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Limitations on child care centers

Norwalk Reflector - 3/25/2020

Mar. 25--NORWALK -- Governor Mike DeWine ordered a mandatory Stay At Home order, requiring people to stay home unless performing an essential activity.

The order prohibits holding gatherings of any size and all nonessential businesses will be closed. The order does allow residents to go to the grocery, receive medical care and taking dogs for a walk. State borders and roadways are still open.

"We haven't faced an enemy like we are facing today in 102 years -- we are at war," DeWine said. "In the time of war, we must make sacrifices, and I thank all of our Ohio citizens for what they are doing and what they aren't doing. You are making a huge difference, and this difference will save lives."

DeWine also put limitations on operating child care centers and they must operate under a Temporary Pandemic Child Care license. No more than six children should be in a class and ratios must be kept at one teach to no more than six children.

Junior Explorers Child Development Center, owned by Erin Cannon, received a license to operate during the pandemic.

"Luckily we've been able to manage it very well, we've had a lot of families that decided to pull kids out," Cannon said. "We have lower group sizes but we have had to lay off a few employees."

She said high-touch areas like doorknobs and where the parents come in are being wiped down every hour.

"We've always been strict at washing kids' hands but they're constantly washing their hands and being extra cautious," she said.

"As of Thursday, if you don't have a nonessential job, you kids are not allowed to come (to child care). The state is paying for all essential workers' kids to come, the state is making sure the essential workers' kids are paid for and they don't have to worry about it. We may have openings if you are an essential worker."

Children with parents employed by the same entity should be kept together and the same teachers and children in each room should be maintained.

DeWine also requested child care centers to limit the use of share space or mixing groups of children. If there is a shared space, a rigorous cleaning schedule must be in place. Another guideline is to limit parent interaction to pick up and drop off only.

This program is in place until April 30, with the possibility of it being extended.

While public parks and walking trails are still open, DeWine has closed playgrounds because they pose a high risk of increased transmission.

"Right now, we are in a crucial time in this battle. What we do now will slow this invader so that our healthcare system will have time to treat those who have contracted COVID-19 and also have time to treat those who have other medical problems," DeWine said. "Time is of the essence."

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