Emergency Closures and Child Attendance
March 12, 2020
Please find below an overview of how our partnerships and current regulations work for emergency closures and child attendance:
1. The Department of Children and Families (DCF) takes the lead on evaluating health and safety at child care sites.
2. In the case of infectious diseases, DCF and the Department of Education/Office of Early Learning (DOE/OEL) would follow any instructions provided by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) related to quarantine or child care site closure due to potential virus exposure.
3. If a child care site has to close due to potential virus exposure, OEL has administrative code (rule) provisions that will allow early learning coalitions to continue to reimburse the provider during the temporary closure.
- For school readiness (SR), coalitions may continue to reimburse providers for child care services (given the children are not being served by another SR provider) for as long as the emergency dictates that the site be closed. See Rule 6M-4.501(2), F.A.C.
- For voluntary prekindergarten (VPK), coalitions may continue to reimburse the providers for up to five (5) instructional days. Beyond this, VPK providers would have to make up those instructional days lost due to closure. See Rule 6M-8.204(5), F.A.C.
4. Regarding child absences, the SR rule allows a child to be absent for up to 10 days (3 unexcused absences and 7 excused absences) per calendar month. See Rule 6M-4.500(4)(a), F.A.C. For VPK, a provider may be reimbursed for the full FTE if a child is absent no more than 20% of the instructional days of the month.
5. At this point and until OEL receives further instructions from DOE, temporary closures and absence allowances beyond what is allowed in the SR and VPK rules are not in effect.
Finally, OEL currently does not have a protocol in place for those that travel internationally or to a level 2 country and need to be self-quarantined for 2 weeks. At this point we would recommend that everyone follow the guidance and instructions provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), FDOH, and your local health department/authority. If a provider refuses to care for a child, the ELC may need to look at transferring the child if there is no evidence of exposure to the virus based on CDC and FDOH protocols.
Please see the CDC web address: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance-for-schools.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fguidance-for-schools.html.
Please see the FDOH site: http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/COVID-19/covid19-toolkit.html.
Please understand that OEL is in review of its reimbursement and attendance regulations as it relates to this matter and will make sure to inform early learning coalitions and providers about any changes that may impact the current process.