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CCMTL 150 (Temporary Procedures to Address the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic)
Child Care Manual Transmittal Letter No. 150
March 16, 2020
TO: All Child Care Manual Holders All Child Care Center Manual Holders All Family Child Care Manual Holders
FROM: Kimberly Hall, Director
SUBJECT: Temporary Procedures to Address the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Background:

Center Ratio and Group Size

Appendix A to rule 5101:2-12-18 outlines staff/child ratios, age grouping, and maximum group size for child care centers.

Family Child Care Ratio and Capacity

Rule 5101:2-13-18 stipulates that licensed family child care providers shall care for no more than six children at any one time. No more than three of those children may be under two years of age.

Step Up To Quality

Rule 5101:2-17-01 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) contains the Step Up To Quality (SUTQ) program standards required for child care center and family child care (FCC) programs to be star rated.  SUTQ rated programs are required to meet the standards at all times.

Publicly Funded Child Care – Absent Days and Professional Development Days

An absent day is defined in rule 5101:2-16-01 of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) as "any day that a child is authorized and scheduled to be in the care of the provider, but is not in attendance, and child care would have been provided had the child been present with the provider."  An absent day can only be used if the child care program is open on that day.  Currently, rule 5101:2-16-10 of the OAC allows a maximum of 10 absent days for each six-month period from January through June and again from July through December.

A professional development day is defined in rule 5101:2-16-01 of the OAC as "a day in which a provider would normally provide child care for currently enrolled and scheduled children, but has closed to the public so that the provider and/or child care staff may undergo training meant to improve their professional knowledge, competence, skill and effectiveness as child care professionals."  Currently, rule 5101:2-16-10 of the OAC allows two professional development days per state fiscal year but prohibits professional development days from being used on two consecutive calendar days or in two consecutive calendar months.

New Policy:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in policy are being implemented to allow programs to meet the needs of the families impacted by the pandemic and school closings. The Executive ban issued on March 12, 2020 to prohibit mass gatherings of 100 people or more in the state of Ohio does not apply to child care programs.

The following rules and policy changes are effective as of March 13, 2020.

Rule 5101:2-12-18 "Group size and ratios for a licensed child care center" Appendix A has been amended to update the ratio and group size requirements for preschool and school-age children:

Age of Children Maximum Child Care Staff Member/Child Ratio Maximum Group Size

Young Infants

(birth to less than 12 months)

1:5 or 2:12 in same room 12

Older Infants

(at least 12 months and less than 18 months)

1:6 12

Young Toddlers

(at least 18 months and less than 2 1/2 years)

1:7 14

Older Toddlers

(at least 2 1/2 years and less than 3 years)

1:8 16

Young Preschoolers

(at least 3 years and less than 4 years)

1:16 32

Older Preschoolers

(at least 4 years and not enrolled in or eligible to be enrolled in kindergarten)

1:18 36

All School-Agers

(enrolled in or eligible to be enrolled in kindergarten or above and less than 15 years)

1:30 60

Rule 5101:2-13-18 "Group size and ratios for a licensed family child care provider" has been amended to allow each child care staff member in a family child care home to care for up to twelve children at any one time. Each child care staff member can only care for three children under two years of age. For this period, Type B providers are automatically grandfathered to have a capacity of twelve children at any one time.

Rule 5101:2-16-10 "Payment rates and procedures for providers of publicly funded childcare services" has been amended to:

Increase the number of absent days from ten days per six months to twenty days per six months.

Create twenty-one pandemic days per fiscal year. A pandemic day is a day the provider is closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In-home aides may not claim pandemic days.

The child care automated system will be updated to reflect these changes.

Step Up To Quality

While Ohio is in a state of emergency to address the COVID-19 pandemic, SUTQ rated child care centers and family child care home providers should focus on meeting licensing requirements for health and safety. Additionally, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will not be assessing SUTQ standards and submission requirements with the exception of already submitted 1-star initial registrations, 1-star rating renewals and already submitted annual reports for 3-, 4- and 5-star ratings.

Questions:

Please contact the Child Care Policy Helpdesk at 1-877-302-2347, option 4, if you have any questions about the new policy.