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DCDEE Announces Flexibility in Policy and Regulatory Requirements

March 18, 2020
DCDEE Announces Flexibility in Policy and Regulatory Requirements

The Division of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) appreciates all the hard work and continued sacrifices that NC’s child care facilities have made during the COVID-19 outbreak to serve families, fuel the state’s economy, and protect the state and nation’s security.

With the closure of North Carolina’s public schools, DCDEE knows the demand on the state’s licensed child care facilities is elevated. In order to provide relief and flexibility to child care facilities serving families, DCDEE has been actively working to identify policy and regulatory requirements that can be temporarily waived, while still ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of children.

While DCDEE asks that facilities attempt to continue to maintain compliance with all child care rules to the extent possible, the ones included in the enclosed chart have been identified to provide flexibility to centers during this time of crisis. DCDEE will continue to evaluate and determine if there is a need to include additional regulatory flexibility as the situation progresses.

Additionally, during this time, all monitoring visits and environment rating scale assessments will not take place. This temporary change does not include investigations of complaints and investigations of child maltreatment. Other flexibilities include areas such as Staff/Child Ratios and Group Size, Training Requirements, Record Retention, Activity Areas, and Nutritional Standards. Be assured that a child care facility’s star rating will not be impacted if a facility temporarily utilizes these flexibilities. A NC Pre-K classroom that discontinues operation as an NC Pre-K classroom will need to operate according to the regular child care licensing standards identified in the attached chart.

Thank you for supporting North Carolina and its families by providing vital care and services.

RULE TOPIC  EMERGENCY DESCRIPTION  REGULATION
Inspections of Child Care Facilities The Division will not be conducting visits and inspections other than in response to a complaint or investigation of child maltreatment. 10A NCAC 09 .0201
On-Going Requirements for a License The Division will not enforce required inspections under (a) and (b) to the extent such inspections cannot take place due to COVID-19. 10A NCAC 09 .0304(a) and (b)
Activity Schedules and Plans Temporarily allow flexibility to child care facilities for the completion and posting of activity schedules and plans. 10A NCAC 09 .0508
Activity Areas Allow flexibility in the requirements for activity areas and focus on providing age appropriate activities for children in care. Temporarily may allow up to 2 hours of screen time per day for children three years old and older. 10A NCAC 09 .0510
Staff Qualifications If child care facilities are required to add new staff, the Medical Report and Tuberculin (TB) Test Requirements may be temporarily waived to allow staff to begin work, provided they are not symptomatic and all requirements can be completed within 60 days. 10A NCAC 09 .0701(a)
Staff Qualifications Temporarily waiving the requirements to maintain certain information in an individual’s staff record. 10A NCAC 09 .0703(c), (d)
Staff/Child Ratio and Group Size Temporary allowance for all child care facility programs, regardless of star-rating, to operate using the minimum allowable staff/child ratios and group sizes.

Temporarily allow increasing the maximum group size provided the staff/child ratios are maintained for the youngest child in the group, not to exceed two groupings of children. Must adhere to the CDC Guidance of not gathering more than 50 people in a single space.

10A NCAC 09 .0713(a).
Nutritional Requirements Temporarily waive the requirements to provide additional food to meet the USDA Meal Patterns for Child Care requirements when meals/snacks are brought from home. 10A NCAC 09 .0901
Staff Orientation Temporarily waive/suspend the time frame for staff to complete orientation.  Some staff may have just been hired and it may be a hardship for programs to get these orientation hours completed within the required time frames. 10A NCAC 09 1101(a)
Training Requirements Provide an additional six months for administrators and any child care provider to complete CPR, FA and ITS-SIDS training.  This change is allowed as long as one child care provider who has completed the CPR, FA training is present while children are in care, and as long as one child care provider in the infant room who has completed the ITS-SIDS training is present while infants are in care. 10A NCAC 09 .1102
Indoor/Outdoor Space Temporary allowance for child care facilities to exceed current indoor and outdoor space capacity requirements. 10A NCAC 09 1401(a), (f)

10A NCAC 1402(b)

10A NCAC 09 .2504

Family Child Care Home – Nutrition Standards Temporarily waive compliance with Meal Pattern requirements if availability and access to food components is impacted due to COVID-19, including if a parent brings in their own food for meals and snacks. 10A NCAC 09 .1706
Family Child Care Home – Inspections Temporarily waive requirement for announced or unannounced visits other than in response to a complaint or investigation of child maltreatment. 10A NCAC 09 .1709
Family Child Care Home – Daily Operations Temporarily allow flexibly to child care facilities for the completion and posting of activity schedules and plans. Temporarily allow up to 2 hours of screen time per day, and unlimited usage time periods when working on school assignments. 10A NCAC 09 .1718(a)(6), (b)
Family Child Care Home – Records Temporarily waive the requirement that the Child’s Health Assessment and Child Immunization Record be included in the Child’s Record within the first 30 days of enrollment. These records should be provided within 60 days. 10A NCAC 09 .1721(a)(1),(2)
Record Retention Temporarily waive the requirement that the Child Medical Report and Child Immunization Record be included in the Child’s Record within the first 30 days of enrollment. These records should be provided within 60 days. 10A NCAC 09 .2318(6)
School-Age Children – Age Appropriate Activities Continue focusing on providing age appropriate activities daily. Temporarily may allow up to 2 hours of screen time per day, and unlimited usage time periods when working on school assignments. Make rest areas available if a child wants to rest, but not required due to space and number of cots/mats available. 10A NCAC 09 .2508
Star Rating The Division will not be conducting announced or unannounced visits to assess compliance for star-rating. 10A NCAC 09 .2830
NC Pre-K Attendance Temporarily waive the requirement to contact parents for more than three consecutive absences when such absences are related to COVID-19. 10A NCAC 09 .3003
NC Pre-K Child Health Assessment Temporarily extend the 30-day requirement for completion of the health assessment to 60 days. 10A NCAC 09 .3005

 

Subsidy and NC Pre-K payment during COVID-19

March 18, 2020
The following information was released by the Division of Child Development and Early Education on March 17th:

Thank you for supporting our state and our families by providing vital care and services. DHHS and DCDEE understand that you are worried about the financial impact this event may have on your programs.

To address your concerns, we are making the following policy changes:

  1. Child Care Subsidy: For the month of March, all licensed child carecenters and family child care homeswill receive full subsidy payment for each child enrolled in their facility according to each child’s plan of care.
  2. NC Pre-K: Pre-K programs will be paid in full for the entire month of March, regardless of child attendance or closure.

We will assess payment policy options for future months as the need develops.  We encourage you to check your email daily and read everything we send so you have the most up-to-date information and so we have the most accurate sense of child care availability across the state.

Please let DCDEE know if you have any questions. 

COVID-19 guidance for child care settings in North Carolina

March 17, 2020
The NC Department of Health and Human Services has released Interim Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Guidance for Child Care Settings in North Carolina on March 16, 2019. Please read this guidance carefully. More information will be released as it becomes available. To receive the latest information in a timely manner, please check this website, and:

Child Care Health Consultants are available to answer questions – find the consultant for your county here. 

Coronavirus or COVID-19

March 10, 2020
The NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center encourages using reputable sources for information about the coronavirus including the:

As always, the most important method of preventing the spread of infectious diseases, including the coronavirus, is handwashing. Download posters from our website or from the Department of Public Health’s resource list.

 

Governor Roy Cooper makes Early Childhood Education announcement

January 9, 2020
Gov. Roy Cooper made an announcement on January 9th that North Carolina will receive $56 million in federal funding over the next seven years to support children’s health and well-being, improve access to high-quality early learning for families across the state and invest in the state’s early childhood workforce. The federal funding is one of the state’s largest infusions of new dollars in North Carolina’s early childhood system.makes what he calls a “major” early childhood funding announcement and discusses early childhood education needs with teachers in Cary. Watch the announcement and learn more at the Governor’s office website.

Lead Hazards in Some Holiday Toys and Toy Jewelry

December 13, 2019
Protect children from exposure to lead in metal and plastic toys, especially imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry.

Many children get toys and toy jewelry as gifts during the holiday season. Some toys, especially imported toys, antique toys, and toy jewelry, may contain lead. Although lead is invisible to the naked eye and has no smell, exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health.

Young children tend to put their hands, toys, or other objects―which may be made of lead or contaminated with lead or lead dust―into their mouths. If you have a small child in your household, make sure the child does not have access to toys, jewelry, or other items that may contain lead.

Read more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

 

 

NC Farm to Preschool News ~November

November 8, 2019

Check out the November 2019 News from the NC Farm to Preschool Network (NCF2PSN). The purpose of the Network is to connect, educate, develop, and share resources between community and state partners, farmers, early childhood educators, and families to spark the local foods movement in early childhood education environments. November news includes information about:

  • Autumn; Using and Celebrating the Seasonal Harvest
  • Farm to Preschool in Action ~NC Crunch!
  • The Reading Nook and Classroom Resources
  • Resources for Finding Local Farm Products
  • Fall Gardens and Buying Local for Thanksgiving!
  • Winter Pie Recipe Using Fall Greens
  • Featured Resources, Conferences Events, and MORE!

 

It’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week!

October 23, 2019
With funding from The JPB Foundation, the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN), the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), and the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) has launched the Lead-Safe Toolkit for Home-Based Child Care.

There is no safe level of lead for children. Adverse health effects, including IQ deficits and learning and behavioral problems, occur at low levels of exposure to often invisible sources of lead.

The Lead-Safe Toolkit offers a variety of resources to help home-based providers reduce lead hazards in their child care homes. Toolkit contents include:

  • Poster for display in family child care home.
  • List of science-based, user-friendly lead prevention resources.
  • Lead prevention policies and worksheets, with easy-to-follow steps for finding out if lead hazards exist in the home and what to do to reduce any exposures.

View full press release!

Also, Eco-Healthy Child Care® helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals. Check out their factsheet on lead!

Influenza: Plan Ahead – Flu Season is Here

October 18, 2019

Information from the Healthy Child Care Pennsylvania ECELS Program

The influenza (flu) virus is common and unpredictable. It can cause serious complications, even in healthy children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 136 influenza-related pediatric deaths for 2018-2019. The 2018–2019 influenza season was the longest-lasting season reported in the United States in the past ten years. Certain people are more at risk for serious flu-related complications. These include:

  • Children younger than 5 years of age, especially those younger than 2 years
  • Preterm infants
  • Children of any age with certain long-term health problems, for example, asthma or other lung disorders, heart disease, or a neurologic or neurodevelopmental disorder
  • Pregnant women
  • Older adults age 65 years and older: Immune systems decline as adults age.

The influenza vaccine is on the recommended Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) schedule and is recommended for children 6 months of age and older in child care.

The flu vaccine helps reduce serious illness and deaths that occur every year from influenza. For the 2019-20 flu season, the national American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that any licensed, recommended, age-appropriate vaccine available can be administered. Flu mist is an approved form of the vaccine for this season. Some children may need two doses of flu vaccine. Get flu vaccine as soon as it is available for the current season.

Flu Vaccine for Child Care Staff  Educators and staff can help reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses like flu and colds. In addition, adult flu vaccination protects vulnerable young children in child care programs. Infants less than 6 months of age are too young to get the flu vaccine. It is especially important for everyone who comes in contact with infants to get flu vaccine. This will help protect babies from exposure to the virus.

Many people say they have had the flu when they had an uncomfortable respiratory illness. However, short, mild-to-moderate illnesses are most often caused by other seasonal viruses. Usually, influenza causes a severe and long-lasting illness. 

Link to the CDC website: Information for Schools & Childcare Providers to find information about preventing the flu as well as materials and tools for early care and education (ECE) programs and schools. Promote full participation in this year’s immunization effort for children and staff in your ECE program:

  • Consider offering flu vaccine on-site for staff.   Some pharmacies offer this service.
  • Identify a Flu Vaccine Champion. This staff member can promote the importance of vaccination for children, staff and family members. Documenting staff members that are vaccinated can be important in the event of an outbreak. Consider offering incentives such as a $5 gift card for staff who get flu vaccine.
  • Offer help if needed to find convenient locations to get the vaccine. Use the Flu Vaccine Finder. Enter the zip code or address for your location in the upper right hand box. 

 

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