Governor Steve Bullock today issued a Directive providing additional guidance on childcare facilities to ensure that Montana’s essential workers can receive access to childcare during the state of emergency. Additionally, the Directive requires safeguards to protect children, families and childcare workers from the spread of COVID-19.
“Like many Montana families, our state’s essential workers are pulling double-duty, working and caring for their children at the same time,” Governor Steve Bullock said. “We must make sure childcare is still available to lessen the burden on Montanans who are on the frontlines of the response to COVID-19, while taking appropriate measures to keep children and workers safe.”
The Directive classifies childcare facilities as an Essential Business in Montana and allows them to remain open, while placing additional safety requirements on their operation. The Directive also requires childcare facilities to prioritize the placement of children whose parents or guardians are essential workers.
Childcare is critical to enabling Montanans to continue to work in Essential Businesses and Operations, including healthcare, law enforcement, human services operations and others identified in the March 26, 2020 Stay at Home Directive. The state cannot effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic if healthcare providers, first responders, and other Montanans performing essential functions cannot work because they are at home caring for their young children.
Governor Bullock’s Directive requires childcare providers to comply with the following requirements, to the maximum extent possible:
- Childcare must be provided in stable groups of 10 or fewer children. The same children must be in the same groups each day.
- Children may not access any classroom space allocated to a different group of children. Priority should be given to keeping members of the same family in the same group.
- Facilities must prioritize the needs of children in the custody of individuals engaging in Essential Businesses and Operations, as defined in the March 26, 2020 Directive.
- Childcare providers should, where possible, limit the total number of children in any one facility to 24.
- Facilities that cannot comply with the Directive should cease operations for the duration of the Directive.
Childcare providers and parents must review the attached “Information for Childcare – Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19” for additional safety precautions that should be taken by childcare providers at this time and for more information on childcare operation during the emergency.
The Directive is effective immediately and expires at the end of the emergency.
The full Directive is linked here.