Maryland child care centers have been ordered to close by the end of the day Friday, except for those serving children of essential personnel, which will be subject to limits.
The required closures were announced by an update posted to the Maryland State Department of Education website on Thursday afternoon.
Child care programs can reopen on Monday if they receive new licensing approval, commit to serving only the children of essential personnel, and thoroughly clean their facilities.
The state has also established child care programs specifically for essential personnel, which can be found at earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org or by calling 877-261-0060 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The children of essential personnel attending the state-funded child care programs will be kept at an appropriate distance from each other with ratios of one teacher to nine children and smaller class sizes for younger children, according to the announcement from State Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to keep children home when possible.
Essential personnel who remain eligible for child care are listed in an executive order from Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R):
- Health care and pharmacy providers;
- Public health employees;
- Law enforcement, first responders and correctional services employees;
- Government employees required to work during the state of emergency;
- Employees and representatives of insurance carriers;
- Active-duty National Guard personnel;
- Staff and providers of child care or education services , including custodial staff and food service providers;
- Food distributors and suppliers;
- Transportation and delivery workers;
- Gas station operators and auto mechanics;
- Critical infrastructure employees, including emergency support personnel for gas and electric utility operations, public works, water treatment, and waste management; and
- Personnel of other institutions ordered to remain open during the state of emergency.
The state listed several phone numbers that essential personnel and caregivers can call for additional information: