Child care, camps available to more workers under latest shelter-in-place order

A May 18 order from Berkeley’s health officer permitting a broad range of people to return to workplaces also allows them to use child care or summer camps, both of which are required to use disease prevention guidelines

Berkeleyside is sharing some messages from the city of Berkeley about coronavirus-related rulings. This one was issued May 22 and appears below in full. 

A May 18 Health Officer Order permitting a broad range of people to return to workplaces also allows them to use child care or summer camps, each of which are required to use disease prevention guidelines.

The children of people working as allowed in the Health Officer’s order, which includes industries as varied as retailers and construction, can use childcare and camps per the order which limits the number of children per group and prevents mixing of those groups. Summer camps will also need to heed these rules including keeping stable groups together for at least three weeks.

COVID-19 has not disappeared. It remains embedded in our community and the nation. As people return to work under restrictions to limit the spread of this untreatable virus, it’s also critical to ensure safety in places caring for children.


Parents

In the current shelter-in-place order, childcare establishments and camps may now provide services to anyone working at a currently permitted businesses, including:

  • essential businesses
  • construction sites
  • outdoor businesses
  • retailers operating for curbside pickup or delivery
  • any manufacturing, logistics, or warehousing business currently allowed to operate under state rules.

A detailed list of the types of businesses that fall into each category is available on the City’s website.

As restrictions are relaxed and workers in more industries return to their physical job sites, childcare will be open to employees of any businesses permitted to operate.

In-home childcare, such as nannies, is considered an essential service and has been allowed under all iterations of shelter-in-place. However, play dates and other informal childcare arrangements are not permitted.


Childcare providers

While childcare providers may now expand their services to more workers, they must comply with a set of conditions intended to minimize opportunities for COVID-19 spread:

  1. Children must be placed in stable groups of no more than 12 children, with the same children grouped together each day.
  2. Groups of children should stay intact, with no children moving in or out of the group, for at least three weeks.
  3. If there is more than one group of children at a facility, each group should be in a separate room and groups should not mix with each other.
  4. Caretakers should remain solely with one group of children.

These requirements are delineated on page 12 of the Health Order (Section 15, f. xxvi.).

Where state and local rules are different, the stricter of the rules apply. If a childcare establishment is licensed by the California Community Care Licensing Division (CCCL), they must limit groups to the CCCL recommended group size of 10.

Childcare programs may also serve vulnerable populations, including children in foster care, children receiving child protective services or who have been deemed at risk, children with special health care needs, and families experiencing homelessness.

The City is developing detailed guidance for childcare establishments to help them keep children and staff safe. Establishments will need to screen children and staff for symptoms daily, increase cleaning protocols, and develop plans of action in the event of a confirmed case associated with the facility. They will also need to take steps to support social distancing, such as rearranging spaces to put six feet between activity stations and encouraging children to define personal space areas for themselves with chalk, yarn, or similar materials.

Summer camps

The same restrictions that apply to childcare providers also apply to summer camps. Camps may operate, but only to serve children of those who are permitted to return to work under the current order, and must keep children in stable groups of no more than 12 children for at least 3 weeks.

The City has developed detailed guidance for summer camps on how to adapt programming to support social distancing requirements. Camps will need to:

  • Eliminate large group activities like campfires and sing-alongs
  • Stagger activities so two groups aren’t in the same place at the same time
  • Encourage individual activities like painting, crafts, and building with blocks
  • Do as many activities outdoors as possible

Children in camps will be able to play sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, and tennis, but only within their stable group. Camps will need to clean and disinfect balls and other shared equipment at least once a day.