Coronavirus: Md. closes child-care facilities to all but essential workers

The Maryland Department of Education has announced that all public and private child-care programs in the state will close at the end of the day Friday, and that programs would be set up by the state for the children of essential workers.

Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon announced the move Thursday afternoon. She was given the power to order the closures in the executive order issued by Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday, which also ordered schools to remain closed until April 24 in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency.

There are dozens of free day care programs for essential personnel across Maryland that will stay open, including a dozen locations in Montgomery County and more than two dozen locations in Prince George’s County. See the full list on the Department of Education website or by calling 877-261-0060 Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

In the executive order, “essential persons” are defined as:

  • Health care providers, emergency medical personnel and providers of long-term patient care or pharmacy services;
  • Public health workers;
  • Law enforcement;
  • Correctional workers;
  • Firefighters and other first responders;
  • Government workers who still have to work during the emergency;
  • Insurance workers and representatives;
  • Active-duty National Guard;
  • Child-care and education workers, including custodial staff and food-service providers;
  • Food distributors and suppliers;
  • Transportation and delivery-services workers;
  • Gas station operators and mechanics;
  • Infrastructure workers, including emergency support workers in gas and electric utility operations, public works, water treatment and waste management;
  • Workers at other establishments that have been ordered to remain open during the emergency.

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Salmon gave six phone numbers in her statement that people can call for more information:

  • 410-767-0335
  • 410-767-7823
  • 410-767-0583
  • 410-767-7798
  • 410-767-7805

Salmon said the state-funded programs will maintain social distancing, and keep teacher-student ratios one teacher to nine children, with smaller class sizes for younger children.

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Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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