Facilities must limit number of children in cohort, classroom at a time
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Gov. Kate Brown’s reopening plan included child care services in Phase 1 counties, allowing them to reopen last Friday. Child care providers in Central Oregon are trying to find ways to do that safely and efficiently, within the state's public health guidelines.
As of Thursday, the governor’s guidelines prioritize child care for children of essential workers. The care facilities are only open if they have applied to be emergency providers and were approved.
Child care facilities are asked to follow new restrictions when they reopen, such as keeping a stable group of no more than 12 children in a cohort and ensuring there are no more than 10 children in the same room at a time.
Karen Prow, NeighborImpact’s child care resources director, said Thursday the biggest barrier facilities face is the limit on the number of children.
“For a center that may have had 16 to 20 children in a classroom, and now that classroom can only have a maximum of 10 children -- that’s a big difference,” Prow said.
She said the reduced capacity for child care also has an impact on children, not just the economy.
“That just displaces the children previously being served, really shakes up those dynamics of friendships in that classroom and adds instability for children as they return to care,” Prow said.
She said there are nearly 40 emergency child care programs that have applied for grants from the city of Bend and Deschutes County, but she said the money available is slim.
The grants fall between $3,000 and $6,000 and are dispersed based on factors like the size of a care facility and its need. Prow said right now, grant money is focused on care facilities enrolled in Spark, Oregon’s quality rating and improvement system.
Additional resources can be found at Central Oregon Child Care.