Michigan Gov. Whitmer expands capacity for disaster relief child care services for essential workforce

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-16 to expand the capacity for child care services for health care workers, first responders, and other members of the essential workforce during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

UPDATE -- May 14, 2020: Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-83, which extends until June 10 expanded capacity for child care services for health care workers, first responders, and other members of the essential workforce providing critical infrastructure to Michiganders during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The order gives temporary and limited relief from certain regulatory restrictions regarding child care services and will allow the use of certain property for child care services.

The order authorizes the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to issue expedited provisional licenses to expand capacity for child care services. It also allows employers, like hospitals, to operate a disaster relief child care center for their employees.

It also allows public and nonpublic school facilities to be utilized for the purpose of operating a disaster relief child care center focused on providing services for essential workforce.

“Our health care workers and everyone who’s providing emergency medical services are doing incredible work to help us fight COVID-19,” said Whitmer. “That’s why I’m taking action to expand capacity for child care services for these critical frontline workers. By expanding our ability to care for our children, we are allowing them to continue working and protect public health and safety. Child care services are essential to our collective effort, particularly while schools are closed. To all child care providers who are able and willing to remain open in Michigan, I thank you for your service and sacrifice during this time.”

All disaster relief child case centers are required to perform a health evaluation of anyone who enters the facility each time they enter. They must deny anyone who does not meet the evaluation criteria.

All child care providers must follow the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

They must also comply with certain LARA-imposed requirements:

  • Follow the safe sleep guidelines, including appropriate sleeping equipment for children under 12 months of age;
  • Follow LARA’s guidelines for diapering, handwashing, and sanitizing;
  • Provide porta-cribs, cots, or mats for children older than twelve months to sleep or rest; and
  • Have awareness of, and communicate with parents and guardians regarding, a child’s: medicine; allergies, including food allergies; and other special needs.

Those who qualify as essential workforce include, but is not limited to:

  • Health care workers
  • Home health workers
  • Direct care workers
  • Emergency medical service providers
  • First responders
  • Law enforcement personnel
  • Sanitation workers
  • Child care workers
  • Personnel providing correctional services
  • Postal workers
  • Public health employees
  • Key government employees
  • Court personnel

LARA encourages trusted neighbors to help provide care for children. The Child Care Organizations Act allows for people to provide unlicensed care for six or fewer children for up to four consecutive weeks in a calendar year.

LARA will allow licensed centers to extend their operations to additional buildings after LARA has inspected and approved the new locations.

If you are a member of the essential workforce, go to helpmegrow-mi.org/essential and your information will be routed to someone in your community who can help you find care.

For licensed child care providers are who willing to remain open or re-open during this emergency, please complete a short survey to provide information about your program's ability to serve the children of the essential workforce: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/childcare-covid-response

MORE: Here’s which Michigan counties have confirmed cases of coronavirus

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.