to elevate early childhood in Oregon, and to advance toward a more equitable early learning system. It has been an honor and privilege to serve in this role.

I will carry all of my experiences here to my next role – the successes and the challenges, the many lessons, especially from this last year of COVID-19, and my passion for young children, families, caregivers, and early educators in Oregon. I think we are in a unique moment in our field, and I am excited to take this experience and contribute at the federal level. I look forward to helping shape federal policy for Oregon and other early learning and child care systems in our nation.

In closing, I want to thank Alyssa Chatterjee for stepping in to lead at this important time for early learning and child care in Oregon. I have nothing but excitement and hope about the future direction for early childhood in this state, and have no doubt that the best days yet are soon to come.

With Gratitude,

Miriam

New Research Shows Importance of Child Care for Oregon Families

For Oregon families, the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges. It also increased existing barriers to high-quality, affordable early care and education. In Fall of 2020, the Early Learning Division (ELD) contracted with Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services and OSLC Developments, Inc. They conducted a statewide survey and listening sessions with families about their child care services, supports, and experiences during the pandemic. 

To learn more about the impacts of COVID-19 on families’ experiences with child care, click here. 

Child writing in a notebook

REMINDERS:

  • Share feedback on Oregon’s draft Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan for 2022-2024. ELD invites you to participate in a public hearing on April 27 OR submit a comment through a public feedback form. Learn more: oregonearlylearning.com/administration/state-plans/
  • National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day (May 7) and National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3 to 7) are coming up! Join ELD in recognizing the MANY ways Oregon educators have made a difference in the lives of children and families. Encourage your community to join in celebrating! Check out these ideas from Child Care Aware of America (click here) and National Parent Teacher Association (click here). 

Free Supply Order for Child Care Providers

The Early Learning Division (ELD) wants to help ensure child care providers have personal protective equipment (PPE) for safe operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 1, 2021, Emergency Child Care providers are eligible to receive one free order of supplies by applying through the state’s website: https://supplyconnector.org/states/oregon/free-ppe/.

For more information on eligibility and how to complete an order, click here.

Child Care & Development Fund

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to State, Territory, and Tribal grantees. CCDF supports Oregon’s efforts to provide child care services for low-income families and enhance the quality of child care for all children.

Let your voice be heard and share feedback on Oregon’s draft CCDF State Plan for 2022-2024. ELD invites you to participate in a public hearing on April 27 OR submit a comment through a public feedback form. LEARN MORE: oregonearlylearning.com/administration/state-plans/

Gloved hands of a doctor putting a bandage on the arm of a female after giving coronavirus vaccine in the clinic. Close-up of a healthcare worker placing a bandage on a patient's arm after covid-19 vaccination.

Findings from the COVID-19 Vaccine Barrier Survey

In February 2021, the Early Learning Division (ELD) invited child care providers to participate in a survey about their experiences accessing a COVID-19 vaccine and any barriers they may be facing. The survey was open to anyone formally linked with a child care program or facility (in-home, family-based, or center-based care) who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine AND who is at least 18 years old. Click here to learn about the results.

Thank you to all who took time to offer feedback!

Frequently Asked Questions

ELD regularly updates the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the “For Providers” webpage. Below is a summary of new or updated FAQs.

*UPDATED* Q: Once children return to school, they will have a stable group at school and a different stable group at child care. Is this allowed and is this safe?

Yes, it is not expected for child care to mimic the school’s cohorts. Outbreaks in the child care setting are rare. As this is the current practice, ELD allows children to be in different cohorts in school and in child care.

September 7
A mask adult female is staking wooden blocks with two preschool aged children. All are wearing masks.

Updated “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” 

On September 7, Early Learning Division (ELD) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) published an updated version of “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” with the latest health and safety practices for early care and education (ECE) programs.  

The changes are effective immediately. The update includes statewide protocols that were put in place to address increasing COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant. Changes include both the statewide indoor and outdoor mask mandates, along with the school-based vaccine requirement for all teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021. This requirement applies to early learning and child care programs located in K-12 school settings.    

Click below to download the updated version (Russian, Vietnamese, and Chinese translations coming soon). 

close up image of a person wearing a mask

Free Supply Bundle for Oregon Child Care Providers 

Due to the recent change in requirements, ELD is again offering Oregon child care providers an opportunity to order a free supply bundle, which includes adult and child face coverings.

To order supplies, complete the form on the ELD website and have your license/provider number ready. If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email the Office of Child Care at ProviderContact@ode.oregon.gov

Save the Date: September Provider Information Sessions 

Oregon child care providers – you’re invited! Join the Early Learning Division for the first of three provider information sessions. This is a virtual event. Registration and agenda coming soon.

September 29, 2021 | 6 to 7 p.m. 
All provider types. (Russian and Spanish interpretation available) 

September 30, 2021 | 6 to 7 p.m. 
Spanish language. (All types)

Kids laugh and blow bubbles

Introducing ELMO: The Early Learning Map for Oregon 

ELMO (Early Learning Map for Oregon) is an interactive planning tool now available on the ELD website. Use this tool to explore indicators related to: Child and family characteristics; Early care and education program types, quality, capacity, and availability; Early learning workforce characteristics; School readiness and school success indicators; Family participation and availability of other resources; and Community risk and resiliency factors. Consider using data available in ELMO in your local planning and needs assessment processes. 

Visit oregonearlylearning.com/PDGAssessment#ELMO to navigate ELMO and learn more about Oregon communities. Questions? Contact: EarlyLearningMap@ode.oregon.gov. ELMO was created in partnership with Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services (PSU) and Oregon Social Learning Center (OSLC). 

A woman and baby smile at the camera

COVID-19 Child Care Reopening Grant: Applications Open  

On August 30, the Early Learning Division announced a grant funding opportunity through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.  

Child care providers who stopped providing services between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, and reopened after June 30, 2021, or are interested in reopening, are invited to apply for the COVID-19 Child Care Reopening Grant. The application period for this grant is open until November 30, 2021. 

Care and Connection Log and Oregon Department of Education Logo

Handle with Care: A New Tool for Early Educators 

Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently added a new tool on their “Care and Connections” webpage. Created by two innovative educators in Missouri, Handle with Care is a template for educators to add their contact information and send to parents and guardians.  

The note reads: “If your family is experiencing difficulties at home, I would like to provide additional support at school…If your child is coming to school after a difficult night, morning or weekend please text me ‘Handle with Care.’ Nothing else will be said or asked. This will let me know that your child may need extra time, patience or help during the day.” 

Click here to download the template in English.  

The template is currently being translated and will be available in several other languages. For updates and additional resources, visit ODE’s “Care and Connections” webpage 

August 27

Suspending Most In-Person Licensing Visits

Effective immediately, the Early Learning Division will suspend many in-person, routine child care licensing visits. With increased COVID-19 cases across Oregon due to the Delta variant, it’s important to minimize contact with program facilities. Some visits will still be completed in-person if the Office of Child Care (OCC) determines an in-person visit is needed to protect the health and safety of children. Your licensing specialist will still be able to assist you virtually to ensure the health and safety of children in your care.

As a reminder, licensing rules still require the state to have access to your program if needed. During business hours, OCC staff are legally permitted to enter the facility. If you are due for a license renewal, your licensing specialist will schedule a time to conduct the visit virtually.

If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

Mask Requirements

Statewide Indoor Mask Requirement – Effective August 13, 2021

Governor Brown issued a mandate for indoor face coverings that applies to all Oregonians ages 5 and up regardless of vaccination status. For children in 0 to 5 preschool programs, particularly classrooms with 3- to 5-year-olds, children who are not in kindergarten will not have to wear a face covering.

In accordance with CDC recommendations, ELD strongly recommends that younger children do so if the child is able to be successful with a face covering. If a child is attending grades kindergarten and up, they are required to wear a mask. Note: The federal law requiring face coverings on public transportation, including school buses, applies to children ages two and up.

Statewide Outdoor Mask Requirement – Effective August 27, 2021

In regards to the Governor Brown’s outdoor mask requirement, child care programs will continue to follow existing Oregon Health Authority (OHA) guidance and will not be required to wear masks outdoors. When possible, programs should make every effort to maintain physical distancing between children when outside.

School and School-Based Vaccine Requirement

On August 19, 2021 Governor Brown issued a requirement for all teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021.

This requirement applies to early learning and child care programs located in K-12 school settings. It does not apply to programs outside of schools. Child care, preschool, and recorded programs operating in schools – meaning public, private, parochial, charter or alternative educational programs offering grades kindergarten through 12 or any part thereof – are covered by the rule.

The OHA published initial Frequently Asked Questions about the rule and medical and religious exception forms for OAR 333-019-1030.

Building Codes Division: Requirement for Residential Fire Sprinklers in Child Care

As of April 2021, new child care or adult foster care facilities in a residential home must have an automatic residential fire sprinkler system – or take other safety measures approved by a local building official.

The requirement applies only to new construction or the new use of an existing home. If a home has not been approved for use as a child care or adult foster care facility, the home must comply with this new requirement. If the home is approved – or had been previously approved – for use as a child care or adult foster care facility, the home does not have to comply with this new requirement.

Commercial child care centers, not operating in a residence, are covered by the commercial code and include more stringent fire safety requirements.

The state’s Building Codes Division created a one page handout for more details about this requirement. The Early Learning Division does not have oversight of this rule and questions should be directed to the Building Codes Division at BCD.Info@oregon.gov.

August 11

Statewide Indoor Mask Mandate Effective August 13

With a recent increase in COVID-19 cases due the Delta variant and hospitalizations in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown announced on August 11 a statewide indoor mask mandate will be effective Friday, August 13. This mandate requires all Oregonians ages 5 and up to wear face coverings in all indoor public places regardless of vaccination status.

Following this mandate, face coverings are required for all children ages 5 and up, staff members, and other adults (including parents and family members) while indoors at child care facilities starting August 13. The Early Learning Division and Oregon Health Authority will release updated guidance to reflect this new mandate. Together, we can reduce the spread of COVID-19.

If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

Child Care Nurse Hotline  

With the rise of COVID-19 cases in Oregon, a reminder that child care providers can access the COVID-19 nurse hotline at no cost. The number, 1-833-647-8222, is available seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

For more information, download and share the below flyer. 

How to get a COVID-19 Vaccine

“Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself against COVID19 and to keep the virus from spreading among our loved ones, our friends and neighbors and our communities,” said Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen. If you haven’t already, get the vaccine today. Click here to use the Vaccine Locator Map and find a vaccine provider near you 

Delays in Fingerprinting Process

The Oregon State Police is experiencing a backlog with processing fingerprinting results for the Central Background Registry (CBR).  

The process usually takes about 14 days. With the current delay, results may take 30 or more days. These results are necessary to enroll applicants in the CBR.

For more information and ongoing updates, visit oregonearlylearning.com/providers-educators/providers-educatorscbr/.  

July 30

Governor Kate Brown Announcement: Face Covering Requirement for K-12 Schools

On Thursday, July 29, Governor Kate Brown directed the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to create a rule to require masks indoors for K-12 schools statewide for the 2021-22 school year. Click here to download the press release.

This direction by the Governor responds to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s July 27 guidance for fully vaccinated people. Based on the latest science of the spread of the Delta variant, CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

At this time, the rule is in draft form. We anticipate that the rule will not apply to all Oregon child care providers. We expect any program operating in a school building would be subject to this draft rule. This includes public, private, parochial, charter or alternative schools. The rule would require all individuals age two years or older, including students, staff, contractors, volunteers, and visitors, to wear masks while indoors. The rule would take effect immediately upon adoption, and affect summer programs taking place in school buildings. ELD will send an update when the rule is adopted with any necessary clarifying details.

As a reminder, in the “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations,” the Early Learning Division recommends face coverings be worn by adults who are not vaccinated, and children in grades kindergarten and up while indoors. The governor is also asking all Oregonians to wear masks indoors as stated in her announcement: “In the meantime, as we ask Oregonians statewide to mask up in public indoor spaces, we will continue working hard to vaccinate more people so we can finally beat this virus once and for all. Vaccines remain the most effective and best way to protect ourselves and our families.”

If you have questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

Stabilization Grants: Frequently Asked Questions 

Congress set aside funds through the American Rescue Plan Act to support child care providers following the pandemic. Oregon received approximately $250 million in child care stabilization funds. The funds were given to states with specific requirements around applications and distributing the funds. 

Oregon child care providers can expect to apply for additional funding in mid-September from the Child Care Stabilization Fund. Grant applications will be posted on the Early Learning Division website. All applicants who meet the requirements will receive funding. 

To learn more, download the FAQs below. 

New Report: The Effects of COVID-19 on Oregon’s Early Care & Education Workforce and Programs 

New research shows the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Oregon’s child care and early care and education programs’ ability to remain open and serve families. ELD contracted Portland State University and OSLC Developments, Inc. to conduct the study, which involved a statewide survey of 3,035 early educators during March of 2021. This survey was open to all early educators across the state of Oregon, including directors, owners, lead teachers, assistant teachers, and aides. The findings highlight inequities, including low wages and layoffs, particularly for early educators of color. 
 
Thank you to all who participated in the survey!  
 
Click here to read a press release and download a report of the survey findings. 

July 12

Certified Family and Certified Center Rules: Infant Definition Update

In May, the Early Learning Council voted and approved new language for the infant definition in Certified Family (CF) and Certified Center (CC) rules. The infant definition is now the same across all provider types–the same for CF, CC, and RF providers. The below rule updates were effective immediately upon approval by the Council in May.   

Certified Family child care home OAR 414‐350‐0010 (15) provides the definition: “Infant” means a child who is at least six weeks of age up to 12 months of age. Certified Child Care Center OAR 414-300-0005 (22) provides the definition: “Infant” means a child who is at least six weeks of age up to 12 months of age. These definitions match the current Registered Family definition: “Infant” means a child who is at least six weeks of age up to 12 months of age (OAR rule 414-250-0010 (10).  

Following this change, providers must follow safe sleep rules for all children 12 months and younger. If you have any questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

Deadline for Supplies: July 16

Oregon child care providers may request supplies from the Early Learning Division (ELD) until July 16, 2021. Free supply packages contain items such as masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, etc. from ELD’s remaining inventory. Providers who have requested supplies previously are welcome to make another request. To order supplies, visit https://supplyconnector.org/states/oregon/free-ppe/ and complete the order form. Please have your license/provider number and the shipping address for supplies ready.

Child Tax Credit Monthly Benefits Start July 15

Help spread the word of monthly benefits for families! Payments for the new Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan Act start July 15. All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent (also called Head of Household). For every child six to 17 years old, families will get $250 each month, and for every child under six years old, families will get $300 each month.   

Families who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or who signed up to receive a stimulus check from the Internal Revenue Service will get this tax relief automatically. Families who didn’t make enough to be required to file taxes in 2019 or 2020 can still get benefits. Visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/child-tax-credit/sign-up/ to sign up.

Oregon House Bill 3073 Fact Sheets 

On June 26, 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3073. HB 3073 creates a new early learning agency – called the Department of Early Learning and Care, or DELC, beginning January 1, 2023. 

ELD recently created a fact sheet that provides a summary of the legislation and an anticipated timeline. Click below to download.  

June 28

COVID-19 Recovery: Recommendations and Requirements  

Early Learning Division (ELD) and Oregon Health Authority (OHA) are reducing requirements for child care providers, as detailed in the letter and “Child Care Provider COVID-19 Requirements and Recommendations” document published on June 25, 2021 and effective on June 30, 2021. Existing COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines will no longer be in effect. 

The requirements below follow rules adopted by OHA. For requirement details, view pages 1 through 3 (or 4 for Spanish and Russian) of the “Requirements and Recommendations” document.

  • A communicable disease management plan
  • Exclusion and notification criteria
  • Recordkeeping for contact tracing

NOTE: In the section labeled “COVID-19 Exclusion and Notification,” if “should” is mentioned, it is not required.

ELD and OHA list several recommendations for best practices on the remaining pages. These recommendations are not enforced. This includes recommendations for:

  • Excluding or monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Verifying vaccination status.
  • Face coverings. For example, all adults are recommended to wear a face covering unless they are vaccinated.
  • Stable groups. For example, ELD and OHA recommend keeping adults and children in the same groups as much as possible.
  • Handwashing and general hygiene. For example, ELD and OHA recommend always storing hand sanitizer out of reach of children.
  • Food and nutrition. For example, recommendations to avoid family-style meals and discontinue use of drinking fountains.
  • Ventilation and air flow. For example, recommendations to improve air quality by opening windows and doors, exhausting air from indoors to outdoors, using filtration methods, and (if applicable) ensuring ventilation systems operate properly.
  • Cleaning and building maintenance. For example, ELD and OHA recommend the 3-step method: 1. WASH 2. RINSE 3. SANITIZE or DISINFECT.
  • Transportation. For example, recommendations for cleaning and sanitizing the transportation vehicle.
  • Health education, training and communication. For example, recommendations for including COVID-19 safety precautions in staff orientations, staff trainings, and family support.

If you have any questions, please contact your licensing specialist or email us at ProviderContact@state.or.us.

New Temporary Rules for Licensed Programs

On June 24, 2021, the Early Learning Council approved temporary rules for licensed programs to allow continued use of hand sanitizer in certain circumstances, expanded use of Aide 2 staff, as well as transition time for online CPR training to meet licensing requirements. Click below to view temporary rules by provider type. Click here to view a recording and meeting materials.

The Early Learning Council also adopted temporary rules to implement SB 757. SB 757 modified “conditional enrollment”, which is temporary limited enrollment in the Central Background Registry (CBR) for child care staff while they await full enrollment. This will help child care programs hire new staff and transition individuals with Emergency Background Checks in a timely manner.

These temporary rules expire 180 days after adoption. ELD will engage the public and present permanent rules for adoption by the Early Learning Council in a future meeting.

Last Call for Supplies

Oregon child care providers are invited to request supplies from the Early Learning Division (ELD) until July 16, 2021. As we move into COVID-19 recovery, this is the final opportunity to access free supply packages containing items such as masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, etc. from ELD’s remaining inventory. Masks are optional as of June 30, 2021 and are still included in these pre-packed supply kits. Funds to purchase the supplies during the pandemic were approved by the Oregon Legislature in 2020.

Providers who have requested supplies previously are welcome to make another request.

How do I order supplies?

Go to the website (https://supplyconnector.org/states/oregon/free-ppe/) and complete the order form. Please have your license/provider number and the shipping address for supplies ready.

Some care packages are suited for school-age child care and others accommodate the care of young children and infants. Providers can choose one option.

Oregon House Bill 3073 passed by Oregon Legislature

On June 26, 2021, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill (HB) 3073. HB 3073 creates a new early learning agency – called the Department of Early Learning and Care, or DELC, beginning January 1, 2023.

The Employment Related Day Care (ERDC) program, currently administered by the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), would be transferred to DELC on July 1, 2023, aligning all child care administration under one agency. The goals of the new agency are to create a child care and early learning system that is more responsive to the needs of children, families, and providers, particularly our most vulnerable families. A single agency may help Oregon support funding and expansion opportunities, grow the supply of child care, and ensure equitable access.

For more information and updates on this legislation, visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/HB3073.

Happy Pride Month!

Celebrate Pride Month by checking out this LGBTQ+ book list for kids! By reading and sharing stories that support inclusivity, you can help children and families in your community feel represented, empowered, and safe.

Additional resources are included in the June 9 Child Care Updates.

June 9

Important Update on Face Coverings and Physical Distancing  

Following the latest guidance from Oregon Health Authority, the Early Learning Division (ELD) updated the requirements and recommendations for face coverings and physical distancing when indoors and outdoors. This includes:   

  • When outdoors, face coverings and physical distancing are NOT required for anyone (staff, children, caregivers, visitors, volunteers, etc.).  
  • Adults (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) are required to wear face coverings during indoor drop-off and pick-up. When outdoors, ELD recommends that adults maintain six feet of physical distance during drop-off and pick-up if not wearing a face covering.   
  • ELD recommends that unvaccinated staff and staff at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness wear face coverings when outdoors if routinely in close contact with children or other adults.  

Click here for full details on the latest updates and to download the full “Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating During COVID-19.”

Frequently Asked Questions

ELD regularly updates the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the “For Providers” webpage. Below is a summary of new or updated FAQs.

*NEW* For Version 2.0 of the Health and Safety Guidelines, do parents and family members entering the building for drop-off and pick-up need to be screened for temperature , asked the three questions as well, and then recorded?

No. If parents and family members are only there for drop-off and pick-up, a health check is not required. This interaction should be as brief as possible. If the parent and family member is in the facility for any other reason, then a health check must be performed and recorded. 

*NEW* How do Version 2.0 amendments affect Registered Family (RF) and Certified Family (CF) homes? Are parents and family members allowed to come into the home for drop-off and pick-up?

If drop-off and pick-up can occur in an area of the home where child care is not occurring, then yes, parents can enter the home. 

*NEW*Can programs combine stable groups of infants and toddlers for a full day if the attendance for both classrooms is low? If not, what is the definition of “the beginning and the end of the day”?

Yes. The combined groups must be the same daily. 

*NEW* Can a program consider a group of preschool and older toddlers as one stable group? For this example, the preschool class only has 10 children.

Since the current ELD guidelines only allow for groups of infants and toddlers to be combined, an exception request needs to be submitted for consideration. Please contact your Licensing Specialist for exception process.

*NEW* Are kindergarten and pre-kindergarten graduations allowed?

Yes, these types of activities are allowed, but must follow the precautions in requirement 4.8. 

Reminders

  • On June 8, ELD started a 21-day pause in accepting Emergency Background Checks (EBC) for individuals not enrolled in the Central Background Registry (CBR). ELD expects to return to the standard background check process, as required by Oregon law, on June 29, 2021. Visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/providers-educators/providers-educatorscbr/ for more information and the requirements for enrolling in the CBR. In the event the current COVID-19 state of emergency declaration is extended beyond June 28, 2021, ELD will revisit this policy and notify providers and the public. 
  • On June 8, ELD started a 21-day pause in accepting applications for programs who are not licensed or recorded to operate Emergency Child Care (ECC). ELD expects to return to the agency’s standard licensing process, as required by Oregon law, on June 29, 2021. Visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/COVID-19-Resources/Emergency-Child-Care for more information. In the event the current COVID-19 state of emergency declaration is extended beyond June 28, 2021, ELD will revisit this policy and notify providers and the public.
  • Thank you to all who attended the Health and Safety Guidelines Version 2.0 Webinars on May 26, May 27, and June 5. Click here to download webinar recordings.  
  • Click here for an important recall notice, “Fisher Price Recalls 4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soothers” from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Happy Pride Month!

In June and throughout the year, celebrate the LGBTQ+ movement and people in your community! Take moments to listen, learn, and advocate for inclusivity and equality for ALL Oregonians. Click below for resources on how to support children, families, and staff.  

May 27

Bridge Funding (ECC5) Applications Open 

On May 21, Early Learning Division (ELD) announced another grant opportunity for Emergency Child Care (ECC) providers through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. To be considered for an award, eligible ECC providers must complete a brief application by the June 8, 2021, 5:00 p.m. (PST) deadline: https://ode.smapply.org/prog/ecc5/.

To date, ELD has awarded $82.1 in grant funding to providers since the start of the pandemic. This includes the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CARES) Act and Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF). Additionally, we anticipate $224 million in future grants later this year from the American Rescue Plan Act, pending approval from the Oregon Legislature.

Included below are a few featured Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Click here to learn more about eligibility requirements and to read all FAQs.

Q: How did ELD determine how much grant funds to award per child care license type?

The total funding available for this grant is $12 million. ELD funding formula for this grant opportunity is based on all of the following factors:

Q: Do I need to be listed in both 211info and Find Child Care Oregon?

No. Programs need to be listed for child care referrals in the Find Child Care Oregon database: https://stage.worklifesystems.com/parent/34. This is the database 211info uses to assist parents in finding child care and your Child Care Resource & Referral has enrolled you in and updates on a regular basis.

Health and Safety Guidelines Version 2.0

On May 18, the Oregon Early Learning Division published updates to the “Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating During COVID-19.”  

Since publishing, ELD has shared important updates on face coverings: 

Providers and staff only, exception to requirement to wear a face covering if: 

  • They are fully vaccinated and it has been verified by the program director/provider and; 
  • They have a medical condition or disability, as documented by their doctor’s or other medical or mental health professional’s order, that prevents them from wearing a face covering. 

Unvaccinated staff must continue to wear a face covering when children or staff are present regardless of a documented medical condition or vaccination status. 

When Outdoors: If 6 feet of distance can be maintained, all staff may remove their face covering, regardless of vaccination status. School-aged children continue to be required to wear a face covering or may remove their face covering if 6 feet of distance can be maintained.

When Indoors: Fully vaccinated staff are not required to wear face coverings or physically distance inside their facility outside of child care hours. Vaccination status must be verified by the director/provider. Staff and children must continue to wear face coverings when indoors and during child care hours.  

All staff, regardless of vaccination status, can follow 6.2, and remove their face covering during child care hours when they are completely alone in a space. 

ELD Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month  

Join ELD in celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month! This month and throughout the year, we encourage our staff, Oregon child care providers, and early learning partners to engage, reflect, and grow in their understanding and appreciation of the AAPI identity, culture, and history. How can you support and celebrate with fellow staff members, children, and families?  

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center created a video series for educators, by educators called “We are not a stereotype.” This series explores and challenges the complexity surrounding the term Asian Pacific American, breaking it down into topics that span multiple timelines, geographies, and identities. Click here to access educational videos and resources. 

Other resources:  

New Report: Oregon’s Child Care Deserts 2020 

A new report from Oregon State University shows that as of March 2020, all 36 counties in Oregon qualify as child care “deserts” for infants and toddlers. “This report highlights why Oregon needs to continue to invest in child care and focus on strategies that build our supply of affordable, high-quality child care and ensure our existing programs are supported,” said Alyssa Chatterjee, Oregon’s acting learning system director in the Early Learning Division. “Many families are struggling to access high-quality child care, and we can’t wait to address the issue.” Click here to read the press release and here to download the report.  

Reminders 

  • Visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/COVID-19-Resources/For-Providers for updated tools, FAQs, and the NEW Two-Minute Tips (TMT) resource. ELD worked with Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington to develop TMT handouts that include a brief summary of recommendations for implementing the “Health and Safety Guidelines.”
  • Important recall notice for Kidde TruSense Smoke Alarms and combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms that were sold at Walmart, Home Depot, Menards, Amazon and other stores between May 2019 and September 2020. Visit https://bit.ly/3usdOXd for the full recall notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Thank you to all who attended the webinar on House Bill 3073 and the New Department of Early Learning and Care. Visit https://oregonearlylearning.com/HB3073 to download a recording of the webinar and for more information.   
May 6

Health and Safety Guidelines Version 2.0 

In mid-May, ELD will publish updates to the “Health and Safety Guidelines for Child Care and Early Education Operating During COVID-19.” Register to join a webinar to review Version 2.0 updates on the dates listed below. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

For more information, download the flyer: https://oregonearlylearning.com/form_sets/flyer-version-2-0-health-and-safety-guidelines/ 

Registered Family (RF) and Certified Family (CF) Providers
May 26, 
2021 | 6 to 7 p.m.
Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9128486796876515851  

Certified Center (CC) Providers
May 27, 2021 | 6 to 7 p.m. 
Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7960682302876105995  

Spanish-speaking Providers
June 5, 2021 | 9 to 10 a.m. 
Register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9073589280791625231 

Upcoming Webinar on Early Childhood Legislation 

You’re invited to attend a webinar on Tuesday, May 11 from 6 to 7 p.m. to learn about legislation related to early learning and child careEarly Learning Division joins the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Governor’s Office to host webinar on House Bill (HB) 3073Click here for more information on HB 3073, including frequently asked questions.  

Click on your preferred language below to submit questions about HB 3073
English | Spanish | Russian | Vietnamese | Chinese

Join the webinar on Tuesday, May 11 | 6 to 7 p.m.
Join by Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/97960874011
Or phone: +1 669 900 6833
Webinar ID: 979 6087 4011 

Thank you, Oregon Early Childhood Educators!

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week and Friday, May 7 is National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day. We admire Oregon early childhood educators for their passion, talent, perseverance, and BIG hearts. Thank you for supporting children and families, especially during this challenging year. Take care and be kind to yourself! Consider this advice from Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, award-winning physician, researcher, and advocate, and California’s first Surgeon General:

“Educators can deliver the daily doses of healing interactions that truly are the antidote to toxic stress. And just as the science shows that it’s the cumulative dose of early adversity that’s most harmful, it also shows that the cumulative dose of healing nurturing interactions is most healing . . . We know that educators are the backbone of our society. As we do this work, I want to encourage you to put your own oxygen mask on first. Because we need you in this fight. We need you in this struggle. In order for any of us to provide that safe, stable, and nurturing environment for the children that we serve, we have to practice self-care so that we can be available. Please make sure to put your own oxygen mask on and practice real care for yourself so that you can be there for the next generation.”

Click here to read the full Edutopia interview.

There are so many ways to show appreciation for educators this week and throughout the year. Click here to read a recent article by Education Week. 

April 26

A Message from ELD’s Miriam Calderon

This week marks my final week serving as the Early Learning System Director for the state of Oregon. Before I go, I wanted to take one final opportunity to acknowledge you for the incredible work you do for Oregon’s children and families. And, to say thank you for all that we have accomplished together in my nearly four years in this role.

Since starting in 2017, I could not have imagined how far we could go to elevate early childhood in Oregon, and to advance toward a more equitable early learning system. It has been an honor and privilege to serve in this role.

I will carry all of my experiences here to my next role – the successes and the challenges, the many lessons, especially from this last year of COVID-19, and my passion for young children, families, caregivers, and early educators in Oregon. I think we are in a unique moment in our field, and I am excited to take this experience and contribute at the federal level. I look forward to helping shape federal policy for Oregon and other early learning and child care systems in our nation.

In closing, I want to thank Alyssa Chatterjee for stepping in to lead at this important time for early learning and child care in Oregon. I have nothing but excitement and hope about the future direction for early childhood in this state, and have no doubt that the best days yet are soon to come.

With Gratitude,

Miriam

New Research Shows Importance of Child Care for Oregon Families

For Oregon families, the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges. It also increased existing barriers to high-quality, affordable early care and education. In Fall of 2020, the Early Learning Division (ELD) contracted with Portland State University’s Center for the Improvement of Child and Family Services and OSLC Developments, Inc. They conducted a statewide survey and listening sessions with families about their child care services, supports, and experiences during the pandemic. 

To learn more about the impacts of COVID-19 on families’ experiences with child care, click here. 

Child writing in a notebook

REMINDERS:

  • Share feedback on Oregon’s draft Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan for 2022-2024. ELD invites you to participate in a public hearing on April 27 OR submit a comment through a public feedback form. Learn more: oregonearlylearning.com/administration/state-plans/
  • National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day (May 7) and National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3 to 7) are coming up! Join ELD in recognizing the MANY ways Oregon educators have made a difference in the lives of children and families. Encourage your community to join in celebrating! Check out these ideas from Child Care Aware of America (click here) and National Parent Teacher Association (click here). 
April 5

Free Supply Order for Child Care Providers

The Early Learning Division (ELD) wants to help ensure child care providers have personal protective equipment (PPE) for safe operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 1, 2021, Emergency Child Care providers are eligible to receive one free order of supplies by applying through the state’s website: https://supplyconnector.org/states/oregon/free-ppe/.

For more information on eligibility and how to complete an order, click here.

Child Care & Development Fund

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to State, Territory, and Tribal grantees. CCDF supports Oregon’s efforts to provide child care services for low-income families and enhance the quality of child care for all children.

Let your voice be heard and share feedback on Oregon’s draft CCDF State Plan for 2022-2024. ELD invites you to participate in a public hearing on April 27 OR submit a comment through a public feedback form. LEARN MORE: oregonearlylearning.com/administration/state-plans/

Gloved hands of a doctor putting a bandage on the arm of a female after giving coronavirus vaccine in the clinic. Close-up of a healthcare worker placing a bandage on a patient's arm after covid-19 vaccination.

Findings from the COVID-19 Vaccine Barrier Survey

In February 2021, the Early Learning Division (ELD) invited child care providers to participate in a survey about their experiences accessing a COVID-19 vaccine and any barriers they may be facing. The survey was open to anyone formally linked with a child care program or facility (in-home, family-based, or center-based care) who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine AND who is at least 18 years old. Click here to learn about the results.

Thank you to all who took time to offer feedback!

Frequently Asked Questions

ELD regularly updates the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the “For Providers” webpage. Below is a summary of new or updated FAQs.

*UPDATED* Q: Once children return to school, they will have a stable group at school and a different stable group at child care. Is this allowed and is this safe?

Yes, it is not expected for child care to mimic the school’s cohorts. Outbreaks in the child care setting are rare. As this is the current practice, ELD allows children to be in different cohorts in school and in child care.