Child care group sizes can return to normal

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BOSTON (SHNS) – Officials with the Department of Early Education and Care released revised Minimum Requirements for Health and Safety on Friday, outlining updated expectations for child care centers that are more in line with guidance issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The new guidelines, which take effect Sept. 1, return classroom group sizes to pre-pandemic limits, allow home-based child care providers greater flexibility in their maximum group size while their own children are engaged in remote learning at home, and allow limited on-site services for children with special needs to occur in child care facilities.

Before child care centers were ordered closed by the governor in March, Massachusetts had about 8,200 licensed child care programs. So far, more than 5,300 child care programs have reopened and another 1,000 are in the process of completing their health and safety plans to be approved to reopen, the state said.

“While we all must remain vigilant against the transmission of COVID-19, the updates to our requirements will ensure children and families can remain healthy and safe when relying on child care to go to work,” Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy said. “We are confident in our providers’ ability to continue safely meeting the needs of children and families in their communities while supporting children’s learning and development.”

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